Friday, February 18, 2011

The Van Argument

If we could avoid it, we would.  The fact of the matter is that neither one of the cars we currently own can fit three carseats in the backseat.  It is a physical impossibility.  Thus, we are in the market for a vehicle.  We are also on the Total Money Makeover, step 2.  That makes things.....tricky.  It also leads to "discussions" between my husband and I about purchasing said vehicle to resemble this:

Only, without the smiling children.  That's me on the left because I like red and Evan's a boy, so he gets to be the blue robot.  We verbally spar back and forth, Evan countering my jabs of "safety," "reliability," and "but it's RED!" with his own punches of "no more debt," "don't really need it," and "just needs to run!"  Around and around we go until one of our heads finally shoots up toward the ceiling and we quit before one or the other ends up sleeping on the couch. 

There's nothing like spending money to drive a wedge between a couple, is there?  Oh, it's frustrating. 

Evan's Side of the Story - We've been busting our butts to attack our debt and we've been doing pretty well.  The last thing we want to do now is take on any new debt, for any reason!  We can find a van that may not be the nicest swagger wagon around, but will run and will meet our needs until we can trade it in after a couple years of saving for something nicer.  Sarah needs to ditch her emotional attachment to getting an Odyssey or a Sienna and realize that we're just not necessarily going to be able to afford one, even an older used one.  Cash only.  Period.  (His target price range: $5,000-$8,000)

Sarah's Side of the Story - Of course I don't want to go digging us into a bigger hole!  I'm not so delusional as to think I can waltz into a Honda dealership and pick out a brand spankin' new Odyssey with all the tricked out accessories.  What is important to me is purchasing a vehicle I can count on and feel comfortable putting my babies in.  I've got my "heart set" on an Odyssey or a Sienna because I trust those brands, the research I have done shows they are the best choices, and I have had nothing but good experiences with the Hondas I have driven my whole life.  Yes, those brands are a bit more costly.  Also, I know we have other things to be saving money for over the next couple years (new windows, flooring, etc.) and I don't want all our focus to be on the "next van."  I think it makes more sense to buy a slightly nicer, newer, less busted van now.  Yes, we may have to take out a small loan, but I'm talking about a loan we can have GONE in two years or less and still stay on budget and on track with our TMMO.  Then we'll have a better van, paid in full, with a higher trade-in value when we are ready to upgrade further down the line. (Her target price range: $9,000-$11,000)

We are both frugal people, having found a real peace in having a budget and living by it.  Where we differ is that I think the rules need to be bend just a little sometimes and Evan is sticking to it, hard-lined.  I think we can both see where the other is coming from, but it doesn't make choosing a vehicle any easier. 

Care to weigh in on this one?  We promise, it won't be adding fuel to the fire.  Honestly, some outside opinions could really help us stay as objective as possible, so we're all ears!  Should we be looking for this van:
or this van:

Just kidding!  I don't think the panther comes with that model anyway....

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