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Blog: If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy
Good Advice for Vehicle Ownership and Buying Tips in Today's Economy



The auto industry has been in the news on a daily basis recently. Car manufacturers going through crisis they haven't faced before.  It made it much more interesting in buying our vehicle just a few weeks ago.  Yes, we are one of those consumers that were in the market for a vehicle and had to sift through the car "muck" going on to make a wise decision.  Here's some tips on buying or keeping a vehicle in this economy right now. 
 
So here is how my husband and I have approached buying vehicles in our 13 years of being together.  First, I will share the details of my car owning career.  My first car was a Dodge Omni then I had two Chevy Berettas, the last one being a very nice sport GTZ.  I loved that car; however I did not love it so much when I had to put a new engine into it around 80K miles.  My husband had some good cars not including his Ford truck he bought when we were dating that had to have a new transmission.   We have had our bout with cars and trucks so when we could afford a different vehicle we really decided to check out all the makes of vehicles. 
 
We were at this decision making process a few year after we were married.  We had one vehicle and took each other to work to keep our finances in check.  When we decided we had to get another vehicle we realized that our former vehicles, including the GTZ we still had, took quite a bit of money to keep and maintain.  So we decided to buy new.   It was a refreshing decision since we knew we would know everything about it since the beginning of ownership.  We decided to get my husband a new 1999 Nissan Frontier, black with no bells and whistles.  I had a great contract job that year and we were able to pay off his new truck in less than a year!  I told him when we paid his truck off then I wanted to get my Nissan Maxima.  We bought his Frontier in May of 1999 and my new 2000 Maxima in February. 
 
Did you catch how we bought our vehicles?  We had a plan to pay them off.  We knew we did not want to have lots of extra payments.  Even with my Maxima we paid it off early, making sure that we did not just pay the minimum.  This next part is REALLY important when you buy a new vehicle!  Before we purchased these vehicles we had decided since we were paying the "stupid tax" or the severe amount that depreciates when you drive it off the lot that the only catch was that we were going to keep these vehicles for ten years.  This would be the only thing that would make good sense of buying new.  We also planned as a couple with no children at the time that we would have to have a nice car for me to drive to my clients homes and businesses and be safe and big enough for at least two children since we planned on having children for sure by the ten year cycle.  My Maxima fit the bill.
 
We still have these vehicles and run great.  We know everything about the maintenance on each one and now as planned decided to replace the Maxima for a new family vehicle.  The Maxima was great for the children and room to pack things into.  We now just need some room to haul Grandmas and Grandpas around so we decided we needed to look for that bigger vehicle. 
 
We knew we needed a minivan size vehicle but weren't sure if we wanted the look, or should I correct that by saying my husband did NOT want a minivan.  I liked them for their usefulness.  He wanted something that could do the job and look nice. He won.  I told him I would really like leather, he didn't really want leather.  I won.  We ended up getting a Nissan Pathfinder, not new this time, but a 2007 that seats seven and had only 18K miles on it.  It had the space and nice looks and now we can have friends and family ride with us.  We got it for a good price since right now is definitely a buyers market and feel good about our purchase and already have our plan in place to have it paid off within one year…and we'll do it.  We had ten years to plan and that helps the finances and planning of what kind of vehicle is needed at that part of your life.  Seth is planning on our now six year old being able to drive the Pathfinder when she starts driving for the safety of it.  Mommy and Daddy will be getting their new vehicle then.   
 
If I can say anything about vehicles is the last thing you want to do is lease a vehicle.  Put YOUR money into YOUR car.  Keep it.  Enjoy it.  Plan for when you can purchase another one…and it doesn't have to be right after you pay off the one you have.  Enjoy the years of no car payments.  If gas prices stay up or down you can go with the flow.  Think about those things when purchasing your vehicle.  Unfortunately, we've come to that place where gas is going to have to be part of having a bigger vehicle and when we can downsize again we will…but we didn't have too big when we didn't need it!  That saved us hundreds of dollars over the past couple years with the gas prices. 
 
Be a wise consumer of large purchases.  Don't be a slave to payments.  Enjoy the vehicle you have and take good care of it so it will last you ten years.   It is so important to be an independent thinker for your family's finances.  Do what's right for you…and enjoy the MANY benefits that come with wise money decisions.

posted on: 6/10/2009 11:30:00 AM by Triste Horrell
category: Finances


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If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy


by Triste Horrell

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About Triste:

Being an organizing expert makes one want to be a "showroom" in all areas of life. However reality can hit hard when you're a mother of small children and a military wife and own an organzing business. Of course Triste would like to have a picture perfect Better Home and an even Better Garden. Throw a Pottery Barn in the backyard for exceptional creative time to become the wiz-woman for all the ideas and inventions that the world could not live without. But Triste has settled on the fact of telling herself "I can be perfect in my mind and no one can mess up my space there!" In reality Triste is very self-motivated and has true business accomplishments like having SYSTEMIZE since 1997, the first home and business organizing firm in the state of South Carolina. She has been repeatedly recognized in her Greenville, SC area for her organizing expertise and makeovers on local NBC and FOX news, Greenville News, local magazines such as Greenville Magazine and Upstate Parent and NPR radio. She has turned people's lives around by focusing on what she calls the "four building blocks of being organized" consisting of space, time, financial and personal. This is even represented in her business logo. "That's what I'm in business for, turning people's lives around!" Also applying her popular 3 Steps to Systemize have not only organized her clients but KEPT them organized for years.

Triste's Website:

www.systemize4u.com


Downtime Activities

  • Reading Magazines
  • Spending time at our cottage
  • Keeping our Westie pretty
  • Putting tealights around after the kids are in bed
  • Adventures with my awesome hubby
  • Making microwave smores...just for me
    1 graham cracker, broken in half 1 small piece of chocolate 1 big marshmellow On one side of cracker put piece of chocolate and marshmellow on top. Place in microwave and heat for approx. 17 seconds (while cooking replace marshmellow on top of chocolate if needed). Put other half of cracker on top, eat and enjoy and watch out for oozing chocolate!

My Organizing Tool-Box

  • Time - Outlook
    This is a great way to keep papers off the desk and track where you need to go, task list, jot down quick notes on the virtual "post-its, keep up with contacts in the virtual Rolodex
  • Personal Finances - Quicken
    This simple yet practical program keeps your bank accounts in tact...did I mention simple?!
  • Business Finances - QuickBooks
    I have used this program for years and have set many clients up on it. It is a must for keeping track of business transactions and keeping tax time easy...push a few buttons and out come the reports, your done and your tax preparer loves you.
  • Space - turntables
    I love these things! You can put them in cabinets, the fridge, garage, and closets. They are inexpensive, easy to find and available at any discount store and you can even find fancier ones. If you are not sure what they are, they are the white (or other fancier kinds) and spin around like a lazy susan, you can have a single or double-tier one for spices.
  • Personal - Magazines and Internet
    I love to look at magazines and the internet for good articles on personal development, pictures for decorating inspiration and fun projects to do with my family. I keep my magazine subscriptions to a minimum (3) so I can read them and enjoy each one. I look for things on some of my favorite websites for whatever fancies me at that time.
  • Online Recipe Boxes
    Use these on some of your favorite websites, bring the laptop into the kitchen while the recipe is up and you never have to have the paper clutter. One of my and my husbands favorites is Williams-Sonoma.


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