I couldn’t help it – my newest debt

April 28, 2011 at 9:08 am (things I bought, vehicle)

Remember when I said I would wait to be out of debt before I considered getting a new vehicle? Well follow me along a month ago during my weekend trip down to the Oregon Coast. I wanted a few days to get out of town, take photos (for an upcoming juried show photo submission) and have a mini-vacation.

We drove 750 miles. I had to buy 4 tanks of gas. $215 for a weekend to Oregon. Yikes! It stuck in my craw somethin’ fierce, lemme tell you! I decided on that long drive back, in which I had 6 hours to think about it, how I really really needed a vehicle that had better gas mileage. I didn’t get any dissenting comments from mr. maven, either!

As soon as I got back I started researching. I should also admit that I really truly miss my old subaru, which got totalled in an accident in 2007 (not my fault!!!). So of course, with my requirements: good mileage, rugged, able to go in the mountains, good in snow, and something that I could haul lots of crap and potentially sleep in, well, it should come as no surprise that I ended up with a 2005 Subaru Outback! It’s the prettiest green color “willow green”, has cloth seats, no sun roof, and has just been fully serviced. I ended up buying from a dealer. It cost me more, but they fully detailed it, made sure the mechanics were up to spec (after my inspection at a mechanic, they updated the brakes and did something to the transmission flush fluid or something or other). I did put a little extra, to the tune of $220, in it at the dealer’s mechanic so that it has everything clean and ready and no further maintenance will be needed for 30,000 miles (spark plugs, some other fluid changes, etch). It’s clean, scrubbed, mine, and ready for some serious backcountry trips!

Instead of my current 15/19 mileage (based on what i actually put in the tank), my new vehicle is amazing! I get 21 minimum in the neighborhood, and have gotten 29 on the highway. It’s awesome! I estimated that even if I do nothing but commute to work and do normal driving during a month, I will save $50 (about 1 full tank of gas) per month. If I do any trips, then I should save about $100/month or more. Can’t beat that!

It took me a week of research, and a week of hard looking, but I bought one for $14,800. My main requirements were that it be under 75K miles, NOT turbo (I didn’t want the maintenance, or the reduced MPG), and have heated seats. I was approved for a $40K car loan from my bank, BECU at 3.99% (not that I’d ever spend that much on a vehicle, EVER), but only had to use a portion of that. I ended up using my recent settlement money to pay $6,000 towards it (after fully funding my emergency fund back to $1000 and keeping a few hundred for something fun, yet to be determined). 

I then sold my truck to mr. maven (for him to go hunting and sleeping in – as he told me, it would be a shame to sell it when I just dumped a whole crapload of money on it recently and it has a new clutch. Mechanically it’s been very well taken care of, so it’s in great shape. I decided that any more income I get will go towards my SBA loan, instead of my car loan – which is at a slightly higher rate of 5% (plus an annual fee) – whatever I can do to pay it off quickly, the better.

So don’t be hatin’ – I got a vehicle with 100,000 fewer miles, and significantly better gas mileage (100+ additional miles per tank), and heated seats! I put myself into debt for an extra period of time, but it will be less than a year. I am pleased with my decision and have zero regrets.

That’s all from debtmaven central! Here’s to the growing garden, getting over this nasty cold keeping me home this week, and getting out hiking and the start of biking again this year. Keep healthy and get outside everyone!

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