We Bought A Mini-Van – Find Out Why

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There are a lot of things that I’ve learned to do without now that I’m a mom.

But the most painful?

Trading in my beloved, black Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg Edition for a mini-van that will hold 8 people, including two baby seats in the second row.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve slowly given up many things that I once held dear as a single woman:

  • My condo, which was too small for my husband, step-daughter, my growing baby and two dogs.
  • Utter independence. I used to be a lone-wolf in this world. I didn’t have to answer to anyone, and now I have a family.
  • Sleeping alone in my king size bed. (This one isn’t terrible, but it meant that my dog got kicked out of the bed and I’m pretty sure he still hasn’t forgiven us.)
  • And now, my zippy little black car.

While, I’m mostly kidding about the pain, the last couple of years have definitely changed me, and trading in my car definitely felt like a huge step into the future.

Why We Needed to Purchase a Mini-Van

Like many parents, we started a conversation one day about the future of our family and the possibility of bringing another child into it. Our daughter is one, and my step-daughter is nine.

We quickly arrived at the conclusion that neither of our cars would support two baby seats and a fifth grader.

My husband had a Mazda 5 which had a third row of seats, but that wouldn’t work with two baby seats because no one would actually be able to get to the third row.

And my great-for-a-single-woman Jetta was even worse. Our nine-year-old would have to sit directly between two carseats, and at almost 5 feet tall already, that definitely wasn’t going to work.

What We Decided To Purchase

So, as the responsible parents that we are, we decided to start talking about our options, and we decided that we wanted a Honda Odyssey that had sliding seats in the second row so that the two carseats could be together in the second row and my step-daughter could easily get to the third row via one of the sides.

You can check out a video that shows these “Magic Seats” in the second row here. Otherwise, I’ll spare you the boring car details.

With our chosen vehicle in mind, we headed to a local Honda dealership and traded in both of our cars for our new mini-van.

How Buying A New Car Reduced Our Monthly Bills

My husband and I had talked for months prior to purchasing our mini-van about the fact that we hardly ever used both cars. With my husband working from home, and myself at home, we rarely needed both cars and it was really a waste to spend money on upkeep and insurance.

It was also worth noting that our cars weren’t new by any stretch – my car was a 2007 and my husband’s car was a 2013. There was a real solid chance that we were going to be spending some major cash on our cars in the near future just to keep them going strong.

By trading in our two cars for one, we cut our insurance bill by over half (the new car’s insurance was less than either of our original cars), we now have one less car to maintain with oil changes (and the new car needs oil changes far less anyway) and our car payment was only slightly more than what my husband’s payment was anyway.

When all was said and done, we actually came out ahead  for our monthly bills and have a new car that fits our family’s growing needs.

Is Downsizing To One Car A Solution For You?

While it was a fairly easy decision for my husband and I to downsize to a single family car, the decision may not be so simple for others.

Here are a few questions to consider before making the decision to share one car:

  1. How often do you use the cars that you have?
  2. Are there times when both cars are being used at the same time?
  3. Instead of having two cars, could you carpool?
  4. How much would you save in car payments, insurance and maintnenace?

Believe me, it can take a little more effort to coordinate schedules when you’re sharing one car, but when you are able to save money, it can be worth it.

I’m Now One of “Those” Moms

In all seriousness, I absolutely adore our new van.

It was difficult to say goodbye to the car I’d had since I graduated college, but I can’t deny that getting a mini-van was the best decision for our family. And while I didn’t exactly relish the thought of being a walking mom-cliche, I’m getting over it.

Who I am now is vastly different than who I was before. I’ve found a husband I love, got a bonus step-daughter, had my very own baby and we are hoping for more in the future. I’m proud of the changes to my life.

So really, it feels pretty silly to be upset over a car.

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