Balance in May 2009 at the Start of the Snowball: $10,622.55
***Post written September 2009***
We bought our van within days of arriving in Ohio almost two years ago exactly. We moved to Ohio from Italy, and while still in Italy, The Hubs researched used vans online and had narrowed down a few for us to look at once we arrived in Ohio.
For those of you not familiar with the military, or of moving overseas in general, it’s a bit of a complicated matter to ship cars hither and yon. The military does provide shipment for one vehicle per family, but you’re on your own beyond that.
Before moving to Italy, we had sold one of our cars (actually, we sold two cars, because we had three. Doesn’t everybody?) (Ooh, that might be a future post.) (Maybe a good one for The Hubs to write?) (Hi, Hubs!) We bought a second car when we arrived in Italy, and before leaving Italy we sold that same car. This is quite common for American military members to do upon arriving and leaving overseas’ bases, so there are lots of used vehicles to choose from when you arrive, and lots of incoming customers when you leave.
So we shipped the one vehicle, weeks and weeks before we left Italy. But it takes weeks and weeks, and even more weeks, before it gets there. And they don’t exactly deliver it right to your door. In fact, once it arrived The Hubs had to drive to St. Louis to get it — the nearest “port” to Ohio.
So not only did we need another car when we got to Ohio, we needed it right away. We decided to finally get a van, now that we had three kids. By the time we left Italy, landed in Ohio, and woke up in our hotel room, only one of the vans The Hubs researched was left to even check out; the others had sold.
So we went to test drive the VW Eurovan we currently own, loved it, and took it home. Except we didn’t actually have a home yet. But you get what I mean.
All this to say that, we never would have bought this van had we known what we know now.
I love the van. I love driving the van, to be exact. But it’s too high maintenance for us financially. It requires premium octane gas, parts are hard to come by, and The Hubs can’t even change the oil.
But hindsight’s 20/20, and all that. So we’re keeping the van, at least for now (much to The Hubs’ chagrin) . Because we also bought a house when we moved to Ohio, which used all our cash, we had to take a loan out for the van. When we decided to get serious about this debt snowball, I paid off the van loan using a 0% APR transfer offer with a credit card that’s good for 12 months. That was four months ago. Barring any horrible, unforeseen emergency, we will have that paid off before the offer runs out, God willing.
(Postscript: And we did! Yea!)