Sunday, February 19, 2006

I want to be a soccer mom

The one good thing that has come out of this crap with the Magnum is that it has given us a chance to see just how sweet life could be with a minivan. I knew it would parents had one when I was in high school...but now that I have a child of my own and ten tons of crap to haul around at any given moment, I can really see how much I really need one.

(By the way, the status of my Magnum is that the dealership has agreed to pay for me staying in the car until the car is done, probably Monday or Tuesday. I'm not happy, but I'm over it now that they are paying for the van.)

So P and I have chauffeured the princess around in this Grand Caravan since Friday, and wowsa, it's awesome. So much easier putting her in and taking her out, more room for our stuff, and just really comfortable to ride in!

So, we're going to start looking at buying a new vehicle probably in about a year or so. Maybe. Both of our vehicles are now paid off (well, the Explorer has a few more payments but it's almost there) and definitely worth more to us than they would be to anyone else, so if we did this, it would be a straight purchase and not a trade-in, which means that I would want to have as much money saved for a down payment as possible. That shouldn't be a problem over the next year since we have two tax seasons, two years of bonuses at work for me since I get my bonus every year in March, and if I become a supervisor, I get a nice little chunk of money for sacrificing my Magnum. Ha ha, don't even get me started on that one. But the rationale for that bonus is because most people at my company that have company cars do not have personal cars and thus, my company rewards them for going into upper management by giving them basically a downpayment on a new car.

The other reason for waiting a year is to get as much of our remodeling expenses paid off as possible before we start with a car payment again, and we're almost there since we've been working on it diligently since last summer. But if we do this, we are both agreed that we want a brand-new van with the extended warranty and no miles on it and all the bells and whistles on it since it'll probably be a vehicle that we will have for a LONG TIME. I don't want a used piece of crap...I want something brand-new. If I crap it up, fine, but I want it sparkling new when I bring it home.

So survey time. We're going to be looking at vans in detail over the next year and doing a lot of research. I know there's gotta be some van drivers out there. Tell me what you've got and what you like about it and what you don't like about it. Here is my list of must-haves so far.

My dream van must have:

-two benches in the back and two captain's chairs in the front
-keyless entry
-lots of cup holders

Umm, that's all I've got right now. I've heard that some vans have a remote that will open the doors for you, and that'd be pretty sweet, but I wouldn't say it's a must have. P has mentioned a Kia Sedona due to the safety rating; I have mentioned a Honda Odyssey since I have had excellent history with Hondas.

I do not want anything made by Dodge because I am PISSED at them about this whole Magnum deal.

P has been elected the trustee of the Mini-Van Savings Account.

Other than our revelation that we want to be soccer parents and have a minivan, not much else is going on this weekend. I went to scrapbook at Sharon's house on Saturday with her daughters and my daughter and it was a ton of fun, except McKenna was whiny whiny whiny and I ended up taking her home to hang out with Dad so I could get some cropping done and hang out with Sharon's girls and visit and in general just do girl stuff. It was great though...I got four cruise pages done. And I decided this morning that I am ready to start on McKenna's pages NOW. If I don't get going on them, those pictures are going to take me over. So far I've got her birth, her surgery, her first Thanksgiving, her first Christmas, her first day of school, and her first Valentine's Day, so if I don't catch up, I'm really going to be in trouble soon.


Blogger Trinabelle said...

I love my Ford Windstar. It has dual benches and 7 cupholders, plus our kids' booster seat have their own cupholders attached to them. It has the nifty clips for carseats, instead of having to use the seatbelts to install them. Very secure and a snap to do. Even with two kids, you could remove the two-seater bench, move the three-seater bench to the middle position and have more than enough room for kids' stuff, groceries, etc. When the kids are older and you're taking their friends along, put both benches back in.

I also suggest getting a program vehicle or 1-2 yr old minivan. A brand new vehicle will lose, on average, 60% of it's value in the first 4 years. So you could save up to pay cash in full on a slightly used (program, formerly leased, etc) minivan and it would be certified and, with low enough mileage, still under warranty.

Our minivan was formerly a leased vehicle, one "owner" and very low mileage. It had 2 yrs/24,000 miles left on the original 3 yr/36,000 miles warranty left on it. We've put over 100,000 miles on ours in 5 years and it's still going strong, and we've never had to do more than replace the battery & tires.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

If you get a van you will love it! We had a Pontiac Transsport for 6 years while the kids were little. Now we have a Nissan Frontier crew cab. When your kids are older you still haul around a bunch of stuff, it's just different stuff! LOL

9:26 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

Everyone I know with a Sedona (and that would be 4 people) absolutely LOVES it.

other than that, I'm glad you posted about the Magnum, because I've been kinda wanting one. Back to my Subaru or Toyota choices :)

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

I have a 1997 Chevy Astrovan with 148,000 miles on it. Chevy has a great extended warranty and I have really enjoyed the van. Lots of cup holders, dutch doors in the back so you don't have to open the whole thing if you don't want to. I had 4 kids from toddler to high school when I got it and whenever we took a trip anywhere, EVERYONE was comfortable. There was plenty of space and our trips averages 1000 miles each way. The very best thing about it though is that is has a SEPARATE air conditioner for the back and it cools all the way back. I can turn it on or off as I wish. I live in West Texas and lived in Arizona and Georgia with it. All very, very warm places! Good luck on your quest!

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When considering a van you may wish to look for:

stow and go seats - makes it so much easier to put stuff into the van when you don't have to pull the seats out or wonder if if it will fit in over them.

separate a/c and heat for the rear of the van with a main control up front.

auto door openers including rear (wish I had that one but can live without it) makes it real convenient on getting everyone in or out and stuff in the back end.

rack on top of the van - you'll never know when you'll need it!

extended warranty - comes in handy so you don't have to pay for your own rental if the van has to go into the shop.

captain or bucket seats in the middle instead of a bench seat. Yes, it seems like it would be easier having a bench, but if you plan on having any more than you may want to consider it. Also, with the captain or bench seats they have arm rests and can lean up against the back of the seats more easily as well as recline it back if they want to sleep. If you get the bench, they don't have anything to lean against and they can't recline it. Of course, I'm already thinking past booster seats for the kid(s).

Save yourself some money and don't get it with a dvd player installed. Get a portable. Definitely a lot cheaper and most times you can buy 2 screens in a set for a very low price. And it's one less thing that someone would try to steal out of the van.

Tinted windows, naturally.

Storage compartments - of course, if you get a stow and go, you'll have lots of room!

Heated seats for up front if they've got them available.

Oh, lots of Scotchguard if they won't do it for you as well as extra mats to go in so that when mud makes it into the van, you can pull out the mats and wash them off.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Sher said...

I don't know much about the Magnum. We have the Charger and love it. I've never owned a mini0van but almost everyone I know that swore they would never get one and did, love theirs.

12:49 PM  

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