… well, a van actually.
With a growing family, it was time to get something with a bit more room. For the past couple of years, we’ve had two cars. Ana drove a Kia Sorento SUV, and I had a Saturn Ion. This arrangement worked for getting us where we needed to go … but, both cars had monthly payments.
One upside of my heading for Iraq soon, is that at least for the next 6 months, we have the opportunity to be a one-car family. (and that’s where the money savings come)
We’d been considering getting a van for a while. But now seemed like a perfect time to do it. In addition to my deployment giving us the chance to just have one car; the credit market is better, so we got a good interest rate, and with the car companies trying to build their business back up, there are a whole bunch of rebates and credits out there … even with Cash for Clunkers having ended last month.
To make this work, we had to trade in both cars. This wasn’t exactly an easy task, as the Saturn was blue booking for about what we owed on it, but the Sorento was a few K upside down. Knowing this, I went shopping with the mindset that I was looking for a deal.
… and more importantly, Ana and I had decided that getting a van right now would be treated as something we’d Like to do; not necessarily something that we Need to do.
We browsed around online, and actually found that we liked the Kia (we were very happy with Ana’s Sorento, so we have a history of good feeling about Kia). I filled out their little form, and got a call from salesman Mark the next day …
When we went to the dealership that after noon, I was very clear with Mark on a couple of points, right off the bat:
- We already knew we liked the van … that part probably wouldn’t take a whole lot of selling
- We didn’t intend to spend any cash right now.
- Because we weren’t putting any money down, we needed a good deal on our trade-ins … ie, enough to pay them off; with the help of the rebates we would be getting on the new van.
- Last but not least, I told Mark that if things couldn’t be worked out, it was cool, we’d be back to see him in the spring when I get home from deployment. I wasn’t playing him or anything, I honestly wouldn’t have been disappointed if we would of had to wait 7 more months to get a van.
The initial deal that they offered us, wasn’t the greatest. The trade-in offers were pretty much right at blue book. This left us financing more than the the sticker price of the van … even after account for $2500 in rebates. Which meant the monthly payment was going to be a bit higher than I would have liked. Despite this, they did offer to let me continue to drive my Saturn for the next two weeks until I leave, if we would commit to a deal right then … subject to approved financing.
I’m not sure exactly why, but I decided to say yes, and we drove off in the van that afternoon. This turned out to be a good decision …
When I went back on Monday to finalize the deal, the finance manager told me she has some good news, some great news, and some bad news for me. Obviously I took the bad news first. There was a bit of problems with the financing. This would turn out to be the bad and the great news …
The bad news was, they wanted me to put down $200 (I can live with that).
The good news was, my monthly payments were going to be lower than what I’d been quoted.
The great news was, apparently the bank didn’t want to finance the extra amount above the price of the van. So, rather than risk losing the deal altogether (remember I told them I could wait til April), the dealership somehow found a way to give me a couple thousand more on my trade-ins.
Win-win for everybody.
So basically, we came out of this with a brand new Van, (with a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty) … which will be quite useful with all the kids. While lowering our monthly expenses (between car payments and insurance) by almost $300 a month.
The only downside is, I will still have to get some form of transportation when I get back in the spring. But since it’s only a 6 mile trip to work, I don’t necessarily have to be too picky … I’m thinking one of those $99 a month specials might end up being right up my alley.
Anyhow … bottom line … there are some great deals to be had out there right now. If you’ve been thinking about getting a new or different car, this is a very good time to head to the dealership and explore your options.
Til next time …
Ana will drive the van, and then when I get back, I’m going hopefully have saved a bit of cash while deployed … enabling me to pick up a little runner, that will get me back and forth to work every day.