Monday, April 20, 2009

Looking for a House and Car

Yesterday we went looking for a car. We went to a second hand car dealer and dealers for Toyota, Honda and Kia. We compared prices to see if second hand cars are close to new car prices with the drop in prices due to the economic crisis. Looks like second hand cars with less than 10,000 miles of used mileage are sold at prices near the range of new car prices. The prices of new cars range from $ 12,000 to $ 19,000 thousand dollars for 4 door sedans. It is way beyond my budget. After some thought, I think I can only afford cars below the $ 10,000 dollar range. This means that the used mileage would range from 19,000 to 80,000 miles.

Searching for cars makes is very easy in the Internet. I have decided to focus my search to second hand Toyota, Honda and Ford cars. My criteria is prices below $ 10,000, engine displacement of about 1.8L - 2.0L, miles per gallon in the 29-34> range and a used mileage of less than 80,000 miles. My goal is to buy a second hand car that is fuel efficient, a four door family sedan with good reputation for long term durability. Of course, the most important criteria is to keep my monthly payments low. I will be borrowing the money to buy the car from the local credit union. I think I may have to spend about $ 3,000 of my money for the down payment and insurance.

As for the house, I just surfed the Internet and I hope to settle for a property of about $ 120,000. I think the mortgage payments will be equal to my monthly rentals so I think it's better to buy a home and claim tax credits. The main consideration again is the monthly mortgage payments. So I have to keep the amount low. I hope I can sell my flat in Singapore so I can use the money I earn by buying property here. I have to plan very carefully because these monthly payments may sink me if I don't plan properly. I will use up the money I have saved in the past 5 years for these expenses. I think I have to be very careful indeed because I have to factor in the living expenses as well as the education expenses of my kids.

We got home at about 7pm yesterday after looking at the cars for sale. We had lunch at our friends house and I cooked chicken adobo (for the first time), while our friends cooked pasta and spring rolls. After lunch we went out to look at the cars while my son stayed home. I watched 2 movies late in the evening after getting back: 'The Graduate' with Dustin Hoffman and the romantic comedy 'You've Got Mail' with Tom Hanks. I liked both movies and slept at about 2am. On Sunday morning today, we went to St.Mary's church in the city. Afterwards, we went shopping and got home at about 3pm. I slept for an hour and my friends and I went to the sports center. I jogged in the treadmill for 20 minutes and used the stationary bike for 40 minutes.

My friends bought Kentucky Fried Chicken and we had dinner at my place. My son did not join us because he was asleep. I still have to sort a lot of papers to get organized for the office. It's been 5 days since we have arrived and I think we have done a lot of things already. Maybe too much for such a short time. My friends have advised me to take a few days and even weeks to relax and settle down. But I tend to rush things and I need to buy a car soon because my rental car will be taken from me after 3 weeks. I also have to look for a place to buy or rent soon because I have 30 days in this apartment paid by the company. So things are moving fast, too.

Another thing I have to work on is to help my son enroll in community college. I think these are the activities I have to focus on before my wife and son comes over in June. I have to choose a place to live, buy a car and help my son enroll in college. While back home I have to monitor the shipment of my stuff and the selling of my flat so I can use some money for the down payment. I guess these are the usual activities that occupy people who move to another country. I think I will not have time for my usual activities of reading and Toastmaster. I need also to think of earning some more money to supplement my income. I don't think I can make ends meet if we live with only one income.

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