Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'll Take Public Transportation for $200, Alex

I have started this post a half dozen times and stopped because I feel a little silly writing about my life when the best I have to offer is that I managed to get my books back to the library on time and I finally got around to shaving my legs. Things are very routine around here, which is actually quite an achievement since it's usually a bit of a roller coaster. I have no major excitement to report except for the fact that the truck has crapped out on us again. But I guess that's what happens when you drive a 1983 pickup truck. I don't run as well as I did back in 1983, either. The scary thing about that though is that our other vehicle, the 2001 Town and Country van, is starting to near the end of its life, too. We like to say we drive vehicles until they drop, and that's the honest truth, but we're beginning to think the van is close to dropping so we've started car shopping, and I've decided to take the defibrillator with me the next time we price cars.

Hubby reads about six car magazines a month, so he keeps up with auto trends. My car research is done during my bathroom reading and even then Motor Trend has to compete with the Farmer's Almanac and the Word Power quiz in Reader's Digest, so I don't really pay much attention to the new styles or prices. He's been telling me that new and used car prices are out of sight, but I kind of let it go in one ear and out the other 'cause nothing bores me more than a dissertation on motors and fuel mileage. Except for the Western Channel. Anyway, I just didn't realize how expensive cars have become since we last bought one ten years ago. Until we went car shopping last weekend. Holy mother of Mabel! It's a wonder more people aren't riding bicycles.

We rolled onto the lot of our favorite Chrysler dealer Saturday because Hubby had his eye on a Chrysler 300. A salesman was on us faster than a jackrabbit on a date, and pretty soon we were test driving a sweet little ride. We drove two 300's. One was fancy, and one was plain. We made the mistake of driving the fancy one first because once we'd zipped down the road in that little number we really weren't interested in the one without the heated seats, the heated and cooled cup holders and the peppy engine. BIG mistake. Then we drove a sporty red Charger just for the heck of it, and before we'd gone two blocks down the road we knew THAT wasn't going to work. Hubby's knees were up to his chin, and there was no room for Papa T. in the back, and well, that's a problem 'cause he doesn't like riding on the roof. We need a sedan that's easy for Papa T. to get into, that gets decent gas mileage and gives Hubby that smooth ride he's looking for. Really, I don't know why he doesn't just go ahead and get a Buick. He already gets AARP magazine. The 300 seemed to be a good choice for us.

Back at the dealership we went inside for the cost discussions. Now, understand, this particular dealer is someone we've worked with several times. He knows we just want his bottom line price, and he doesn't fool around much. He just lays it out there, and we decide whether or not we can afford it. We asked him to give us a price for purchase and another price for leasing the car. He diddled around with the numbers, and then gave us the news. Because there is no interest on leasing a vehicle right now, the monthly cost would be virtually the same. $670 for 72 months. I tried to keep my composure as a bit of pee trickled down my right leg. I smiled and nodded. Hubby smiled and nodded. We gave him the hmmm, we'll talk about it and see line and then sauntered to the van, where we got in, shut the doors and shouted, "OH MY GOSH, $670 FREAKIN' DOLLARS A MONTH?! ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR MINDS??!" And then we drove in silence for about five minutes, until we could wrap our brains around the idea of how expensive that really is and the fact that some people would actually make payments for six years on something that doesn't come with at least three bedrooms and two baths. I couldn't believe it. And neither could Hubby. It practically took my breath away. In fact, for hours afterward, we'd look at each other and go, "$670?" Needless to say, we did not take that deal. And we decided to look at slightly used vehicles. We'll go back to the tactic that has worked well for us on the last two vehicle purchases. We'll find a program car or a used car that comes from someone who trades theirs in every couple of years and leaves the dealer with a really nice car that's still under warranty and has had some depreciation knocked off of it. We will NOT be getting a brand new car. Unless the money fairy lands on our house in the next few weeks and waves her wand and shakes her fanny hard enough for $100 bills to fall out of her butt. Besides, even if she does, I'm gonna need that money for heart surgery now.


Living Life said...

I'm with you on the whole car thing. All I care is that my vehicle gets me from point A to point B reliably. We finally did purchase a new Ford Focus in June. Since we've been married (18 years this Sunday), we've never owned a brand new car. We currently have a 97 Ford Expedition (huge gas guzzler), so I decided we needed a small economy car that was good on gas mileage (40 miles to the gallon!). We figured what we are saving in gas is practically our car payment! Best of luck to you in your car shopping adventures!

Allie said...

Just bought our first new car in 17 years......bought a new Corolla for the same price that we bought a new one in 1986!! We were looking for cheap, nothing fancy, and fuel efficient. BTW, averaged 40 mpg on our vacation!!!

"CAPTAIN DAVE" said...

I once drove a fancy-schmancy BMW in "Drive for a Cure". As we were tootling down the highway, admiring the leather interior et al, my companion looked in the glove compartment and found the window sticker - $99,000! The indentations from my fingers gripping the steering wheel never went away!

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

Were you secretly in my house a month ago when we had this conversation? We just traded in the Big Guy's car for a 2010 Altima (I love it. It feels very "grown up" for us). But I'm with you, sister. I about FELL OVER at the prices.

(and $670 A MONTH? Agree. It better come with 3 beds, 2 baths AND a 2 car garage...)

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

And this is why we are driving a car that is almost two decades old.....but it did break down on my way to have heart test at Knoxville -- we had to be towed home , almost 60 miles or so. Gonna have to do something though - his family is in Alabama and although we went racing down to Al in it after the tornado had wiped out his mother's's really not reliable to drive any distance. Prices are soooooooo high. But it'll all work out...may just get a horse and