Car Corner
My Next Car - PART III - The End

November 5, 2015
By Scott Lewis

Hi there! If you have been following this column for the last few months you know I have been trying everything to get into another car. Everything was dependent on the amount of equity I was getting from my ex-wife and I selling our house.

Well, as is usual for me... the better I planned it the worse it got. I ended up with about 1/2 what I originally hoped for. When we split there was $70K equity in the house. So I should get $35K. Not so fast. There is a big chuck of change that goes to the realtor. We calculated my share would be $28K if we sold the house for what it last appraised at. Yea, that didn't happen either. We got $20K less. Oh... and we put about $7-8K on credit cards getting the house ready to sell. And then the inspection determined we had hail damage. Hey, that's great for the new owners... they get a new roof, but we are out another $4k for the insurance deductible. Finally, I was charging groceries to pay rent at my new place until the house actually sold and I got to stop paying child support. As you can see... all these things added up (subtracted) to me getting about $14K (with another $2K when escrow comes in, I hope).

So... with about $12K less than expected all my options to buy another car went up in smoke. Well, all but one. Yea... I bought my niece's car from my brother-in-law. Hey... it was a known commodity for $2,500.

Where does that leave us? Simply this... my youngest son and I will share the 04 Accord and the 12 Focus. My son will be coming into some money when he turns 18, and he is likely going to try and use some of that to buy a car. I hope to avoid that. I just assume he save his money for college. I am hoping that the Accord will prove to be reliable enough that I will use it and let my son have the Focus.

But I still want another car. The accord will likely only last a couple of years. Maybe longer if it is just a "beater" to another car. In 2 years my debt consolidation loan will be paid off, and I can buy myself a fairly new car. So I could just wait for that. However, I am also waiting for that debt consolidation loan to be paid off to think about buying a house for myself.

I am thinking differently for the moment. I am hoping to save enough money by late Spring to start looking for a classic car. Now, I have thought about this many times in the past. I am hoping to put extra money from my photography business into my... Car Slush Fund. Yea... that's what we're calling it, CSF for short. Right now there is about $1,000 in the CSF. I should get about $3K for a bonus in March (assuming I get one at all). And I should easily beat last year's income tax refund now that I have a son to declare. I expect at least $3K back from Uncle Sam. That's $7,000 by Spring. If I can save another $3,000 or so with my photography... I can start looking. Oh... and this assumes I don't use that money to buy a $4K, 50 megapixel Canon camera.

So that's the budget... $10,000... for now. When I reach 10K in the CSF I start thinking about getting a car. This would be a car purely for fun. However, I would drive it as much as possible. That means driving it to work whenever the weather is nice. I would save the Accord for bad weather.

So what does this mean for YOU? Well, I am going to stop writing articles on cars I want to buy. However, my Classic Car Watch column will start narrowing its focus toward cars I would be interested for under $10,000 that fit into this scheme.

Expect lots of under $10K cars there over the next several months.