Last weekend, since we didn’t have anything else to do, I took my good ol’ Dodge Stratus in for an oil change. The guy in the office said it would be about 40 minutes to an hour, so instead of waiting there, Jeff and I moseyed over to a car dealership. We knew my car wouldn’t last forever, it had 140k miles on it, and had seen it’s better days. I had decided not to tell the mechanic about the noises it makes anymore because every time I did, it cost me $300-400. We wanted to be prepared for when we needed to buy another car, so that we could have already decided what we wanted and not be under the gun so much.
While we were at the second dealership, I got a phone call from the mechanic. He said, “You know that rattling noise your car is making?” and I thought to myself, “I didn’t tell you, but you sure found it yourself!” He kept going, “It’s your thingy-ma-bob, which makes your whatchamacalit run. If that breaks, your car will die on the road on you.” Of course, he used much more technical terms and explained more thoroughly. So, I asked about price, and he told me it would be between $500-$800, but he needed to look up a few things first. So, I told him to go ahead and do that, but that I am not interested in putting a while bunch more money into that car that just needs one repair after another. I also asked how long he thought it would last the way it was, and of course, there is no way to tell, etc. All the while I’m wondering to myself, “Did we DO this? Did this happen because we went to look at other cars?!?!”
When he called back, the quote for repair was $708. Meanwhile, we had gotten a trade-in value of $1550 on kbb.com, so I knew that I would rather trade my car in and make payments on something I don’t have to pay for repairs on all the time. Also, I drive highway 90% of the time. I really didn’t want to be the cause of an accident or to be stranded on my way to school one morning.
Thus began the serious car shopping. We knew we needed a used car, one that Jeff would fit in comfortably, with the least miles and newest year possible. All of this we wanted for under $15000. Meanwhile, I asked my coworker, John, to look at my car and see what he thought. He said it didn’t look like it was going to die on me anytime in the next few days. But, winter is coming, and I sure don’t want to be stranded in winter.
We really wanted a small/midsize SUV. We quickly found that engine size matters. The ones with small engines, that we could afford, didn’t drive very well. The ones with big engines that drove well were high miles and bad gas mileage. So, I kept looking, thinking our dream car would suddenly appear. Then, my friend Christopher, who is a former-Lutheran-school-teacher-turned-car-salesman, gave me a reality check. Every time it seemed like we had decided on a car, I would come home and look at reviews and then decide against it. After thinking and praying about wants vs. needs, I settled on a car instead of an SUV.
All-in-all we went to seven different car lots, drove nine different vehicles, and settled on a 2010 Chevy Impala with 29k miles on it on Thursday. We got a very good price on it, almost exactly where we wanted to be, even though it was listed at almost 20k. When a car salesman (Christopher) told me I got a REALLY good deal, I couldn’t help but feel a little proud of myself. It’s a really pretty blue, drives really smoothly and quietly. It has remote start, which will be GREAT in the winter at school. The only thing it is missing that I’m somewhat disappointed in is satellite radio. We have it in our Sonata, and it is great to have on long car trips, which we seem to do a lot of. However, this will save us money, especially since I’m going to cancel XM on the Sonata since we’ll probably take the Impala on the long car trips for a while anyway.
So, our weekend with nothing to do, followed by every evening last week, was filled with stressful car shopping, haggling with car salesmen, and texting my friend Christopher for advice. Boy, am I glad that’s over!
On another note, we had our school auction last night. Our fundraisers pay the teachers’ salaries, so I really hope it went well. It seemed to, but it is so hard to tell at those kind of things. I also made a menu for next week.
|Sunday||Pork roast, potatoes, carrots|
|Monday||Chicken cordon bleu rollups, salad|
|Tuesday||Grilled cheese and tomato soup|
|Friday||Pizza and salad|
|Saturday||Scallops and fettucine alfredo|