By Eric on June 9, 2011 19

Stupid Tax: The Jeep Loan

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a lot of stupid financial decisions. At least that’s what happened in our situation. If you haven’t read the rest of this series, check out where our stupid tax was first paid and then how we rushed into buying our house.


The Jeep

We have a Jeep named Trish. She’s been pretty good to us, but it wasn’t always that way. We (or at least I) resented Trish coming into our lives for about three years. Why? I’m so glad you asked…

B.D. (Before Dave) we thought we needed to buy a newer vehicle. We had already established a habitual spending habit and hadn’t worked out any of our saving muscles since we bought our house. Our saving muscles were all flabby and starting to become atrophied.

Naturally feeding our addiction of spending, a newer vehicle was just the thing we “needed.” Kels has always wanted a Jeep, so we looked at Jeeps. This would be the car she drove anyway, so she should get what she wants, right? We found Trish online and went to go look at her. During the test drive, with the salesman in the car, Kelsey states, “This is my dream car!!” Not the best way to keep any sort of negotiating power. Lesson learned as it was our first auto purchase together.

We wanted the Jeep real bad. So, sitting in the dealership, in the salesman’s office, Kelsey called her dad and asked for a loan. This is one of Dave’s big no no’s. Never borrow money from family. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t taste the same when you owe someone at the table money, he says. We had enough wiggle room in our budget to pay him $300 a month. This, of course, was still while we had no savings plan. Terrible idea.

The deal was done and a few days later, we had ourselves a newer vehicle. Happily ever after, right? Not so much.

We barely scraped by for the next year, and, looking back, it started a downward spiral of money fights and arguments that were tearing our marriage apart. Finally, later that year, we decided to attend Financial Peace University in hopes of turning it all around. And it changed our lives.

We finally paid off Trish in December 2009 as a part of our debt snowball. It felt so good we presented Kelsey’s dad with an oversized check to celebrate our freedom. It feels so good to own two cars and have no payments. That extra $300 a month helped tremendously as we dug out of the rest of our student loan debt.

So, I think this is the last post for the stupid tax series. I hope we never have another car loan or have to post about paying a stupid tax again. But, we are glad to be able to share our mistakes with you hoping that you will learn from the mistakes we have already made. The most important thing is that we learn from our mistakes and gain wisdom.

What’s your experience with vehicle loans? How do you pay for your vehicles?

Other posts in this series


Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I am a new reader and love your honesty about marriage and all the ups and downs you encounter. I cant help wonder if you guys are a little hard on yourselves about the money situations you have experienced. There is a price for being young and everyone at some point makes mistakes, “live and learn” should be the motto for young married couples:) Keep up the great work!

  2. I was 22 when I bought my first car the required a loan. Little did I know such a cute little car would be so expensive to drive and maintain. Premium gas, $650 for a set of new tires (WHAT?!), and the list goes on. I paid that baby off early in 2009 thankfully. The hubs and I are getting ready to purchase a much more economical Honda Civic from our friends moving to Chile to be missionaries…with cash! Being car payment free is definitely the way to go. Now…if only we could come up with a strategy to pay off the ginormous school debt.

    • Every time we make a major purchase it seems we have car trouble at the same time. I feel your pain. We paid off my school loans and our Jeep in just under 2 years. Almost $40,000! You can do it!

  3. I love this blog! Your honesty is inspiring and I’ve had a lot of unexpected expenses lately, so I’m really taking to heart all you have to say about budgeting!

  4. I want to know more about the Financial Peace University. You participated through Hope Lutheran Church, right? My husband and I talk about doing Financial Peace but haven’t committed yet.

    Can you join anytime? Maybe now is the time to start researching that possibility. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  5. I know it’s not easy to admit one’s mistakes, and I find it so inspiring how you two are willing to share yours with the world wide web! I am pretty open when I talk to people about mistakes with my marriage and financially (sometimes too open), but I have never had the guts to blog about it AND open myself up to questions from readers. Thanks for opening yourselves up so that we can relate or hopefully prevent similar incidences.

    • Ha! Thank you. :) I think we are the opposite. I am kind of an over-sharer in real life but I think when we write we write like no one is reading. I did a dance video on my other blog but I never would have done that if there were people watching at the time. And now, more than 900 people have watched it! Ha.

    • Elizabeth, Thanks for your kind words. We try our best to be honest. Spilling our guts on the blog is a creative release for us and ultimately helps us work through our own issues too. We think it’s a win-win. Thanks for reading.

  6. Here is what we did to help our kid’s establish credit. They saved the amount needed for the vehicle and then got a low interest loan through a credit union using the money as collateral. They then paid off the majority of the loan off and paid about 10 a month over the next year which helped them establish a credit score. We have a low score because we always thought we should just pay cash. Unfortunately now they even use your scores to determine insurance rates.

  7. I have an old junker truck (kinda love it though)… Matt drives a company vehicle, huge blessing, and I know at some point we will need something more reliable but I want to stretch out the non payments for as long as possible.

  8. Soon after we were married we had a truck payment, a car payment, student loans, and rent… since Nathan was lucky enough to have a compnay truck we sold his personal truck-we came close to breaking even, and had one less payment. Next we really kicked butt on the student loans, and paid them off. Last was my car, we just paid that off in December of 2009. This winter we started to notice a few things going wrong… enter stupid tax that makes me kick myself every day… we bought used CX-9 in January of this year. (Financing about 2/3 of it.) Since then we’ve learned about Dave and Financial Peace– I’m hoping Nathan will gear up for intensity soon, and we’ll sell it and purchase something more economical with cash. (He still has the company truck.)

  9. Oh you guys… you sing our song. I have thought many times about writing up a post on our vehicle situation. It has been emotional, frustrating, humorous and quite honestly very humbling. It may seem silly, but it has been a major tool that God has used to show us that He is so much bigger than Satan. If I never blog the story, I will have to share it with you sometime!

  10. I love the candor in your blog! How many of us make these mistakes but justify them to others instead of admitting it? We’re getting closer to having our car paid off, but I want it paid off right this second while my husband says to wait a few more months to reevaluate our finances… which is kind of the opposite back when we bought it because I didn’t see the problem with having a car payment (doesn’t everybody?) while he thought it was a waste of money. Oh the things they *don’t* teach you at Simpson College!

    • It’s hard to admit when we are wrong. I am thinking all colleges should have classes that teach students how to be adults. There’s certainly not enough of that today, yet it’s really what kids need to thrive once out of college

  11. I am a HUGE Dave fan and it’s so great to see there are other young couples out there that are too. Thanks for sharing! If you ever want someone to guest post and share their “stupid tax” I have plenty of them before I learned about Dave and FPU.

    Thanks again for your wisdom and encouragement!

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