My friend Julia brought up a great point in a comment on my last post. She asked if she was having a senile moment because she didn't know we got a new car. For a lot of people, getting a car wouldn't necessarily be blog-post worthy. But for the Horvath's, who drive their cars into the ground until they die a slow death, this should have been blogging material!
It sort of got lost in the post-Pakistan trip time because I actually picked Steve up from the airport and we drove straight to the car dealership to sign the papers on the car. Because I bought a car while he was in Pakistan.
Let me re-phrase that. I bought HIM a car while he was in Pakistan.
I know. It doesn't really seem like it would have been on my to-do list to go car shopping while my husband was in a foreign (dangerous) country.
Last November, we heard about this program called Air Check Texas. They are trying to improve the air quality in the Dallas area, so their mission is to get older cars without all the new emissions improvements off the road. If you have a car that is 10 years old or older, you can apply to the program to get a voucher to use towards the purchase of a newer car. Here are some of the details in case anyone is interested:
1) You have to meet the income requirements and they depend on the number of people in your household.
2) You need to be using the car as your main source of transportation and it needs to be up to date on its registration.
3) You can only use the voucher at an approved dealership (you can't buy a car from a private party).
4) You cannot buy a car that is more than 3 years old.
We applied to the program because Steve's little 1992 Honda Civic was on it's last leg. The heater and air conditioner BARELY worked, the windshield wipers SOMETIMES worked, it didn't have power steering, and it needed some work that was going to cost us more than the car was worth.
Just to give you some perspective on how good this deal was, Steve bought his little Civic (I keep calling it little because it was. It was a 2-door hatchback...) over 8 years ago for $1800.
Let that sink in a bit...
OK. The state gave us a voucher check for $3000.
Yah. It doesn't really add up, but it was a great deal for us! There was only one little catch that we didn't know about when we applied...
You only have 30 days to use the voucher from the time your application is approved or you lose it and can never apply again. Ouch! We received the voucher in the mail the week before Steve left for Pakistan, and then he was gone for 17 days. So practically speaking, I needed to start looking around for a car while he was gone or his jet-lagged self would have had to go and find a car within about 5 or 6 days of getting back to the States.
This is turning into a way longer story than I thought. Whew.
So Steve told me the kind of car he wanted and I began searching. We didn't want to spend more than about $4000 (I know, we're cheap) but with the added $3000 that gave us $7000.
Did anyone know that is hard to find a 2006 model car or newer for $7000? Well, it is.
But I found one! And the dealership (and the salesman) were only slightly shady and I basically bought the car and put down a deposit while Steve was gone because I was afraid I wouldn't find another one that was in our price range with only a few weeks to look. (I DID get his approval via a phone call before I officially made the deal)
And we love it! It is a Kia Spectra5. It gets great gas mileage, it has 4 doors which makes it easy to get the kids in and out, it is fun and sporty to drive, and the air conditioner, heater and windshield wipers all work! Here it is, in all its glory...