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£4100 in debt, car has died

(27 Posts)
calamityjane1 Sat 22-Mar-14 17:06:46

We are just over £4,000 in debt – a combination of a visa bill of £2500 and an overdraft. DH has always had these but always been able to clear them – unfortunately he didn't before my contracts dried up and he had to start paying for our entire household budget!

We're soon to be in a position to begin seriously clearing this debt, but two days ago our car died. As we are in debt already, I think we should spend as little as possible on something old but hopefully reliable. DH's parents have told us that this is madness and offered to lend us £4000 (!!!!) to buy something better! My parents have also offered to lend us money, but I am too embarrassed to tell them about the debt. Basically, his family and mine have very different attitudes towards debt. I know we are very, very lucky to have been offered this money but I am uncomfortable about accepting it.

I know my idea is risky (if new car worth £900 dies or is a money pit), but I really don't want to be in debt to the tune of £8000.

Who is more mad – him for agreeing with parents, or me?

geologygirl Sat 22-Mar-14 17:13:49

Do you actually need a car? Not sure if could use public transport where you are, but probably sensible not to borrow or waste money on a rubbish car. Use any extra cash to clear the debt and buy something good when your financial position is improved.

calamityjane1 Sat 22-Mar-14 17:17:59

Unfortunately, we are very rural with no public transport whatsoever - totally dependent on car for day to day life. We can't even walk to school. Otherwise, yes, I would gladly do without one for a few months ;-)

I also don't like the idea of being financially beholden to family. I would just like to clear existing debts, adding to them as little as possible!

specialsubject Sat 22-Mar-14 17:55:02

look on ebay or your local facebook car sell/swap group. You should get something with a year's MoT for a few hundred.

Mintyy Sat 22-Mar-14 17:57:44

I would buy a cheap car. Don't get yourselves into even more debt.

Its a bit of a no-brainer, really, isn't it.

NigellasDealer Sat 22-Mar-14 18:01:09

get a cheap car, if you are in a rural area where a car is essential you will find a bargain, (like i had to last week) - can you get your old car to the scrapyard and at least get a few quid back on it?
the car that i have been driving for the last 3 years was 400 quid and the 'new' one was £480 plus the old one....
so i am sure you really do not need four grand!

RandallFloyd Sat 22-Mar-14 18:12:42

I bought my car for £900 two years ago, it's still going strong.
Thirteen years old but still only 75,000 miles on the clock and runs perfectly. <crosses fingers, touches wood, does woo dance, successfully avoids all potential karma>

It's a fugly old thing but needs must!

If you're going to be in a better position soon then I'd get something cheap for now, and concentrate on clearing the debts . You can always look at replacing the car once you're in the clear.

calamityjane1 Sat 22-Mar-14 18:17:54

That's what I think as well – getting into more debt seems crazy to me when we are about to be able to pay off what we already owe (I'm self employed and contracts dried up, but I'm about to get self-employed Maternity Allowance, which will clear everything – we budget to live on DH's salary, so we're not consistently overspending, it's just that we should've ensured we cleared the visa bill/overdraft before my last contract).

The car we have found is just about affordable for us – it's 16 years old but has a year's MOT and an engine that my DH knows how to fix if need be.

It seems like a no brainer to me as well but he is not budging and his parents are backing him. His view is what do we do if the older car breaks down and becomes a money pit?

Mintyy Sat 22-Mar-14 19:06:47

We sold our N reg Ford Escort in 2005 to move up to our current car. I sold it for £600 iirc and I still see it around locally, 9 years later. Dear old Norman, loved that car.

RandallFloyd Sat 22-Mar-14 19:09:04

There is that to consider but to me it would be a gamble worth taking, especially if it's short term.

Just make sure that it's had a cam belt change if it's done anything over 60,000 and get a good look underneath it to check for rust but if you're DH is handy with engines he'll know all that and more.

Tbh a used car is a used car, they're always an unknown entity. If you'd only have £4,000 to spend anyway then there's no guarantee that wouldn't turn into a money pit either as you'd still be looking at something a good few years old.

Unless you can afford something with a decent warranty it's just luck unfortunately.

LaurieFairyCake Sat 22-Mar-14 19:18:24

Buy the cheapest brand new car on finance at a garage.

We did this when we had no money 4 years ago, our elderly cars both died the same week.

It took the stress off entirely - we'd been running dying cars for over a year with all the stress that goes with them breaking down on the way to important meetings and work. They were extremely uneconomical to repair - the last month we had them it was 800 quid in repairs

Nothing has gone wrong (obviously) with them in the 4 years.

Viviennemary Sun 23-Mar-14 10:33:41

If you think that there is a good chance circumstances will change and you can pay the money back to your family in a reasonable amount of time then I would accept the offer. But if it's just going to give you sleepness nights overmore debt then go for a cheaper car. I certainly wouldn't go down the finance for a brand new car route.

RandallFloyd Sun 23-Mar-14 10:38:05

Definitely a viable option Laurie, but I think your idea of 'no money' and mine must be very different!

LadyLapsang Sun 23-Mar-14 12:44:39

I would take the offer of the 4K as long as you are upfront with them about your other debt and ability to repay; & you have not borrowed & failed to repay them in the past.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 23-Mar-14 12:55:09

grin - no money as in no savings to buy second hand, no access to loans as were already maxed out on house loans but still had good monthly income to cover HP.

A different type of no money and I really mean no access to money

calamityjane1 Sun 23-Mar-14 15:02:35

Laurie I'd consider that but I don't think we could do the down payment with the monthly repayments on top. It's definitely something we'll look at when/if I get another work contract. My industry is pretty unpredictable at the moment and there's no guarantee. I get MA for 9 months but don't want to commit to monthly repayments on the back of that. Also, we need to use that extra income to pay off visa and overdraft.

Saw the £900 car today and it was too shit even by our standards! In-laws have now said "what is more irresponsible, a 'small' (?!) secured loan or driving the children around in an old knackered car."

Bloody hell. I still don't want to take the money but now if we have a crash and everyone dies it will be my fault. FFS. I know they are being incredibly generous, though.

RandallFloyd Sun 23-Mar-14 17:13:06

It's ok Laurie, I get what you mean grin

My car isn't little or 'knackered' Calamity, it might be 13yo but it's an Astra so plenty big enough and a lot more solid than some of the newer small/basic car.

I've had it over 2 years now and it passed both MOTs with flying colours, not even an advisory. I've got this year's tomorrow, I'll let you know how it goes (but only of you promise to cross all your fingers and toes for me!).

Don't let anyone bully or guilt trip you into making a decision. If you decide the loan is the better option then go for it, but don't do it if you'll regret it and if the stress of the extra debt will overshadow your mat leave. It's a precious time, don't let something like this spoil it, you need to make whichever decision is best for you as a family. Sometimes help is given freely and gladly, sometimes it's more about what the giver wants to give than what the receiver wants to receive. People get a lot of satisfaction out of helping others and there's nothing wrong with that, but for some people once they see an opportunity to be the 'helper' they get blinkered and a bit obsessed.

Also, remind your DH that they're not offering you a brand new car, just a slightly less old one.

Fairylea Sun 23-Mar-14 17:17:18

There are lots of good little cars around for the £1000 mark. Honestly you don't need to spend a lot. My first car was £500 and a Fiat and it was wonderful. Drove all the way to London and back from Norfolk in it many a time and no problems whatsoever. My new (er) car is a Renault megane expression 2001 1.4 and cost me £995 4 years ago and it's been brilliant. Passes the Mot with hardly any problems.

Go and see a few cars and go for test drives.

Personally I would never buy a car on finance after losing my (what I thought was secure) job a few years back and my then dh leaving me at the same time. Circumstances do and can change.

AnUnearthlyChild Sun 23-Mar-14 17:23:56

I like Laurie's idea. Can you use say £500 or £1000 pf the parents money to make the deposit on a cheap brand new one.

I did something similar when I took a job that conractually required me to have a car. I used credit card to put down a couple of hundred quid deposit and got a low interest loan over a long monthly payments weren't much.

Not brilliant in terms of total outlay over the whole period of the loanBUT got me a reliable set of wheels quickly when I needed it. I also got them to throw in a free service, and it was small engine so no tax, had a parts and labour guarantee and free recovery. So I had no surprises in terms of forking out in the unlikely event it did break down.

A year down the line I was in a better position to renegotiate finance, get a better deal etc.

calamityjane1 Sun 23-Mar-14 19:58:31

Thanks, Randall I do know what you mean about help being given, and how the helper can become a bit obsessed with what they think is the right thing to do.

Of course, with older cars there is the risk of breakdown, but weighing it up I don't think finance is the wisest course of action for us at the moment.

The ridiculous thing is both of us have always had old bangers - neither of us have ever had a new car! The last one we bought was eight years old at the time, and we were all like, Wow, the radio works! To me, it felt like driving something fresh off the forecourt! ;-)

Our friends spent a good few thousand on a second hand merc recently and it has been nothing but trouble. As Randall said up the thread, unless you're under warranty it's down to luck. DH had come around to my POV last night but after we saw the car today he's swinging back towards parents' viewpoint.

We will keep looking, thanks so much for the comments and advice.

RandallFloyd Sun 23-Mar-14 21:24:56

I think, for me, the issue of car finance is that cars depreciate so quickly that by the time you've finished paying for them they're worth next to nothing and you're back to square one.

Unless you can afford something seriously expensive, have a big deposit, or a very short timespan it ends up being a self-perpetuating cycle.

I personally wouldn't want the stress of any more debt if your situation is uncertain, but then again I have ishoos and the idea of being beholden to my parents for something as big as that would bring me out in hives!

I just know they wouldn't be able to help themselves and would mention it every time I saw them. The incessant 'how's the car running?' and 'car's looks well' with the accompanying knowing smiles would drive me insane.

I am massively projecting there though, your PiLs may be absolutely lovely and have nothing but good intentions.

calamityjane1 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:33:33

Oh flipping heck. Just had email from MIL offering to pick up DC from school and bring over dinner one night this week (I have a very new newborn and DH is going away for work). And then also saying 'I'm glad you're getting a decent car. Wrecks are no fun.'

As far as I'm aware, DH and I haven't yet reached a decision or agreed to accept the money. Don't know how to reply.

Kindness and coercion combined are extremely confusing!

Randall I am now convinced that we must be related - your parents' reaction is exactly what my dad would do!!! Those comments! DH's parents would never mention the money, I know, but I would find the sense of obligation a bit crippling. Every time we had spare money, I'd never feel justified in using it for anything other than repaying the loan. Owing someone a lot of money creates a weird dynamic, I think.

RandallFloyd Mon 24-Mar-14 15:50:31

You're right there, it put you on a very unequal footing. Even if that is just psychological rather than reality. It's a difficult one. I would just put my foot down and refuse. Putting up with their sulking and emotional blackmail would be preferable to letting them force me into a choice I didn't want to make but then I'm an arsey old cow!

I think the important thing in your situation is to ignore their pressure and make the decision that is right for you and your family. If that does mean taking the loan then I would say the best thing to do would be to agree on a proper set time-scale and set up a standing order. That way everyone knows where they stand and you won't feel obligated to pay it back as soon as possible. You need to be able to have some spare money without feeling guilty for spending it.

Fwiw, my car sailed through it's MOT for the 3rd year running. No advisories, completely clear. I bought it 2 1/2 years ago for £900. There's a lot of decent cars around for £900-£1000, they're certainly not all 'wrecks'.

lizzywig Wed 26-Mar-14 19:38:15

We are on our fourth car in 4 years. Our first was �250 from a family friend and it died within about 6 months. It was a heap of junk to be fair but DH wanted a car and it was all we could afford at the time. Then we spent �1800 on a car with 65000 miles on it. It lasted a year before blowing up. It was under warranty but they wouldn't pay out. So we took some advice from a family friend /mechanic who said to buy british. So we got a 9 year old vauxhall with 50000 on it. We took out a warranty which to be fair paid for several repairs and was worth it. However we paid for�2500 for the car thinking it would last a while. It died a couple of months ago. They quoted us over �3k for repairs and the warranty wouldn't pay out.

My husband needs a car for commuting so we had to do something. I couldn't bear the idea of going through it all again so we got a new car. I just felt that we had to bite the bullet. We put a deposit down and have a loan for the rest which we can overpay if we like. It has a lifetime manufacturers warranty.

However we didn't have debt, although i was about to come to the end of my employment contract and we are saving for a larger house. If i was in your shoes i would either buy the cheapest car available or get a brand new one. Good luck, whatever you decide, i feel your pain.

PigletJohn Fri 28-Mar-14 09:10:15

Cars don't actually die. It has got something wrong with it. What?

And how much is the car worth?

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