We SOLD our 2003 Pontiac Minivan

We bought it used in 2010 with 117k miles, it now has 192k miles.

Why is that news you might ask?  Well it’s not.

Anyone who knows us, knows how much we loved it.   And by loved it, I mean hated it.   It wasn’t a horrible van.  I mean, it drove OK.  It mostly worked.  It got Claudine to Florida every winter.  But we spent $5k on it in 2010 which at the time we thought that was a fair price.  In the 4 years we’ve owned it we’ve probably spent another $4k just keeping it on the road.   Yeah it’s a 10 year old vehicle and stuff will wear out.  But we replaced stuff that honestly shouldn’t have been needed.  I’m not talking about brakes, and shocks.  After a bunch of miles and years you’re going to have to replace those things.

But all of that said.  Having shopped for cars for Molly and driven a bunch of JUNK, I was really surprised we had to give it away.   KBB put the value of that thing in ‘good’ condition to be between $3900 and $4200.   It was completely loaded, never been wrecked, and the interior, while dirty was in awesome shape.  Most everything still worked, except the dash lights around the speedo and the heated seats.

While shopping for Molly we drove a 2003 Mazda Tribute (aka Ford Escape) with 250,000 miles.   It was like new.  Obviously well taken care of and garaged.  Someone clearly drove this a long way every day on the highway but it drove great.  Was it worth $5000?   I don’t think so but that’s what they sold it for.

We also drove a bunch of overpriced junk.  The whole Cash for Clunkers thing still has used cars all screwed up.   We originally advertised the van for $3000.    While I thought that was kind of high, I figured we’d take $2700 if offered.   Comparable vans on Craigslist seemed to be priced around the same.  But at $3k we had no offers, calls or emails for a week.  So I started lowering it $100 a day.  First $2900 for two days, then $2800, then $2700.   Still not a lot of action.  I had a couple of calls but honestly talked them out of it.  It wasn’t the van for them.  You do NOT want this for a cab service, no-way-no how.

And then it happened.   We realized we need to get rid of it.  See when you buy a new car you have coverage on it and your old car for 30 days under most policies.  Our 30 days was coming up so we had to get rid of it or write a new insurance policy for it.   More out-go that we didn’t need or want.

So I advertised it for $2000.00 CASH this weekend ONLY.   (last weekend).

Then the calls started coming.  A little old lady visiting her sister in Dayton wanted to buy it and drive it home to Florida.  She was a little miffed that I wouldn’t take a check.  No ma’am, sorry cash only. “But the banks won’t be open Saturday”.  Sure they are, till about noon, just go cash a check and you’ll be good to go.   She was kind enough to leave me a voice mail that it wasn’t going to work out.

Then another couple called… 

They wanted it but only had $1300.00, said they’d write me a check for the difference if I held that for 30 days.  What?   No.   Then offered up laptops and kids tablets and all kinds of crap in trade that you surely shouldn’t have if you don’t have a car.  But we didn’t need nor want any of that.  Then actually tried to put the pressure on me, saying there was one closer to them (They were in Indiana) that they were gong to buy instead.  Pfft, fine.  Go do that.    I mean we felt for them, and Claudine and I talked about what we’d take in an effort to help someone else ‘get a leg up’ on life.

I explained to them, for them, we’d take $1500 cash.   Not a penny less.  If they wanted it, sell some of their gadgets/laptops, etc and scrape up $200 more dollars.   I was told it would take them ‘time’ to get to $1500.   We told them if it was still here when they did, it was theirs.

Then the folks who finally bought it.   Were mostly local.  They met me, test drove it, and decided they wanted it on Sunday afternoon.   But…   They didn’t have the money either.   They could bring me $500 cash on Tuesday to hold it until Thursday when they got paid.  I was a tad irritated but said OK.   On Tuesday they brought me a friggin check.

“Sorry, we didn’t have time to go to the bank”.   I was aggravated, but they needed it and I wanted rid of it, so I said, “OK but look, $2000 cash on Thursday, cash as in dead green presidents, or I’m relisting it.   I’m not going to mess with your check, just bring me cash.

We set a time for Thursday at 3pm.   Which of course changed to 4:30. but they did come, pay cash and took the van.   They were happy to have it, and needed it.

It was clear to me that this family was broke, and living pay-check to pay-check.   We’ve been there, and it sucks.  We’ve probably given out a dozen of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Make Over books over the years.   It really changed our life.   On Monday I ordered another 10 planning to give one to this family but they didn’t come in time.   

Using the address that was on the check they tried to give us, I attempted to deliver the book yesterday.   Wholly moly.   That house is empty, as in foreclosed on, and for sale empty, as in they don’t live there and haven’t for a while.   I suspect the check likely would have bounced, maybe not but this didn’t look good, at all.   Yep they needed this book, but now I have no way to get it to them.

So if you are they, and you happen to read this.   Send me an email, and I’ll give you a copy of the book.

Selling cars sucks.  Shopping for cars can suck.   Saving your money and having cash to buy things doesn’t suck.

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