Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's the only way to live

In my last post earlier today I said I was looking for a used car. But the thought of spending a lot of time running around looking at cars and having them checked by mechanics and whatnot (all the while paying $35 a day for a rental so I could get to work and do all the running around) was giving me mucho anxiety. Plus I ran into a little snag in financing--it would take just about all of the liquid funds I had available to buy the car, but I need to keep plenty on hand for crap like closing costs, moving expenses and other junk involved in a major life change, so I can't really spend it. I could get a used car loan from the credit union (planning to pay it off quickly after the dust settles), but as it turns out, they won't lend me the money even though my credit is great and I have more money on deposit with them in various accounts, CDs and an IRA than I wanted to borrow. It turns out that because my name is on two mortgages (along with Mr. Pants) they count the entire amount of each mortgage as my debt against my income (since Mr. Pants name wouldn't be on the loan). So my debt-to-income ratio was too high. Bastards! Option three was to hit up the Pants Mother for a loan, and she said she would be happy to lend me what I need, but why don't I just go look into buying that Honda Fit I wanted?

Yeah, why the hell not? I mean, I could at least go to the dealership and test drive it ... So I did.

Well, the car sold itself to me. I mean, I had already been sold on it by stuff I'd read in Consumer Reports, Dogcars.com and a few other places. Hell, even Mother Earth News had great things to say about it. It was the salesman's arms and fingers that pushed the levers and stuff to show how the back folds into a cavernous (for a compact) cargo hold, but it was the car that said "I am perfect for you." Plus, the dealership had no problem with my debt-to-income ratio. I think all they require is a pulse and a drivers license, although a good credit score gets you a better rate, and a decent downpayment keeps the monthly payments from being too onerous. (I plan to pay off the loan early--as soon as possible, actually--to keep from paying so much interest.)

I decided on a manual transmission. They can get slightly better gas mileage (although maybe not the way I drive) and they're a little cheaper than an automatic. Plus I sort of like driving a manual--it feels you're actually driving--as opposed to just operating--the car. I suppose if most of one's driving is in a city with so much stopping and going it can get a little tiresome, but most of my daily commute is on interstate highway. Now I just need to get back into practice--there's an an art to shifting gears.

Pantsmobile V2 is what Honda calls "Blaze Orange Metallic," but I prefer to think of it as sort of a pumpkin color. Cute as a button. I was smiling like an idiot at no one in particular all the way home.


Barb said...

Congrats on the new vehicle, though sorry for the circumstances that got you there. Blazing Orange sounds like you have a desire to be on DogSmack. =)

Lisa B. said...

I do love the color orange a lot ... ;-)

htrouser said...

Many congratulations! We almost did the same thing, and probably didn't only because we didn't actually test drive the Fit (or any new cars). We opted for a four year-old Civic instead.

And stick is the only way to go. Anything else just isn't driving.

Anonymous said...

So do you already have the car, or is it on order?

Manual transmission is fine, except when you try to eat/drink while driving.

Good choice; you can't go wrong with a Honda or a Toyota!

--Lisa S.

Elayne said...

I was thinking about getting a Fit when (if) the 1994 Subaru ever goes. My current Honda is an automatic, I had no choice when I got it because I was injured and I hate it. I really miss my stick. But it's nice to have one automatic in the house for injuries.

Lisa B. said...

It's in my possession!

I'm not a big fan of eating while driving. You can't really enjoy your food that way. Maybe on a road trip I'll have a banana and some water, and I figure I can work that sort of thing in when I'm cruising in 5th gear and don't have to shift.

spacegrrl said...

i eat all kinds of stuff while driving manual trans. no problemo.

you can get significantly better mileage with a manual if you go easy on the fuel pedal.

i have a whole blog post about that stuff if you're interested. i can dig it up again.

Lisa B. said...

Yes, I am insterested!

spacegrrl said...

here it is:


enjoy :)

Sarah said...

Congrats on the car! I've heard great things about the Honda Fit.

Like Spacegrrl, I have no problem eating or drinking while driving stick shift. My only problem is that my car doesn't have a cup holder. I have a collection of stuff on the passenger seat to hold my drink in place so it won't spill.

Lisa B. said...

Sarah, I've got cupholders! I still won't eat much in the car--I just don't like to eat while I'm driving.

Lisa, thanks for the link. Once I read it I remembered it from when you first posted. I think I've mastered the "no jackrabbit starts" bit, but I do have to slow down on the inteerstate.

Anonymous said...

Lisa B.,

Thank you for mentioning us on your Web site! We're happy you enjoy Mother Earth News.

Great job on the blog. We loved your post on buying a used car!

Laura Evers
Mother Earth News

Check out this link to our Web site for more great articles on cars and transportation!