In 2014, when I found out I was having twins, I knew an upgrade to a minivan was inevitable. I had a toddler at the time in a car seat, and it’s basically impossible to fit three bulky car seats in a single row when two of them are infant ones. As such, I knew I needed a car with a third seating row, and a minivan fit the bill.
For one thing, my car looks like a 10-year-old car. It’s got more scratches and dings than I can count. And while I could pay for a detailing service, it’s not worth the financial outlay for a vehicle that old.
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But aesthetics aside, the one thing that really bugs me about my minivan is that the sliding doors jam on me constantly. Imagine you’ve picked your kids up after school and are rushing to a series of activities…only you can’t leave your parking spot because your darn door won’t close. This is my life all the time.
Despite my frequent displeasure with my minivan, though, I intend to drive it for as long as possible. Here’s why.
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I don’t want to borrow now, or anytime soon
These days, it’s expensive to take out a loan, whether it’s one you’re tapping your home equity for or one you’re using to buy a car. And the reason boils down to the numerous interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve introduced in 2022 and 2023 to fight inflation.
This year, the Fed is expected to start cutting rates. But even so, that’ll only make borrowing for a car (or any other purpose) moderately less expensive.
All told, I expect borrowing costs to be elevated for quite some time. If my minivan stops running and I’m forced to take out a loan at a less-than-favorable interest rate, so be it. But I can’t bring myself to take on any sort of debt when I have a car that actually runs.
I paid a lot for my car and I want to get the maximum amount of value out of it
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) puts the original MSRP of a 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring at $42,760. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember exactly what I paid for my car. That figure sounds like it was somewhere in the ballpark, though, making my minivan the most expensive car I’ve ever owned. Because of this, I want to drive that car for as long as I can.
Some assets you own, like your home, have the potential to gain value over time. Cars, on the other hand, are known to lose value the moment you drive them off the lot.
At this point, the average price of my minivan in used form is $13,677, says KBB. Only I’d probably be looking at a lot less due to the aforementioned dinged-up condition of my car.
Either way, whatever amount I’d get for my car would be nowhere close to what I’d need to purchase a new vehicle that can accommodate my family. And it doesn’t matter whether I sell my minivan now or a few years from now — either way, I won’t get anywhere close to its original value. So the way I see it, I might as well drive it as long as possible — and put off a new car purchase, which is apt to be expensive, as long as possible.
Some people aim to upgrade their cars every few years. And if you can afford to do so, go for it. But while I’m certainly not in love with my minivan, I feel that hanging onto it until it stops running makes sense for my family’s finances.
Besides, I’m someone who, admittedly, has a hard time dipping into her savings account, which is something I’d possibly need to do to put a down payment on a car. So if I can put that off, it’s better for me mentally.
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