Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cars - and some much needed advice in the end.

I put a lot of miles on my car. While trying to figure out a budget for gas during the school year, I realized that I am going to be driving a little over 500 miles a WEEK! Never mind the high gas prices - I'm going to have an extra 2000 miles A MONTH on my poor car! 8000 miles in the semester!! That's a TON of driving.

While I was thinking about all the cars/driving/mileage, I started to think about how many different cars I've owned. Its a pretty impressive list, so I'll share. Keep in mind that I'm only 22, and that I didn't get my first car till I was 17 - so we are talking 5 years here.

My first car was a 1992 Camaro. It was a dark green, had been lowered, and had a body kit on it. It even had a stereo system, but at the time I was clueless as to what it was for (what's a sub? an amp??). I LOVED this car and didn't even mind that the air conditioning didn't work. Well it did, but there was a weird clanking noise when it was on so I didn't turn it on. I decided it was time to sell it (well, my mom and I both did) when it began overheating and my dad couldn't figure out the problem. Being stranded at night as a 17 year old girl was a little frightening to say the least. And I didn't have a cell phone...

So we sold that, and I decided I wanted a truck. My parents bought me a 1997 Chevy S10, which had more problems than it didn't. My dad didn't believe me, so I kept driving the clunker that didn't have a/c and that almost died as it went up hills. I hated it more than I can remember.

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, I decided to get a new car - the truck didn't have a back seat, and I knew it was a great opportunity to get rid of it. So after searching I found a 1996 Grand Am. It was a good running car, but a little small. We kept it for about a year.

At this time, H. had a 1990 Mazda Miata. We bought it wrecked (needed a new door and fender) and fixed it up. It was really pretty, and ran good. It had almost 200k miles on it, but it was still really dependable. One day H. was sitting on a road waiting to turn left when some girl hit him from behind. She was doing probably 55 miles an hour, and he was sitting still. Needless to say, the car was totaled.

We bought another Miata with the insurance money, but it was never as good as the one that we did all of the work to. It was a bright blue, and neither of us were happy with the car.

A little while after he had his new Miata, I decided that the car was too small for all of the baby gear (you know, portable crib, toys, diapers, blankets, clothes, diaper bag - everything needed for a weekend at grandma's) so we bought a 1991 Ford Explorer. It was in GREAT shape, and only had 45 k original miles on it. That's really hard to find in North Texas, where everyone commutes. I kept this car until an old man (I think he was 87 years old) ran a stop sign and tboned me. That was the scariest experience ever. K. was in the back seat, and she SCREAMED on impact. I was so scared something was wrong, but turns out she was just scared. His little (tiny) compact car totaled my Explorer. Everything (including the frame) scooted over about 6 inches, and the tire literally fell of the wheel because of the impact.

Shortly after I got my Explorer H. decided he HAD to have one too, so we traded the Miata for a 1993 Explorer Limited Edition. It was in decent condition, but got HORRIBLE gas mileage (9-10 miles to the gallon) so it had to go.

I bought a 2001 Ford Mustang (I'm currently driving it) and LOVE it. I couldn't be happier. Heath has a 2008 VW Jetta. It is the first car either of us has ever owned brand new (although we are leasing it) and we both love the way it drives. Its roomy too.

When we bought the Jetta, we put the Explorer up for sale. A man came to look at it, and offered us $1500.00 for it. We jumped at the offer, considering we didn't think we would get that much for it. I let H. handle the deal - considering it was his car, the title was in his name, etc. The man that bought the car gave him $1200 cash, and a $300. check, POST DATED. I didn't think he should do that, but whatever, what's done is done.

Turns out that the check bounced, and the money was pulled out of our checking account, causing the balance to be less than $0. (It was a separate account than our every day checking account). We were charged returned check fees, along with NSF (non sufficient funds) fees, all totaling $150.00. All of this happened back at the end of April/beginning of May.

I've tried calling the man several times - every time I get a response about how he is going through a difficult divorce, and barely has enough money to feed the kids, etc. etc. and he will pay me next pay day. I call again, and his number is disconnected.

Any ideas as to what to do now? We signed a bill of sale (stating the price, along with payment being cash and check), and have a statement from the bank stating that his check bounced and the fees associated with it. He lives in Mansfield, which is about 30-45 min away. I don't know where to go next. Should we pursue it any further (courts - although I don't have the money to try and pay fees etc), or just leave it alone and suck up the loss?

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