We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A WAY-FM Business Impact Partner)

This is NOT a sponsored post. This is simply a passionate testimonial based on our family’s experience. Neither Hyundai of Cool Springs nor WAY-FM were aware of this post until after the purchase of the vehicle.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Our family now has a “new to us” family vehicle and we are all 4 very excited about it! This past Memorial Day weekend, we traded in our 2006 Honda Accord for a 2013 Hyundai Elantra.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Everyday for a couple years now, I have been hearing commercials for Hyundai of Cool Springs on my favorite radio station, WAY-FM (both of which happen to be right around the corner from my office).

By default, my wife and I have been Honda people for as long as we’ve been married; nearly 8 years now. So while I was hearing about the Hyundai brand on a daily basis, I was already set on replacing my wife’s Honda Accord for a Honda Fit.

However, in addition to the radio ads I kept hearing on WAY-FM as part of the Business Impact Partnership, something else magical happened that lead to my conversion from Honda to Hyundai…

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

A couple of months ago while getting both of our Hondas maintenanced, I candidly asked my mechanic of several years now (at Firestone Complete Auto Care in Cool Springs) a question that only he could legitimately answer as a non-biased 3rd party expert on the subject:

“What is the best car company as far as dependability, maintenance, and value?”

This was his immediate answer:

“If you were asking me this question 3 years ago, I would have said Honda. But now, Hyundai has really stepped up their game. The next time I get a new car, I would like to get a Hyundai for myself. Plus, Hyundais are actually more affordable than Hondas these days.”

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

I value his opinion very highly, as he knows exactly which cars have the most (and least) trouble. That was a major turning point for me.

Not to mention, back in 2014 while our family was having our house built, there were 4 occasions where we got to review Hyundais for a week at a time, here on my blog. We drove the Hyundai Sonata, the Azera, and the Sante Fe twice; first in May, then again in December. (To read those posts, just click on the bold red title above the “flashback” pictures.)

Hyundai Santa Fe in May 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Hyundai Azera in May 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

2015 Hyundai Sonata in December 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe again in December 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Then last week, my wife told me she found a great deal on a 2013 Honda Sonata, after browsing the website for Hyundai of Cool Springs. So I drove there the next day to check it out. Within 30 minutes, I was offered a deal that I felt would be foolish to turn down.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

However, by the time we test drove the Sonata as a family a few days later, my wife just wasn’t feeling it. When I turned around to the back seat and asked our 5 and a half year-old son Jack what he thought about the car, he apathetically shrugged off my question with, “I don’t know.”

I could see the Sonata just wasn’t the right ergonomic fit for our family, or for my wife in particular; this was important as the new vehicle would be her commuter car from Spring Hill to Nashville every day once she returns to work from maternity leave.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

My wife then revealed to me she had also seen a 2013 Elantra on the website too. We mentioned this to our sales professional, Corey Carpenter, who was happy to show us the other vehicle. He assured our family he was there to help us choose the vehicle that was truly right for us. We never once sensed any bit of pressure from him, which gave us confidence throughout the experience.

You can imagine how this story ends. Before we even made it to the stop sign as we began our test drive of the Elantra, we all knew as a family that this was our car. When I asked our son Jack this time, he instantly responded, “I love this car!”

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Based on the fact our month-old daughter Holly remained asleep during the ride and didn’t make a peep, I assume she approved as well.

Obviously, the Sonata that we originally came there for is a great vehicle, I think it’s just that perhaps the Elantra somehow caters more to my wife and me as Millennial parents (both born in 1981). We liked the smaller, faster-feeling, more concise feel of the Elantra.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

My wife keeps saying how nice, classy and clean the Elantra is. She loves the seat warmers, the mocha interior, the rubber floor mats, and the tinted windows.

As for me, I especially love the wheels and the way the car handles.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that like any vegan/vegetarian family, the first place we drove our new car was straight to Whole Foods, from the Hyundai Cool Springs parking lot. Typical.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

And that, is the story of the conversion of our family from Honda to Hyundai. Please keep in mind that neither Hyundai Cool Springs nor WAY-FM had any idea I was going to write this blog post. Again, this is not a sponsored post.

This was no random decision to buy a Hyundai; nor was it a random decision to replace my wife’s vehicle. We had been planning this new car decision for nearly a year, ever since last July when we found out we were going to have another baby.

So financially, we already had the money in the bank. We were just waiting on the right deal on the right vehicle.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

The next move is replace my 2004 Honda Element, which I’ve owned for over a decade. We have our sights on a Hyundai Santa Fe; which is one of the company vehicles of WAY-FM. But first, we must build up enough in savings account like we did for the Elantra. Hopefully in about a year or so, we’ll be ready for that purchase.

I love the Hyundai Santa Fe because while it still feels like a smaller SUV, it has a 3rd row seat.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

To think, it all began in 2011 when my wife started listening to WAY-FM on the way to work, telling me how funny The Wally Show was and that she really liked the music. From there, I began listening to it as well, soon making it the main station I listen to.

That set everything else in motion.

If you have any other questions about our family’s experience, just leave a comment. I’m pretty good at getting back to my readers in the comment section.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

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I’ve Now Owned My 2004 Honda Element for a Decade; Looking to Trade It In

I’ve Now Owned My 2004 Honda Element for a Decade; Looking to Trade It In Now

It was a decade ago, in January 2006, that I got my first real job out of college. And 10 years later, I’m still at the same place; which is unusual these days, especially for a Millennial like me.

Just a couple of weeks after I got hired, it just so worked out that I was able to get my dream car: a Honda Element.

It’s been a wonderful decade. I’ve had no mechanical issues with it. It’s been faithful.

My Element was the car that my wife and I took our first date in.

It’s the car that I’ve carried our son to and from day care/pre-school each day for the past 5 years.

I’ll always remember the first time I ever asked him a question and he legitimately answered me; it was as I was placing him in his car seat in my Honda element when picked him up from school one day.

I asked him what he did that day at school that day.

To my amazement, he answered me, “I played.”

My 2004 Honda Element has been a great car. I still love my car and I wish they still made Honda Elements.

However, we have another child on the way, due in April. The plan is to trade in my Element for a new car by the time she arrives.

By “new car,” I mean “slightly used” car. I personally fundamentally can’t see myself buying a brand new car when I can get a better value by letting someone else “drive off” the warranty; and therefore, much of the price for me, as I will be the 2nd owner.

I’m looking for a Honda Fit that has between 30,000 and (up to) 60,000 miles on it. That puts us in the budget range we are prepared for.

A week ago at Darrell Waltrip Honda, they evaluated my 2004 Element being worth $5000 as a trade-in. (It has 153,000 miles on it.)

I’ve Now Owned My 2004 Honda Element for a Decade; Looking to Trade It In

My wife and I are planning to trade it in for a “slightly used” Honda Fit. While Fits are smaller than Elements, Fits have 5 seat belts whereas Elements only have 4.

Plus, my car is mainly used just for commuting Monday through Friday; we always drive my wife’s Honda Accord on the weekends and on road trips.

Basically, I’m just looking for a newer, slightly smaller version of what I already have, but also with another passenger seat, as well as cruise control. The way I see it, a Honda Fit is what I’m looking for; a quirky commuter car that will hold its value, like my Element has.

My research has shown me that Honda Fits definitely hold their value.

Because my wife and I are faithful Dave Ramsey followers, we already have the cash in the bank to pay for our “new” car. It’s not that we make more money than the average household in Nashville, because we don’t; that’s not why we are able to pay cash.

It’s instead because we have live by a strict budget where every dollar has its place, so that we tell our money where to go… instead of our money telling us where to go.

We are not in a desperate situation where we have to hurry up and by a car. We obviously will not be making payments on it or paying interest. When the time is right and the perfect Honda Fit presents itself, we shall strike.

The money will be paid. The car will be purchased. Sale complete.

Our plan from there is to eventually trade in my wife’s 2006 Honda Accord for possibly a “slightly used” Honda CR-V.

I am happy about moving forward with a newer vehicle and I am happy for whoever ends up with my Honda Element next. Ole “Jedi” has been good to me.

As for now, a decade later, it’s a year of change and new beginnings.

Dear Jack: Why We Didn’t Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend (& Trade in My 2004 Honda Element)

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Wednesday, as I was driving Mommy’s car back from a work trip in Kentucky, Mommy called me to explain that while she was driving you home from pre-K in my 2004 Honda Element, the passenger side window just rolled down by itself.

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

And it wouldn’t roll back up.

Knowing that this upcoming January makes 10 years I’ve owned this car, Mommy and I decided we should heavily consider trading in my car for a “new” used car.

So she starting emailing dealerships. Meanwhile, I went to one dealership in person last Thursday on my lunch break.

Because we are Dave Ramsey followers, we are refusing to “finance” a car; despite those natural temptations that we are exposed to. We will only pay cash for a car. If we don’t have enough cash to afford the car we want, we simply can’t afford it. So we walk away.

We found a 2011 Suzuki SX4 with less than 50,000 miles, in our “cash only” price range.

So I spent my Thursday lunch break to check out the car. It was everything I needed. However, I did some research that night and discovered Suzuki stopped production in America back in 2012, and they have no parent company.

In other words, it’s a great deal on a dependable car that ultimately I would have great difficulty trying to maintain, as there are no shops that readily have proper tools or parts available to fix it.

After that, Mommy and I realized it’s best we hold out until January, when we have that many more thousands of dollars (from ongoing monthly savings) to pay in cash.

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

Here’s the twist on this story: Over the weekend when we picked up my Element after they fixed the window, the guy that evaluates the worth of used Hondas there for trade-ins left me a message.

My 2004 Honda Element is worth $5,850, which is about $3,000 more than I had anticipated; nearly double!

That’s because, according to the elevator, “People aren’t trading in Elements- they’re keeping them. That’s why your Element is worth more than whatever it says online. You’re the first person to ever come back and tell me you’re actually interested in trading yours in.”

So in the end, it was totally worth it in the end to pay a few hundred dollars to fix my window.

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

It’s like instantly making $3,000! We’re still planning on holding out until January, when we can have that much more money to buy a “barely used” vehicle for our family, when we trade in my Element.

Something else this experience taught Mommy and me is just how boring and unattractive we are to used car salesmen the moment we begin the conversation with, “I’m a Dave Ramsey follower; I will only pay with cash.”

You can literally see the hope in their eyes disappear once you say that. Because most people are willing to “finance” the car. That means there’s virtually no real limit on price, since the focus becomes on the monthly payment, not what person can actually afford.

That’s something I equate with a magician distracting his audience by waving a pink handkerchief with one hand while he hides the “disappearing” object in the other.

I will make sure you always understand the true meaning of the phrase “affording a car.”

It’s this simple: If you can’t buy it on the spot in cash, you can’t truly afford it. That’s why dealerships are so eager to have you finance the “purchase.”

Similarly, an individual or a family is only as financially wealthy as their savings account in addition to having no debt other than their house; that’s because a home is considered an asset growing in value, not a depreciating liability like a vehicle.

So our family will wait. By January 2016, our savings should be that much higher if everything remains on course; meaning we can pay cash for the vehicle that we really want. And as I mentioned, coincidentally, this coming January will be exactly one decade since I purchased my 2004 Honda Element.

Ultimately, I’m not sure if I’m technically going to be downsizing or upsizing…

My Honda Element is a decent sized SUV, but it only has 4 seats. That’s never been a problem, but I think it would be a good idea to have 5 seats for the next car, even if the next vehicle is smaller over all.

Until then, I’ll keep driving my green toaster and saving green cash.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

Like It, Love It, Gotta Have It Vs. I’ve Already Got One, Thanks

Fighting the urge to the live by the new American motto: If it ain’t broke, get another one anyway.

Like it? Love it? Gotta have it!

I can almost remember a time when I was a kid, where it was normal to really really want something for a long time and then when I would finally get it, my heart was content.  The newly obtained item gave my heart rest, and I was happy, as any kid should be.  Whether it was a new Nintendo game like Super Mario Bros. 2, or a bicycle, or a rare Ninja Turtle action figure like Splinter, April O’Neil, or Ray Fillet, I got what I had wanted for so long.  And funny enough, I never wanted a replacement after I received my prized possession.

But somewhere along the way, whether or not we can blame it on “typical capitalist American behavior” or the mindset of Generation X (I just barely made the cut- it’s anyone born between 1961 and 1981), it became normal to want a “new one” though the old one still works just fine.  Maybe just an innocent desire to keep things fresh.  Or maybe a potentially dangerous pattern.

My Italian grandfather was one of the most influential people of my lifetime.  Having grown up in an orphanage in Kenosha, Wisconsin (his mother died when he was young, and there were 12 kids in the family), he lived a minimalist lifestyle, only spending his money on his few children and grandchildren.  Hardly ever buying a new (used) car, new clothes, or new furniture.  Never buying anything name brand.

This way of thinking definitely shows up in my everyday life.  My wife jokes that I have more clothes and shoes than she does.  And it’s true.  Because I don’t get rid of them unless they’re literally rotted.  Like my old red running shoes I have delegated to only use for walking and riding my mountain bike on my lunch break.

It’s true that I own over twenty pairs of shoes that still look less than a year old.  But most of them are indeed at least ten years old, in actuality.  Because I have certain shoes I wear only if I know I will be outside or if there’s a chance of  rain that day.  Those are my “outside shoes”.  By wearing them instead of my “inside shoes”, it keeps my newer shoes looking new.

While I’ll never be as frugal as my grandfather (who when my mom was a little girl, reused dried out paper towels multiple times before throwing them away) I subconsciously try to imitate his lifestyle.

I can’t see myself ever buying a brand new car, knowing that it loses thousands of dollars in value as soon as the first owner drives it off the lot.  And I can’t see buying a different car until my current one costs more to repair than it does to actually buy another used one.

Not that buying a new car is any kind of moral issue, or that going on a shopping spree for a new wardrobe is necessarily evil, though it’s probably not a wise decision if it involves a credit card (I’m a Dave Ramsey fanatic).  But for some of us, that strand of “gotta get a new one” serves as toxic acid in our DNA.

It gets tiring hearing of men leaving their wives for another woman.  That’s definitely a familiar theme this year already in the media.  And while some could say, “What does to me if matter if Tiger Woods or Jesse James cheats on his wife?  Why is that national news?”  Because it does matter.

Not because we’re nosey.  But because in some sense, the reflection of the lifestyles of celebrities causes a subconscious call-to-response for the rest of us:  “Hey look, it’s normal, he did it.”

We have to either say, “No way, that’s not for me.  No thanks!”  Or “Well, maybe that’s not so bad…”

It shouldn’t be that hard to be happy with what we’ve already got, even if it’s not perfect.  And really, that’s a mindset that is often difficult to accept and adopt: Near-perfect is as perfect as life can really get.

Is the grass really greener on the other side?  Yes, of course it is.  But the irony is this: You’re already standing on the other side.  Somebody’s else’s “other side”.

You’re already standing on the greener grass.

"I don't care how... I want it NOW!" -Veruca Salt