November 19, 2014

It Just Doesn’t Matter What You Think…well, kind of…

Oct12

Two years ago, I introduced you to my big ‘ole “Hunk O Junk.” While I thought that this blue beauty was a Good ‘enough Thing at the time, never in my wildest dreams would I have anticipated that we would drive her for 23 more months.

Just last month, our family fondly parted with this piece of history, and her story needs to be told, since her life lessons have been many.

This is Part One (for those of you who have missed it when I first shared), and Part TWO will follow this week, since it’s truly the best of my Good ‘enough Things.

The comments shared, after my post, symbolize some of the best stories told. Pour yourself some coffee, get cozy, and chuckle along with us because if you don’t have a Hunk O’ Junk story, you can vicariously live through the rest of us. :)

The Amazing Journey to Debt Free Living. Sometimes it can be quite funny.

Oct. 2010 -  I’ve always scoffed at the childhood nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

I’d repeat it, embrace it, try and tell that inner child, “It really doesn’t matter what they think,” but somehow it did.

As a grown woman, those emotional days are gone, for the most part. The school of hard knocks has taught me that true riches don’t come from the pocket book, (but sound financial principles definitely help in the day to day).

Unfortunately, “keeping up appearances” have gotten many of us in trouble. We drive cars we can’t afford, buy “toys” we don’t need, and live in houses that carry a mortgage which keeps us  gasping for air each month. There’s got to be a better way, and the unfortunate reality is that sometimes, you have to let image go when it comes to getting your financial house in order.

It’s my opinion you can still be extremely classy while living on a budget or I wouldn’t be touting my $10 thrifted Frugal Fashionista outfits for all to see, but right now my car reality is just embarrassing, humbling, and…definitely building my character.

No other way to put it, it’s hard, but it’s our choice and is worth it in the end.

I’m proud to be a mommy mini van driver.

It speaks to the season of life that I am in, and I have no problem with the stigma, but one of the first things a family member said to me after my husband got his new job was, “Good, now you can finely get a new vehicle.”

That comment didn’t resonate well with me, and I let him know that our number one financial priority was not to replace it since it was running just fine. Six months ago, our transmission went out on this van, so we had to make the decision of whether to buy a new one or spend the money to get it fixed. The body of the van was fine (then) but with 170K miles already accumulated, we knew it could go either way. Committed to paying cash for our vehicles, I didn’t want one of our first steps after our year long season of unemployment to be stressing over a “new to us” car. We had a lot of catching up since we depleted our emergency fund, and continuing to drive this van was what I choose to do.

And then one day I walked outside to this (well, it wasn’t this big at first, but you can imagine.)

Noticing the paint was beginning to peel, a few of our helpful children decided to peel the layers because “it looks SO much better underneath, right Mom?”

Sigh…it’s ok, “I don’t care what other people think,” I tried replaying in my mind.

I got used to driving with this artwork on the front and realized it wasn’t that bad. The car is ours free and clear. We have no monthly expenses on it, and I need to enjoy that feeling.

In order to save more money, we canceled the comprehensive side of our insurance, and just kept the collision.  Making sure that if we hit anyone, that liability would be covered, but if something happened to our car and it was our fault, we’d just live with it.

So live with it we are…unfortunately, and I am truly understanding what it means to practice what I preach.

One month after we canceled the collision, bedlam (struck literally), and my husband made the call to not invest more money into this vehicle. We replaced the crushed light with one from a salvage yard, but ever since the transmission was fixed, it just doesn’t run quite well.

For four months now, I have been driving our “hunk “o” junk” (affectionately named by our children.) I wish I could tell you that it doesn’t bother me one little bit, but it does. I find myself wanting to share an excuse when someone in the parking lot gives me a raised eyebrow.  Americans put so much worth on vehicles, and cars are a status symbol. If this is my car, what does that say about me?

Yet this is my time to remind myself and commit myself to why we are doing what we are doing – living like no one else, so that later we can live like no one else. 

Remember my question, “How much do you want it? Being broke is normal. Be weird.”

When I start sharing our wealth building strategies, remember what it took for our family to get there.

This is it!

When my teen boys would rather be thirty minutes late to a party, waiting for their dad’s much nicer car, than drive the hunk o junk, I remind them that most people in the world don’t even own a car, and they are blessed to have any wheels at all.

When our daughters insist we purchase a really cool car they pass on the highway, I educate them with the fact that that car costs 1/4 of our house mortgage right now, and if we purchase that vehicle, we can’t finish off our attic space.

When I am tempted to agree with them, I remind myself that this is only for a season: a season of character building for everyone involved. I know our children are learning life lessons that have to be caught rather than taught, and this is just part of the process.

So the next time you see a “hunk o junk” vehicle on the highway, and you wonder how in the world anyone has the guts to drive that thing, be careful…it just might be me. :)

P.S If you were the nervous driver that happened to rear end me, and I told you not to worry about the small dent,  it’s because of this that I showed so much grace. :)

P.P. S. With all that being said, we ARE in the market for a “new to us” mini van, and I can’t wait to find it. Knowing our van is on its last leg, we do not want to be in the position where we have to buy something on the spot, without a good “used car” deal. We’d love a Toyota or Honda,  preferably around 50 or 60K miles, so I set my eye on that immediate goal and can’t wait to share our cash with someone who wants to sell. I admit, I’ll take a small raise in my status symbol. lol

Have you missed one of my “31 Days to more with Less” posts? Follow along here.


Comments

  1. I SOOO feel the pain of this post. This is the situation we are in with our van. Side all dented in (but the door still slides perfectly fine), the interior ceiling is now a sort of ‘quilted’ look (because it’s completely falling down except for the air vents that are holding it in place) and all the electronic panels (i.e. – speedometer, gas gauge, etc.) regularly do not light up or work at all. But hubby made the call that it’s still running, and as long as it is, we’re driving it! I’m regularly embarressed at school events or sports functions about driving it, but I think of trying to be committed to living within our means, and fact of the matter is, THIS is our means. So, oh well! We currently are debt-free other than our house, and I have to say, staying that way is a challenge, but it’s encouragement like your blog that keep me regularly reminded how worth it it all is. Thanks. :)

    PS – Note of encouragement – friends of ours just purchased a wonderful new-to-them Toyota Sienna for only $12,000!!!! They found it through craigslist and had to spend an entire day driving to pick it up out of state, but it was worth that one day to get such an amazing deal!

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    Kassandra Wood Reply:

    Oh, Jen! I feel you! Until 2 months ago I was driving a 1999 Chrysler town and Country. In the beginning I loved it. After spending $1,200.00 for the a/c (it broke again 3 months later, different issues, no warranty) and then $1,000 to replace the transmission… I woke up one day, hopped into my van to find the following had gone wrong: The ceiling liner was falling in the back, the rear heater coil was bad, a/c was non-working, the brake booster went bad and we had a cracked motor head. We depleted our $1,000 “Emergency Savings” (Think Dave Ramsey)… Spent the $1,200.00 we were saving to pay off debt and were left with a whopping $500. Today, I drive a $500, beat up, spray-painted-hood adorned 1994 Chevy Blazer. What I would give to be back in my minivan from a year ago. Now, we are scrimping and saving… I am selling hand-crafted hairbows and bracelets and selling used children’s clothing…. I am babysitting… you name it and we are doing it in an effort to save $$$ for a new car and to finally pay off that final $1,545 in debt for step 1 of our debt payoff. (Two is student loans.) I just love this post and I appreciate you sharing this! :) You’ve inspired me to consider posting my pics on my blog! Oh, and by the way, I did ‘explain’ my car to the Moms and Dads at school and practice. :)

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  2. In high school, due to my father’s multiple bouts with unemployment (thank you dot com crash), I drove a 99 Ford Taurus. Now the car was only 5 years old by the time I was a senior, but every time I had to go someplace new or give people rides in my car, I cringed. And complained. Loudly. To anyone who would listen.

    I continued to complain and whine about my car until I was a senior in college when I finally got a new car. My parents were a) tired of listening to me complain about my “middle-aged businessman’s car” b) tired of me accidentally hitting things (like light poles, cement pillars, and parked cars) and c) ready to give me a very nice (super nice really) graduation present. I was never grateful or humble about the fact I had a car when countless others didn’t. No one I knew didn’t have a car, plus all my friends had these really nice new shiny cars.

    It’s funny how your thoughts change. While I’m very glad I’m not driving an 11 year old car with 150,000 miles on it; I’m very aware that my dad drives that car so he could buy me a new car. He sacrificed something new for himself in order to give me a great gift. I think about that almost every day when I’m backing out of the driveway and see his car. That crappy old car is now a symbol of my dad’s love for me.

    Sorry this was so long, but thanks for reminding me of this. :)

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    Linda L Reply:

    @Elizabeth L.,
    That is so true of parents, yet we are so quick to not see it when we are young! Thank-you for this reminder.

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  3. Great post. Your children are learning valuable life lessons – my parents drove two Dodge Rams for years that had peeling paint on the hood and sounded and smelled like they were on their last leg. I was never ashamed to be seen in those cars – they ran great (for the most part), and that was what counted, right? I remember my older cousin (a teen then) bursting into tears from embarassment when my parents did my Aunt a favor and picked her up from school. But hey – at least she didn’t have to walk home!

    Another nice thing about hunk-o-junks? Road rage is way more fun! :) I fondly remember my parents jokingly telling bad drivers on the road: “I’ll tunk that shiny car of yours!” Haha, good times.

    Be proud of that beauty you drive while you got it!

    ~Chelsea

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  4. Oh girl, I know exactly what you mean. We didn’t go through unemployment but we did go through two years of making much, much, (did I say much?) less until my husband got his new job just 3 months ago. We actually did without a vehicle for over a year after we were hit by another car and they deemed our “in perfect condition” Camry as totaled. Even with what we received from insurance we could not have afforded another used car in perfect condition so we just paid off the rest of our debt.

    I said all of that to say the one vehicle we had left during that time is a ragged out Envoy. It is almost 10 years old so you can imagine the wear and tear from age and all these boys I have. But the most hideous part had nothing to do with my kids. My neighbor’s son , who does not have much parental supervision, actually scratched his ABCs in the paint on the side of it! Yes, he did.

    Now I am the neighborhood joke. “That is the homeschool mom – the one with the ABCs on the side of her car!” Now they say it in “good fun” but I think they are the only ones having a good time with it. For now, I deal with it. I would much rather enjoy life by doing things with my family, traveling, and blessing others than by wasting it on a vehicle that depreciates thousands of dollars the second it is driven off the lot.

    I’m with you, girl!

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    Anna B Reply:

    @Amy Bayliss, You could have the boy’s parents pay for a paint job. It is their liability, legally. :-)

    Just saying.

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    Amy Bayliss Reply:

    @Anna B, We have already spoken to them and they did offer to pay for what he did but that would mean two freshly painted panels on a ten year old car with the rest of the panels looking pretty ragged. It’s old. We need a new one. That is our goal for 2011. :)

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    Rubber Chicken Girl Reply:

    My rebellious 17 year old keyed our hunk o’junk with loopdy loos. Not huge or noticeable, but I was like, “Do you think I care if you key this baby?!”

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  5. I know just what you mean. Although, I’m blessed in that my van is in pretty good shape except for a few minor scratches and dents, our second car is definitely not as pretty. It had a small dent when it was given (yes, given) to us, but it’s seen a lot of wear and tear since then. Now it has a peeling paint job, a missing antenna, and another, bigger dent. Just this past week with all the rain and wind we had a limb from one of our pine trees fall on the roof. It wouldn’t have been a big deal except for the sunroof. The glass is now cracked like crazy, but it didn’t come apart. This car is definitely not pretty. Our plan has been to use it until it fell apart, and it looks like it might literally fall apart before it quits running. But I don’t even want to think about replacing it right now. I was getting geared up to increase our savings in the coming months.

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    Cathy Carter-Cline Reply:

    @Crystal, Crystal, I broke out laughing reading your post. I have the peeling paint job, only a stub for an antenna, several dents, a long stretch of white paint (deposited from another car I guess) and my bumper is held on by plastic cable ties from hitting a deer years ago. Sometimes I see images of it literally falling apart as I ride down the road. Every morning I pat the car door and say “you go girl – mama loves you!”

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  6. Our primary car is an 02 Chevy Malibu. I love it. We did finance it, but it’s paid for now. We had to put about $800 into it this year. It doesn’t look great, the seats are worn, the paint is dulling and there are a couple of dings we haven’t fixed, but it’s paid for. My husbands car until a couple months ago was a 25 year old BMW. It was FALLING APART. It would leave tiny pieces of rust on the driveway every morning. He got it 3 years ago and paid $450 for it and over 3 years we put $200 into it. That is the BEST money we have ever spent on a car. But there were days I’d have to drive it and I would hope I wouldn’t see anyone. It finally died and we spent $500 on an old Jeep for him. You have to unlock the door with a key and use a window crank to roll down the windows.
    I’m with you, I wish I didn’t care but I do. I wish I had a nicer newer car with more buttons and fancy things. More room for my legs and my daughter for when we are traveling. But at the end of the month I’m glad we’ve got the cars we have and yoru post today was just what I needed to remind me. There are months when we could comfortably afford a car payment, and others when there is NO way. We could change things around and do something different, but for now we are content with what we have and are saving slowly for something else.

    Hang in there in your hunk o junk!

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    the cottage child Reply:

    @melissa,

    That’s hilarious – we had your car’s cousin, she was a Volvo (sniff, I still miss her). 25 years old, 300k miles when the odometer quit, ice cold ac, $450 cash and only about that much in repairs over the two years and 25K miles we had her. The interior was literally crumbling – every time we opened a door, a piece of the panel would fall off. Loved it.

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  7. Oh my goodness, I can relate when it comes to “explaining” the car. My husband totaled my paid-off, newer car, leaving me to drive his ’98 mazda protege (he has a truck and van for work). I always want to mention the accident to people who are driving in the car or helping me load something into it. The thing is, that happened almost two years ago, and I’m still driving the mazda.

    I have to check my pride at the door every time I go to work as well. I drive the oldest car among my office employees; oh well, at least we don’t have car payments!

    And when we were kids, we also wanted my mom to drop us off and pick us up later so no one would see the rusted, stripped-paint van! Humility is a hard thing to learn…

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  8. We’re in the same sort of spot right now, but we’ve decided to buy an American vehicle when we find one, so that some of the people in this country who are on the verge of being out of a job can continue to work. Got to take care of our own!

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    Jens Reply:

    That is a great philosophy as well. If we were buying new, I would encourage that.

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    Amy S Reply:

    @Jens,
    Most toyotas are american made–mine was made in a plant in Indiana.

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    Lisa S Reply:

    @Amy S, And my Dodge was made in Mexico so you are right, it’s not just brand anymore. You need to check each vehicle on the driver door sticker. It will tell you where it was made.

    Jean Reply:

    @Ann, Not only are Toyotas assembled in the US, but so are Hondas. The Accords & Civics are assembled at plants just minutes from my parents’ home, and my BIL works for the company that supplies their auto glass. Buying my Accord helps to keep my family members employed – and most people don’t consider Honda an “American” company – except for the ones who work there, or work for their suppliers.

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    Ann Reply:

    @Jean,
    A good way to tell if your car is made in the US is to check the VIN number: if it starts with the numbers 1 or 4, it’s made in the US. This is a great way to keep our money helping American workers!

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    Jade Reply:

    @Ann,

    Be sure to do your research! As others have posted, you can’t trust “American” names to be made in America anymore! Toyota has several US plants, Subaru has a “green” plant in Kentucky, I believe, and much much more! Furthmore, my “American-made” Ford was actually made in Mexico. Car makers know that consumers are looking for this info, so it’s actually pretty easy to find now. Be sure to research the specific model. While the Toyota Tundra is assembled in San Antonio, Texas, there are other Toyotas modeled built wholly in Japan. Happy hunting!

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    Emily Reply:

    @Jade, Yep, I echo the comments of the above posters. The Honda plant in Marysville, OH is HUGE for the workforce there and here in Columbus (it’s about 20-30 min away). Buying a Honda or Toyota (that’s made here) supports American workers, but also makes financial sense, as with most Hondas and Toyotas you don’t need to fix something every time you turn around. We have friends who have bought other models and they are ALWAYS fixing their cars. We have a Toyota and a Honda, both with 100,000+ miles on them and they are incredibly reliable. Just a thought.

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  9. We drive a very affordable car ourselves. We paid cash and bought it new. It’s a 2003 Hyundai Accent. It only has 75,000 miles on it. It has 7 years of wear on it including a bent front bumper that happened in the chaos of my telling my now husband I loved him for the first time in heavy traffic.

    When we met up with a very dear old friend after two years out of the country, he looked at our car and laughed that we were still driving it. That hurt my pride. My husband just gave me a squeeze and laughed it off. And then I made a note not to tease folks regarding their material possessions.

    Sometimes living within your means is a bit embarrassing, which is just plain silly. If you get a honk from a silver Hyundai with dents and dings, its me!

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    Jens Reply:

    Can I tell you that hearing about your dent when telling your now hubby you love him is PRECIOUS! I’d don’t think I’d ever want to get rid of that.

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  10. We can completely relate in my household. We’ve had many a beloved hunkajunk — my philosophy being that if you’re buying a $2000 car, the uglier the better so that you’re not paying for looks. We were utterly blessed in our most recent vehicle purchase (a 2000 Expedition in fantastic shape and relatively low miles for $4500…so happy!), and I hope you’re blessed as much or more in your next purchase!

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  11. Brava…applause, applause…Brava!

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  12. I too am a proud mini-van mama…although we still owe way too much on the van considering it’s year and mileage…but I will keep this van until it falls apart. How I wish we would’ve gotten a van that we could afford and not one that we financed (it wasn’t even new or a good deal). Hindsight is 20/20 and we’ve learned our lesson (the hard way).

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  13. i just finished dave ramsey’s book. it was awesome. life changing. it has made me think differently about the way i view things all together. so, i think that it’s awesome that y’all have made the commitment to pay cash only for your vehicles. way to go! you should be proud of yourself for sticking to that commitment. {dave would be proud of you too!} :)

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  14. I love your blog and your posts!! you are truly inspiring!! thank you for all you share!!

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  15. Oh – let’s start a club, we can have cute jackets!

    We have Old Betsy. She’s a 12-14 year old (I forget) Nissan Quest, and is packing 235,000 miles. But she’s paid for, she runs, the a/c is cold (important here in the desert) and is low maintenance. When she dies we’ll start looking around for a gently used Sienna.

    Until then you can spot us tooling around town. We’re the ones with the portable ipod speakers on the dash, ’cause Old Betsy has a slow and squeaky cassette player! :)

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  16. This is a great post.
    I just thought I would share our car story. Up until about a month ago we had two vehicles. One vehicle was 5 years old and the other 12 years old. The 12 year old car failed inspection and was going to cost $2000 to repair it so we decided it was best to sell it (the buyer knew what he was getting). For the last year and a half we didn’t have a car payment we put our extra money on our mortgage. So we double up the mortgage payments every two weeks. Together with the low mortgage rates we have reduced the time left on our mortgage from 22 years to 6 years. We didn’t want to abandon the double up payments so we decided to forgo buying a second car for now. My husband gets to work by taking the bus.
    Just thought I would share this because I wonder if people realize that doubling your mortgage payments drastically reduces your amount of time owing. With our agreement any extra we pay goes directly towards the principal.

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  17. Great post! Sometimes I look at people on the road in their sparkly big Escalades and just shake my head. It is C-R-A-Z-Y how much new cars cost! No offense to any escalade owners out there, but in our area you can buy a small house for the price of a new car! insane.

    I knew nothing about any of this financial stuff until I married my hubby though, and thankfully with his knowledge (and practicality) we have paid cash for every vehicle we’ve purchased. One way we’ve afforded to do this, is by buying all rebuilt vehicles. These are vehicles that have rebuilt titles. Basically the local shop goes to auctions and buys cars that have been totalled, flooded, damaged in some way and takes them back to their place and totally fixes them up. Our current van (2001 Crysler T&C) was purchased in 2005 with around 40k miles for $7,000. Can’t beat that! It has served us well, although definitely doesn’t have the bells & whistles that cars today have. So maybe try to find a rebuilt vehicle. You do have a little more trouble trying to resell it, but if it’s a car you want to keep for the long haul it’s an even better deal!

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  18. When I was younger like 6-10 years old we couldn’t afford much or anything at all so my dad found us a van and we were all excited until we went and saw it–It was a hippie van–with shag carpeting all over the interiors, the back bumper was made out of wood and was woodburned to say, “Just passing through” the outside was painted tie-dye. It was horrendus. My dad told us to “suck it up ” that this is what God provided and we were paying cash for it. We kept the van for 7 more years and it worked great. Of course, us kids started saving our allowance money to give Mom and Dad for a new van. It was so embarrasing for us to arrive at church in that van but, if we complained my dad would park it in the very front and then rush outside before we could get there and play the horn, “which played Dukes of Hazard” in front of all our friends. We didn’t complain much!!!

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    coralie Reply:

    thanks for the great laugh. i know you weren’t laughing then, but i am sure you can now.

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  19. I have been struggling with this issue myself lately. My car, which I love, is almost 10 years old. I have taken good care of the engine and tires, but the interior and exterior leave something to be desired. Having three kids definitely makes it hard to keep a car clean! I really don’t want a new car with a new car payment, but I occasionally peek into other people’s cars and see their clean, nice interiors and I yearn once again for that new car smell. I have to take most of the blame, however, because I could have spent more time keeping this car clean and less time complaining about it. So now every time I find myself envying someone else’s car, I take a rag and spray to my car to make it feel new.

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  20. *Sigh* Sorry – I’ve got to tell my sad story now. My husband is a student right now, and we have no income and a our one car is a ’96 Ford Taurus that is sitting in the drive way since it wouldn’t start and a jump from a friend didn’t do the trick.
    We just put over $3,000 into it since July as the shop fixed everything that could possibly be wrong with it, then it broke down 3 separate times.
    I really badly want a mini van, I was hoping we could find one that we could afford that runs and it would be a second car for me. I love being a stay at home mom, but we get a little stir crazy and would love to drive to the park or a friends for our mental health! :)
    With this break down I just don’t know what we’ll be able to afford and what will happen.
    Hopefully you find something that suits you :) Good luck!

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  21. I plan to keep my ’03 Accord with 133K miles on it until the wheels fall off. The looks don’t bother me as much as the maintenance/safety factor, so I was relieved to read at the end of the post that you’re looking for another vehicle since yours has been having mechanical problems. Pride is one thing – safety is another.

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  22. You always share what’s on your heart. There is always something that will resonate with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  23. We, too, are working on being content with one vehicle (luckily my hubby can walk to work usually and my kids are still very young), but it has many, many miles and since we’re already putting three car/booster seats in the back seat there isn’t room for the next baby (once it’s born, of course) so I am working daily to not worry about where another (larger) vehicle will come from!

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  24. Thanks for this post. It reminds me that our van isn’t so bad and as long as we are safe on the road, then I can patiently wait for a “new to us” vehicle. We have other financial goals that are more important at this time.

    We have also been a one car family for many years. It works out okay, because hubby has the work van provided by his employer. We are very blessed to have that. It is a huge contributing factor to us being able to reach the goal of buying our first home. =D

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  25. This is a timely post for me. Over the past few months I have been having really bad “car envy”. I have been spending a lot of time looking at cars online. But I decided to keep my 1999 civic because it has been a very reliable car and my mechanic says I can get a few more years out of it. But it’s nice to dream :-)

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  26. I won’t judge you because of your vehicle ;) I don’t even have one. It is so unfortunate but people judge others on external things when it really is who we are inside that matters. People look down on me because of the type of home we have, but we are living within our means and working our way out of debt.

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  27. I have gone so much of my married life (11years) without a car. We only every had one and my husband needed it for work. This year I finally got a vehicle. We sold an old wrecked vehicle so I could get this. We had $3000. for my car and we searched till we found the best deal. It was a 1998 Dodge Durango with 120,000 miles on it. The clear coat is peeling off of it and it had a couple cigarrette burns in it. You wouldn’t believe how much I love my paid in full Durango and how proud of it I am. After telling a friend about it, she was so negative! When I reminded her that I don’t have a car payment she couldn’t understand why that would matter. These are people who are always chasing that dollar and throwing money away daily. They complain about being broke, but go out to eat daily.

    In our younger days of being newly married we got into bad credit card debt and had car payments we couldn’t afford. I am proud to say we live within our means now. Our stuff isn’t shiny, but it is our’s and no one can take it away from us. I have had many clunkers in my life and at times have felt envy of others, but I try to never feel embarressment for what I am driving.

    I was raised by a single mother and getting dropped off at high school in a 1975 station wagon (in 1997) wasn’t fun, but I laughed it off.

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    Monica Reply:

    @Lona W, I had a 1995 (PAID FOR) Durango until we totaled it. :( I miss that car! I even got a newer durango when we replaced it. In our experience you can’t go wrong with a Durango. Ours had A LOT of miles on it when we crashed it. I think they are really dependable cars.

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    Lona W Reply:

    @Monica,
    That is so good to hear! I was worried before buying it because I didn’t know much about them.

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    Julie H Reply:

    @Monica, wow you had a much better experience than I did. I bought a 2002 Durango brand new, maintained it perfectly and the engine was ready to blow at 110K miles in 2006. It would have cost 4-5K for the new engine and the car was only worth 4k in good condition. I traded it in on a nissan. I will never buy Dodge again. The engine on that thing should have lasted well beyond 110K miles.

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    Lisa S Reply:

    @Monica, I had great luck with my 2000 Durango. It had 170000 miles on it before the back end started going out. Engine was still good so we got $6000 for it from a dealer toward our new-to-us 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I think you’ll love your Durango.

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    FishyGirl Reply:

    @Lona W, My first car was a 1972 Chevelle station wagon that was two tones of primer gray – my mother passed away when I was 15 and my dad gave me her old car as soon as I could get my license because he needed my help driving my sister around. It got about 8 miles to the gallon and I drove a pretty big carpool so I could get gas money from my friends, but it was mine and paid for, and it was my favorite car. Looked like garbage, but drove like a dream, and I didn’t care if I hit something with it – NOBODY cut me off, and that was in Washington DC traffic. It was awesome.

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  28. Oops – something happened lol

    I will finish – I do hope you get a really pretty car that you can be proud of. You deserve it.

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  29. Oh, wow, I can so totally relate, with the added element that our car is our ONLY car, and if I need to go somewhere when DH is at work, I either need to borrow my MIL’s car or ask for a ride. Embarrassing and humbling. We are now financially in a position that we can afford to hunt for a new-to-us minivan or car, BUT we currently have an offer in on a house (short sale, so it takes a while to hear back from the bank as to whether or not our offer was accepted), and we don’t want to get a car payment until we KNOW for certain exactly what our mortgage payment will be, and if we really can afford a car payment as well. In the meantime, we drive a dented PT Cruiser!

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  30. We’re trying to live on the Dave Ramsey program also. I’m so glad I picked up the Total Money Makeover book!! We will be completely debt free in 21 months (if we can stay on the plan). That’s including the house! It’s really exciting.

    Thanks for sharing this post. I can’t wait to show it to my husband. I’m trying to convince him that we need to sell our car that we have now and 2 beaters. One for me and one for my son. But so far, we can’t get him to go along with it.

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    Lona W Reply:

    @Monica,
    I read Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace and loved it! I am trying to get my husband on board. That is so awesome you will have your house paid for in 21 months! Good luck sticking with the plan. Sounds like you and your husband are on the right track :)

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  31. I like it!
    Ours has in excess of 250k miles on it- but I am not sure just how many because the indicators on the dash only work sporadically. When they are not on, it doesn’t keep track. I am also not positive how fast or slow I may be going. “It feels like 35 mph.”
    the gas gauge doesn’t work at all and I have run out of gas 3 times since the start of summer. Luckily, always local. And my $20 cell phone with rechargeable minutes works as well as anyone else’s iphone for calling my husband, thankyouverymuch.
    We are driving it into the ground. I hope it occurs close to home.
    When it does happen, we have a “new” one sitting in the driveway. It was free- and it looks like it!

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  32. Great post, Jen! We definitely share your philosophy of living below our means, saving for a rainy day, and doing more with less. This post encouraged me by reminding me that we are not alone in this battle to be content with what we have been blessed with instead of risking our financial security to chase after something newer, shiner, or more exotic! And in case you are wondering, I’m OK with our 10 year old (paid for) minivan but if you ever come to my house please don’t comment on our lawn/landscape (or rather lack thereof). It’s a very touchy subject for me! :)

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  33. Yes! Someone feels the way I do! I have a ’98 chrysler with 175,000 miles on it. It’s the oldest and most beat up car in the parking lot at work. My friends give me a hard time about it. It’s been bothering me more lately, but I know we’re doing what’s best for us. We’ll pay off our mortgage in two years if we keep it up.

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  34. Your kids WILL thank you in due time. I hated not having the name brand clothing and shoes that the ‘popular’ kids in school had. But I look back on that and thank my parents for instilling in me a frugalness that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Now, I shop at thrift stores to find clothes. It saves us money so we can either save it or spend it on other things. So even though your kids are fighting it now, I know they’ll thank you later on. Be patient and it will come…

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  35. You know we have been “making due” for about 6 months. We have shared a car and it’s an old mini van at that! Our son HATES our car! He tells us all the time. I don’t like it to much myself. Well today I was driving this afternoon in the rain when I was broad sided by a cute little teenage girl driving a beast of a truck! Totally ruined. Right about now our old mini van is looking pretty good! I am thankful that nobody was hurt. That the girl who at first fled the scene had good parents who brought her back to recitify the situation! Most of all I am grateful that I knew I could say a prayer and that the Lord was with me in this time of need.

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  36. I have a yard full of used cars, lol! My hubby won’t buy new cars, and he can work on most car issues other than engine or transmission replacement. We have 2 young adult drivers. The newest car in our yard is a 1998 Ford F150, except, except for the 2008 Chevy Impala company car I have been allowed to drive for the past 2 years. That, will be going away in a week or so. I have gotten kinda spoiled to driving newer, but I did it for years before and it won’t hurt to do it again!
    Bernice
    http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/ahh-the-american-dream/

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  37. Would it make you feel a little better that your car looks better than my 98 Neon aka Neona as I call her. My little Neona was white. But there was a problem with paint peeling. Well there still is. She has 185k miles on her. I drive 3miles to work and 3miles home. The farthest I drive her is to the next town north or south of me. She’s been SO good to me. I kind of feel like it’s a miracle. I work for a CPA firm and after the April deadline I got cut from a fulltime position to 24hrs aweek. I’m not complaining in the very least. I’m MOST thankful for the 24hrs a week and for my Neona. I don’t care how peely, rusty or ugly on the outside she is. What counts is what’s on the inside. Right?

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  38. Thanks for the honest, encouraging post. It was a great reminder to me. We’ve driven very old, run down looking vehicles since before we were married 4 years ago and only recently upgraded to a new-for-us mini-van that by the way, has a small dent and a few other little cosmetic issues.

    Sometimes it is hard when all our friends seem to drive these snazzy SUV’s and minivan’s, but the freedom of knowing we are running vehicles we can afford is priceless! Oh, and the rear-ending story? We’ve done same thing a number of times and it is so much fun to be able to extend grace to someone like that…all because we drove/drive less than amazing looking vehicles.

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  39. I feel so shameful. We are owners of a nice new shiny big suv. It’s just the one thing my husband and I cannot see I to eye on. He is letting his car be the old worn down one and have mine be the nice family one (is that an oxymoron?) and he never buys himself much… so it’s his splurge (and it doesn’t cause us to live above our means), I just happen to drive it during the week.

    But I feel like such a ninny pulling up to Goodwill in it. Ugh. I’m probably the type other (smarter) people make fun of while they drive by in their no debt mini van. So if I avert my eyes, it’s not due to your vehicle… it’s due to mine!

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    Jens Reply:

    @Tys, Shame off, grace on! I am actually going to be addressing this later. You stated an important things…”it doesn’t cause us to live above our means.” That is what it’s about. Making wise financial decisions is going to look totally different for everyone, and if your hubby doesn’t splurge much but decides his car is his splurge and you can afford it….then, drive away. :)

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    Lari Reply:

    @Tys, I agree w/ Jen! Being frugal is living w/in your means. If you can afford it…that’s great. Honestly if someone wanted to give me shiny, new suburban I’d take it in a heartbeat! ;-) Enjoy it!

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    courtney Reply:

    @Tys,

    I can relate. I drive a two year old Sequioa that we bought brand new. A limited. However, we’ve reached the point where I feel like we ARE living beyond our means. I was beyond excited when we first bought it, and affording it was easy then because I was working and all of my income was discretionary. However, when I stopped working due to a move, and now for blah blah blah reasons, the payment has become almost too much to handle. I feel like this car, this vehicle, that really just sits in the driveway all day long, has this grip on me and won’t let go. I drive it about 3 miles a day, taking my son to school and back. It’s stupid. We’re paying $680 a month to a vehicle I drive maybe 200 miles per month. If that. That’s over $3 per mile. LOL, yes I’ve sat here and thought about it. Our issue is my husband doesn’t want to get rid of it. I think he sees it as a status symbol and he’s proud to take his family out in it. However, we’re so car broke right now, we never go out anymore! lol. While we’ve never been late on a payment, I know this money would be better spent on building our savings or paying down debt. Yep, we have about $6000 in credit card debt right now, and we’re paying this insane car payment. Oh, did I mention he has a car payment too, its not like this is the only one. Ugh. We’ve starting doing the financial peace plan in the last month, and I know this money could REALLY do some payoff good. Sorry to ramble on, I just really identify with you on driving this nice vehicle that you’re not sure you want.

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    Stephanie Reply:

    @Tys,
    My husband works an I stay home. He drives the 14 year old vechicle and I drive the new van. He says he feels safer knowing that I can be out and about with the kids and not break down somewhere. Neither of us is particularily talented in fixing cars therefore we have decidedthathis is one area that we are going to spend our money. I think as a oupe you need to figure out and weigh your options as to what are your best uses of money.

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  40. A few years ago we had two cars completely paid for. One was a nicer new one, and one (my husbands) was an older, less shiny one-perfect condition, ran great, etc. We decided to sell his and buy me a “new”, bigger one…new to me. (and it’s paid for too) When we did the first thing that someone from my church said was “Oh. You finally decided to get rid of that old clunker huh?” Needless to say it didn’t sit well with me and still doesn’t. I realized then the pervading attitude of too many that material things actually matter. If I could do it over I would give it back in a heart beat and keep driving the less shiny one.

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  41. homeclynn says:

    GOOD FOR YOU! Dents, flaws & limping but it is still serving you in a very purposeful way. I hope God can look at me the same way!

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  42. I drive “Big Bertha”, a red 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan. It has stains in the carpet from spilled happy meals and juice boxes. It was paid for in cash and is a workhorse. I refuse to trade her in for a new car. My husband and I recently went car shopping (my guy’s idea). I refused to go through with it. She may not be hip or new but she is mine and a reminder of the days when my guys were little. My sons are now young teens (13, 14) but I can’t let go of her. Buying an SUV reminds me that we are now in a different phase of life. Yes, I guess I am in denial and am using my van to keep me there (I know I’m weird). However, I don’t think we need a new car if we have 2 perfectly good functioning vehicle.

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  43. That looks like a well-loved vehicle, sort of the Velveteen Rabbit of vans. Good to hear you have such a sense of humor about it.

    I drove a ’51 dodge pickup in high school in the mid-80s, when my dad didn’t need it on the farm. But even though it was hard to shift/steer/park/use the radio/go over 45mph, it was vastly preferable (in my teenaged mind) to Mom’s used 70-something brown (Brown!) Delta 88, which in hindsight was a beautiful car that was really comfortable and drove well. That was a good lesson for the future me, and now I can see what a fool I was for tooling around in that old truck instead of in an air-conditioned car with seatbelts.

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  44. I loved reading about your beater, Jen, and everyone else’s! Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. About 3 years ago my husband ran into a former co-worker in the parking lot at his current job, and the co-worker commented that “I can’t believe you are still driving that old Trooper!” It was 6 years old at the time – new as far as we were concerned. Our 19 year-old daughter inherited the Trooper earlier this year – she was parked at a friend’s house and someone inquired who had that really nice Trooper – it was by far the nicest car any of these kids were driving. I’m glad that we were able to give her a vehicle that is still in great condition at the age of 9 AND that she appreciates it. She should be able to put another 100,000 miles on it if she keeps up with the maintenance – long enough for her to finish college and start a career.

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  45. Hey!

    We just started reading Dave Ramsey and made a pretty life changing event by selling our one-year old, pain-in-the-rear & super expensive car (not above our means but why spend that much money on something that gets you from point A to point B?) and bought a used minivan with cash via Craigslist ad. That was definitely a new thing for us and I think some of our family members were wondering if we were sane. In a few years we’ll be able to upgrade the car (if needed…hoping that too much doesn’t go wrong with this one!). Great post!

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  46. We drive an old Chevy Suburban (affectionately named “Toby” from my older boys Thomas the Train era) that we’ve had forever. It’s been paid off for 5 years and even tho there’s a weird alignment issue that causes us to buy new tires for the back every 6-9 months that’s still so much less that having a car payment. We’d love a “new to us” suburban one day but Toby is just great for now.

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  47. my van is paid off too and it feels so good to be driving a car that’s all mine. even though the doors squeak when they are opened and there’s scratches all over the top from the cat and there’s a huge crack across my windshield, it’s still mine.

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  48. i want to thank you so much for posting this!! i was sitting here at 6:30pm on a sat. night after taking my kids shopping this morning for halloween costume stuff thinking i NEED to go to one more store and look for some boots to go with my twins’ costumes. i found two pair on ebay and it was going to be $35 and i kept saying…i can probably find them at walmart for less…maybe $30ish??? WHY??? spend another $30 on boots for a costume??? this and the other posts really put me back in check!!! they can wear some boots they have here and then we are done!!! it’s really funny the things we think other people will care about!!! like who is really going to notice their shoes on a dark halloween night! THANKS FOR SAVING ME $35 AND AN INSANE GRUMPY TRIP TO THE STORE!!! keep up the great blog! i love reading it every other day or so!!!

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  49. Hmmm…your van’s pretty beaten up! Surely there must be a compromise solution — we got a newer Caravan (03) (with low mileage but not loaded) a year ago, for $6000 (Canadian) — I feel so much better driving it — I no longer have the most clunky car in the school parking lot or at church. I know that shouldn’t be important, but it’s kind of like wearing ratty old clothes — you just don’t feel that great!

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    Jens Reply:

    haha…honestly, if we didn’t have the money for a new one, or if my husband was still unemployed, I would drive it because it’s more important for us to not be strapped with debt, but we can afford something new now…If you see the P.S. at the bottom of my post, we are on the hunt for a new one. And yes, I will feel much better with the new one, but even if I we couldn’t afford another one, that wouldn’t matter.

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    Jens Reply:

    oh, and I forgot to add that it’s all just happened in the last four months. The top picture is what it looks like from one side – perfectly fine. Just don’t pull up on the left side of our van. lol

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  50. I have owned hunks of junk…even now, I have a 6 yr old car that within 8 weeks of owning, my husband damaged. He backed into someone in a parking lot (liability is disputed by both drivers…both idiots I might add!) and then they both prompty deployed for a year. :) So, here it is…about 9 months later and I STILL have part of my rear end missing. It was the nicest hunk o junk I’d owned until that was put in it. It STILL might be the nicest hunk o junk, haha. :)

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  51. Omygosh, Jen, seriously, I want to sell my 2001 Sienna so bad. It’s got 130K miles and it drives just fine but I’m so done with it. Thank you for reminding me that it is wise to continue a car that we own free and clear, no matter what it does to my ego when I climb out of it in the school parking lot. ;-)

    My husband is wise, and every time we start to contemplate purchasing a new car, he reminds me that this one is essentially FREE to us right now, and it is best to continue to drive it. I’m thankful for his self control b/c I’d so hock the thing and go into debt for something newer and prettier if it were up to me.

    P.S. Wanna buy it?

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  52. Oh my goodness! My husband’s paid for car died, so he took my paid for van (sad day for me) and we bought another car. I miss my crappy van so much. Anyway, we recently noticed the hood peeling. Shortly after, I hit a deer (and we have big deer up north here!). Thankfully, comprehensive covered it with a very small deductible. There is no way we could have continued driving it as is and the repairs ran close to $3K. We also (as much as we would have loved it), could not justify buying another vehicle when we were able to fix the van. Anyway, the plan is to fix the first car and put it back on the road, then take the van off and make the necessary (non-accident related) repairs to that car and just keep running them all until they die permanently. Sometimes I don’t enjoy being fiscally responsible.

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  53. Dave Ramsey would be proud! Keep it up girl. Living like no one else now, so that later you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE! Great story and inspiration!

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  54. We bought 2 new cars in 2001, (cash from an inheritance) they aren’t new anymore, 166,000 on the Sienna and 132,000 on the Saturn. We are debt free, we used that same inheritance to pay off student loans and finance more school. Funny thing is now, my dh has the car with the lowest blue book at his office, and he is NOT the lowest paid by any means. I love my van, 2 of the door handles are broken, little junk is broken on the inside, the check engine light is on for some stupid code, but it has soo many memories. We have made so many road trips in that car and packed it to the gills many times. It is always clean on the inside and out and I always say that a clean paid for car is the greatest car in the world. My son (17) just bought a Camry for cash and it is the lowest mileage vehicle in our house. We went a LOT of years with cars that were laughable, like “Rusty the Pizza car” and the ’77 Impala that we put a new windshield in after much protesting from the repair guy that the car wasn’t worth as much as the windshield! =O Cars have so little meaning to me, if it gets from A to B, who really cares and I have three teenagers, so it is certainly going to get dinged like the van did in our own driveway! The stress of a brand new car isn’t worth it, worrying about every little scratch and spill……..I have more important things to deal with…

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  55. We decided that it made more sense to buy a cheap van on Craig’s List last year. We bought a van for $450 in May 2009, bought a new battery and spent maybe two hundred more on easy repairs my husband did until March when we bought a van on Craig’s List for $2000 that is a little newer and nicer, but still not perfect. Once we are done paying off some more debt, maybe we’ll have extra to buy something nicer; otherwise, the junkier car is just being used for me to take my kids around town and we still have our nicer car for family trips.
    Anything is better than the 60′s-70′s VW Van….

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  56. Tenille Malone says:

    In an effort to work toward our debt snowball, my husband and I realized that we were eating our way through gas on his big, nasty old (1996) truck. And I mean EATING gas. He found a little old honda from a guy at work and paid all together under $1500 for the car and repairs. It runs perfect and we dropped our gasoline bill from almost $300 (or more) a month to under $165. I’m so grateful that my hubby doesn’t feel that need to look like he has money. The car isn’t pretty but who cares? We’re busy living like no one else so we can live like no one else! Thanks for sharing!

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  57. We have a 2001 Honda Accord (that also has a replaced transmission). The door is smashed in from an accident, and it took me about 6 months to get used to living with it—now I don’t even notice! We’ve been working to pay off debt (just paid it off Sunday), and will be saving for a new to us minivan. The windows are broken, and my husband has to superglue them to stay up–he is looking forward to windows that work;-)

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  58. Carrie Carlson says:

    I enjoyed everyone’s comments about the cars! :)

    My first car was a 1984 Chrysler LeBaron coupe. I bought it from my grandma in 1998 before I started college. It wasn’t as cool as some of the cars in the parking lot – and I don’t know why Chrysler bothered to TURBOCHARGE a 2.2L – LOL! – but it worked. I drove it quite a few years after my husband and I married (probably 2004) until it had some motor issues and we bought a Bonneville with 90,000 miles on it. That Bonnie was the best car – even though the A/C didn’t always work. Those 3.8L motors run good! I think we put maybe $100 total into it in the time we owned it. We sold it last year and bought a used 2008 Town & Country with 50,000 miles on it. I doubt we will ever buy new – and we looked for six months until we found the best deal. Great vehicle for three kids and three dogs!

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  59. We are in the same boat with our two older cars. We actually don’t even let our daughter ride in DH’s because it’s has so many problems. It is kind of embarrassing, and I know people joke about it behind our back. Guess what though? We’re not struggling to make car payments every month and our insurance is super cheap. Who’s laughing now?

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  60. We patiently waited all through the pregnancy of our third child up until he was 18months before we found the van deal that met all of the requirements for us. (1) I wanted Honda or Toyota. (2)I wanted leather seats (I never understood leather until I had a child that threw up in my car 3-4x/yr). (3) I wanted a DVD player so when we drove 12hrs each way twice a year to see family I wouldn’t have to pack a portable player and have it take valuable space. (4)I wanted it to have under 70,000 miles. (5) Our budget was $15, ooo. It was a hard wait. In fact, we almost bought a very low miles fancier Sienna for $23,000, but backed out in the end. I’m so glad we did. We totally found a van that met all the requirements and was within our budget. Right when I had given up on getting a van before our big summer drive back home we ended up finding it on ebay and it was only 15min from our house. (kinda like when you are looking for your sunglasses and when you give up they show up) This was prior Ramsey so we financed it, but we were able to pay it off in two years!!! So glad we didn’t owe and extra $8,000!!!! Know what you want and what you can spend and it will eventually show up. Best wishes.

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    Kim Reply:

    I love this post and all the comments. A few years ago my husband and I both left well-paying jobs to follow the Lord and I am so thankful! Recently our 1997 Acura (235,000 miles) needed a new exhaust. Prior to it actually breaking off, my husband had attached to the car with a wire coat hangar and pop can. :) The front corner has a large dent from running into the garage. We shall not say who HE was that did that. You can’t unlock the car from the driver’s side and the ‘check engine’ light never shuts off. However, once that light came on our gas mileage increased to 37 mpg! Which is good since the gas tank has a hole in the top and you can only fill the tank part way without inhaling gas fumes. All this to say that we made the decision to drive it until it can’t drive another mile. We are in the process of saving for a new-to-us car to replace his ‘work’ car. And praying that God holds this one out until spring.

    We have had nice, new cars and nice car payments. I wouldn’t trade a moment of the life we live now for the life we lived then.

    God is faithful in every way and I am thankful to make every effort to be a good steward of what He has given us.

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  61. Oh my goodness — this post and these comments are so encouraging! We are not alone! Our 10 year old min-van with 130K miles on it is our only vehicle. It has so many small issues, but the AC works (imperative in our desert heat) and it still runs just fine. We are hoping it will last another 2 years and we’re doing our best to save up a good chunk of change to buy a new to us vehicle when she finally goes (and hopefully getting a smaller vehicle that uses less gas). In the meantime, we only use one back sliding door, don’t use drive throughs because the driver’s window doesn’t go down and turn up the heat in the back because the front doesn’t work! :-)

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  62. GOOD FOR YOU!! This brought back memories of my childhood. With 5 kids all a year or so apart, my mom drove a 1969 chevy station wagon well into the 1980′s. In the late 1980′s, my dad became Sr. VP of a major int’l company. He continued to drive his 1981 Ford Escort each and every day to his office (often saying things like, “It’s just a car. It’s purpose is to move humans from one place to another…I have no one to impress but myself.”). One of his salespeople asked him why he didn’t buy a mercedes or something “reflective” of his stature. And he repeated that what impresses clients is not a car; it’s a product and a person. That stayed with me.

    We turned in our luxury lease a few weeks ago – I now drive a 10 year old mid-size SUV with many “interesting details.” It’s free (loaned to us by my parents who have no need for it for a while) until we save enough to buy something else. So as I drive up in my heap o’love, I remind myself that it brings us, mile by mile, closer to our financial goals and keeps all of us in concert with our core values. It truly is just a car!

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  63. I do believe a whole lot of folks are doing just what you are doing & it’s now becoming more “fashionable”! We decided last year to get rid of the enormous amount of car payments every month & bought cash cars on Craigslist. Although there are times when we’ve had to do some work on them, it is so much nicer doing that when you actually own the car free & clear. At first, I was embarrassed too but 99% of the time, I just don’t care what others think. We now have a 2000 Kia Sportage that we paid around $1,100 for & I believe we have about $500 in work done on it so far. We also have a ’98 Pontiac Sunfire that we got for $1,000 & it is awesome. Great gas mileage on both & I am actually much happier these days. We all have our “budget” & we should be proud to say we have ZERO Car debt. You go girl!

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  64. I used think I had to drive nice vehicles but then after some financial changes our family went through we found Dave Ramsey. So, we decided to sell our nicer cars and only by what we could afford after paying off the debt from those car loans. When we bought my car my kids got in and said, Hey! Look at these windows you have to turn the crank to make them go down!” LOL Very sad our kids didn’t really know that’s how all cars used to be. Thankfully with hard work we worked our way back up to a car with electronic windows! :) On a serious note, we don’t have anything very nice but it sure feels good to drive something that you don’t owe any money on. If you are patient I am sure the right vehicle at the right price will come along. My husband drives a 1997 ford F250 that only had 28,000 miles on it when we bought 2 yrs ago for $2500, it had only been owned by neighbor that was elderly and could no longer drive. Then we were able to buy my car because the only person who had ever owned it passed away and you could tell it was well cared for, in the glove box was a notebook of all the repairs and oil changes had been done and when but it had 160,000 miles so we were a little worried but for $2200 we have a 2002 4 wheel drive(important for winter)Ford Escape that we have owned for a year with no problems!!

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  65. I cannot stop laughing. This post pretty much sums up my day. I was just outside with my husband trying to get the tail lights to work on our wonderful 1998 Lumina. We are heading out of town this weekend and would like to drive this car, so save our new (7 year old) car.

    Whenever we drive this car out of town, we always take the title with us so we can ditch the car if we need to. Pray that we never need to since I would then be without a car.

    Our wonderful Lumina was a gift from my Aunt who had to give up driving. I had a newer car that I was making payments on but when she gave me this car, I sold my car and put the proceeds into a Roth IRA.

    My boss called me one day as I was driving out of the parking lot and was making fun of me. I hung up, cried and then laughed because I knew I made the right decision and I knew he had filed bankruptcy.

    Guess what, it is 6 years later, I am still driving the car and every day, I thank my Aunt Kay for such a wonderful gift.

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  66. A year ago I finally had to give up my 13 year old Neon after the gas filler tube rusted out and I just didnt have the time to try to get it repaired, amongst all the other minor things that were wrong with it (leaky transmission, oil and sunroof, no radio or air conditioning. But it was beautiful on the outside!). I loved that car til the end and never wished for any other. All those years of driving an older car allowed me to buy a new Chevy Cobalt with cash, just a good basic car was all I wanted. I was happy to find out that my old Neon didnt go to a junkyard and is still chugging along for its new owners. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did :)

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  67. We purchased a 2003 Dodge Durango that seats 7 in 2008 with 70K for $6000. It still runs well. Search Auto Trader and purchase the Carfax unlimited reports. (we used that in the negotiation of the car price – the fact that we were at the height of the gas price hike purchasing a car that gets 14 mpg probably went well for us as well.) It is worth it. You are an example to us all.

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  68. Jen, hooray for you! Hooray for just putting it all out there with us and showing us pictures and being brave to not worry what other people think and to be so honest with us that it helps us to remember not to worry about what other people think ourselves! I so admire you!! Praise God for giving you the grace to live with a car that’s not quite what you want. Kelly

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  69. Just know that you are not alone.

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  70. Jenny Manley says:

    This post was great, and timely, too, for me. My husband and I are also on the Dave Ramsey plan, and have managed to knock off 20K in debt in just 20 months, not including the mortgage! We JUST paid off one car this month. We joke that it’s the worst nicest car in the lot…a 2002 Impala with leather seats, sunroof, upgraded interior, fully loaded…and with peeling paint and 154,000 miles on it! I bought it used, and we’re pretty much driving it until the wheels fall off.
    I liked a post way up at the top…we should make a club and wear snazzy jackets! It’s easier to stick out like a sore thumb if there’s a bunch of other sore thumbs out the with you!

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  71. Until June this year, I was driving a 98 Buick with 140,000 miles. Ran good, body fairly decent, but all 4 power windows had stopped working between August 2008 and December 2009. I hated never being able to roll down a window, especially trying to do through the drive-thru at the bank LOL

    So, my hubby was mostly unemployed this summer (due to a seasonal job that died too early this year) and hadn’t been employed long enough to collect unemployment (he was self-employed for years) so we were struggling to make the ends come close to meeting. Then within a 4-day period we had two wrecks, neither of which was our fault. The first was a rather minor fender-bender from which we drove away. The second wreck was caused by someone running a stop sign and hitting us hard enough that we did a 180 in the road. Thankfully, we all walked away (and she drove away). Two days after the wreck, we discovered her “proof” of insurance was no proof at all & she had no insurance so our insurance company would have to cover her damage. It was so scary, wondering if we would come out of this with enough money to buy a running vehicle.

    Fast forward 2 weeks (driving a rental paid for by insurance) and we settled claims from both wrecks. Got online, drove 2 hours, paid cash for an 03 Taurus (we’re Taurus lovers – have both had great experiences with them). SES with the Sport package. Had 101,000 miles when we bought it the middle of June; some people didn’t understand why I didn’t use all of the settlements and go for a lower mileage car, but four months later I’ve put around 9,000 – 10,000 miles on it. Frankly, a low-mileage car doesn’t stay low-mileage with us so it just wasn’t a big deal. It does need about $400 of body work because someone had backed into the front bumper & the paint is mostly gone, and they had a run-in with a deer so the hood has a nice dent. However, it runs great (maybe too great sometimes LOL), it is fully paid for & I LOVE my car! We considered getting the body work done with the some of the money left over after buying the car, but instead we paid our house payment, insurance, utilities & more for a month… Funny, when she ran that stop sign & hit me, I would never have thought that THIS is how God is going to provide for us this month…

    So, when people look at the front of my car with THAT expression on their face, I try to remember that looks aren’t everything, it’s what’s inside that counts and God really does work in mysterious ways!

    Thanks for a great reminder & have fun with the mini van hunt!

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  72. Thank you, thank you, so much for this convicting post! It’s as if you took the thoughts out of my mind. I only wish a would’ve had someone like you to share these things with me prior to our purchase 2 years ago. We strive everyday to make wise choices with our finances since that purchase and we are determined to get out of debt as soon as we can possibly get out! It sure takes a lot of determination, self displine and a strong decide with children begging and pleading for treats and money to do things. Thanks again!

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  73. This was so what I needed to read. We have an old truck that my husband drives, and by old, I mean 20 years old. It will be the perfect vehicle for my 16 year old to drive. But that means that we need something else for my husband to drive. I drive the huge suburban, but most of the day, I’m not driving the 5 kids around. I want a smaller, zippy used car. We are actually starting to search for a good reliable used car, but I’m impatient and I want it now.

    Trying to be more patient.

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  74. You would be suprised how many of us out there are driving “hunks of junk” out of choice. I too drive an older vehicle. I currently drive a 88′ chevy suburban that too has peeling paint that has even began to rust in some spots. But we have owned it for over 9 years and have owned in outright. No payments, just maintence. It is nice not having the monthly payments hanging over your head. And a year ago almost to the day we moved from California to Florida. My husband was in the military and had gotten out and wanted to move home. Florida was home for him. We had a newer truck that was finaced. And I had been here 2 weeks and got in a 4 car pile up and totalled out that truck. Because we had already taken Dave Ramsey’s Fiancal Peace University we seen this as an opportunity to put another option into motion. The insurance paid off the truck in full since it was totaled and when we began looking to replace my husbands truck, we decided we WOULD NOT finance it. So we didn’t. We actually found a Ford F250 Diesel that had a beat up bed on it and needed some work on the engine and thankfully my husband is a mechanic by trade and we got a SUPER great deal on it. And we didn’t have to finance it. And now he was a truck that is 2 years newer than the one that I wrecked and it is not fianced and we have since been able to find a new bed for it. And he is happily driving it, without the monthly payment. And we just bought me a 99 pontiac grand am that needs a new motor for 500.00 that my husband will do the motor work on and I will get an 11 year upgrade with out the monthly payments as well. For less than a couple hundred dollars I will be in a “new-to me” car. I never thought that this kind of living like no one else so you can live like no one else could be SO satisfying. BUT IT REALLY is. And we will keep the suburban for a backup car. Which is nice to have jsut in case. And with the economy it is nice not to have to worry about monthly payments. It is jsut a smarter way. And I dont care what people think. Because I am not worried about how or IF my car payment is going to get paid this month. And I am teaching my kids so much more this way.

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  75. Frugal Momof2 in MA says:

    I am PROUD to drive my 1995 Volvo and my husband’s 1998 Volvo. They work just fine and we take care of them faithfully because we don’t want to have car payments. Luckily my husband is super-handy and knowledgeable about cars. We visit the junkyard for replacement parts and I have to admit, it’s pretty fun…like hunting for treasure. We will drive them until they become unsafe or won’t drive any longer. This my motto….”I need my car to get me from Point A to Point B. As long as it is safe and has a radio, I’m perfectly happy. It’s JUST a car.”

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  76. Thanks so much for this post. It comes at a time in our life where we just paid $1200 to fix our van and because of it could not go on a vacation. We dont have any debt and werent going to go in debt for a vacation. Thanks for making the tough choices to stay the course. You are an example of keeping the important things important!

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  77. LOL!!!!! I Love the part where the kids peeled the paint because it looks nicer underneath. LOVE THAT! Kids are so adorable and innocent :) Oh, I have been driving the same used van for over 10 years. Guess what? It’s been one of the GREATEST blessings. No car payment = Stay home mommy and kids in private Christian school. Yay Me!

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  78. Just came to your site via Money Saving Mom!! I just has to post a comment after reading about kids being embarrassed by their parent’s car. My dad drove a Yellow Cab when I was in school (a private school which my siblings and I attended due to frugal living and lots of help!) and when he would drop us off or pick us up all of the parents would say “you didn’t have to call a cab we will take you home/pick you up.” Of course they were driving their brand new BMW, Cadillac, etc. We would always just smile and say….no its my dad! Kinda embarrassing at the time but I always remember when I see a cab driver that it might be someone’s dad or mom!! We have old and high millage cars as we live out of town but it works and my kids don’t have to tell others why a cab is picking them up!!

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  79. Great post! My husband has made a similar decision to continue driving his ’99 Pontiac. It’s hood looks much like your van’s and has a slow oil leak, leading us to keep a pile of kitty litter under his parking spot in the garage. We could actually afford to replace the vehicle (with a good used car), but because he drives so few miles to work and we have other priorities – college & retirement savings, he keeps driving it. He thinks it will be our son’s first car in 2 years……I can’t wait for that discussion, lol!

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  80. I hear you on the Dodge! I purchased my Dodge brand spankin new 17 years
    ago. People who know me always ask me how many miles I have on my car and tell me how good I have taken care of it. Yes, it is covered in rust and is sporting a huge hang nail (huge part of rocker panel that is ready to be ripped off due to rust). I have had Mechanics tell me I am one of the smart ones! BTW..I single, never received child support for my son, house is almost paid off, save 5,000.00 in pennies for my sons 2 years of community college before he takes out loans. So.. yeah,,,, that car has done this family good!

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  81. When our third child entered the world, we were rather homebound until we finally got our minivan “hunk-o-junk.” We had 3 under 3 years, all in car seats, and the Honda Civic wasn’t cutting it. Our salvation was a 1993 Dodge Caravan with over 180, 000 miles on it, plenty of rust and chipped paint, and the “wood panelling” is peeling off too! I was embarrassed at first, but I’ve gotten pretty used to it now. I love the fact that it is allowing us to transport our family while saving for something in better shape. Age and rust aside, the thing runs great! So we plan to drive it until it dies…or until we outgrow it (we’ve got another baby on the way)!

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  82. We drive a “sexy” gold box of a mini-van, a 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager. The poor thing doesn’t have too many miles for being the age it is, just under 70,000, but everything keeps breaking. My favorite though, was while I was carpooling and picking up kids from school one afternoon. The kids jump in the back, and our friend’s son couldn’t close the sliding side door. So, I unbuckle myself and just reach back to close it…it sticks…and then the entire sliding door FALLS OFF. I was so stunned I just sat there and laughed. Then, I pulled into a parking spot, and watched all the rest of the parents picking up their kids and seeing the same words being mouthed, “Look at that VAN!!”
    You’d think after that happening two years ago that we’d have something different. But nope, that sucker is still driving strong. Even if I am extra careful with closing the side door. :)

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  83. Rubber Chicken Girl says:

    I am driving a hunk o’ junk as well. My minivan hydroplaned on me (going the speed limit with some 3-5 car lengths to spare) and I totaled it when I ran into the very sturdy (undamaged) F150 in front of me. My neighbor had given my irresponsible/non-driving 17 yo a Mercury Grand Marquis (1985). I am now the proud/humiliated/trying to be grateful & humble owner of a stylin’ Ride. I take my son to soccer and let’s just say that the lot is full of Lexus and Land Rovers. I surely raise eyebrows. Did I say that it is Jet Boat Loud?! I do park tucked out of sight when I can. We have debt, need braces for a child etc and our priority is not replacing the car. My husband is in nursing school, so we will look to replace it in May when he graduates….did I say it has no air con? I dunno about my health and going through 110 degree summers without air con. Maybe I’m soft.

    RCG

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  84. LOL:) This post was perfect for me to remind me that I am not alone! :) We are blessed to have 2 cars paid for, one is Myrtle, a 99 Cougar…meow!! Sassy and has 100K plus miles, clear coat peeling on top and side, but the inside is clean, new tires and ice cold A/C, which is a blessing in the South. Our other vehicle, is Fiona, a 97 Ford Explorer, XLT, limited, leather,, some interior issues but that means she is well loved and has traveled many a mile to football practices, kids events, etcalmost 300K miles, a proud dent in the front fender when my then 17 yr ran into the back of someone and hit the tail hitch(she was alright which is all that mattered), some Silly String pieces all over my vehicle that dried and now won’t come off :) (Thank you to my wonderful family/children when we got married on 7/7/07, decided to cover my vehicle in Silly String and baby powder in the vents..lol) We had a “family moon” and went to Florida for over a week with the car like that, never could get that stuff off….I think it adds…character :) I have loved this vehicle and never ever had a problem with it until a few months ago, the air is not as cool…hence that is why I am driving Myrtle(I have several private summers during the day..aka…hot flashes)…Anyhow, we are on one very , very (did I mention very?) limited income and proud to say our vehicles are running, it is like a badge of financial honor!! I do admit, so many of my new friends have newer, shiny, etc..vehicles and I yearn for that at times. I have solved this problem though, we just clean up the vehicles and I spray the “New car” scent inside. Sorry this is so long :) I love your site and have enjoyed reading all of the above comments and stories. Take care

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  85. I know I’m a little late to the party, but Jessica at LifeasMom linked to this post today, and I am cracking up. I love how everybody has their messed up car story.
    We used to own a Taurus and a Ranger. The Taurus kept dying in very unsafe neighborhoods, so we sold it for $1200 cash as-is. We still see it sometimes – “hey, those look like our dents!” The Ranger was not very practical for city living – stick shift on very short acceleration lanes, harder to park, etc. But man, I miss that truck. We made a chunk selling it to a very happy 16-year-old in the country, though, and my parents still see it.
    So now we own a 2003 Civic that goes, and stops when you want it to, and goes again, and has lots of storage, and good gas mileage, and is just perfect for city driving. My husband did, however, back up into a pillar at Target about a month after we got it, and I was NOT happy. Now it’s useful – people see the dent and think that we don’t care about our car, so they avoid us. :-)
    One of our goals is to never have a car payment. This Civic should last us for a loooong time.

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  86. I feel your pain have 2006 F150 4 door, back corner crushed in due to Son parking to close driver side passenger door Son back in to the plow that was attach to tractor, mileage 1250000, hubby was driving 125 miles round trip to work for 3 year. Hubby is aircraft mechanic 2 years ago got a job at Transit Alert at the Base. Thanks Dave Ramsey for having a emergency fund and Jen for helping us getting everything in order.

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  87. Oh Jen, you are not alone. As you see, many of us drive cars that we are embarrassed by.

    Each time I smile and answer some comment about my car with “but at least it’s paid for,” it hits a sore spot. I try to remind myself that my car does not define me. To focus on the more important things.

    The little comments make my husband feel awful. He’s a “car guy” and the one who cares much more about appearances. Those digs make him feel like he isn’t providing for me.

    Like all people, I have my share of days where I am just fed up and ungrateful for the rusty pile of trouble that is my car. Then I see something like your post and all the replies and I take comfort that there are many others in this situation.

    So please, be gracious on the roads. We may just be good drivers trying to make it through with a crappy car.

    ps – 1999 Altima: Doors and undercarriage rusted out. Chunks of rust on ground sometimes. No interior light. First two levels of heat/ac no longer work. Trunk leaks. Driver door out of alignment. Can’t lock doors from remote. Lists severely to the right. Shakes like a dog during fireworks at over 70. Tires regularly loosing air and kind of bald. Squeals every time you turn it on or turn hard. Has started to leak something all over the drive, again. Doors freeze shut overnight in the winter…..

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  88. I drove my 1993 grand prix until it had over 250k miles on it. Paint was coming off much like yours. But I would still be driving it if it hadn’t finally bit the dust. Now I am driving a 2004 Nissan Sentra. Not so sporty, in fact really granny looking. But it was paid for the day I sat in it. My kids are constantly looking for me a newer car. And they are in their 20s! I always tell them no. I would rather have money in the bank and be able to do mini vacations, buy something on a whim than have a newer car with a payment.

    We have 5 vehicles (I know it sounds extreme) and not one payment! It is so nice. Even tho they all have over 100K miles on them. But they are mostly our miles. We kept the kids vehicles when they decided they had to buy something. They didn’t listen to US! But now, if something breaks down, we are always set. And the kids have borrowed back their vehicles when their’s go in the shop!

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  89. Oh Jen, I love your heart and that you shared this post. It looks like I’m not your only reader who can say I’m there too. We allowed ouselves to rack up debt. We’re following Ramsey pinciples to dig ourselves out, but it takes a lot more time to get out of debt than into debt.

    I totaled our 11 year old mini van that had only 110K miles on it and still ran well. Because of our debt we can’t afford another vehicle, nor do we want more debt. My husband has an awesome Toyota beater for work (which we carry a loan on) and I have his old SUV. It’s a Mercedes so everyone thinks oooh ahhh – but it’s over a decade old, with 170K+ miles and is going to need some hefty work soon.

    We’re a 7 person family and I have a 5 seater vehicle. We’ve had to bow out of homeschool co-op, field trips and more due to transportation issues – and while it is slightly embarassing, the forced family slow down has been such a blessing. God truly uses the trials to open our eyes.

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  90. Been there…done that. Years ago my dad was able to purchase a work car for my husband for $300! It was u-g-l-y but ran great! We were so thankful for the blessing and saw it as a gift/provision from God. Then one day someone commented to me that they wouldn’t be “caught dead” riding in my husband’s car. I was so deeply hurt by those words…and ashamed.

    Years later, after some very poor financial decisions…and then a lot of rice and beans to correct those poor decisions, we are debt free except for our mortgage. And that is, as they say, …priceless. But I still really struggle with this. I currently drive a 2003 Buick LeSabre that we bought a year ago. I worked part-time for a year, saving everyone of my paychecks, to purchase and pay cash for this car. It has a ding on the trunk and 168,000 miles but it is paid for and gets great gas mileage – woot! But there are days when I pull into the supermarket or church parking lot and see all the shiny new vehicles that I do feel less than good enough.

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  91. I thought you would get a kick out of this: when I read your post via e-mail, there was an ad from a local car dealer at the bottom – showing a BMW… :-)

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    Jen Reply:

    Oh my goodness – that is TOO funny!! (and yes, I have nothing to do with what ads come through the email feed. ;))

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  92. I am sooo there! We have two paid-for vehicles. One is my hubby’s truck which is very rarely driven. It has some sort of transmission issue that no one can figure out, and the same paint peeling issue that your van has, except that he and a friend sanded off all the paint (to prevent rust? Doesn’t makes sense to me, but that’s what his car friend said). My van just keeps getting dings and spots. My in-laws really give my hubby a hard time about it, but $500 to fix a dent in the body of our van is just not even on our radar. I remember being a kid and HATING the junky station wagon we had! lol. But, I’ve mostly gotten over it. Because I’ve found that strong convictions can really help you move past the whole appearances thing.

    But, like you, I have my occasional moments! lol Thanks for sharing :)

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  93. This is the world we live in…if its not shiny or new my teenage girls think its “just not for them”. My 9 year old Honda Odyssey has 137k miles, one of the sliding doors doesn’t slide anymore and it has its share of dings. My youngest (13 years old) told me I NEEDED a new, better looking car…something in a RED would be nice. I said, “sure Honey, I’ll cancel your Dance lessons on Monday, that will pay for that new(er) red car you want”.

    That was three days ago, she starting talking to me again just yesterday. I kind of miss the P & Q (peace and quiet)…sigh.

    Now off to dash her hopes of getting a red $288 high end, name brand jacket (fleece, no less); because EVERYBODY has one at school!

    Argh

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  94. I love this post and I can relate to how you feel. In college (1994) I inherited my parents’ 82′ Toyota Corolla wagon. We didn’t have a garage so the car had spent 14 years exposed to the elements and didn’t look so great. I can’t tell you how many times friends and classmates made snarky comments about my car being “junky”. And it bothered me. Even so, I was proud of the frugality driving that car represented. The reason I had it in the first place is my father was promoted to a prestigious position in the University and upgraded his vehicle. To a 1994 Ford Escort. It was actually kind of a joke among his colleagues.

    Right now our one car is a 1995 Saturn Vue. When we bought it, as a salvage, in 2009 I remember feeling extravagant having a car only 4 years old! We fit in one our side of town but I have to admit feeling self conscious when I go to work and everyone is driving late models Volvos, Camry’s, and other much nicer cars than mine. My husband often feels somewhat left out at work because he can’t join in when his colleagues talk about the “incredible driving experience” of a brand new Prius. So many people I know trade in their cars as soon as they have to start making repairs or even when the warranty expires. Insanity, in my opinion. I don’t begrudge people their nice cars but honestly, I think we’d be a lot better off as a country if we stopped putting so much stock in vehicles and stopped spending so much damn money on them! Our car is paid for and we have enough money in the bank to replace it if necessary. That’s all I need.

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  95. Perfect timing for this post! I read this today to my husband and our 12 year old daughter and 10 year old son. Our 2001 minivan has over 180,000 miles. “Van-Van” has been good to us but the interior ceiling fabric is being held up by staples and the passenger side automatic window hasn’t worked for over 2 years! She is burning all types of oil, has peeling paint, a few small rust spots, and now a bashed-in side door. (Not our fault but a bummer all the same.) The insurance company chose to total the vehicle. Thankfully, they are giving us a small payout and letting us keep our van. I am in my last year of a masters program and only getting a small stipend. My husband is a teacher and drives over an hour one way. Financially, getting a new vehicle is not in the plan for at least another year. This post helped my family to know we are not the only ones in this situation. Also, we are learning to not judge others by their car since we wouldn’t want to be judged by ours! :)

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  96. Marysia Marts says:

    Well, Jen, since we go to the same church maybe we could park next to each other and not feel so bad about our mini vans. Mine looks ok, but I’ll be the one rolling down the window to open my door from the outside b/c my inside door handle broke the other day. People see me open it that way and have a pitiful look on their face for me which doesn’t help me feel any better. At times I’m embarrassed and other times it makes me giggle to have to do this every time I get out of the van. We already can’t get in or out of one of the sliding doors b/c it broke earlier this year so we have to tell anyone riding with us to go around to the other side. (Why do they always go to the broken side? ) The remote broke years ago so we still open it with a key like the good ole days. My teenage son is the one who is really having to deal with the embarrassing, disembarking of our vehicle when he goes to small group or out with a friend. My husband lost his full-time diesel mechanic job and is down to one part-time job and I work part-time so there is not a chance to get these quirky things fixed right now. I have to thank God for giving us such a reliable van for the last 12 years. I couldn’t wait to be able to buy a mini van in 2000; now I’d like a Honda CRV but…not yet…God isn’t finished teaching me to be humble and thankful for ALL we have even if we can’t get out of the van without a good laugh or a red face. PTL anyway!

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  97. Good for you! Between us, my hubs and I make a 6-figure income. I just replaced my 2006 Buick with another 2006 buick with half the miles (we’ve found Buicks to be incredibly reliable – I drive cross country A LOT!). Sexy? Nope, but safe and reliable and comfortable. Best of all, we paid $7,500 (cash, of course) for it. My husband worked in the used auto business for 35 yrs. Know what car dealers say? Auto loans are for suckers, and they’re right! So, when you see your mini van and are tempted to cringe, remember what a powerful lesson you’re setting for your kids about delayed gratification and financial responsibility. They may not thank you now, but they will some day.

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  98. Nearing the four year mark of our Purple 1998 van since we bought it on Craigslist for $2000. It has worked just fine for the running around town I do with the kids, even if it’s not pretty. It’s even take a few longer trips, but not lately because we don’t quite trust it… We hope to replace it soon, but I’m kind of curious how long it will hold on. I just don’t want to be without a vehicle to get around in, so we’ll probably Craigslist it and get a slightly newer van.

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    Jen Reply:

    Good for you, and I know that fear of a vehicle quitting before you can replace it because then you’re in a pinch and might pay more. Good idea to start scouting Craigslist now. :)

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  99. almost 4 years later, I am still loving this post! An eye opener for sure! I am 26 with still a lot to learn. Hope I can be like y’all one day and say my car is paid off and pimping an ole beat up car while being debt free and happy! :) we will get there soon! Thanks for this post and all the comments!

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    Jen Reply:

    Four years later and I can say, you sure can do it. :) In fact, so much has happened in our four years that we actually have updated our two Hunk o’junks with two new to us newer ones, paid for with cash. :)

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  100. So funny to see this post again. I wrote over a year ago about my falling apart Nissan held together with plastic ties. It now has 230,000 miles on it but just found out to fix it to pass inspection would be $400. So it’s time to lay my baby to rest. I know eventually I will be happy to drive something that is cosmetically appealing and doesn’t stand out in the parking lot at work as “the embarrassment” but right now I am really really sad!

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    Jen Reply:

    That is exactly why we had to put our last vehicle to rest. It would have cost around $500 to fix it just to past inspection. Enjoy your new to you vehicle.

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  101. Alicia in GA. says:

    All of you have no idea how badly I needed to read about your Hunk O Junks! I bought a 2001 Chevy Tracker in 2002 and am still driving her 14 years later with over 207,000 miles on her. Ole Blue has been an amazing car for me these past 12 years but she’s getting old and her age is starting to show with her paint peeling off, inside carper being thread-bare, windows needing help to close, etc…BUT the radio, ac/heat still work so I thank God for her every time I get behind the wheel. Just in the past 3 days has she needed to go to the “hospital” for some work. Got in her this past Tuesday morning and she was dead so in the shop she went. Had her alternator replaced ($355!!) and got her home for her to only not crank again!!! Second try she fired right up!! YIPEEE right?!?!? Well, I went ahead and was going to church later that Wednesday evening. Stopped to get gas….nothing!! Had to call the hubby and son to come get me and back to the shop yesterday morning she went. She’s home now and I’m kinda scared to drive her too far off. I just don’t trust her to be as dependable as she’s been all these years. As I was changing out my grandchildren’s car seats into my hubby extra 1990 something Toyota Camry the thought crossed my mind that she might have to be replaced soon and I wanted to cry! As bad as she looks with more than half her paint missing I’ve had her longer than I’ve had any other car. Only recently have I become a bit embarrassed to drive her. But I LOVE not having that out the roof car payment, higher insurance and tag bills!! This post has made me appreciate Ole Blue even more knowing that so many of you are in the same boat as I am yet are OK with your less than pretty cars like so many others out there. So for as long as I can, I’ll keep giving her a pat on the dash and thanking God for another adventure with her…no matter how many more times that may be! God bless you all and may all of your Hunk O Junks continue running another day!

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    Jen Reply:

    All of us Hunk ‘O Junk Lovers unite!! Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing your story. :)

    -Jen

    [Reply]

  102. Loved reading this post and comments. We are currently in a similar situation. About 4 years ago, I sold my Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition on Craiglist for $4000. It was a 2002 and someone backed in to me and it had quite a big dent in the back. But we sold it because my parents were getting rid of one of their cars and said we could have it if we wanted (2006 Ford Fusion). The gas mileage is awesome on it, about 24mgp, compared to my explorer, which was about 11-12mpg. But I loved that Explorer and cried when we sold it, but it was the right thing to do. We are getting rid of a lot of debt and I have been giving my Ford fusion to my hubby to drive as he has about a 45 minute drive each morning and I am only 7 minutes to work. So I drive his old, rusty 2001 Dodge Ram so that we can save on gas. Saves us approx. $100 in gas every month. And I am embarrased driving it, but am not willing to upgrade (for cash as I never want to have any payments ever again). We live in a very upscale area (we live in the older part) and everyone at my kids school has very expensive cars..lots of beamers, mercedes, lexus, Range Rovers, Bentleys, Ferrari’s, etc. You name it, our neighborhood has it. But I do wonder how many of them own their cards outright!? Not too many, I’m sure! I’ve had to drop my kids off at parties/events before my hubby has gotten home and have had them dropped off like a block before. Not because they are ashamed, but because I am. We could easily stop our debt payoff for a little while and save up and upgrade my hubby’s truck. But I don’t want to. We’ve paid off about $70,000 in debt in a little more than 1.5 years and I just want to be rid of it once and for all. I’m willing to put up with a little bit of shame and embarrassment a little while longer! ;)

    I really loved this post as it great reinforcement and encouragement for those of us who have more important goals in life! Thank you for sharing it!

    [Reply]

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