It’s been over a year since The Beast went belly up (see obituary below). I have been hesitant to write this post because I know many of you were attached to her and, well, it was just too damn painful. But a lot of lessons came out of her passing that I thought the best way to honor her would be to share with you her replacement story. After all, this alone saved me from what would have been the second biggest financial mistake of my life (you can read the first HERE).
First, a few words of advice…
the love of your life a car that you have had for many many years that has seen you through thick and thin and everything in between, don’t just go with the size or type of car you had before without reexamining your needs. You’ll want to reevaluate your current vehicle requirements before taking the plunge.
- Have the kids have grown from their car seats? Maybe a third row is no longer necessary.
- Not off-roading any time soon? Ditch the Hummer you bought to look cool and get something more realistic and emission friendly.
- You’ve decided you no longer need 8 cup holders in your automobile when 5 will suffice? Downsize said cup holder requirement.
- Are you about to have a kid?? It might be time to upgrade from the 2 seater Smart coupe to a more comfortable 4 person Prius.
- One kid about to start driving? Maybe it’s best to revisit the new car idea in another couple of years.
The last one, I didn’t have that option. The Beast was dead before I actively started looking for her replacement.* But I did have an idea of what I wanted. My personal list of requirements for my new used car included:
- 4 Doors
- Air conditioning
- Cruise Control
- 4 windows that worked
- Gas mileage better than 18mpg (which is apparently what a lack of compression does to a 17-year-old car)
- Less than 90k miles
- Under $10k
Things I wanted but weren’t necessary:
- Option to build out another sleeping platform
- Silver in color – I’m fancy like that.
Knowing The Beast was on her final miles, I had already been preparing mentally for what her replacement would be. Buying a new car was a big deal for me!! I had been with The Beast for 15 years and she was EXACTLY what I wanted when I got her. I was hoping for the same clarity when purchasing this next car and eventually narrowed my choices to the Honda Fit.
I searched Craigslist and Honda dealers for weeks before finally focusing my sights on CarMax. I found exactly what I was looking for. A 2016 silver Honda Fit with everything on my list….except the price. I originally thought I would buy something 5 years oldish but, as sometimes happens when shopping, I lost my thrifty superpower when I found this car. It happens.
Buying at CarMax is a simple transaction. You see the car, you like the car and if it is in the store, you can buy it that day. If not, they will ship it to you for a nominal fee. There is no wheeling and dealing or negotiating. You just go, buy, and drive. I realize for most frugal folks this may seem like a loss – we love to haggle and get the best deal, but in this case, I didn’t have the mental capacity to sit in an office with a sales manager going back and forth on price so he/she could find a way to come out ahead. I just couldn’t do it. Instead, my friend John and I went in, bought the car (I financed it with the intention to pay it off in the next few months with no early payment penalty fee), and soon after I drove off with new plates, tags, insurance, and a smile plastered across my face.**