Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buying a car that was made in the last two decades.

Buying a car is always an experiance, no matter who you are.

I come here hoping to share my experiance with you so that maybe
you'll learn something, too. Maybe you'll laugh because you'll
understand the importance of leg room and coffee holders and LEATHER
INTERIOR. This is all new to me. I've NEVER had my name on a title EVER.
I've never bought a car. (This isn't new to my husband, but it's always
good for me to learn so that I can be the clearhead to his child-like
abandon.) And dosen't life experiance lend to a good story?

You know that it's Murphy's Law that when you FINALLY get the money
to pay something off or buy something new, something's gonna break.
You know this. And when you've started life at the bottom of the well
and are working your way out, you realize that you've got to scream to
the top of that well and tell the man yelling at you to "put the lotion
on the skin otherwise you'll get the hose again" that this is IT for you.
You're gonna learn from your mistakes and veer around the hole to that
well next time.

I digress.

So, as soon as we get the mobile paid off, our car gives us it's
notice. Hey, at least we taught it manners. She's got the courtesy to
say "please" before she dies. We're still hobbling her around, but
barely. So, we're looking for a new-to-us car. Something made in the
last two decades. Hey....we're working our way out of the well. The
first car D. and I bought together was an '84 Camry, I think. Then,
we moved up to a '89 Astrovan. Then, it was the '91 Subaru. (Don't
quote me on this. I stink at cars birthdays as well as make and model.
Forget it. I just notice the color and wether it smells like monkey
buttflap or not.) We set our eyes on a '96 Ford Expedition. (And I
had to ask my six year old boy to remind me what kind of car it was.
Like I said, I'm terrible at remembering.) And lemme tell you,
it's freaking GORGEOUS. I'm not one for pretty cars. Everything we've
bought has been to get us from Point A to Point B and really has been
about substance, not glamour. But, girls.....GOD. It's got LEATHER
INTERIOR. I've never had LEATHER INTERIOR. I'm movin' on up. (And I
know you all watch Roseanne like me. When her and Dan were going back
and forth about wanting to buy a car made in the last decade, he
guffawed. I GET it. Because, not everyone can set goals that high. the last two decades, that's doable)

So, we go back today and hopefully get the thumbs up from the
finance company. I'm not getting my hopes up, but lord, it would be
nice to have a reliable car that's pretty. And for all you women who
have men who work in construction and have boys for children, you
KNOW what kind of havoc that they can wreck on a car. My Subaru
is hammered. I'd like to have a clean car for once. Something where
you can just wipe the seats and you're golden. And leg room. And
coffee holders inside the car, so you don't have to wedge it inbetween
the seat and the parking break and pray to God that it dosen't
dislodge on a turn and douche everything in it's wake. If we don't
get it, it's okay. We'll work it out. But, you know......I REALLY
want it to work out, you know?

This does tie into a Double Wide Skillet. Honest. Because, we're
going to have to make a hefty payment because of our credit. IF we
get approved, that is. And this is going to bring our budget tight
once again. And, you know, I think we can do it. I'm excited for this
new challenge because down deep, we've all got the inner Survivor to
climb out the well and really give it to the man holding the lotion.

Ain't it the TRUTH?

EDITED: Not quite enough down payment for the vehicle. So, no go for today.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Double Wide Skillet, Single Wide Budget

I've always identified as white trash.

Not that it's bad. I always thought it was kind of cool. Not the trashy
behavior, I mean. The whole laid back, no frills, genuine kind of people.
I mean, I'm sure I fit into the box of trashy....but we'll not go into that
here. Wait until I know you a little better.

When I moved into "The Park", I have to admit that I wasn't thrilled.
I'd kind of started out my life on the bottom and kind of wanted something
better when I was older. Living in a mobile home was always associated
with being trashy and poor and dirty. I've changed my opinion NOW,
six years later, and now have formed new opinions but that comes with
saddling up my big girl britches and grown up somewhat.

I have a point. I just go the roundabout way of getting to it.

Living in a mobile home park, you learn a few things. It's not
like buying a home. It's like buying a really big car you can live
in. The longer you live in it, it decreases in value, just like a car.
And if you sign a contract to buy a mobile home in a park, using
the owner as a bank, you might have a balloon payment in a couple
years for the remainder of the down payment they didn't get all
of up front. And, no lenders will loan for less than 10 grand
and even if you get someone who MIGHT lend you the money, they
won't lend against a "car" that's decreasing in value. With that said,
we were doing really well when we signed to buy our mobile home. We
thought we'd be sitting pretty, have it paid off in three years and
be able to move into a stick built home and use the money we paid for
the mobile home outright for a down payment.

Right. Didn't happen that way.

We could not get a loan for our balloon payment. We negotiated a
deal with the mobile home manager and owner to make double payments
on the mobile until it was paid off to save our butts from losing
the mobile. (Which wasn't put in our name the whole six years we'd
been paying on it, but that's a whole other can of worms. Lesson to
you, read your paperwork well. Pay a lawyer to help you if you can.
And if you ever buy a mobile, make sure it's not in a Park.)

Long story short, our budget for everything changed. No more date
nights. No more paid babysitters. No more extras. And our food budget
was cut in half. everyone else, it was cut back in a third
when the economy tanked. And it SUCKS.

But....does it really?

So, back to this whole white trash way of thinking. I was raised on
welfare with a savvy parent who tried the best to make sure my sister
and I were fed well on a small budget. And he sure could stretch food
to make it work for whatever was needed. Sure, it was "trashy" but it
was healthy, too. You don't need a TON of money to eat well. It's really
all about the mindset that you can have a double-wide skillet on a
single-wide budget. And it. can. be. done. You'll find yourself buying
marked down meat, buying at discount grocery stores and perusing day
old bread racks. If you have no clue how to do this, no sweat.
I am pretty danged good at what I do. And I don't mind showing you. And,
it might turn out that you have a thing or two to learn me, too. Shoot,
as long as someone's getting something out of this, I'm a happy girl.

Who knows, you might have a little extra money at the end of the month
to live it up and go thriftin'. Or buy a latte that someone else makes.
Or whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Let's all have fun and keep a sense of humor in the kitchen.