Musings: Buying My First Car

2:50 PM

Doing Big Girl thaaaangs...

...finally! Yes, I'm in my early-to-mid thirties and am just buying my first car. I realize how lucky I am to be writing this, many people have to sacrifice at much younger ages to own a car, a necessity. Please do not take this as bragging by any means (I hate that I even have to preface with that), but my parents blessed me with Big Blue for over a decade of my life. I wrote an entire post saying goodbye to my favorite car, my electric blue Honda CRV. Last summer they decided to sell it, which then they bestowed upon me the BRB -- Big Red Boat. Again, I'm beyond fortunate enough to have my parents provide cars for me through my life thus far.

It should also be known that I am not a car person at all. I appreciate their functionality and use them to the fullest, but I don't generally care about aesthetics. Maybe that's because I appreciated what my parents gave to me or I just inherently don't care about them. I'm not a hundred percent sure. But after going through the car buying experience, I realize that I care a little more now. When I wasn't afforded the luxury of choosing what I drove, I didn't mind, but now that I had the option it was a little different.

To say that the end of 2015 was a bad time for me and cars would be an understatement. In over 15+ years, I hadn't been in an accident, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Then my luck turned. I totaled the BRB on the way to my indoor  soccer game. I was more nervous to tell my parents about the accident than anything, but all they cared about was that I was okay. J was my knight and shining armor and came to get me right away, helped me clean out my car, and do whatever else it is when you can't drive your car away from your accident.

My neck hurt for a few days too, that was fun. But it didn't end there. Then I had a rental, until they officially decided if they were going to total my car or not, and I messed that up too. I did not get into an accident, but I left it way different than when I picked it up :( Needless to say, I was had bad car luck for a two week span.

J was kind enough to loan me his car for what turned out to be four and a half months. As a result of that, he had to borrow one of his Mom's cars -- which I couldn't drive, because it was stick. I was ready to rush out and buy a new car, but everyone said to take my time and make a good decision. Well, I sure took my time, over four months later and I finally bought my car.

I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted something very similar to the CRV, but I didn't want to own another CRV. Everyone said I was weird for that, but it's just how I felt. I looked at a bunch of cars, even contemplated a sedan, but in the end I ended up with a sport utility type of car.

I went down both routes - Carmax & a dealership. 

The dealership I was working with said they were the 'Carmax' of their auto mall and that they wouldn't neogitate prices. They'd drop $500 or so, but that was their max. Even with actual Carmax data and prices, they still wouldn't budget. I was firm with what I wanted and so were they, needless to say I went a couple times to negotiate, but was never fruitful. I even looked at another dealership, but the car was a little more 'used' than I would have liked.

My first time at Carmax was back last summer when I randomly started looking at cars. Then I never followed up with the car I looked at, for whatever reason. Then I started using their website to search for cars, it's so dang easy that way. I made appointments, test drove cars, then didn't find what I wanted. I let the whole process sleep for a while, until I decided it was time to give everyone back their car in a chain reaction and buy mine.

I was really set on an 2013 Acura, only to find out at the last minute that they were all under recall and no dealership would sell them, but Carmax would. I didn't feel comfortable purchasing a car, knowing I'd have to take it straight to the dealer for an undisclosed amount of time to fix the recall. Sounded like more work than necessary AND it wasn't really the body style I liked.

Then, back to the drawing board, I started re-looking at my original idea of luxury sport utility car. Originally I was ready to pay for a luxury car, then I decided against it, but after the Acura ordeal of the re-call and the bad service at Niello Acura I was over it.

I found it way easier to browse a large selection of brands, models, and price ranges of cars via Carmax's website. If it was a perfect world, I would have loved to buy a brand, spankin' new car. But I'm not rich and trying to live within my means, so a used car is what would suffice. I plan on driving this car for a long, long time!

I had two cars transferred to my local Carmax. This isn't normal, but they accommodated my request. However, one car was scratched in transit and that was the one I paid to have transferred. However, in the end, they refunded the transfer fee -- because the scratch was a factor in not purchasing the car. The second car was transferred for free, because of it's location. I should note that although the manager was going to transfer the second car for me, apparently it got 'lost' in their system. So the original second car I was supposed to see never showed, so really it was the third car I had sent. 

After two visits and multiple test drives, I decided.
Photo Cred: J // Don't worry, we weren't driving when this was taken!

I went with the car that made me feel instantly comfortable when I sat down in the drivers seat. I loved both of my options, but they both had things that I had to contemplate as well. It's hard to forget that when you decide to buy a used car, it is used. You have to remember that there will be bumps and bruises (not literally, well...kinda) that your decision will need to account for. Plenty of people warned me against buying a luxury car, since the maintenance costs are crazy expensive. But it's what I wanted, and these same people who told me that would also say 'buy what YOU want, it's YOUR car!' So that's what I did.

I'll be the first to admit that I probably should have done a little more research on how to buy a car and cars in general. I'm completely happy about my purchase, but I felt a little nervous/apprehensive about what may happen to my car, the payments, and the maintenance for the first five days of owning my car. These aren't things I can change now, so no point in stressing over them.

I feel like such a rook in my car. So many things to learn, little tricks here and there. The Bestests' boo, Hotlanta hooked me up with some good knowledge, since he owned the same brand before. I'm still getting used to the size of the car, since I've been driving a sedan for the last five months. It wasn't a deal breaker, but I'm super excited that I have a moon roof, even if I forget to use it all the time! I'm just glad its there in case I want to use it. 

More than anything, I'm glad that it's another step in me becoming more financially responsible. I had planned to do it all on my own...everything. But of course, the Parentals came through really big and offered a better deal than I could get on my own. I told them I really wanted to do it on my own, but they argued that if they could help they wanted too. So, I cannot write about this experience without offering my gratitude for their help.

I've adjusted pretty well since owning the car for the first week. I feel really comfortable driving the car. I'm really good at parallel parking (yes, I'm tooting my own horn, thanks Poppa Bear), but this car is a little bigger than I'm used too. It'll take some time, but I'll nail it soon. It fits snugly in our garage, so I'm always a little hesitant when pulling in to park. L loves it and always wants me to drive us all around. But overall, I'm happy. I'm a car owner. The only thing is, I don't have a nickname yet...

Early thirties is good time to start adulting... 

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  1. Glad to hear you are loving your car. You can finally toot your own horn all day! Good job with the parallel parking as wel,l but I can only hope I get the hang of it soon. My boyfriend is still trying to teach me to drive better. He says I don't concentrate enough, I am sure he means well though. Thanks for sharing this.


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