Finances & Money

Overspending on Cars – What do we do now?

Yesterday, I shocked you with how much we spent in 1 year (2006) on our cars.

To recap, the 2 of us own 3 vehicles that cost us about $22,000 last year:

Honda Ridgeline RTSChevy MalibuPontiac Grand Am

1. 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS – the biggest loan (about $25k left), but the most versatility and comfort of our vehicles
2. 2005 Chevrolet Malibushould be paid off in 6 more months (see debt scale on the sidebar)
3. 1997 Pontiac Grand Am – paid off, high mileage, but it runs great

So what’s on the horizon for 2007? Will we spend less or more?
The truth is, we’re budgeting even more towards our vehicles this year than last, specifically to pay off the loans more quickly. We expect to pay about $20,000 towards our car loans. Most of that will be to pay off the Malibu ($15k), and the rest for regular Ridgeline payments. We don’t expect insurance to go down, and gasoline fluctuates.

What can we do?
Option 1: The most logical option is to sell one of our vehicles. However, it’s not such an easy decision.

  • The Ridgeline costs the most, but it’s the most versatile
  • The Grand Am is paid-off and wouldn’t fetch too much on the market (maybe $2000-2500)
  • The Malibu has low miles, good gas mileage and if we sold it, can we count on the Pontiac lasting another 2 years? We put about 6000 miles per year on it now, but it would double or triple if my wife used it primarily. Also, we could probably only sell the Chevy for $10k-12k. If we need to buy another vehicle in a year, could we get a reliable, fuel efficient, low mileage, mid-size car for the same price we gave up? Hmm…

Option 2: Just pay off our cars and run them all into the ground. This means we’re stuck paying off about another $40,000 total between the 2 vehicles, plus interest and insurance. That will take about 2 years.

So, if I decide to pursue selling the Malibu, can you all help me convince Clever Dudette? She’s an emotional being, while I’m logical, so she gets a bit more connected to things that I seem to do. How do I convince my wife to sell her car?

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Heh. If she won’t listen to you, why would she listen to a bunch of random people on the internet? 🙂

    Maybe you should sell the Pontiac. You’d be able to put a couple grand toward the Chevy and knock a few extra bucks off your insurance.

    If you expect you’ll need another car in the next few years, selling the Chevy would be a bad move. You’d just be back in the same situation a few years down the road. If you ditch the Pontiac and keep the Chevy, your car needs should be taken care of for quite a while.

  • You are the King of your castle, tell her to sell the car or else !!!

    LOL, just kidding If she can rely on the Pontiac it’s a good move. But if you are 6 months from paying it off, why sell the Malibu ?

  • The problem is we would only get half of the sale price. The other half would go to my father-in-law since he owns half the car. Plus, it’s titled in another state, so that’s added complexity.

    With me riding the metro so much, we’ve really been using our cars very little, except the Malibu. That mileage and use could just be split between the Pontiac and Ridgeline.

    We also have another option in our back pocket if we needed another car in a couple years…buy Grandma’s Mitsubishi!

  • We’re 6 months from paying it off only because we’re paying over $2000 per month to pay it off 4 years early. By selling, we recoup that expenditure (a portion of the total) and reduce our insurance and maintenance costs.

  • Give sell the Malibu, you take Beater car, give her the Ridgeline.

    If Beater car dies, buy a ten-year old Honda or Toyota.

    In fact, sell the Ridgelien too!

  • now you didn’t tell the whole story up front about the malibu. I’d get rid of both the malibu and the grand am and buy a different used reliable car for clever dudette to drive. the issue is that you have half ownership of the grand am. sell your stake in it to your father-in-law and be free of it. the grand am, although would only get $2k-$3k, is going to cost you that in a major repair. Use the combined revenue for a different car.

  • WOW! That’s a lot of machinery there. We own only 2 vehicles: a family van and a small Civic. We spent $25,000 on the 8 seater van in 2000 when we paid for it in full – it has everything on it, very comfortable, leather seats, automatic everything, even a GPS. We also never use public transit, so even with constant driving, it’s a rule in our household to only keep 2 cars at most (space and maintenance issues considered).

    And prices have gone up this much already? WOW. I’ve been out of touch with cars and their prices lately as we haven’t bought one in 6 years… Now you’ve scared me. If we have to replace any of our vehicles, that’s just a LOT of $$$! We never finance though, so we’ll need to save enough up for the replacements fairly soon…. I’m with everyone else, I’d only keep 2 cars max because of the maintenance issues on top of everything else.

  • I say just sell the Grand Am. It will just cost more in repairs and car insurance over the years. Then you’ll have two dependable cars and can go from there. 3 cars for 2 people, that’ll cost more than those PB&J sandwiches are saving you! 🙂

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