Soon after Avery was born, we traded in our Acura TSX for Acura’s SUV, the MDX. We didn’t own our house then, so our monthly expenses were less, and we were under the impression that we needed two SUVs for two kids. After all, the double BOB stroller was not going to fit in the TSX. I told Chase at the time that the MDX was my “dream mom car” (actual dream car: Porsche Carrera S convertible) and after my dad passing away, retail therapy and impulse buying may have been to blame for the purchase. We liked the car, we could afford it, so we bought it.
Four months later, I went back to work and we spent a fortune on a (wonderful and worth-every-penny) nanny every month. Gas prices were reasonable at first, then went up. Chase drives a lot for work in the Yukon, so although he was reimbursed for mileage, it was barely covering his gas, let alone the wear and tear on the car. By early this year, we realized that something had to give. We were spending close to $1,000 per month in gas, and another $540/month for the MDX payment. $1540 is more than some people’s rent or mortgage! So we decided to sell the MDX and get a smaller, less expensive car, figuring we could cut our payment in half and save another $200-$300 per month in gas if Chase drove the new car and I drove the Yukon.
The first step, and the one I feared most because of the time commitment, was selling the MDX. We took it to CarMax and they offered us $3,700 less than we owed. Although that would be easier than selling it ourselves, I wasn’t willing to take a loss on the car. We weren’t desperate and I knew we could get more out of it by selling it private party. Fortunately, it is a popular car. I listed it on Craigslist (of course!) and on a Cars.com free listing. As always, I provided a detailed listing with photos and listed it at a higher price, leaving room to negtotiate. We cleaned it up and the first person who came to see it made an offer the next day. It took a little more work than selling it to CarMax, but we didn’t lose money! The buyer was a USAA member, so they did all the paperwork and wired the funds to pay off our loan. It was pretty painless!
The money-saving aspect of this decision was a no-brainer, but buying a car can be a very time-consuming process. But there is a solution: a car broker! I never knew these people existed, but now that I do, I will never buy a car from a dealership again. You tell the broker what car you want, what you want to pay for it and they negotiate the deal for you. We told her on a Wednesday and she brought the car to our home on Thursday, along with all the paperwork. It took 45 minutes to sign, then we were done. Did I mention their services are free to you since they are paid by the dealer? Best thing ever!
We chose a Toyota Camry SE, which, although it’s not a Porsche (or even an Acura), is a nice looking car at a reasonable price. It is safe, gets great gas mileage and will (hopefully) run forever. I’m already picturing Clay driving away in it on his 16th birthday. A Toyota can easily last 12 years, right?