Recognizing a good deal

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

July 27, 2008

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Categories: Family

Something about where we are, in the land of over priced housing and expensive food, is interesting. People here generally recognize a good deal when they see one. Sure, you say, every place has that. Maybe what makes this place unique is the use of the internet to facilitate meeting with those interested and those offering the good deal.

Pete peruses Craig’s List … hourly sometimes. He looks at tools, free stuff, and cars. If he ventures out of these categories, it’s rare. (When I look at Craig’s List, I look at housing.) Today, in the wee hours of the morning, he saw a 1999 Grand Am going for $500. The ad posted it has transmission problems. If we had $500 we’d have made a call because an interim solution could have been taking the transmission out of our Grand Am and putting it in the newer car with more leg room and storage room and maybe have seats that actually adjust. The 1999 listing was pulled sometime this afternoon. It took less than 12 hours for the car to be sold.

When we purchased our Grand Am, we knew it was a steal. Pete sold me on the fact that his dad is a former GM engineer, and every car he, his brother, and his dad worked on was some mutation of the Grand Am. Not only that, but that’s basically all his brother’s owned, and they’ve pulled three or four engines and replaced them on various Grand Ams. Total rebuilds were old hat for this car. The listing we saw in November 2006 wanted the car gone for $275, they admitted it didn’t run and didn’t know what was making the poor car just sit there. We scooted over to that house, 20 miles away, as quickly as we could. We were fourth in line or so. We knew we had to act fast. Pete was satisfied with the initial checking out of the car, and as soon as we were certain, we called and said yes please we want this car. We bought the car for $270 (they didn’t have proper change). We didn’t get moving on fixing it right away because it wasn’t needed. In February, just after Levi was born, we got the Grand Am running and since then it has been our main care of use. It should be noted that it averages 25 miles per gallon, and when we went to the coast Father’s Day, it got 32mpg. We haven’t seen that good of a deal on Craig’s List since.

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