Best plans tossed aside by Murphy

4 Dec

I am in full vent mode today, so if I sound crazy it’s because my plans have been tossed aside by that bitch named Murphy. Regular readers know I am struggling to reduce my debt and live a more frugal life. It’s been going fairly well despite falling off the no Starbucks wagon. It’s those damn Peppermint Mochas that come out only in winter, they are so good and work is so stressful and well after work I like to unwind with a hot beverage. Yeah, I can make a Chai at home but damn those Peppermint Mochas are great. Thankfully I have been keeping to the budget in every other way so I am trying not to feel too guilty.

Well December in addition to being Christmas which we celebrate and generally requires me to spend some cash, it’s also car inspection time for us. What that means is we take the car to the mechanic and he determines whether or not we get the state required sticker that legally allows us to drive our car. Now being the good planner I strive to be these days, I had planned for this event using last year’s repair costs as the gauge for how much cash to save for this blessed little event. Turns out I got it wrong….very very wrong.

To repair our 12-year-old car and keep her on the road legally is going to cost a minimum of almost $1300 and I say minimum because there is one repair that Mechanic Man says he can’t give us the price on until he starts doing the work. Um….to say I was stunned and pissed is an understatement. Now we bought ole Bessie from a friend several years ago after our other car died after a very long stint with us. When we bought this car, it was a good alternative to going into debt since we had gone that route before and frankly I have decided I hate car payments. Getting a car on a 5 year loan seems like a great idea but for us it sucked. Problem is the cash car has been a bit of a money pit and now I am trying to plan our next steps.

Part of me wants to just pay the cash and fix ole Bessie but not having an exact price makes me very skittish, there is also the fact this car is as comfortable as a Cracker Jack box and is really too small for our family. On the other hand, I only have about 2G’s to buy a car in cash and at the moment, I am not running across a great deal of selection since thanks to the lovely Cash for Clunkers program, a lot of really decent used cars got taken out of circulation. So whereas at the beginning of the year I saw some decent cars for a couple grand, now that is not the case. Which leaves option three, go to a dealer and get a car and a car payment. Now as a member of the less than stellar credit club that means I will get a shitty deal as far as financing and as a member of the get the fuck out of debt club that pains me.

Problem is I live in Maine, a place with not a great deal of options when it comes to getting around sans a car. It’s possible but not really. I mean this ain’t NYC, Boston or Chicago. Plus I have a job, so as you can see I have a problem. The only upside is I have until the end of the month to solve it so I have time to explore my options but really barring a fabulous used car made in this decade, that is available for 2G’s, my options are not great.

So trusty reader, I ask you, what would you do in this situation? Do you take a chance and keep ole Bessie and sink a ton of cash into a 12 yo old car or do you decide enough is enough. Is this a good case for incurring some debt for a ride? Decisions….

8 Responses to “Best plans tossed aside by Murphy”

  1. Danielle December 5, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    I would incur the debt for the ride. I literally feel like I have to shit when my car has problems. I know TMI but I’m keeping it real. Now while I might be not able to afford the brand spanking new Toyota Sequoia I can try to get a reliable ride.

  2. Kit (Keep It Trill) December 5, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    I’d call your new black police chief and ask if and when they’re auctioning off any of their vehicles, or try to find out who their mechanic is, get his number and see if he’ll do some side work.

  3. Sheena December 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    Ugh! Sorry you’re going through this. I understand as I just sank $750+ into my 12 y.o. car this past inspection cycle. I went that route because, like you, I HATE the idea of having a car payment. Good luck with your decision.

  4. 32B December 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    If your credit is as bad as mine then that means you’ll owe more on the newer crappy car than it’s worth which will really mess up your get-out-of-debt-this-lifetime plan and mess with your mind. I love the auction idea because Chi does them here but you’d have to know what you’re looking for and what it should look like under the hood….not sure if they give you more info than to look at the body itself. Get rid of the 12 yo car esp if the price isn’t set by the mechanic. No personal car ads from folks desperate for cash?

  5. blackgirlinmaine December 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Yeah, my credit is not good at all, and I really fear unfavorable terms. That said, after talking with my Pops who is a car man and explaining the issues he thinks we need to get a new car. In his opinion the car is officially about to become a money pit (oil leak, not sure where the root of the problem is along with some other issues).

    Right now I am checking Craigslist but also going to visit a few lots/dealers and see what is out there. I may see if I can check out an auction as well but I have yet to hear about them here like I did in the Chi.

    I hate cars at the moment, hate debt but also don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road either. Last time we were jammed like this for a ride, we were in Chicago and went months without a car when our old car died, of course that is not an option.

  6. Alice December 8, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    I hope something good turns up. One route that my brother took when his credit was hurting – got loan paperwork started at his credit union, then went shopping. He ended up going with a dealership, but got WAY better terms this way.

    A good mechanic is a wonderful thing – I still miss ours from back in CA. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find something that’ll run well for a # of years – at least long enough to let you save up for a more reliable car next time, etc. It’s the inverse of rolling your last car’s debt into your new loan – so much better for you, but the loan rolling is a lot easier in the short term.

  7. Brunswick Reader December 8, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    I’m driving a 10-year-old car with almost 220k miles, and I go by what my mechanic recommends. So far he hasn’t found any fatal problems, so I keep putting in a couple of hundred here and a couple of hundred there.

    If you need a second opinion, check with them: AutoMetrics in Brunswick. They are honest mechanics, plus they usually have a dozen or so used cars for sale, so if they tell you yours is a loss cause, maybe they can fix you with with another one.

    Good luck. Car problems suck.


  1. Car Woes Part 2 « Blackgirlinmaine’s Weblog - December 9, 2009

    […] Car Woes Part 2 2009 December 9 tags: car woes, low-income folks by blackgirlinmaine You can expect to hear about my car woes until we make a final decision on how to take care of this situation. The bright side is whatever decision we make, it has to be done by the end of the month since my current inspection sticker ends at the end of the month. If you are not a regular reader and you wonder what the hell I am talking about, you can read this post. […]

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