After a few weeks of trying to figure out what we wanted to do about a car for Ana, we went out yesterday and bought a new Saturn ION. After talking it over with my parents last week (who are experts in buying used cars), we decided that since I know nothing about cars, and don't know anyone who does either, that buying a used car was pretty dumb. I was thinking a great plan was to exchange my VUE which is a standard for a newer automatic so Ana could drive it, then I would go buy a convertable Karmann Ghia that I've always wanted. But Ana insisted that whatever car we get had to be able to be safe enough to cart Alex around in, so we ditched that idea as well and decided to get an inexpensive new car.
So yesterday I finally got a check from my old apartment for both my pro-rated March rent and my deposit back so we went off to look at cars, secure that I had a decent downpayment in hand (I was a little worried about taking out two car loans on my credit). I did almost no research, and probably got a lesser car for more money than I would've had I done more than the bare minimum. But the nice thing about Saturn is their prices are set and the sales guys don't work on commision - so you don't feel screwed when you leave the lot. Stupid, maybe, but not screwed. To get a better car for less money I would've had to go off to another lot and deal with slimy car dealers, etc. and I just wanted to avoid that experience as much as possible. As it was, we got the most inexpensive car they had that was an automatic, so it's not like we broke the bank either, my payments are going to be around $175 a month.
The ION is nice - it's like a little mini version of my VUE, which I love. The one weird thing is that the gauges on the dashboard are centered in the middle of the car. You have to look to the right of the steering wheel to see how fast you're going. SOOoooo weird. But other than that, the rest of the car is nice, roomy inside, great gas mileage, hooks for the baby seat, foldable seats, etc. This is of course Ana's car, not mine, so she got to pick the color and she chose silver. Which is nice, but it's the same as my VUE! I tried to convince her softly that maybe the White or Black was a nicer color, but I could see she really liked the silver/grey so I didn't push too hard. Still, our yard looks like a Saturn commercial now with two cars in the same style, same color.
Okay, so Ana needs to now learn how to drive as she doesn't have her license yet. She passed the written exam a few weeks ago and got her learners permit to drive in California, but now needs to practice on a real car. My VUE's standard was just too much (and it's a big car, etc.) so that's why we got a little automatic so she feels comfortable and it'll be much easier for her to learn quickly and on the road. We're going to go out in a little while for her first lesson. I don't want this brand new car sitting in the driveway for two months because we never found time for her to practice, though I doubt that will happen. A shiny new vehicle is just the incentive you need.
Hmm... I wonder if there's any good books on how to teach someone to drive? Teaching your teenager how to drive is one thing, but your spouse? Oof, this is going to be rough.