Replacing The Beast & Love For The CarMax Return Policy

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…

When replacing 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.

Examples:

  1. Have the kids have grown from their car seats?  Maybe a third row is no longer necessary.
  2. Not off-roading any time soon? Ditch the Hummer you bought to look cool and get something more realistic and emission friendly.
  3. You’ve decided you no longer need 8 cup holders in your automobile when 5 will suffice?  Downsize said cup holder requirement.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 4 Doors
  2. Air conditioning
  3. Cruise Control
  4. 4 windows that worked
  5. Gas mileage better than 18mpg (which is apparently what a lack of compression does to a 17-year-old car)
  6. Less than 90k miles
  7. Under $10k

Things I wanted but weren’t necessary:

  1. Option to build out another sleeping platform
  2. Silver in color – I’m fancy like that.

Pretty standard.

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.

CarMax Purchase

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.**

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Continue reading “Replacing The Beast & Love For The CarMax Return Policy”

Frugal Fix – Get Your Faded Jeans Back to Black (or blue, pink, purple, etc)!

Every once in a while you tweet something that gets a bit of attention.  For me, today’s tweet was this simple frugal girl hack:

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I promised a tutorial on how to do a quick dye job, but first, a story…

A few years back I switched to my black skinny jeans “uniform”.  My reasons were easy:

  1. I hate shopping, specifically pants shopping.  My waist is small compared to my derriere and therefore it is always hard to get a good fit.  Either the butt is too tight or the waist is gaping.  Then, about four years ago, I tried on my first pair of skinny jeans and all my problems were solved.  I have been buying the same pair of jeans ever since.  I don’t have to try them on – I just walk in, grab them, and walk out (but first I pay – I promise my stealing days are over!).
  2. Crack Black is not wack – it is awesome.  Black jeans are the awesomest (it’s a word in my language).  Especially if you have a black dog and can camouflage their fur with your wardrobe.  😉
  3.  Simplifying.  If you wear black jeans, almost ANY top will work with your wardrobe which makes getting dressed (and packing, for all you travelers) a breeze! #NoMoreDecisionFatigue

Since switching, I haven’t looked back.  If you have met me in the past 4 years, the odds are great that I was wearing this outfit or something similar:

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Yes, I do hike in sandals…

What can I say?  When you find something that works, stick with it.  😉

Anywho, with all the pros that go along with this uniform, there are also a few cons: Continue reading “Frugal Fix – Get Your Faded Jeans Back to Black (or blue, pink, purple, etc)!”

Traveling on a Dime…OK, 2!

Many people have asked how it is that I can travel so cheaply…you know, besides the obvious of the free flight perks my job allows me.  If you have been reading here awhile you know that it helps that I am more frugal than most, but I also take a fair amount of time to prepare for my trips in advance.  Here are some tips I have learned over the years to get the most bang for my buck while globetrotting this big round orb…

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Just a Bit of Money I found While Hiking Lamma Island, Hong Kong

As an avid traveler (both on the job and off), one of the largest expenses while on the road is…wait for it…

Continue reading “Traveling on a Dime…OK, 2!”

Halloween for Frugal Folks – Low/No Cost Costumes :)

This is it – the big weekend of Hallows Eve.  With Halloween being on a weekday, most parties will be taking place this weekend.  For those of you last-minute costume people,  I took to Pinterest to find some great frugal ideas for your costuming delight.

Obviously, money related first…Parents, you can be bandits and make your kid the loot!

 

Low budget?  I found just the thing!

This creative superhero:
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Continue reading “Halloween for Frugal Folks – Low/No Cost Costumes :)”

Cutting Cable, Tiny Homes, and Frugal Fatigue – Weekly RoundUp

After last weekends heavy topic, I took a few days off writing to reflect and gather my thoughts.  I’ve also spent some time commenting on others posts.  Commenting is one of my favorite parts of blogging because it makes the whole process seem so much more interactive than when I am writing and it’s all about me, me, me.  I love the interaction when we are able to comment back and forth.

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So thanks to my fellow FI bloggers, this week I have been mulling over a few thoughts.  Here are the top three that got me thinkin’…and drinkin’…

Continue reading “Cutting Cable, Tiny Homes, and Frugal Fatigue – Weekly RoundUp”