Friday, December 1, 2006

So I'm Buying a Car (aka I Finally Feel Like a Grown-Up)

Though I'm 30 years old, I still feel pretty much like a young'in. I still act like a petulant teen at times, do impulsive things, still dream about what I want to be when I grow up, and pretty much act the same way that I did when I was in my late teens/early 20's (sans the boy drama and love woes). And even though I've accomplished personal goals and done "grown-up" things like buy a house, give birth to a baby, have a real career, become a mother, and all that jazz, I think that nothing makes you feel more grown-up than buying a car.

I've never owned my own car. To this point, I've only driven cars owned (or leased) by my parents. The current car I drive is a very nice 2004 BMW X5 which my dad leased for me (yes, my parents are very generous creatures). Well, the lease is up this month (the day after Christmas to be exact) and I thought that it was high-time to buy and be responsible for my very own car. So I'm doing all this research to see what vehicle is right for me and my family. (Of course, money is the big factor. As much as I feel that another BMW x5 would be tops, I certainly can't afford the monthly payments!)

Here's my top 2 choices thus far: the 2007 Toyota Rav4 Limited (4x4/v6 engine) or a 2007 Toyota Highlander (4x4/v6).

2007 Toyota Rav4 and the 2007 Toyota Highlander (respectively)
(photos courtesy of


I think Toyota is a great company, and I figure you can't really go wrong and with choosing any of their models. The Rav4 is more to my budget, and it's a great deal. A fully-loaded Limited Rav4 is less than a base model Highlander. But I really liked how the Highlander handled on the road, and I like that it's a bit roomier (after all, we are a growing family). So far, I'm sticking with these 2 cars as my top choices. UPDATE: check out Carsdirect --you can get a car online with no hassle and guaranteed low price. I got a quote for a Highlander (with the options I want) for the same price as a fully-loaded Rav4!

I did, however, consider other brands like Honda and Jeep (for a hot minute because the hubs had a company discount). I also had to decide whether to lease or buy. I was initially going to lease, but I thought it was high time to buy something for myself and start paying a monthly fee for something I will actually own in the end. (And too bad that unlike a house, a car isn't an investment that will make you money).

Let me just say that doing research is exhausting! Learning all the differences between MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) vs. factory invoice price vs. dealer cost can give you a headache. A lot of my time is spent on the internet learning the ropes and comparing prices. I'm also filling out spreadsheets to figure out what I should offer the dealer. Check out for amazing tips, free resources, etc. According to them, your offer to the dealer should be about 5% over dealer's actual cost. Edmunds is also another wonderful resource.

I feel so adult doing all this crap, and it's kinda a cool feeling. It's also freaking scary because I'll be responsible for everything --the haggling, the acquiring, the maintenance, etc! So if I enter a bad deal, then I have no one to blame but myself (of course, if the dealer was shady, that's a different story).

Wish me luck folks!


POSTED BY KAT AT 12/01/2006 04:27:00 PM |


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a wanna-be rockstar with mediocre guitar skills | mom to rockstar baby | guitarist in a band | 30 but not grown-up | this is all about my musings. music. motherhood. and mayhem.

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