A [fuzzy] peek inside the bus (taken with a hubby's iPhone). Pardon the pic quality, but this pic will give you an idea of what the inside is like. Both sides have 8 seats like this and then, 5 in the rear... pure openness... Hallelujah! At the front I plan to put up a guard/gate of some sort, so the kids cannot enter the driver area while we are going down the road and will keep them away from the door area (even though they can't get out). I like safety!
Hmmmm... I am not sure how frugal buying a bus is, but long term I believe it is. You have to have "vision" for the future to see how some things really are frugal when they may not seem so at first glimpse. I say this because dipping into our emergency funds is may not be the best thing we could have done... The verdict is still out on that and only time will tell if it turns out fine. I am confident it will because I believe God has and always will provide for our real needs.
We chose not to finance the bus. My husband said that we would not buy if we were going to finance it. If you have been following my blog I have recently posted about how we are attempting to get debt-free. The only thing we have left is our mortgage and we are working on paying that off as early as possible. One rule of thumb that I am following is to put back three months worth of paychecks into a savings as and emergency fund in the event it is needed. I had just recently reached that goal along with having some other pre-planned annual expense money set aside, also. The goal is to NOT touch that money... Ooops!
So, how is spending part of that money "frugal"... well, I am so thrilled you want to know. It is because we will not be throwing money away on finance charges and interest!!! In the event we have an actual emergency we could simply sell the bus (I don't think we will need to resort to that) or finance that "emergency" or form another strategy to deal with that issue. I'm only going to hash out that issue if I have to..... so, let's assume it will not happen. ;)
And the information everyone seems to be interested in is.... Just how much did we pay for the bus? Was it a bargain? Well, it's like I told my husband.... if I don't think it is a bargain then you know I wouldn't buy it! He knows all to well how true that is. These buses sell for $50, 000 and up when they are new. I am not sure really, but they are not cheap and I have not been able to find a "bargain" on one in the last few months of searching. We bought this used bus from a church that had it on a dealership lot. They were asking $7,900 for it. Now, I am not one to try to bargain with a church, BUT my husband did NOT want to buy it. So, he says to me, "If they will take $6, 500 we will do it... no, no... if they will take $6,000 we will do it." So, I called the man and told him that I was uncomfortable asking, but that my husband said we would do it for $6,000... to which he said he thought his church would go down to $6, 500, but he would ask if they would go lower. He would have to call me back... during this time I looked at my husband and asked if he was really serious, because if he was not he was wasting our time and this man's time and they were obviously willing to negotiate down to what we were willing to pay. In fact, they were needing to get rid of it due to health problems of their current driver and no one else wanted to be the new driver. So, the man calls back and says his church said they would sell for ....... $6,250 and we could take it home that day... on a Sunday (Lord forgive us for dealing on a Sunday, but we had to get back to Texas). In the blink of an eye we swapped some information, signed a few quick papers and we were outta there with a bus!!! It went so smooth and easy! I think God sent us there the day we first saw it... because that town was not even in our plan to go through. I think God greatly honors that I will wait for his blessings. I am not always patient, but I will wait and we get blessed double from my point of view.
So, since I shared all my financial details here I have a question, too. Do you think it was a bargain? It does have 103,000 mile on it, but it is in great condition. It's a 1994, but has been well taken care of... No, it's not all shiney in and out, but it satisfies us and we are happy with the imperfections because they are minor things to us, like the dirver's set needs a seat cover and there are some discoloration to the plastic from aging (yellowing of the white interior) and one of the headlights could use a fix-up. The heat is superb in it and it runs great and everything in it is "clean-able". I am going to have to spend close to $100 to add another stripe where the church name is all the way down the side (not shown in photo because I blocked it out). And I plan to add seatbelts to it, also (for some of the seats, at least).
We are also loving it already. We drove it around town to "check it out" a bit more. And last night we drove it to the relatives, because they all wanted to see what kind of bus the crazies had bought. To their surprise they loved it and this weekend we are going to incorporate it into my nieces thirteen birthday celebration. She wants to take all her friends for a ride because she thought it was way cool that her craZy aunt and uncle have a shuttle bus!! Ha! Who knew buying a bus could make us "cool" with the younger crowd! LOL!!
In reality this bus could be used as an investment, although we purchased it for our personal fun for travel. Apparently, there is a whole market for a sort of limo-bus service for proms, wedding party transport, and other groups and my husband already has a CDL license, if he needed it to chaffeur such events. So, you see this really could be a frugal purchase!!