Downgrading from the Family Van

Our eleven-year-old minivan has served us well over the years but it is now at a point where little things here and there are cropping up. Although it’s been well maintained and hasn’t had any major repairs done to it, the little problems are starting to crop up more often than it did in its younger years. I can relate. Aging does that to the best of us.

As much as I love our Chrysler Town & Country, buying the latest model would just not make too much sense for us especially since we now have two daughters in college. Not only is their college expenses putting a crimp on our finances, we also don’t need that big a car anymore now that we only have one daughter to drive around.

So we’re looking into saving some money by looking into smaller cars. I am still reluctant though. I will miss being high up when driving. The last time I drove a sedan, I felt like I was sitting right on the pavement. But hey, I used to drive a Firebird before I got married, so I should be able to get used to being low on the ground again, right?

3 Things that are making me seriously consider a downgrade are: Lower Fuel Consumption, Lower Insurance Rate, and Lower Maintenance Cost. With the steady increase in gas prices, this $60/week that I am spending on gas is quickly getting old. I miss the days when I could fill up for less than $30. And again back to daughters who are now also driving, our insurance rate has also gone up. I’m thinking maybe one of those hybrid cars would bring help bring both gas and insurance cost down and also make me feel better about not fuming up the environment as bad. Our maintenance cost is already quite low because my husband does most of the maintenance and minor car repairs anyway, but a with a new car, that will also be lesser.

Once we dedide on an affordable and efficient model that I can also enjoy driving comfortably, the next thing we’ll have to consider is how best to make the purchase. Many dealerships offer very attractive car lease deals but at the same time, we tend to keep our cars for a long time (until they break down) so maybe a traditional car loan would work better in our favor. But, that’s another thing we’ll have to look into.

Do you have any experience with leasing versus a traditional car loan? Did you actually benefit by leasing or is the purported savings negligible?


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