Which Car Options in a Transient Life?

by AJ Pettersen · 14 comments

While we are still contemplating whether owning a dog is financially feasible, another significant financial decision we are facing in the future is our transportation situation. My fiancé is planning on coming with me next baseball season. The problem with minor league baseball is…I have no idea where I am going to be. This is the biggest barrier to a number of things in our lives, and the transient life we will live is molding our financial decisions now and will continue to do so into the future.

Right now we both own cars, but how will we get them where we need them? Is shipping a car a good option? What about selling/buying? We will continue to explore our options in the coming months.

Where Will We Be?

When my fiancé and I are married in October, we will continue to live in the Midwest until we plan to move in the first few months of next year. This move will take us to Florida, about a day’s drive away from our home.

We will be in Florida for two months with my assignment for the season coming after Spring Training. This assignment may keep us in Florida or send us to any number of locations throughout the United States.

As my fiancé plans to work in Florida for at least the first two months, we will need two cars. How will we get them there? What are our options pre and post season?

What Can We Do?

While we plan to drive my fiancé’s car to Florida early in the year, my car will remain in our home up north. We have a few options:

  • Wait until someone can drive my car to Florida and fly home
  • Ship my car
  • Buy a new car

What Is the Best Choice?

It seems as though waiting until someone (possibly my parents) can drive my car to Florida and getting them home on a one way flight may be our best option. Shipping a car usually costs between $750 and $1000, which is roughly half of what my car is worth. Paying for gas for a ride to Florida would cost half of that. Buying a new car is an option, but this decision leaves us with an extra car when the season ends, a problem we don’t need.

If I am assigned somewhere other than Florida, we will need to decide if we need two cars in our next location. We also need to consider the post season. Having two cars will leave us with the option of selling my car and driving my fiancé’s car home or driving separately all the way home.

What About You?

This is a unique situation that requires a lot of thought. Have you ever had to make a similar decision? Have you moved and had to ship or drive a number of cars to your new home? How did you handle the situation?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Jessica says:

    I like the car sharing suggestions in addition to biking.

    I would also suggest that you maybe hold off on getting a dog until you know where you’ll be settled.

    I work at my local animal shelter, and moving is one of the top reasons people surrender their pets!

  • J Barry says:

    In a transient life, the option of living in your car deserves serious consideration.

  • Jean says:

    Wow, I had no idea shipping a car could be that expensivs. Yes, it does seem like having your parents drive it down and flying them back is the best option.


  • Kirk says:

    There are companies that will hook you up with someone who will drive a car for you to wherever you need or want. I don’t know what the cost would be, but I signed up a few years ago to drive a car from the West Coast to the East Coast. It fell through at the last minute when they apparently made other arrangements to get the car moved, but at the time, it seemed like a good solution for me and for the owner.

    Also, there may well be people near you who want to go down to Florida who would be happy to drive the extra car for you and pay for their own gas — or split it with you. See if CraigsList has a category for that — maybe inder ride-share. Is there a university near you? There may be students who live in Florida and who would be happy to drive “home” in your car. Of course, you need to check their driver’s license and insurance coverage and request a printout of their driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Having your own known and reliable car is worth doing. Selling and buying another can be risky in that you won’t know the new car as well as your own.

    It wasn’t clear to me why the two of you couldn’t drive your two cars down to Florida yourselves.

    Best of luck in Spring Training and your career.

  • Mac Hildebrand says:

    Having a parent drive the car and then a get a flight home seems to be the best option that you mentioned unless one of the other ideas in the comments works better. It’s good to have friends and family to help in times of tough expenses and difficult decisions. I think Jo was right in seeing difficulties in this scenario but was a bit harsh with the verdict. You and your wife could work together and rely on each other to find a solution. Finances don’t determine life goals, they are a means to reaching goals with the people that matter most.

  • Persepone says:

    I vote with the “sell one car” and double up on the other one scenario. It’s a pain, but you probably can figure out rides to work, etc. Don’t forget that if you/your wife are willing to PAY someone for rides, they are more willing to be dependable and reliable about those rides. [This also works for getting kids to school where carpooling is impossible or impractical and there is no good bus service).
    Public transportation may be an option. Many places have commuter ride share schemes of one sort or another.
    In addition to solutions such as taxicabs, there are Zip Cars. Lots of cities have them. Check them out.
    There are always things like bicycles… Good exercise.
    Check out these types of options. If they sound dismal, they actually aren’t. In fact, you’ll save a ton of money by not having that extra car and that will go a long way toward those commuting costs.

  • Scott says:

    Simple sell the car that’s less road worthy and prepare to buddy up with your wife to be. As a ball player you’ll have Plenty of friends sympatico with and walking or walked in your new shoes. Sooo make lots of friends fast and it will all work out after all it’s only a ride and for those few ( and it’s up to you to make darn sure it’s few) crisis ride less times call a taxi it’s your cheapest most flexible solution or kill em in the minors make the show and let somebody worry about it. Ps. Forget the dog money isn’t the issue time and attention are you’ll be so busy you won’t have much of either for fido so do the pup a favor

  • Marbella says:

    Find someone who is down to Florida and want to run down your car for half the petrol cost.

  • Jaye says:

    My uncle used to drive cars down to Florida for snowbirds. I don’t know the whole arrangement. But, I know its done quite frequently. There are people who hate to fly or can’t afford to fly and will provide this service. It’s risky but not uncommon. Alternately, have you considered selling the car and getting into the RV lifestyle?

  • Jo says:

    Honestly. I’m seeing two life paths here that aren’t looking very compatible, financially or otherwise.

  • Stan SSO says:

    If the car has been trouble free, ship it or drive it — otherwise sell it.

    While the cost of moving it will be 25%-50% of it’s value, quality cars in the sub $3,000 price range are hard to come by.

    Most cars retailing in this range need work — that work costs more than shipping the car.

    That’s my two cents.

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More says:

    That is a rough situation. I honestly don’t have much advice for you other than try to find a way to drive it down there. Pretty much any way you do it is going to be expensive.

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