Wednesday, August 11, 2010


In May 2009, we bought Bob a beater. A really ugly 1987 Toyota Corolla. We'd been a two-car-payment family for too long, and we were sick of it, so when his car was totaled in an accident, we decided to go ahead and pay cash for a cheap car.

I was disappointed. I'm a car-lover, and this car was exceptionally not exciting. Rust, dents, dings. Some clear packing tape on one of the headlights. The car came with a custom-cut piece of wood to prop the trunk open, and it had to be closed just so. Some more packing tape on the ceiling of the car, plus, horrors, no cup-holders.

Anyway, it has served us really well. That little car always starts, always runs well. It is the opposite of zippy, and it's a bit noisy, but it's totally reliable.

In early September, our friend Lindsey is going to England. While she's gone, Bob's going to drive her 2005 Ford Focus. There's no sense in keeping the Corolla. We never planned to keep it long-term anyway. So, late Monday night, (well, technically, early Tuesday morning), I posted the car on Craigslist. No pictures, not a whole lot of details. When I got up Tuesday morning, I had an email waiting for me from a guy who was VERY interested in the car. We exchanged a ton of emails back and forth, and they came to see the car at 4:30 that day.

They pulled up in an almost identical Toyota Corolla. (I said to Caroline, "Doesn't their car look just like Daddy's?" And she said, "No, look at their wheels!" That girl is detail-oriented. They had much, much newer tires.) Turns out they were shopping for a car for their son who's about to start his senior year in high school. We really liked them.

They took it for a test drive, and then came and picked it up this morning to have it checked out by their mechanic. They called me this afternoon to say that their mechanic said there was nothing wrong with it beyond old age: that it was safe and would be reliable, and was a good deal. So they just came by with $650 cash.

We bought it for $525.

My grandfather, who loved to make money, would be so proud. Who makes money on a 23-year-old car?

Grandpa, I've never forgotten the day that, as you were pulling out of the driveway, you yelled back to me, "Buy low, sell high!" Of all the parting words, those were the ones you chose. I sure do miss you.


David said...

Great story. I've unfortunately experienced the opposite of your grandfather's advice. I need you to post our FL home on craigslist and sell it for me. Of course I will pay you a $25 commission.

Catholic Mommy to from home said...

Having no car payments is such a huge deal when it comes to having extra cash. We have had no car payments now for several years and I just saved up enough to buy a used "new" van. That is the fun part...Still hard to walk away from all that hard saved cash. I miss my cash..but I love my paid for van!!