Thursday, January 26, 2012

New wheels!!! (and some unsolicited credit advice for you)

The day I kicked my car to the curb was among the happiest of my life.

Here's a little back story on why I hated it so:

In 2008, my (first) husband and I split up. The year prior to that, I had gotten in a wreck and had to get a different car. I picked a yellow PT Cruiser, which I absolutely adored. Seriously tied for first place with the teal Geo Metro Convertible (that looked like a roller skate) that I drove between the ages of 18-25 {1995-2001 - yes, I'm old}). I adored, adored, adored the PT Cruiser. They re not everyone's cup of tea, but I like kind of odd looking cars, and I sure don't mind the odd colors, either. It sat up higher than a regular car, I loved the yellow dash and the fact that I had only ever seen one other one that color! I had the best time in that dang car.

However, I made a grave error when we purchased ol' PT. I was between jobs, and chose not to put my name on the loan, just my husband's. BE YE NOT SO IGNORANT.

When we split, he chose to decide to take that car (and his existing vehicle) and trade them both in for something new. Never mind that I was gainfully employed by that time and making the payments. Given the circumstances, I can't really blame him. I was left with a short window of time with which to purchase something on my own.

After going to the first dealership, I made a startling discovery. My credit score was 0. Yes, ZERO. I didn't even know it was possible, but it turns out when you have no forward-moving credit in 3 years, that is what happens. Since I had not had a car loan in my name in some years, never had a credit card and we had sold our house 3+ years ago, that left yours truly with no forward-moving credit and no credit score whatsoever. I shopped around, but could not get a loan anywhere without a co-signer.

In a last-ditch effort, I went to JD Byrider. Please don't ever go there unless your situation is as desperate as mine was. I had to buy a car THAT DAY or I would be without transportation. My ex-husband was trading the PT Cruiser in the next day.

They didn't have much to choose from, so I picked the least "look at me" car with the lowest mileage I could find. A black 2004 Cavalier that looked like every other black 4-door car to me. With the 19.99999% interest I had to pay (the highest allowed by law), I was paying $400 a month for the damn thing. $100 more a month than the PT Cruiser. And on only MY salary, which was stretched to the limit as is, even though I was working 2 jobs.

I will never forget the night I drove it home from the dealership. I was on the interstate and glanced down at my spedometer to see how fast I was going and was met by a shock - it only said 10MPH. The damn dash was broken. I cried all the way home.

After that, the dash worked part time for a while before deciding to crap out altogether. I never knew how fast I was going or how much fuel I had (had to set the trip odometer and estimate). Josh broke the visor on the driver's side. I spilled bleach on the back floorboard when I moved. The trunk light was hanging by a wire and set Josh's suitcase on fire when he was packing the trunk for an out of town trip. The paint started chunking off. And I was upside down on the stupid thing. The brakes needed fixed twice in six months. It died on me in the middle of a busy road two weeks ago.

Finally, finally, finally, we got the car paid down enough (and it started costing us too much money to fix things to keep it) to trade it in. They no longer make PT Cruisers and Josh hates them anyway.

We agreed on a Chevy HHR. They don't make them anymore, either, but the 2011's were very reasonably priced.

We went to the dealership Saturday and drove one. It was fairly standard. Cloth seats and such, but XM radio, low miles, etc. We really liked it and were going to buy it when the salesman walked us around to look at others in different colors. That's when we fell in love. The one we fell hard for was the same color as the one we had just driven, but we opened the door to find leather interior. Heated seats. A sunroof. 10,000 less miles and only $1500 more. Hello. We bought her.

Meet Helena Helena Rodriguez (HHR):

It was a very good day.


  1. Congrats on your new car!! It's funny that you had a geo metro b/c when I was in high school that was literally my DREAM car!! How awful that you had to put up with that crappy Cavalier for so long! Must feel so nice to finally have something new.

  2. It's completely wonderful and a blessing I don't take for granted!