My husband and I have been brainstorming ways to “fix” our car situation. We’re down to one car – my husband’s car. It is a 1999 Chevy Prizm (pictured above). We don’t mind juggling one car at all (it’s really not that difficult), but it does make us a little uneasy that it is over 10 years old and isn’t quite as “reliable” as we’d like it to be.
Since we pretty much live paycheck to paycheck, we’re in a situation where we would really be up a creek if something happened to our one car. We can’t afford any more monthly payments, which means we can’t buy a “new” car from a dealership with a loan. We also can’t pay cash for a car that will be any better than the one we have now, since we don’t have any money saved up. So we’ve been agonizing over what to do. We want to be ready when/if something happens to our one car.
The thing is – this car runs like a gem. We have never had a single problem with it. The entire engine is built just like a Toyota Corolla, so it’s basically made to run forever and ever. Lately it’s been sounding a little funny, so we were getting worried. It was due for an oil change, and my husband kept putting it off for fear of what the mechanics would tell us. It seems like every time we take a car into the mechanics, they give us a list a mile long with major repairs that must be done asap. (That’s how it always was with my old car, until it finally croaked.)
Great news! We took our car to get the oil changed yesterday, and there are only a few SLIGHT maintenance repairs that must be done! We were SO happy. This little ole car might be old, ugly, seemingly barely-running, making strange noises, covered with paint chips, without AC, and missing a few door handles…but it can still go. And it is a reliable, determined little vehicle!
The other great thing is that I recently made a job switch. It was a pay decrease and I lost great benefits, but it was worth it because of our car situation. I was driving a round-trip hour and a half commute every day. Now I’m right across the street – so close I could just walk if I wanted to (and do quite often!).
So we’ve made up our minds. We’re going to put some effort into keeping up this little car until it can no longer run anymore. Why buy a new car, go into debt, or have to really pay for something we can’t afford? I’d much rather save up $200 cash to fix a few repairs and get this car’s full use out of it, than to have to pay thousands of dollars for a new car.
Frugal/Thrifty Tip #1: Always use what you already have, until it is completely worn out. Get FULL USE out of everything you own. This is something I have really come to embrace, for so many different reasons. It saves money, and it helps us keep a really good perspective on what we need and what we WANT. For example, I should be extremely satisfied and thankful for our one car that still runs, when so many people around the world don’t even have transportation at all. We do not NEED a new car right now, and we will not be buying one until this car dies out on us completely.