Category Archives: Money matters

Feelin’ it

I know everyone around us has been feeling it. We are too. But we know we’re very lucky.

Year before last, we got ourselves in a crapload of debt. Vacations, new counters, furniture, cars. We racked up tons of debt. We were livin’ the high life.

Last year, we cracked down. We lived way below our means. We knocked down all that debt and started putting away money for big things we knew were coming.

Luckily, we got pretty much out of the hole we dug just as the economy hit the fan. We are lucky that we both have safe jobs. We’re doing okay.

Recently we have heard that at least four family members have lost their jobs. A few are holding their breath, waiting and watching to see if they are next. Some independent contractors are barely making it. People are afraid to look for new jobs, holding on to what they’ve got for as long as they can.

It makes us ever more careful. We know no one is immune. We acknowledge our luck. We just hope it holds until things get better.

Funny how a lot of things just don’t seem so important anymore.

All me, baby.

Three years ago, my second oldest daughter totalled my old minivan.  Hubby dragged his feet, but then agreed to let me go get a new one.

From the get-go, I made all the decisions and negotiations on this one.  I decided that I would lease a new, nice Grand Caravan for three years.  After that, I would turn it in.  I would be done with minivans forever.  After all, all the kids would be grown and gone except for Bubba.

I negotiated, I signed the papers, I went home and showed Hubby what I had bought.  He was kinda unsettled that I would be able to do such a big thing on my own, but I was proud of myself.  And he got over it.

Then life happened.  Bro moved out, The Princess stayed.  O’Baby arrived.  Funny how nothing really went as I had planned.  But I had the option to continue with the same car payment for three additional years, and I’d own the van outright.  If I needed to.  This was a small comfort.

Well, time’s up and I decided that I still wanted out of the van when the three years was up.  Hubby will be getting a bonus next month, and we’ll use that to pay cash for a new teeny tiny car.  An anti-van.  No car payments for me again, ever.

A couple of weeks ago, knowing how reluctant the car dealer would be to take my returned vehicle, I set up a pre-inspection.  The lady I met for this was kind and sweet, and we built a rapport.  I knew she wouldn’t give me any problems when it came time to turn it in.

I buffed out the scratches on the van last week and it looked great.  I made the mistake of taking the van to the car wash before we brought it in today, but the lady remembered me, and was kind enough to overlook the scratches that popped up again.  The turn-in fee was even less than I had anticipated.

And my plan worked in the end.  I am van-free now, and will remain so forever – at least I’m pretty sure.  If we take long trips, we will either fly, take two cars, or rent a van.

Now we’re pricing new cars and trying to come up with a plan to get the best deal on what we want.  I have faith that we will be successful, since car dealers are so desperate now.  All we have to do is get through the month without a car for me, then the rest is gravy.

I am proud that I saw this major transaction through from start to finish, on my own.  I feel like an adult now.  All me, baby.