Dear Mary: We have an aging car that is a lemon. We are keeping it going with bailing wire until we can afford a different car. When that time comes, besides our temptation to shove it over a cliff, what should we do with our lemon? In good conscience I cannot even donate it to a charity. Sue Ellen
Dear Sue Ellen: If you feel it is not drivable when that time comes, about your only option would be to sell it for salvage. Check with a local auto dismantling yard. Depending on the make and model, they may decide to “part it out,” which might make the car slightly more valuable to them than it is to you. In that case, they will probably accept the complete car. If you sell it for only the scrap metal, you will likely have to remove the engine, tires, radiator and other vital parts ahead of time, delivering just the metal. Just don’t expect to get much money from the deal. You may discover that it’s easier to drive a lemon than to get rid of one!
In the meantime as you wait out this car’s useful life, you might enjoy knowing how another reader lives happily with an old car.
Dear Mary: Recently, I observed my adult son do something that my husband and I had practiced when he was growing up: own your cheap, old car and rent when you need something more.
Over the years when scouting trips, family vacations, and special events required a larger, more comfortable vehicle, we rented a minivan. Our everyday used cars were paid for in cash and maintained until they died.
The cost of our minivan rentals were frequently shared, so this made our strategy even more cost effective. We compared car costs with another family that had purchased a minivan and used it for family transportation. Our overall costs compared to theirs were significantly lower. We took into consideration fuel, insurance, and license fees.
We still rent cars for long trips or when we need to haul a group. The strategy is valid for just the two of us. My current car is almost 30 years old. We have long had the cash on hand to replace it with something younger. Judy
Dear Judy: I love your strategy, not only for the practicality but that it forces you to plan ahead, which is also a good thing. Now for that 30-year old car—I’m sure I am not the only one wondering its make, model and mileage.
Dear Mary: When I saw a recent news report showing an “ethical” hacker breaking A 7-digit password in 37 seconds, I decided it was time to update all my passwords. What better reminder to keep spending in check than to use your password as a personal goal reminder? For example: debtkillsdreams or theborrowerisslavetothelender. Or how about keepspendingincheck..Add in your personal choice of numbers or special characters, and you have a built-in reminder system every time you log into your account. The longer your password, the safer it is, too. Kimberly
Dear Kiberly: Brilliant, simply brilliant. I love this so much, I’m going to change some passwords right now.