Please don’t call me “soccer mom”

Well, it was bound to happen.

How many times have you read my complaints stories about the extensive auto repairs on our 18 year truck? Yeah, I know. You’ve lost count, just like me.

So, last week we took the truck in because it was running poorly (it had been for a few weeks, but my husband “didn’t want to worry” me). When we got the phone call from the mechanic that let us know it would be $1,500 just to make it road-safe, my husband and I had the same thought at the same time…

Time for a new car.

You should know a couple of things about me:

  1. I HATE car shopping. Not just dislike, or like to avoid. It really makes my skin crawl. Part of it is that I am always wary that I’m going to get a bad deal, especially with used cars. I can do lots of research, but I never feel really informed enough for the large amount of money I’m about to spend.
  2. I am terrified of acquiring more debt. When I think about it, I have a visceral reaction that feels like someone is standing on my chest and poking me in the stomach.

So, obviously, I wasn’t really excited about getting a new vehicle.

Now, I know that a logical thought is, “Wait! Why don’t you just get an old beat up car and pay cash for it?”

Yes, that would usually be the route I would take, too. However….

…turns out that we were going to have to get a new vehicle that would pass the foster certification inspection anyway (“what do you mean we can’t strap the kids down in the back of the truck?”), and it has to be able to haul as part of my husband’s job, so we realized that we needed to start looking at 4-door trucks or minivans.

MINIVAN?!?!? Really?

I could hear all my cool points just fly out the front door.

But then I was saved, as I realized…it was my HUSBAND’s car, not MINE! ūüôā

So, we set a budget and started shopping online. My husband wanted to know what features I cared about. I said “I don’t care as long as it is in our budget, will pass the foster family inspection and it has a comfortable passenger seat, because I won’t be driving it” ;). At the same time, I started looking into financing options. Here’s the timeline.

  • Tue – truck goes to mechanic
  • Wed – mechanic gives us the news. Husband gets 2nd and 3rd opinion. Time of Death – 10:30am. Husband sells truck for a handful of cash…tells wife later. Online shopping/research commences.
  • Thu – Apply for loan. Receive approval within 60 seconds for $19,800 at 4.39% for a used car. Pick self off floor after passing out.
  • Fri – More online research. Go to one Carmax and get into a bunch of minivans. Go to second Carmax 45 min before closing. Find THE ONE.
  • Sat – Return to second Carmax. Test drive THE ONE. Fill out paperwork and give them the electronic check. Drive away.

And, at the end of it all…I kind of like our new (to us) Honda Odyssey with its low mileage (for an older vehicle).

And my husband gets to be the Soccer Dad. ūüôā

This is embarrasing…sorta

So, I’m sure you noticed the more-than-a-month lag between posts, yes?

I’m not really one to hold on to guilt, but I can admit I’m feeling a little sheepish right now, for sure.

But…I have a good reason (I think) for the lack of communication…

My husband and I have been working on our “Family Expansion Project” and last month was at the end of a 5-month process to be able to bring children into our home. Now that we’ve hit that milestone and we’re ready to move from Married With Cats to Married With Children, I’m not 100% sure if I can keep up with the 3-posts a week that was my goal, but I will continue to update our numbers at least.

With the change in home life, I’m actually hoping that I’ll have some more home planning items to write about and that as I’m learning how to roll with an insta-family that I can share the things I’ve learned about how that impacts finances.

So…there you go. That’s our announcement. ūüôā

September 2010 :: Report

Debt Reduction

Our goals for September were:

Credit Card Debt    ::  $ 23,888.12
Taxes Owed              ::  $          00.00
Personal Loans        ::  $          00.00

Total Debt*              ::  $ 23,888.12

And here is where we were after 9.30.2010:

Credit Card Debt    ::  $23,887.04
Taxes Owed           ::   $       00.00
Personal Loans      ::   $       00.00

Total Debt*             :: $23,887.04

*does not include school loans

Well, our goal was lower than usual, but we made it!

Budget

We did pretty well this month – I wasn’t happy with all of the decisions that we made, but I was really glad that we did better than we could have. We did way too much with the dining out budget category, but that’s pretty normal. So we’ll continue to work on that area…

Savings

Savings Goals for September:

Regular Savings  :: $    250
Family Leave       :: $ 1,006
Emergency           :: $   705

Total Savings      :: $ 1,961

Where we landed at the end of September:

Regular Savings  :: $   275
Family Leave       :: $  967
Emergency           :: $  707

Total Savings      :: $ 1,949

Not quite as much as we wanted, but still pretty close!

October 2010 :: Goals

Our goal for October is to pay $689 toward our debt. Taking into account the interest that will be charged ($133) , the net will be $556.

So our totals at the end of October should be:

Credit Card Debt    ::  $ 23,331.04
Taxes Owed              ::  $          00.00
Personal Loans        ::  $          00.00

Total Debt*              ::  $ 23,331.04

*does not include school loans

And now for the Savings Goals – at the end of October, we aim to have:

Regular Savings  :: $     300
Family Leave       :: $ 1,067
Emergency           :: $    724

Total Savings      :: $ 2,093

According to MSN Money, our debt-free date is :: January 24, 2012. I think, however, that we can probably get this wrapped up in, say November or October of 2011.