We are big fans of Dave Ramsey and Crown Ministries around here, and we have committed to being debt-free! That said, when we found out we were pregnant with our second baby, we knew it was only a matter of time before we would need to up-size our vehicle, and we knew debt was not going to be an option for us.
You see, all of our family lives four hours away. Between all of our parents, someone is up here visiting at least once or twice a month, and we go to them 3-4 times a year, on average. When we go visit, our dog almost always comes… she is a part of our family. (Plus, finding a dog sitter isn’t always easy… but shh, don’t tell her that… family, she is!) With two car seats in the back of our old SUV, there was hardly enough room for a dog, let alone an extra person.
This meant that when parents came to visit, we had to take separate cars anywhere we went. It also meant that when we went to visit family, we would have to leave our dog here and find a pet sitter, and that I would not be able to sit in the backseat. Since our youngest hated the car her first 6 months of life, car rides were not pleasant, especially if Mom had to sit up front. All of these factors combined meant we would most likely not be going to visit family as often as we desired.
I tell you all of that to show you that this was something we really thought through and began praying about. We prayed that God would provide for a new car when the time came. Please note that we did not pray that He would make one appear out of thin air, but rather that He would help us to manage our finances well in order to attain our goal, that we would be able to get a reliable car with relatively low mileage that would fit our whole family.
Because we had been planning to have a second child in the near future anyway, we had already filled up our HSA to a point we were comfortable with, knowing we would be paying for a birth in less than a year. With our HSA and emergency fund in place, we could begin the car savings. Almost every bonus or freelance check last year went towards the car fund, as did our two extra paychecks for the year. (We budget per month, rather than per paycheck, so twice a year there are three paychecks per month, meaning it’s money we had not counted on spending.) We had a yard sale last May from which the earnings went to the car fund. I even put blog earnings in the car fund. We saved aggressively!
We planned to trade in my husband’s SUV, being that it was a little older and less fuel efficient than our Prius, so we researched average trade-in (or private party selling) value for it and added to it our savings.
We had planned to wait until closer to summer, but when a family member decided to trade in their Honda Odyssey for a newer model, we jumped on it and made an offer from our savings! We knew that the minivan had been well-maintained, had relatively low mileage, and was truly loved.
Additionally, we looked into options for selling my husband’s SUV. Because it had some maintenance that needed to be done, selling to a dealership ended up being the best option for us, and wouldn’t you know – they offered us more than we expected! It totally pays to get multiple offers too because one dealership offered us almost $1,000 more than CarMax! It was awesome to see how God orchestrated the transaction! Once tax, title, and license were included, we had almost the exact amount set aside for our new minivan!
We were intentional over the last year and a half, and it paid off! We are thankful for how God provided! Now we can fit our entire family day to day and on road trips. And most importantly, we are debt-free!