My Kingdom For a Horse (part 2) – FINALLY

Ok ok… I’ve been slack about posting. I know it. You know it. Let’s move on.

As Meg has said, we purchased a new (to us) vehicle. It was an interesting journey getting to the point that we could actually make this purchase. Let me give you the short version.

We came to realize several weeks back that we were going to hit a deadline with the Taurus Meg’s been driving. That deadline was that we still didn’t have the title to the vehicle, so we couldn’t put it in her name, transfer the tags or put insurance on it, and the insurance that was on it was about to expire. That would leave us with only a truck to travel in, and we work different enough shifts now that to make that work would require a LOT of extra driving or Meg working 10½ hour shifts every day. Neither of these sounded very good to us.

I began looking into equity loans, refinancing options, etc… but was essentially told that CitiMortgage required all loans to be at least $10,000 and they only would loan $5,000 to homeowners in my area. So after a bit of back and forth on how stupid that is, I was sent to the refinancing “expert.” He informed me that it would cost me $6,000 to refinance, and that I would essentially just barely break even and could not cash out anything from my house. He suggested I just keep paying what I’m paying now (at 7.25%). Considering I’ve been paying more than my required mortgage payment for 8 years, this was a pretty big shock to me. But that’s ok. I’ll just drop CitiMortgage in a few months and refinance with someone else. Even if my payments are the same (and they won’t be), the poor customer service they provided me with is reason enough to dump them.

So what to do? Fortunately I moved some money around about a year ago and called my financial advisor, who opened me up to the fabulous world of borrowing on margin. It’s more than I can explain here, but it allowed me to borrow my own money, from myself, and pay myself back, cutting out the need for a bank approval at all. It’s not an option for everyone, but I’m very lucky to find myself in a position where it’s an option for me.

So money was secured. Now onto the “find a car” bit. Here’s where things have been complicated for me.

1) I wanted something I could move a family in. Meg, the baby and I all have to fit, with enough room for the baby accoutrements, and in the future, a dog. So it needs to be spacious with room to grow.

2) I also wanted to find a car that got good gas mileage. Aside from the just good financial sense it makes, I feel I’m going to have an inquisitive child growing up in an increasingly globally and socially conscious world, and I need to set as many good examples as I can. Will she ever notice my MPG or question what it is, or if I did anything back in my day to attempt to reduce my dependence on foreign oil? Probably not. But if she does, I wanted to have answer. Plus, again, financially it just makes sense.

3) Lastly, if at all possible, I wanted to find a car from a company that didn’t take bailout money. I was against the idea when Bush pushed for it, against the idea when Obama pushed for it, and I will forever remain firmly against the decision and every person who voted for it. Of course I knew I might simply have to let this one go, purely based on what I could afford, and knowing that vehicle size and fuel economy are more important than my opinions on the role of government.
So I search and search for cars. I narrow it down to a few ideal vehicles, a few “wishlist” vehicles and a few “only if there’s no other option” vehicles. Meg and I discuss payment schedules, rework our budget (for like the 20th time this year), and everything’s set.

This post has gone on far too long, so I’ll spare you the rest of the story. Needless to say, we found an AMAZING deal on a 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid, which was on the wishlist. It fulfills everything I was looking for: we’re averaging 32/34 MPG in an SUV, it has all the room we need and room to grow, and Ford didn’t take bailout money. It looks good, has a decent stereo, 4-wheel disc brakes, only requires an oil change every 10,000 miles, has child safety locks, rides smooth, and sits comfortably. I’m amazingly happy with it.

I named her Serenity.

“I’m a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.”



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