So, in February, we started looking. We went to a dealer. We were trying to find something that would last us for a long time, and it had been recommended to us that Hondas and Toyotas were usually high quality, even if they had a few more miles.
We found a couple that we were interested in, but we wanted to get a loan from a bank before we decided on anything for sure.
Then, almost the next week, insurance started at Grig's work and we ended up back-paying for insurance in February. Due to this, we didn't know for sure how much we were going to be making after insurance, and so we didn't know how much we could put into car payments.
So, for a while we didn't worry about it. Our car began to have pretty serious issues. Sometimes it wouldn't start. One day, it went completely dead. We took it to our mechanic and they told us our battery was dead, so we bought a new one and put it in. However, that didn't fix our problem. During April things began to get worse. Our blinkers stopped working consistently. Often, they were fine (especially during long trips when we'd been saying prayers), but often we'd just hear a mechanical buzzing or they wouldn't work at all.
Not sure if we had the money for a new car, we tried to take our car in to get it fixed. The mechanic couldn't find anything wrong with it, and it worked perfectly for them. However, only the next day, the troubles came back. We tried this two more times. Each time, the car would be having issues, but as soon as we brought it to the mechanic it worked fine.
We finally decided we needed to put our efforts toward purchasing a vehicle. Obviously the Lord didn't want us to spend any more money on the impala. A short time after that, the air conditioning and heating stopped working.
Then came the final nail in our car's coffin: We received a notice in the mail telling us that our car's registration was due by the end of May and we needed to have a safety and emission check.
We now had a deadline. There was no way that our car was going to pass safety, and we would rather put our money toward a new vehicle than pour money into our current one.
May began, and during the first Sunday, Grig and I fasted and prayed that he would finally get his raise and that we would be able to find the right car. We were still waiting for our first paycheck in May, which would show us how much we were making after taxes and insurance. As of the first week of May, Grig had now been working at his current job for over 6 months, which is usually how long banks want you to be working somewhere before they give you a loan.
Then, last Wednesday, the long awaited day finally arrived. Grig received his check, and we looked to see what our actual workable income was. At lunch he called me and asked, "Wasn't I making this much when I started?" I told him, I didn't know, but then I went and looked. It turned out that Grig had received a raise a month ago, but we hadn't noticed because of all the back-paying we were doing for insurance. We were amazed! Our fast had been answered, and even before we had asked for it. Grig thanked his supervisor, who was surprised that he had just noticed. Wednesday, we plugged the paycheck into our budgeting system and found that we could spend at least $200 on car payments a month.
Thursday, we went and talked to a bank that had been recommended to us by the first dealership we had gone to. They seemed okay, but while we were applying for a loan and setting up an account, I couldn't help but feel heavy. I wondered if it was just worry about borrowing money, but the feeling persisted, even after we had left the bank. Grig and I prayed about it, and Friday morning, while he was at work, I got on the computer and began to compare bank rates for auto insurance. It turned out that a different bank, that we had been wanting to get an account at for a long time anyway, had much better rates. Grig and I talked about it when he got home, and we decided to apply at this bank instead and cancel our other account.
So, Friday night we did just that. We went in, got everything set up, and then decided to go to the dealership to "just look around." We didn't expect to find the car yet, but we wanted to get an idea of what was available. We had been told that this dealership was incredibly honest, and so they were our first choice.
We found a couple of cars that we were interested in. One was a Toyota Sienna, and the other was a Honda Pilot. We test drove the Sienna first. It was less money and had fewer miles on it. However, it also didn't feel right. It didn't help that as the dealer got in to drive it over to us, it began to make a loud squeaky noise.
However, when we got in the Pilot, everything felt right. It handled beautifully and had all sorts of features that we didn't even know that we wanted. It had eight seats, which is something that I really wanted. It also had four wheel drive and a place for a trailer hitch, which are two things that Grig wanted. We both felt really good about it, and after praying about it, decided that this was the vehicle that we were supposed to get.
So, when we drove back in, we went in with the agent and began to fill out paperwork. Our loan hadn't been approved yet, but we were supposed to hear about it the next morning. We asked the agent if they would hold it for us, and he hesitated. He said, "If tomorrow wasn't Saturday, I'd say yes. However, since tomorrow is Saturday, we ask that you put down at least $300, just so we know for sure you're serious."
He left the room for a minutes so we could talk about it, and we prayed again. Feeling very light and good, we put the $300 down, with the expectation that we would return the next day and buy the car. We agreed to a down-payment amount, and had them appraise our Impala for a trade-in value. It was only priced at $200, which was better than nothing. We printed off all the things we would need for the bank and drove away.
As we drove away, we both felt really good about our decision, but we also felt a little overwhelmed. "This is happening really fast," I told Grig.
He replied, "I was feeling the same way."
The next morning, Grig was working a few extra hours. About mid-morning, the bank called me and told me that our loan was accepted. We had been praying that our Impala would keep going until we could get the new car, and it had been working pretty well for the past couple of weeks.
However, I was having second thoughts. Not so much about the car, but about the amount we had agreed on for the down-payment. It would use up a lot of our buffer, and I was a bit worried about making such a large purchase. The thought of waiting until Monday crossed my mind several times.
However, as I read scriptures and talked to Grig (after he got home), we decided to just go for it. We felt that this is what the Lord was telling us to do, so He would provide for us. We were trying to stay carefully in our budget.
We cleaned out our car and got in to go get the loan from the bank. We all got in the car and tried to turn it on.
We tried again.
After a few minutes, Grig ran over to the neighbors and he came to jump us. It took a while, but eventually the car started. Then, as we were about to drive off, Grig received a call from the dealer. They asked us if we still wanted the car. We told them that we were on the way to the bank right then. They told us that it was a good thing we had put down the $300. A man was there saying he would buy the Pilot right then if we weren't going to take it. If we had waited even a day, we wouldn't have gotten this car.
As we drove away, our blinkers stopped working again, and lights were flashing all over. The Impala, which had served us faithfully for nearly four years, was dying.
We left the car running while we went into the bank. The amount of our monthly car payment came to the perfect amount, and everything else went smoothly. We withdrew our down-payment and got the check from the bank. As we drove to the dealer, the low fuel light came on.
We handed all of our paper work to the dealer, and within a few short minutes, drove away in our new vehicle. It was amazing.
It was a little sad to say good-bye to the Impala, but we were so grateful to have a car that we wouldn't have to worry about whether it would start every time or not.
We are so grateful for the many miracles, both large and small, that led to us being able to purchase this new car. We're also grateful for the Impala. We bought it from some wonderful friends and it was a great car to the very end.
That night we went to the temple and felt the wonderful Spirit that is there.
I had a really great weekend.