Thursday, June 11, 2009

Can we be a One Car Family - & still live the good life?

Mr. S. and I decided about a month ago that we are going to once again TRY to be a one car family. Since we are both retired, neither of us NEEDS a car to get anywhere daily, with the exception of running errands, doctor's visits, days at the beach, playing golf, etc. All of these runs should be able to be coordinated using ONE car.

Why are we doing it?

  • I'm SICK of paying car insurance on the extra car - this should free up some money.
  • We never seem to go out at the same time, so there is always ONE car at home.
  • I have a hybrid - it gets GREAT gas mileage & we're TRYING to go green vs. he has an SUV.
  • Our cars were bought with cash & it would be nice to have the extra money.

I placed an ad on Craigslist to test the waters. While Craigslist can be a good way to buy or sell things without having to pay a listing charge, it is also a way to get in front of EVERY NUT out there (so be warned). Our first "bite" offered us $700 - CASH - for the car (we're asking over $9,000) and the guy wanted to make payments over time. UM - I told him that I'm not a finance company, that he might want to check out the buy here/pay here dealerships. His response was "They want at least $1500 - who has THAT kind of money?" Yeah, this guys going to make payments ON TIME - NOT!!!!

Today we're showing the car to a family, so I thought I'd do a little background work to make their lives easier. I'm sure that they'll want a CarFax report - but, for a single car, CarFax charges $29.99. Still, it might make the sale go through faster (it's never been in any kind of an accident). If you're buying from a dealer, there is a coupon for a FREE CarFax report that you can download and bring with you (expires July 11, 2009).

While looking for Car Checking software, I came upon some that were actually FREE. They're not as comprehensive as the full report of course, but I figured that I'd pass them along to you in case you were at the same point of either buying or selling a used car.

Lemon Check
- this is a CarFax FREE service. Simply enter the VIN and it will show whether the car was ever on the "lemon" list.

Recall Check - D0 you want to know it the car has ever had a recall? Also a CarFax service - find out if YOUR current car is on the recall list and how YOU can get it fixed by the manufacterer for FREE.

Record Check
- Find out how many vehicle history records are in the CARFAX Report for your particular used car or truck.

Problem Car Alert - Enter your zip code to quickly find out if there are problem cars in your area that you should watch out for.

I'll probably pay the $30 for the FULL CarFax report IF a potential customer asks about it. I you know of any other free reports that might help when buying or selling your car - PLEASE let me know. We're TRYING to live the good life for less and going down to ONE car might just help.

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Beth said...

This is EXCELLENT information. We too are going to one car. So this is perfect timing. Good Luck and let me us know if you sold your car.

Zippy said...

I will Beth - keep me posted as well.

kasandria said...

We are a one car family a the moment and let me tell you it is HARD! Granted my kiddos are 4 and 7, but we thought it would be ok because like you said we usually go everywhere together. My husband works though. 45 minutes away and one kiddo is in school. A LOT of driving. we are hoping to get another car at the end of July and I'm biting my nails because of the payment, but I think it will be woth it. It all comes down to if it will work for your family or not. HTH!

Beth said...

Update- We have decided to barter our car. That's right why didn't I think of that sooner. Cash is always nice but heck if I can get new kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors I would take it.

Zippy said...

Beth - you TRULY are the BarterBabe!!

Zippy said...

Kasandria - I don't think I could have gone down to one car when the kiddos were that young. There's just too many "what if's"'s just the two of us now, so hopefully it will be a bit easier. We were a ONE car family a year or 2 ago, but Mr. S. has a BAD habit of looking at cars & figuring what the best deals are.

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