Car Dilemma

I’ve got most of my bills set up on auto-pilot, so I don’t have to worry about getting the payments in on time.   It’s a huge time saver, but it occasionally comes with a downside.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reviewing our bills and saw this on our  insurance statement:

2002 FORD $51.07
2005 CHRYSLER $47.40
1994 MERCURY $1.64
2008 DODGE $39.96
1986 HONDA — ANNUAL $17.76

There are two problems with this.

1.  We sold the 1994 Mercury a few months ago.   Then, we forgot to tell the auto insurance company.   We probably only wasted $6 on storage insurance, but it could have been worse.

2.  We have 2 drivers in the house and 3 vehicles to drive, and the highest premium is on the vehicle getting driven the least.

We haven’t decided what we are going to do, yet.

Here are our needs:

  • We have 5 people in our family.  My 13-year-old son is bordering on 6 feet tall and shows no sign of not growing.
  • Every weekend, we have at least 1 extra kid, sometimes 2.
  • We still have a giant(24 foot) boat that we won’t be selling until spring.
  • My wife wants to lease a couple of ponies next summer, which will mean a horse trailer to haul them in.

The Dodge is a Caliber, which is small.   I don’t fit comfortably in the front seat for a long period of time, and I’ve got no idea how my son manages to fit in the backseat behind me, next to two car seats without complaining.  It gets great gas mileage.

The Chrysler is a Pacifica, which fits out family perfectly, as long as there are no extras.   It gets crowded with a dog and luggage for a trip, but it’s doable.  We get gas mileage higher than the car is rated, but it doesn’t have a towing package.  Even if it did, the car can’t handle a trailer full of horse.

The Ford is an F150 we bought new.    It’s less roomy in the backseat than the Caliber, but better in the front seat and it can tow anything we need.   Also the worst gas mileage of the lot.

The Honda is a motorcycle.  I could haul both of the girls if I bungie-strap them to the backrest.  Sucks in the winter.

Our choices seem to be:

A.  Sell the Caliber.  Drive the truck.   Not perfect for hauling lots of kids, but it can work.

B.  Sell the truck.  Drive the Caliber.  Screw the horses. (Not literally.  Jeez, you have a dirty mind!)  This still isn’t great for family outings, but works for a commuter.

C.  Sell the truck.  Sell the Caliber.   Buy a mini-van.   We’re looking at the GMC Acadia or the Chevy Traverse.  Both are built on the same body, have third row seating that can fit an adult comfortably, and are rated high enough to tow a trailer full of horse.    If we sold the car and the truck, and cash out an inherited IRA that has to be cashed out over the next few years anyway, we can come up with $22,000.    That will buy a 1-year-old Traverse outright or get us within a few thousand of a similar Acadia.

I think C is the best long-term solution for our family.  What do you think?

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    1. Totally Option C. It makes the most sense for you right now. Then, if it is still around when kids start moving out (like your son), you can sell the mini-van and get something for a smaller family. But for the next few years, you need something with more seating…

    2. Is the motorcycle just a toy, or do you use it to commute to work in good weather?

    3. I like option C as it will get you everything you want and will also clear up some space for you. I am all for simplifying lifestyle and this would do that for you.

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