In 2014, when I found out I was having twins, I knew an upgrade to a minivan was inevitable. At the time, I had a toddler in a car seat, and it's virtually impossible to fit three bulky car seats in a single row when two of them are babies. As such, I knew I needed a car with a third row of seats and a minivan fit the bill.
After doing some research, I decided to finance a 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring. And even though the car has served me pretty well over the years, at this point, I'm tired of it.
On the one hand, my car looks like a 10 year old car. There are 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 this old.
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But aesthetics aside, the only thing that really bothers me about my minivan is that the sliding doors constantly get in my way. Imagine picking up your kids after school and rushing off to a series of activities…only you can't leave your parking spot because your damn door won't close. It's my life all the time.
Despite my frequent dissatisfaction with my minivan, I plan to drive it as long as possible. Here's why.
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I don't want to borrow now or anytime soon
These days, taking out a loan is expensive, whether it's a loan you use your home equity for or a loan you use to buy a car. And the reason comes down to the numerous interest rate hikes that the Federal Reserve has introduced in 2022 and 2023 to combat inflation.
This year, the Fed is expected to start cutting rates. But even so, it will only make borrowing for a car (or any other purpose) moderately cheaper.
Overall, I expect borrowing costs to remain high for some time. If my minivan stops and I'm strength take out a loan at a less than favorable interest rate, so be it. But I can't bring myself to take on any debt when I have a car that actually works.
I paid a lot for my car and I want to get the most value out of it
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) puts the starting MSRP for a 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring at $42,760. To be completely honest, I don't remember exactly how much I paid for my car. That figure, however, seems to fall somewhere in the range, making my minivan the most expensive car I've ever owned. For this reason, I want to drive this car as long as possible.
Some assets you own, like your home, have the potential to increase in value over time. Cars, on the other hand, are known to lose value as soon as you drive them off the lot.
Right now, the average price of my used minivan is $13,677, KBB says. Only, I'd probably watch a lot less of it due to the aforementioned condition of my car.
Regardless, the amount I would get for my car would be nowhere near what I would need to purchase a new vehicle that could accommodate my family. And it doesn't matter whether I sell my minivan now or in a few years – either way, I won't get anywhere near its original value. So, in my opinion, I might as well drive it as long as possible – and delay buying a new car, which tends to be expensive, as long as possible.
Some people want to upgrade their car every few years. And if you can afford it, go for it. But while I'm certainly not in love with my minivan, I feel that hanging on to it until it stops working makes sense for my family's finances.
Plus, I'm someone who admittedly struggles to dip into my savings account, which I might have to do to make a down payment on a car. So if I can postpone that, it's better for me mentally.
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