Thursday, December 24, 2009

Look at me Ma-I'm Green!

Well I done did it.  I'm a proud owner of the 2010 Toyota Prius in schnazzy black, all decked out with the navigation package (and a package it is - backup rear view camera, upgraded speakers, 4 disc changer, built-in bluetooth, and a touch screen nav system) .  I haven't even seen it, and I already love it. The journey to a new car started back in the Cash for Clunkers destined-to-be-a-disaster time frame.  You see, if you know me at all, you know that I cannot make a major financial decision in just a day or two.  I am the anti-thesis of impulsive.  The only other person who holds a candle to my need to research is my very own fiance.  So put the two of us together, and the process was bound to take months and months (and of the fact that it was months and not years was a proud moment for me). 

Yes, I know.  Black will show all the dirt and scratches and all.  I don't care. I have never owned a black car, and they're so slick.

When my sister called me and even merely suggested that I consider trading in my love (the Pathfinder I have driven for 10 years and has been in the family for 15), I dreaded the coming days.  My other sister, Pritty, had just cashed in on the Obama-deal and did so quite fast and quite well.  She is, of course, the impulsive one.  Great job, P.  I still cannot do it.  Not me.  Not now.  Not ever.  Unless it is life or death.  In which case, the circumstances are totally different and brash decisions can be justified and not severely regretted.  Though, still, the pressure was on.  I hunted and researched and had my ear/eyes on the news for hours on end.  Any headline concerning Cash, Clunkers, and End grabbed my rapt attention.  Against the likings of all those I know and love, I wanted the Honda Element. I loved that no one else loved it, admired its rugged and unique look, and marveled at its quirkiness.  I worked out a deal after some sub-par negotiating and was ready to buy my first ever car.  Mentally, financially, and physically ready. 

Don't think I would buy the uglier older model with the plastic all up on the side of the car. Girl's got some style!

The news had just announced that the Clunker program would end Monday at 8PM, and Srin flew in that Saturday morning.  Off to the dealers we went that same day.  We worked out a deal with Uncle (the Indian man with whom I had been working and who 'promised' me a family price...Riiiight.) and were ready to pay up.  Only to find out that they had ended Clunker deals at noon that day.  He claimed that he had no idea I was going to participate in it, except that the man asked about the title in my hand earlier that day and days earlier knew about the Clunker.  Hmmm....

So, luckily for me, I had worked out a backup phone deal at the next closest dealership (I told you--I am a planner).  I called Abner, and he said come on in.  He was ready for us, and yes, they were still taking Clunkers.  We jumped in the car and bee-lined it for I45 in my baby, the Clunker.  Only to get a phone call not more than 1 minute later stating that they decided to end the program right then and there.  No more Clunkers.  They were finished.  Done.  Kaput.  Head hung low, I was disappointed.  Funny enough, I didn't really have my heart set on it and didn't forsee being bummed until I got within a mile of a new car.  In a saving-face kind of way, I decided that if I saved $400/month while I continued to drive the Pathfinder, I would have that same amount of money saved up in a year.  No problem.  The loss had been quickly justified for the sake of my own sanity in having lost a free $4500 buckaroos.

And then, less than a year later, the logic that family tried to force on me was finally realized and accepted.  I knew I drove too much to rely on a 15 year old car (or the 9 year old Xterra my parents gave me to replace the older car).  Although I wanted to keep on using my payment-free Clunker, I knew it was wiser to buy a new car.  To Srin, it seemed I had made a 180 from my Cash for Clunker days.  I all of a sudden wanted the Toyota Prius.  But, it was not a sudden change.  Over the course of the months since the Obama-deal ended, I realized that I liked being Green.  I love recycling.  I love my new CFLs.  I reuse plastic bags as best as I can.  I buy recycled when I see it.  Green is better than cool or hip or "in".  It is necessary.  So, in my heart of hearts, I knew that the better long term choice was the Prius.  And the nice gas mileage rating was a practical lil' bonus. 

So, only weeks of research later, I had found the Prius I wanted.  Being that Srin proposed in between then and now, I decided he should be part of this purchase.  If anyone knows him, you know that man needs the best deal he can get.  Whereas if it means I don't have to talk to the dealer more, I will pay the 50 bucks extra.  And yes, the interest over 5 years on that 50 bucks.  I hate dealers that much.  But, not my man Srin.  I put him on three way with my dealer in Texas and somehow he managed to negotiate the price down even further!  But, the Texas dealer wouldn't budge any more.  Turns out, according to Edmunds, the Prius goes for more down here than in DC.  Yup that's right.  The only thing not cheaper in Texas is the Prius.  Some dealers cannot even keep it on their lots--that's how popular the car is.  So, Srin hit up a couple of dealers in DC and bid them against each other.  It worked.  He managed to pull off a better deal than we could have gotten here.  For the exact car I wanted.  And I didn't hate that dealer, Sassan.  He was responsive, together, kept his word, and all.  I was quite impressed. 

The only thing I am less excited about is not having the yellow Xterra that can be found in any parking lot a mile away.  And everyone has black and that is not unique.  Oh well.  I wanted black that badly.  I even paid $400 more for it. Plus another $80 in interest over five years. 

I'm sure you are wondering how we could buy the car in DC if it was for me here in Texas.  Don't worry my friends.  I am the consummate "think-ahead-er".  I wouldn't have bought the car there if the dealer didn't say he could TTL it in Texas.  Yup, that's right.  I bought a car in Maryland and it was taxed, titled, and licensed here in Texas.  It wasn't even a big deal-it was seemingly routine almost.  So, many negotiations, three way phone calls, and mailed paperwork later, I am the proud owner a Toyota Prius.  Our first major purchase together as a couple.  I think we'll make in through life just fine.  

Now I just gotta get it down here. 


  1. HotHot! I love it! (I like the Honda Element also...)

  2. super cute! I'm a little sad bc I loooooved the pathfinder....

  3. I know Amee--I have to give up my Pathfinder. There is a chance I am going to cry when it is all over for it. Catherine--I should have known you would be the only other person to like the Element!

  4. for the record, my 'impulsive' decision was made with plenty of research--it just wasn't dragged out for months (for no good reason). also, i'm guessing the end of the cash for clunkers program was fate's way of ensuring that you didn't buy the element! waaay outside our venn diagram of taste...

  5. I'm pretty sure I said "did it well" but I can take that back if you want. Take back.

  6. I like that your sister defended herself lol

    and black cars are awesome!