Last May we got the car inspected and were told that it barely passed and would not pass again. We had one year left with that car so we made a plan... the hope was that the car would make it through Mike's work season (the end of November) and then we could make it through the winter on one car and buy a new one with our tax return.
Our car made it until early November. Then it DIED. Completely. And then it sat on the road in front of our house until we decided to get it to the junkyard where we got $230 for it.
We managed with one car for a few months and then we got our tax return... $4500. That meant we needed to find a car for $4000 so we would have some left over for tax, title and such.
Now, if you've looked for a used car recently you will know that they aren't cheap. 15 year old cars with 150,000 miles still going for several thousand.
A while ago Mike had decided on the kind of car that he wanted to get and he started looking around. Most of them were running $4700 and up and calls to the sellers let us know that prices were firm. It wasn't looking good. We thought we were going to have to settle for a super old car because $4000 was our budget. If we don't have the cash we don't buy the car.
Of course, somewhere along the way I start getting crazy ideas... "Hey Mike, wouldn't it be awesome if we could find a car for $3000 and have leftover to take a vacation!?!?"
Yeah... probably not going to happen. We can't even find a car for $4000.
Mike continued the car search.
I gave up my hopes of a vacation.
Then one day it was suggested that we call someone we know who is able to access the auto auction. Mike called and we were in. Mike had a whole new set of cars to browse online. And that's when it happened... he found the car he wanted listed on the auction site for only $2500!!! That's HALF of what we were finding it for in our own search. That's half of what the same seller had it listed for on his site that is for the public!!
We got incredibly excited because THAT WAS A DEAL!
Our person helping us had to do all the buying and such then and suggested we put in a lower bid. Bid on the car for $2200 and it was accepted!! What!?!? Woo hoo!!
Of course there were shipping fees because it was coming from New York and a few auction fees but in the end we were still going to be WAY under budget!
So do you know what I did? The only thing left to do... I went to Facebook and asked my friends to recommend vacation spots! We picked a week that we would want to go and then we called his mom and mine to work out some babysitting.
Everything was set... I just needed to get the car and make sure that everything was good so that I could book my hotel. It's been a week. One very. long. week. of waiting.
We got the call yesterday that the car was in (45 minutes away) but there was a problem. I had a small freak out as Mike told me that the alternator needed replaced... even though this wasn't a very expensive fix it still irritated me. But that's what can happen when you buy a car that you have only seen pictures of!
The person helping us get the car was going to fix that for us and we were told to call him in the morning. We got good news this time... wasn't the alternator... it was just missing the belt! Easy fix. Car was ready and running just fine!
We got a babysitter for the kids and picked up the car... an '03 Mazda Protege 5. Manual... just like Mike wanted.
(Yeah... that's the only photo I have right now. Mike pulling out of the gas station. I think it looks like our mini van had a baby. Both Mazdas and the same color!)
It's not a perfect car but we weren't looking for perfect, we were looking for practical... and that's exactly what we got! And in the end... car, fees, taxes, everything... $3041.50!!! We asked the guy what we owed him for his help and he basically said "pay it forward". You can definitely count on that happening!!
So this is Mike...
He's excited because he finally got a car... the kind he wanted. For an AMAZING deal!
And this is me...
I'm crazy excited because I actually DID get that car for $3000 and have leftover for vacation!! I just booked a hotel on a beach in North Carolina!!!! We check in five weeks from today!!!
And I have a mad case of the "Jesus Loves Meeees!" Please pardon any random giddiness. :)