In Which a Nervous Car Gal Dips Her Toe Into The Water, Part 1

I’m not gonna lie. The thought of financing a car makes my stomach churn.

As someone who’s had the bottom fall out three times in the past ten years, there’s a reason for the sweaty palms, dry mouth, and upset stomach.

Like most Americans, I got hit hard in the recession. First with a job loss and the subsequent financial disaster (raiding my 401k so I didn’t end up on the streets. Same for my savings),and then the loss of my car when a 16 year-old totaled it while chatting on her cell phone.

A health crisis three years ago wiped me out physically and financially. To this day, I think I got through the 2013 L.A. Auto Show on sheer will. No way was this Cinderella going to miss the ball.

I rebounded in early 2014 and picked up a social media gig with a local business owner. She abruptly changed course in January 2015, shuttering her practice and leaving me jobless.

Lightening struck not once, but three times. And people wonder why the thought of financing a car makes me hyperventilate and become nauseated.

Back on my feet

Currently, I’m what lenders would consider a “good risk” for a modest car loan.

In other words, I have the “right stuff” to make the leap: income from a stable source, a stellar credit rating, and a gig that isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

My solid credit score will put me out of reach of predatory sub-prime lenders and their shenanigans.

The bad news? I’d qualify to finance an used car under 10K because of my modest income.  Good cars in that range are few and far between; most of them that I’ve looked at have mechanical issues or have been treated badly. A loan payment and repair bills?

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I test-drove a car yesterday that is a possible strong candidate. A cash transaction would be ideal (I could flip the car a few months down the road and use the proceeds as a down payment) but not realistic. It would take years to save up; I’m not 16 anymore.

I need my life back. There are friends to visit, classes to take, appointments to tend to, and additional income opportunities to pursue.  My current method of getting to work involves playing Transit Roulette with a crumbling small city bus system that frequently runs late, or not at all.

I want to be part of a volunteer cadre of drivers for a local non-profit, giving rides to their clients as they go to job interviews, attend classes, and look for work.  I’d like to return to the city college that gave me my start as a lifelong learner, this time as an outreach and tutoring volunteer.

I want to take some time for myself and take a drive along the coast, or along the winding Ortega Highway. My best ideas come to me from behind the wheel of a car.

I really wish I could talk this over with my dad, who had a clear-headed view of life’s tougher choices. I wish he could see me as I take this significant leap.

Join me for the ride in the coming days as I check out the different financing options available to me. In the meantime, could someone pass me the saltines? I feel queasy.

 

We Interrupt Our Regular Broadcast…

To bring you some great news! Broke Girl’s Guide to Cars has been nominated for the Liebster Award, which is given to new bloggers like myself. Whoo Hoo! Can’t believe my humble little corner of the blogosphere has been recognized. I was nominated by Uma over at Simple Sumptuous Cooking. If you like to cook, check out her blog. She’s got some delicious, fast and budget-friendly recipes that you’ll love.

Here are some questions Uma asked in order to get to know me better.

Sum up the target audience for your blog in one sentence: My target audience is consumers and car nuts who are looking for informative real-world content.

What is your primary reason for starting the blog, and do you have a roadmap for monetizing your blog? I wanted to start a blog in this niche because I love to write, I love cars, and I’m a gal on a budget.

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Since my blog is so new, I haven’t yet devised a road map for monetization; that will come when there are more followers and if I feel I can offer something of value to my readers. It’s still too early to tell if monetization is the way for me to go.

How often do you post content on your blog? 2-3 times a week.

Are pictures/video important to your blog? Only if they have something of value to offer. I use pictures to illustrate the entry and to add another visual component. No video so far, but if I feel it would be of value to the blog, I’ll add video as needed.

Do you hire people for writing content/creating photography and videos? Nope. I plan on keeping my little corner of the internet fully home-grown and self-produced. My most immediate goal is to purchase a DSLR camera so I can produce my own photographic and video content. There may be a guest post or two in the future, but I have no plans to hire anyone.

Do you have a YouTube channel?  Not yet. Still deciding if it’s a good use of my time and resources.

Do you also take advantage of social media such as Pinterest, Instagram, etc? I do social media management as a side gig, so I’ve learned over time that less is more. My readers tend to hang out mostly on Facebook and Twitter, so that’s where I share content. Readers tend to lose interest if they have to follow someone across multiple channels.

What is your blog’s biggest success? I wrote a post on the pitfalls and ripoffs of Buy Here Pay Here dealerships, which disproportionately target low-income consumers( especially women) and those with little or no credit. I got an email from a reader who was considering that type of dealership until she read my post. She thanked me for the post and decided against a Buy Here Pay Here dealership.

What motivates you to continue blogging? I blog for the love of it. I don’t obsess over comments, number of readers or monetization. I’ll keep going as long as I can produce quality content.

Where do you see your blog in the next 2-5 years? That’s a tough one to answer, since the blogosphere is so dynamic. This blog is also brand-new, so I have a more immediate outlook for the next 2-5 months: buy the domain name, upgrade my site to include additional plug-ins, and anything else I think will be useful in the near future. At this stage it’s very hard for me to see beyond the next several months.

I blog because I love it and I love the subject matter 🙂