There is no greater way to throw a nice, balanced lifestyle off course than with a sudden, unexpected expense. And a LARGE expense at that. Maybe it’s unexpected medical costs, or your furnace dying in the middle of winter. In my current situation, it’s a new vehicle purchase. You never think you’re going to get rear-ended on the Beltline driving to work in the morning. You never think your car will be completely totaled; never to be driven again. I pass accidents on the Beltline many days. “That’ll never be me,” I think. Well, apparently we can all be that someone else someday. And on that particular May day, it was me.
Up until then my financial life was totally in check. I had my rent, utilities, insurance, food, and leisure costs completely covered, within the scope of my monthly income. And now, I need to find a way to add a car loan payment to my list of monthly expenses. Do you ever look back at a time before you got a pay raise, and say, “How did I manage? How did I LIVE on that income?” This is about to become one of these instances. Let’s get one thing straight, I NEED a new car sooner than later. I (thankfully) have the luxury of borrowing my mom’s truck in the interim, but it’s an older vehicle, and it just destroys my wallet on the gas expenses. I need to get back and forth from my job at DCCU, and I also travel way too much to be without a reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle for much longer.
So now, I begin a new quest: To find a new car that will suit my needs, and meet my budget. But this brings up a series of new questions: What type of vehicle do I want? What is my budget and how do I get a car loan? Where do I even start to look? Thankfully, Dane County Credit Union has a full online Auto Resource Center to help me find information and narrow down my search for a new vehicle. For now, I’ll start there.
Read about my plan of action in Part 2.