Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dear Jacob

Dear Jacob,

I'm so thankful God made you. There are so many moments that I see glimpses of his overwhelming grace in you, I'm growing more and more grateful for your companionship daily. I love your laugh, listening to you talk about the things you enjoy, laughing at your Chickfila obsession, and exploring our new hometown together. I appreciate how you always make sure I can drive the newer car when I need to go anywhere, you do the dishes before you go to work and you listen to my outrageous emotional breakdowns more often than I wish I had them.

I love when you call me from work just to check on me or ask a quick question, our lazy Friday nights or Saturdays staying in, the way you get lost in a good story and how much you support me chasing my  crazy dreams. Thank you for making late dinners so I can run after work, not complaining when I snooze my alarm repeatedly every morning and not judging my crazy morning hair.

The past six months have been absolutely thrilling to move across the country with you and start a new adventure. Happy birthday, my dear. I cherish you.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Secret to Negotiating Big Purchases

Buying our first brand-new car was one of the most nerve-wracking and simultaneously exhilarating experiences in my life. This was by far the biggest purchase we've ever made, and the biggest commitment financially, other than going to college and taking out student loans.

After one dealership visit to test-drive the car and three phone calls, we knocked the APR down from 7% to 0.9%, as well as $5,000 off the original price of the car. But to tell you the truth, we wouldn't have even bought a new car if it wasn't for my dad's coaching.

He is a wise man. The real lesson here: listen to your father. He's got a few years on you, kid, so he's probably right. ;)

But here's the secret, y'all: Know what you want to spend, what APR you want, and how many months you want to pay it. Don't go in with absolutely ridiculous ideas, but they will negotiate with you. They want your sale, probably just as much as you want the car.

Do your research.

Decide what car you want and look into the different deals the local dealerships have going on. Have any friends who recently purchased a car? Talk to them. Ask questions. Be prepared for what you're going into - a bartering session. The sales guys are tough, so you need to be, too. 

Be firm and direct.

Tell the salesman exactly what you are interested in. Be direct and clear. When he offers you something different, tell him that's not what you said you wanted.

Stay indifferent. 

Don't act like you're in love with the car. If you show him you are head over heels, he knows he's got you. We weren't happy with the first offer the sales guy gave us. If I had showed my attachment to the car, I would have lost all the negotiation pull I had to bring the cost and APR down. Instead, when he didn't tell us what we wanted to hear, we said we didn't like that offer and walked away. (He called us an hour later with a better deal.)

Ask questions. 

Are you not seeing the options you thought you'd see? Ask why you aren't seeing them. When we first walked in, our salesman handed us a sheet listing 7-10% APR options for the civic we wanted. I wanted to know why we weren't seeing the 0.9% option I heard advertised on the radio... I asked, so he showed us.

Be willing to walk away.

Buying a car is a big deal, especially if you're spending a chunk of money on it. If you aren't seeing the deal you set out for, or anything close enough to be happy with... you need to be able to walk away.

Have you made a big purchase that taught you life lessons? What would you add to this list?
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