Adventures in Car Buying

January 3, 2018

Whew, today has been a day.

I have mentioned before that I want to buy a car, so since I’m finally back home, I decided to search in earnest. The whole thing was stressing me out–just everything about it. I stayed up until about 1 a.m. looking for cars and then I woke up at 6:30–in part because, yay circadian rhythm, and in other part because of the stress, probably. Anyway, I decided that what I really needed to do was just go to my credit union to find out what my interest rate would be since that’s really what would dictate how much I can spend on a car.

In an effort to not be sedentary over the break, I have vowed to walk for 30 minutes each day. Plus, I needed to go to the grocery store, so I walked over to the credit union shortly after it opened and got the information I needed. Yay. Then, my guy at the bank told me not to just buy a car to get a car, but to get a good car. Which I was planning to do anyway, but it was a good reminder. (He mostly said that because I kept talking about trying to stay under a certain amount.) (I see the same dude every time because it’s just easier since he knows my whole deal. Fun fact: he thought I’ve been a member longer than I have, and I pointed out that it’s because I’m in there so much, asking a bunch of questions.)

So, since the credit union has a deal going with Enterprise and since every other option for buying was stressing me out, I decided to just get the car from there. They had a couple of cars I was interested in, so after eating lunch and attempting to take a nap (which I did not do, and I am still awake for some weird reason and am therefore bitter about it), I decided to just head over to Enterprise to check out the car.

Blah blah blah look at cars blah blah blah test drives blah blah blah I wound up deciding on the car I had initially gone in with the intention of buying: a 2016 Nissan Sentra.

So the fun began when I called Geico to get the policy for the car started, and the woman who answered the phone quoted me a MUCH higher premium than I had been given every other time I’ve called in the past few weeks. This threw my whole game off because I had a budget. So my salesperson got on the phone to a bunch of other insurance people to find me a better quote. And then I almost had a meltdown because it was all just too much and the numbers were all wrong, and I didn’t have my spreadsheet to see how the whole thing would affect my budget. So I hit pause and told the salesperson that I needed to think about what I wanted to do and would call her tomorrow with my decision. The finance guy wanted me to do the paperwork anyway since they have a cancellation policy, but I told him no and that I would fill out any paperwork tomorrow if I decided to get the car.

My salesperson was great and offered to let me do an extended test drive (i.e., keep the car overnight) so I could figure out what I wanted to do without losing the car if someone else came in later in the day trying to buy it. So I took her up on that, and then left and went to Target and started to calm down some. I talked to my mom and told her that most of my freakout was because I didn’t have my spreadsheet, and she said she understood and also pointed out that I needed to consider if I wanted to leave Geico and go with another company, which was a whole other issue on top of the price issue.

So I got home, plugged in the numbers, and saw that the new quote from Geico wouldn’t affect my budget as negatively as I thought.

(This is why aiming below budget is good, no matter what all those people on HGTV who plan for the top of their budget do.

COUPLE: Our budget is $250,000.
DREW: This purchase + reno will cost exactly $250,000.
COUPLE: Perfect! Let’s do it.
JONATHAN: [exposes some crazy issue with the house that causes the whole thing to go way over budget]

AKA the plot of every episode of Property Brothers ever. But I digress.)

Then, after calling my salesperson and telling her that yes, I’m definitely buying the car when I bring it back tomorrow, I called Geico to set up my policy. This time, I talked to someone different who quoted me a price in line with the other quotes I had gotten before I talked to the woman this afternoon. So I don’t know what she was doing this afternoon, but she was WRONG and quoted me the wrong amount! I am so glad I took a time out. Otherwise, I would have wound up paying way more than I should have for my car insurance.

So, tomorrow, I will be buying the car and it will be within my originally planned budget.

And now I’m getting excited about all of the things I’ll be able to do now that I have a car. Like go back to water aerobics. Because I am 190 years old.


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  1. heather

    I hate that about HGTV shows. It stresses me out every time. I think the conversation should go, “Your all in budget was $250,000 and you bought the house for $150,000, so you have $100,000 less in mortgage debt!”

    • Akilah

      Right, and maybe if it needs updates or they want to do some, maybe spend only $50k instead of the rest of the budget. Sigh.

  2. The Widow Badass

    That’s a great car! My friend is on her 2nd or 3rd Nissan Sentra – she likes them that much.

  3. K E Garland

    Congrats! and LOL you are no where near 190, but I have noticed that people who do water aerobics usually are…what’s up with that?

    • Akilah

      Stigma? People think it’s only for seniors and pregnant women. I’m usually the youngest (or one of) in the class. 🤷🏾‍♀️


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