Saturday, January 30, 2010

O for Out with the old...

and in with the new. I bought a new car yesterday! Well, actually, I am leasing, which is a much better decision for me because I under drive my cars and the monthly payments on leases are smaller. I’m lucky that all of this bad car juju happened at a time that I am financially stable, have good credit, and could afford a decent down payment. Wait—no. I’m not lucky; I’m smart. I’ve worked hard to crawl from debt to financial stability, and I’m proud that I’ve done it all on my own. I’m proud that my husband and I are in the position that we’re in. There’s no luck about it, and sometimes it annoys the hell outta me when people do attribute it to luck; that totally discounts all the work I did to control my financial life and my future.

Music Man and I took a trip to the local Volkswagen dealer yesterday. I test-drove the Beetle, the Jetta, and then the Beetle again. Then it was decision time. I struggled a bit with this, as I do with almost any decision I have to make. This was a big decision, and I was making it much sooner than I thought I’d have to. Thankfully I’d done my research and would’ve been happy with either car; it just came down to how they drove.

The Jetta had a little bit more get up and go than the Beetle, and it had quite a few more features—including super fancy touch screen radio and blue tooth to use with your cell phone. The Jetta also had quite a bit more room than the Beetle. Well, in the backseat anyway, the Beetle seemed to have more space up front. Since the payments were going to be about the same between the two, and I liked the way both drove, it really was a tough decision.

Should I be practical? If so, the Jetta was the answer because it was bigger, and with all the features, it was more car for the money. OR Do I finally, for once in my life, do the fun thing and get my dream car? If so, the Beetle was the winner; I’ve wanted one ever since VW started making them again, and this one was red. I’ve always wanted a red car, and that’s just never worked out for me.

After much discussion with Music Man, I decided to get the Beetle. It was my turn to be selfish. Since we’re the ones most often in the car, having more room in the front seat area was more important than backseat room. The only people who’ve ridden in the backseat of my car in the past couple years are my nephews, and at 9 and 4 years old, they will have no problem fitting in the backseat of the Beetle for at least the next three years. The Jetta was a little intimidating to me—it was just too much car.

As we started working through the financing, I found out that, though the prices of the cars were pretty much the same, the leasing worked differently. The Beetle payments were affected more by my larger down payment than the Jetta was, so my payments were actually smaller with the Beetle then they would’ve been with the Jetta.

As we waited for the financial paperwork to be gathered, I told Music Man that I couldn’t believe that my dream car was finally becoming a reality. I told him that I was surprised that this all was happening so quickly, because I was used to having to wait a couple days for a car after completing the paperwork. Just as I said, “I guess this was just meant to be!” the salesman came out to tell us that it was not. There was a problem…

The Beetle wasn’t available, because it had already been sold. It should’ve had a sold tag in it, but someone royally messed up. Once again, it seemed as though I just wasn’t meant to have a red car. The salesman said that he had checked inventory at local dealers and there seemed to be a couple comparable cars available. He asked if we could sit tight while he checked on those. We told him we could. He came back a while later to tell us that they’d found the exact car at another dealer, but it wasn’t available. He then said that they found a similar car—the only difference being that it didn’t have a spoiler—at a dealer a few hours up north. I told him the spoiler wasn’t as much of a deal breaker for me as the color was (I actually like the car a little better without it.), and he said he’d work on getting that one.

Music Man and I left to do a little shopping while the salesman worked on getting me my dream car. When we returned to the dealer an hour later, there was still no news. I was tense and started thinking about what other colors I could be happy with.  In the mean time, we met with the finance guy to run numbers to see what my payments would work out to be. I was happy with how the numbers worked out, and hopeful that the up north dealership would come through with the car.

After about another hour, we finally got the news that the car was mine. The only thing the salesman wasn’t sure about was which day the car would get down here from up north. Saturday (today) was a possibility, but it most likely won’t be here until Monday. (Well, probably Sunday, but the dealership isn’t open then, so I won’t get it until Monday.) I told him I could live with that, and we completed all the paperwork.

Despite that little hiccup, things ended up working out, and I am really really pleased with my Volkswagen experience. Every single person we interacted with at the dealership was super nice and very easy to work with. Since the salesman we had spoken to over the phone when I did the financing pre-approval wasn’t available right when we got to the dealership, another salesman stepped up to get us started on the test drives. Both he and our original salesman were profusely apologetic over the miscommunication about the original car, and both checked in on us regularly with updates and to make sure there wasn’t anything we needed. It seriously was an incredible car buying experience, despite the problems we had.

Paperwork done and check written, we headed home. All that was left to do now was to get rid of the Saturn. Our salesman at the VW dealership had a few wholesaler buddies he thought might be willing to take it off our hands and asked if it was okay if he passed our number on to them. Talk about going above and beyond to help! Music Man had also posted it on Craigslist with a price of “best offer.” I was pretty much willing to take anything I could get for it at this point, since it was worth negative money to me. If we didn’t get rid of it by the end of the weekend, I was just going to donate it.

Music Man got plenty of emails as a result of the Craigslist ad, but none of them were firm offers. Then, at about eight o’clock, he got an email stating that the person would pay $750 cash and would have it picked up by Saturday afternoon. We agreed that this was probably the best deal we were going to get. Music Man called the guy to work out the details. I had realized yesterday that I was probably going to have to get the new tabs in order to sell the car, so Music Man told the interested party that we’d get the tabs Saturday morning. The guy told him not to worry about it, because he was taking it across the border to a different state, so it didn’t even matter. That saved me over a hundred dollars, so I was pleased!

This is the part of the story when I get to tell you how amazing my husband is. He got up early this morning to go to the dealership to clear up our responsibility to them, to clean out my old car, and to meet the buyer. We agreed before he left that we wouldn’t pay the typical $250 diagnostic fee the dealership usually charges. In my opinion, I was saving them quite a bit of money by not taking their offers for a down payment towards a new car or payment on half of the “new” transmission. The least they could do was cut the diagnostic fee in half, or better yet, waive it completely. Music Man was able to talk them down to $60, which was fine with me. About an hour later, my husband was home with $750 in hand and the sales card portion of the title completed, indicating that the car was no longer my responsibility. Freedom at last!

Turns out the guy who bought the car is going to try to put a new transmission in it; then, he's going to give it to his seventeen year old daughter. That gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies. The car is a great car for a teenage girl—both safe and fun. It reminded me of the first car my stepdad ever bought me and how happy I was not only that he got me a car, but also that he got me a fun car. No teenage girl wants to drive around in an “old person” car if they can help it. I really hope the guy is able to fix it up for his daughter—it runs really good and has nice new tires—with a new transmission, it will be a great car.

I’m excited about my new car!  I can’t wait to drive it! Monday can’t come soon enough for me, even though it will mean one more ride to work from my mother-in-law. I just know the car is going to be worth the wait—I’m so so so excited!

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  1. I have always wanted a bug! I am super jealous!

  2. Congrats on your new car! So fun and exciting!
    Your blog is one of the cutest I've ever seen...good work!

    Here's my info:

  3. How freaking adorable! Congratulations! :D


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