We have been trying to follow Dave Ramsey's plan since we got married. Gradually, we have paid off debt, and are down to just one debt, not including the house. For just over a year we have had zero car payments and LOVED not having to pay on a car month after month. We had two PAID for cars!! One car, we affectionately call "our beater", 1996 Nissan Altima with nearly 200K miles on it. It is loud, stinky, and certainly not pretty, but it gets us from point A to point B. Since the car isn't worth the gas that is in it, we have maintained the "drive it until it dies" principal. We thought that would be years ago, but it is still going. George uses the beater to get back and forth to work and leaves me the "good car", 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid to get around with the girls.
As many of you know, last Monday George was involved in a multi-car accident. Typically, he would have had "the beater" with liability only insurance, but since I had no intention of going out that day, I encourage him to take the "good car". When he called me and said he had been in an accident, I was scared...it was our "good car". What would happen? A million questions ran through my head, now a week later, we can see how the Lord was with us through it all, and as strange as it may sound, the accident was a "blessing". Let me explain...
Months ago in trying to prepare for becoming a family of four, we knew our Civic Hybrid wasn't going to be the best car for us anymore: trunk space was limited, the car seats were crowded, and we could barely fit a single stroller in the trunk, how would we fit a double? We began to shop for vans, looking for what we felt we could afford, features, etc. Before we could move forward we had to look into what we could get for trading in/selling our Civic. We took it to a well known auto buyer and they made us an offer. We crunched the numbers, researched, prayed, and crunched more numbers. If we were to go ahead and buy a larger vehicle we would either need to get small car loan, which we didn't want to do, or get an older model with higher miles that wouldn't be as reliable as our Civic. After much discussion, we decided we would make do with the Civic. Granted, my knees touched the dash because the car seats took up so much room, we couldn't buy too much at Costco because we didn't have much room to take it home, etc...but it was a decent car, and it wasn't worth going in debt to get something different.
Fast forward two to three months and the accident happened. There was significant damage to the car, but it was fixable. The insurance company examined the car and debated a day or two to total it or fix it. We didn't want them to fix it due to the diminished value the car would have with a history of being in an accident. Thankfully, the insurance totaled the car, and said they would call the next day with the settlement amount. The next day they called and they offered us DOUBLE for our wrecked car as the well known auto buyer offered us for our well cared for car two months earlier. We agreed, the accident was a blessing from the Lord. In combination with the settlement check and a very small amount from savings, we were able to go shopping for a vehicle better suited for our family.
We were blessed to find a 2007 Chrysler Town and Country Touring with only one previous owner. The dealer worked with us to get the price into a comfortable place that we were willing to buy. We were blessed to essentially "trade in" our Civic for a van that was one year newer, 50,000+ less miles on it, more cargo space, more seating, and more amenities for our family. God is so good!! We have so much to be thankful for; the safety of those in the accident, the blessing of a new vehicle, and so much more.