Thursday, August 20, 2009

Operation Buy Wheels

I'm trying to make a decision. The bigger the decision, the more I research. The more potential impact, the more I seek advice. The bigger the consequence of making the wrong decision the harder I pray.

Research, seek advice and pray - sounds like a wise combination.
And everyone said, "Amen".

Should I get a new car through the government trade in program? We need a car. Seriously, we do. Our '78 Caprice Classic doesn't qualify and I want to keep our good car, a previously wrecked '96 Buick Regal. It ain't pretty, but the engine has a lot of life left. I dismissed that option. I thought about our business van. It isn't worth more than the price of scrap metal. It has been in an accident so the front end is messed up and it will not shift out of first. Even so, I let the idea slide.

The economy.
The budget.

Then temptation, or divine intervention or the devil stepped in at work. I still haven't decided which. I spent a week listening to several people telling me to trade the business van. Absolutely 100% do it and do it now. They totally ganged up on me. They were car shopping and advising and thoroughly messing with my head, filling it with a whole other set of options. So I dove into the project again.

Some decisions stress me. Especially when it involves large sums of money and long-term implications. Call me a pansy. I prefer prudent. Time to apply decision making strategy.

Step 1 Wait before I get to step 1, for the record, prayer goes with every step. Don’t forget prayer.

Back to Step 1. Research. It is wise to have the right information to make the right decision. Problem is that information overload can work against me and give so many ok options that the best option gets lost in the shuffle. I drive myself nuts with whishy-washy indecision but, I avoid rash decisions.

Impulsiveness can do a person in faster than scat. Impulsive I'm not. Well, most of the time anyway. Debating the pros and cons and calculating the potential impact of the decision is important. Don’t I sound so wise? Except I can debate myself in circles, take the side of either pro or con and routinely flip sides-on a daily basis. I have turned my brain to mush trying to wade through the muck of options.

The economy.
The budget.
The need.

So I wade through Consumer Reports dissecting the information like a seasoned covert agent. Isn’t car shopping a little like sleeping with the enemy? I’m entering guerilla warfare. I consider this boot camp. Eliminate high maintenance cars get a short list of trusty reliable models. I'm loyal. When I pick something, I want to have it for a long time. I'm talking this car should see me into my card carrying senior discount years. Note Item #2 in my last post. Oh my, I'm doing the math, that's so true and completely depressing! I'm getting up there in years.

Step 2 My financial adviser. He has patiently answered my myriad of questions and helped with excellent information about car expense. However, he's being a good “adviser” (key word) not making the decision for me. I walked in there expecting him to say, Are you crazy? Instead he said there are times when a need is real and this might be the time to buy. I hoped someone would tell me NO and save me the agony of the decision process. Drat.

So step 2 continued. I took a hard look at my budget, studied some areas I could adjust and came up with an amount I felt I could spend on a car. Yeesh, I hope I’m right. I wanted to be fully prepared when I put operation Buy Wheels in action. I could see it the lean, mean negotiating machine. Salesman? Finance manager? Bring it on boys. I know my numbers. I’m ready for the challenge!

Step 3 Test drive the short list. This brought on more than a little anxiety. I’m not mean. I’m totally NOT lean. Negotiating machine? I’m wilting. My last trip to a dealership was a horrible experience and I haven't set foot in a show room since. Sure it was 20 some years ago, but trauma remains.

I knew the lure of the shiny-smells new-feels good test drive was dangerous, but I drove on the lots with steeled resolve. Almost. Oh, they are soooo nice. Not much for acceleration, but flies quietly at 65. It even has a cup holder. That’s an issue in our current car. Can you believe not one cup holder??? Hey, the windows don’t constantly grind and rattle either. By now I'm not sure I want someone to tell me no. I’m in agony. I have seen the enemy and the enemy is me. And that finance manager poised for my takedown? Not in the negotiating mood. What’s up with that?

The economy.
The budget.
The need.
The desire.

Brake lights. Screeching tires on pavement. STOP. Drive awaaayyyy from the lot. Resist temptation. Time for a tactical retreat but the battle is far from over.


Jaime Kubik said...

I LOVED this post!!! I absolutely hate car shopping and it is so nice to hear someone else's take on the whole process. Still, no matter the purchase or decision one makes, the strategy is perfect! Pray, seek advice, pray, next step, pray, pray, pray...

Thank you for your words!

Oh, by the way, do you know the number one reason a woman choses one car over another? CUP HOLDERS! (thought you might get a kick out of that little tid bit!)

Brenda said...

I'll pray you know what to do.