May 2, 2005

Car Hunting Adventure

I've just spent four hours give or take calling dealerships, checking Consumer Reports and doing insurance quotes. It is amazing how when I only had a little money to spend on a car, I was basically going to muddle through and get it done somehow, now I have a bit more money and I'm freaking out how to spend as little of it as possible.

Here's what happened. On Saturday I got some insurance quotes to have in the back of my mind. I haven't had a car in two years and that raises rates. Shortly after Reese and Jessica picked me up and we went to a rental place recommended to me by a valet I met at the bus stop. I pointed out my two-year old bankruptcy to the salesman and he did some numbers on an '03 Lancer. The salesman mentioned that my credit isn't that bad for a guy who has been bankrupt. I thanked him and mentioned that I had been working on it. The hangover I was experiencing on Friday lingering on as a lack of appetite and an aversion to bright light. Jessica became the first person to spot the hickey. Ten minutes or so I was approved on this car. I filled out more paperwork, I could pick it up as soon as Tuesday if I wrote up a reference list, brought in a phone bill and had proof of insurance. Alrighty then.

By the time I got into Reese's backseat I was re-thinking budget. Based on the dentist's prognosis, the cost of insurance and the price of payments, I felt I was not actually in the Ramen Noodle zone yet. That is as long as I cut back on eating out and lay off the beer, which in the mounting seasickness of that Saturday's Metairie traffic sounded not unreasonable.

We ate at a Greek restaurant. I mentioned my concerns. I guess I failed to say that it was more of a cashflow problem to get the ball rolling than a systemic budget problem. Jessica offered to give me some of her food stamps and I felt very wierd. I packed up the other half of my gyro and Reese and Jessica dropped me off at home.

I called my Dad to lay out the car plans with him. He didn't like them. He thought I was getting screwed. The interest was too high, the insurance was too high, the car was too Japanese and I needed a bigger engine to go up hills. "You should be able to Jew'em down on that a little.... I'll give you more money to use for a down payment, that should help you get the rate down... and you don't have a trade in, tell them that and see how much they'll knock down for that." Yes my Dad did just use 'Jew' as a verb, sorry. Also, he worried about the 401k loan I did to get the money in the first place.

So he's sending a lot of money. Which brings me back to the top of the post. The front runner is an '01 Corolla with 51,000 miles. This only because the one of the guys at the insurance company told me it was better than the other prospects I had run up his flagpole. It also had one of the lowest insurance quotes. I took my old down payment from the 401k money and used it to improve my debt-income ratio. I know it's a loan too, but it's not reported, at leaast I'm not seeing it on the reports, so it doesn't exist.

Posted by Spicolli' at May 2, 2005 4:34 PM