I started the year wanting to really make a difference in my life. I needed to get the finances in order and I needed to lose the 70 lbs that I had gained. I tried to do them both at once and I failed miserably. I was so overwhelmed with the amount of improvement needed, that I ended up getting even further from my goals.
Once I decided to focus on one thing first, then move on to the other, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. I was able to focus on getting the finances in order. To come up with a plan. Live the plan. Find success with the plan. Today I feel that we finally proved to ourselves just how much we have learned and grown as adults.
As you know hubby now has a great job. The bills are being paid and money is going into savings. We also had a huge success happen. We were able to trade in our 16 year old vehicle for a newer used mini-van. A year ago, my beloved Odyssey was returned to the bank. We could not afford the payments. I ended up getting a very cheap cash car. It was old, but it got us from place A to place B. It wasn't something we could take out of town though, so visiting family was impossible. Thanks to my mom, I was able to take the girls to go see my sister. But going to my mother-in-laws was out of the question.
So after hubby got his new job, we re-evaluated our finances and decided that we could still attain our goal of moving to a house next year AND buy a used car. Yes, financed, but one we could afford. We were not going to get ourselves into a bad place by getting another $500 a month car loan. At one point in our lives, we had TWO! We were a mess.
We came up with a dollar amount that we could afford every month and a total vehicle price we were willing and able to pay. We knew we wanted to get replacement for my van that I loved so dearly. Off to search we went. Most of the one's we were looking at were a little out of our price range. What we needed was our old van, but cheaper. Low and behold I found one online. It was a year older than my last van, but the same base model van. We didn't need DVD, electric sliding doors, navigation. We needed the space and reliability. Plus, with less bells and whistles, the less that can go wrong and would need repairs.
We went to the dealership and tried to make a deal happen. The first night, they just weren't able to make it happen. They wanted us to have that dreaded $500 a month payment. We could of course make that payment now that hubby makes more, but we were refusing to do so. To make that payment would mean we wouldn't be able to move forward financially. We wouldn't be able to save as much money each month. So we walked away. We went home and they said that they would keep working the deal to see what could be done.
The next morning we got a call. They would be able to get the payments down (a lot). If we could come up with a little more money down, they would double what they were originally going to give me for my trade. So we were meeting in the middle. We discussed it and decided we had a deal. We went into the dealer, signed the papers and are now proud owners of a 2008 Honda Odyssey.
By financing the vehicle we will be able to re-establish our credit in order to buy a house. I wouldn't recommend financing a vehicle unless you can keep your monthly payments lower than you can afford. Be able to pay it off within 3 years or less. Buy a used vehicle so you are not paying for that "instant depreciation" when you drive it off the lot. The only thing to add to the vehicle in the finance office is GAP. Nothing else is worth paying for. Do not get the extended warranty. It is not worth it. You can get an excellent used car for around $15K. In our case, well under. I think I will do a blog post about purchasing a car. I have 20 years of experience in the industry and I think I have some great suggestions.
To wrap up this post, I feel good about our financial decisions. We have learned a lot. We still have to stay on top of things, but I am no longer stressing out about them. This has now released my mind to be able to focus more on my physical health instead of just financial. I have decided to return to weight watchers. I had great success on the plan before and hope to again. I feel like I am in a good place about it. I am not desperate. I am not starting out feeling defeated. I feel like I was able to conquer my financial short comings, I have the confidence that I can do it with my weight too.
I know that I will have my rough weeks. My ups and downs, just like I did getting the rhythm of financial peace. But now I know I have the strength to move through them and succeed. So now it is onto the 2nd stage of my plan. Come along with me...I am excited for what is to come.