We officially did it. We traded in the "cutesy college car" for the "shaggin wagon." Yes, I call it the shaggin wagon frequently when in reality it's just a mini-van, but shaggin wagon just sounds cooler, and makes me giggle like an 8th grader. Don't worry, I'm not disillusioned by what it truly is.
All last week we went test driving. EVERY SINGLE day. We would put Liliana in the old, small car, get harassed by car salesmen, and went to four different dealerships. I know other people take much longer to do their car searches, but since we had quite a restrained budget and knew we would need a used car, the options were more limited. I'm going to admit, this car buying stuff was overwhelming to me.
Evan kept telling me "what do you think? This is your car sweety, give me some input. I want you to be really happy." But the truth of the matter was, I couldn't process it. I'm usually so much more of a go getter, but fortunately, Evan stepped up to the reigns and handled the whole thing like a pro.
Bringing a second kiddo in to the world, just the concept of it, is starting to really freak me out. This happened with my pregnancy with Liliana too. I just get overwhelmed and stressed: will I be a good Mom to baby #2? Will I have enough time for Liliana? Will Gloria get the love she deserves since I obviously will still be caring for Liliana as well? How will I handle doing all of this by myself since Evan works such long hours? Am I a bad person for being proud of myself when people ask "oh are you staying home now?" and I respond "no, I don't think being a Mother means you have to stay home." All of these questions are enough for me ...
And then we added on a car? A new payment in addition to an extra daycare payment? A new responsibility? I mean, both Evan and I got slight raises for next year, but those only cover the car payment. How will we handle an additional $600 daycare payment?
Evan was so patient with me as we test drove and I stayed quiet. I immediately knew I didn't like the Mazda 5. I didn't feel safe in it. Safety is a BIG issue for me and one I don't cut back on. If there is a model with more airbags, we're paying for it. I think that's a good place to put your money. That is partially why, when we finally narrowed it down, I wanted a Toyota Sienna. They have the best crash testing results and if that means we spend a little more (which we didn't b/c we got a fabulous deal), so be it.
Now it was all about narrowing it down. We found 2 in Conway and 1 in Little Rock that were within budget. One in Conway had 56,000 miles on it and was fixed up with all the amenities: leather, DVD player etc. The other in Conway had 43,000 miles on it and had all those fixings too. The one in Little Rock had 43,000 miles on it, was still VERY nice (top of the line, just not "limited") and was originally listed within $2,000 of the one in Conway. Our plan was to just see the best deal we could get. By the time Evan had done all his research (or as our car salesmen said "how many trees did you kill??"), the negotiating wasn't all that bad.
The place in Little Rock gave us a MUCH better deal, it would have been about $4,000 difference just for leather seats, and we decided to be practical. Those leather seats weren't worth $4,000 to me. I told Evan I wanted less mileage for sure b/c this car is going to be our everything as a family. Evan will drive his current car to work, but if we ever go out as a family, my car will be the answer. This took the 56,000 mile one out of the equation. The other one with 43,000 on it was 2 years newer, which you would think is a good thing, but it drove much differently and though the amenities were nice, we weren't fond of the way the 2009 drove.
When it was all said and done, we had negotiated a HECK of a deal! They gave us Kelly Blue Book "excellent" rating for my car (unheard of when trading in), knocked off thousands of dollars off the asking price, and even brought down the financing rate by nearly 3% because of our AWESOME credit scores (yeah, I was proud of that!).
When we left, I felt SO much less overwhelmed. It was the exact opposite. A HUGE weight had been lifted off my shoulders. And I smiled, proudly, as we left the dealership in the new (well, new to us) MINI VAN BABY! ; )
We're still fighting over who gets to drive out while we're out and about. We went to Toys R Us that afternoon and bought Liliana her new playground (that my parents got her for her birthday) and that box was HUGE. It would have NEVER fit in an SUV, but it slid (tightly, but still fit) in the van. We've already had this van full of stuff a couple times (let's just say our budget hasn't been doing so well, but our master bedroom makeover is coming along beautifully) and couldn't be happier.
PS Sorry that was probably more than anyone ever cared to read about a new car, but this was a BIG deal to us. It was the first car we've ever purchased together as a married couple and we did it as a complete and total team. We never argued and actually had fun throughout the process. I'm so lucky to have a husband that cared about our safety, our happiness, and most of all, making sure I was happy with our shaggin wagon. ; )
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