- Gas/Car Payments
Since we had taken out a loan against his paid-off Jeep to pay off some credit cards with a better interest rate, we actually only increased our "car payment" a little with the purchase of the truck. We decided not to get rid of the truck since Josh only drives 3 miles to work and it has been so nice to not have to borrow one of our dads' or granddads' trucks every time we need to haul something.
However, my Jeep Grand Cherokee payment was higher than we'd like and it sadly doesn't get the gas mileage necessary when I'm driving 30 minutes each way to work every day. So we decided to start looking at other vehicles in hopes of a lower payment and better mileage. Here is where the tears started.
The first issue is that I adore my Jeep. It is by far the best car I have ever owned and has every bell and whistle I could dream of. With that said, I knew that no matter what we traded it in for, I wanted another SUV. A smaller one of course with better mileage, but still big enough for me to fit in the drivers seat comfortably (remember, I'm 5'9) while car seats are in the back. Josh on the other hand wanted me to have a car such as a Camry or a Malibu, because he was convinced that they would be plenty big enough and would be so much better on gas.
We argued and argued. I brought up the fact that I have never, ever driven a car and at my height trying to maneuver a stroller in and out of a trunk versus sliding one easily out of the rear of an SUV was not going to go well. I argued that it made absolutely zero sense to be downsizing a vehicle that much when our family is growing.
Finally, I agreed to at least test drive a car. We drove a Camry home for a test run. I loved the way it drove (despite feeling so low to the ground after 11 years of driving SUVs) and thought it was a beautiful vehicle. However, we tried and tried but could not physically make Sawyer's booster seat along with a baby seat in the middle fit into the backseat of the Camry with my seat far enough back for me to sit comfortably at the wheel.
After that letdown, we discovered something even scarier. We actually had negative equity in the Jeep. We still owe around $27,000 since we just purchased it a year ago so the value of the Jeep is less than what we owe. Without putting any money down on another car, the trade in wasn't going to allow for lower car payment. We were stumped. The whole point of trading in my beloved Grand Cherokee was to pay less a month and save money on gas as well.
Solution: We found an amazing car salesmen at our local car dealership that agreed to give us a great price on the trade-in for the Jeep and we purchased a used 2011 Chevy Equinox for a super low price. It is a pretty basic vehicle lacking the leather, heated seats, Navigation system and keyless start that I had on the Jeep, but a smooth ride with plenty of room and much better gas mileage.
But what about the negative equity? We will still technically be under the cloud of that negative equity. We carried over almost -$7,000 into our purchase amount of the Equinox, so while the payment is about $30 less a month, it is much higher than what the payments on the Equinox would have been if we didn't have that negative equity. However, along with our reduced car payment, we will save around $200 a month in gas with a vehicle that gets 32mpg instead of the Jeep's measly 18mpg.
- Pirate Club Dues and Season Tickets
Problem: Every year since graduation, Josh and I donate to the Pirate Club and purchase discounted season football tickets through our membership. It's a good chunk of change and we realize it not a true necessity but rather a luxury that we partake in.
However, when we talked about that cost and what it means to us, it was decided that our support for our Pirates is one sacrifice we are just not willing to make. Football season is usually the only time we get to see our friends (who almost all live in the Raleigh area) for multiple weekends and come together to cheer on our alma mater. It is truly the only thing expense that is something the two of us can enjoy together.
Solution: Accept that we spend money on this and feel good about giving back to our alma mater, besides it's also a tax write off. Also, talk to our grandparents about maybe gifting us a check as our combined Christmas present every year to pay the dues.
So while we are still a work in progress, we are really trying to cut back on our spending in certain areas. We realized that while we do want to save money there are also problems that we can't solve and some sacrifices we aren't willing to make.