Sure, I may look like a dweeb...but at least I am saving tons on gas money! This is the story of how I came to love my Toyota Prius. About six months ago, we decided that it was time to replace my husband’s car.  Afterall, we both hated it.  At the time, he was driving a gold 2010 Chrysler Sebring.  It was the most uncomfortable car I have ever been in my life.  Riding anywhere very far away in the passenger seat was torture, and it mostly sat in the garage since I found it uncomfortable. We both decided that there was no point in keeping a car that neither one of us liked having, riding in, or driving.

We started car shopping right around the time that gas prices started inching up.  As gas creeped up over $3.50 per gallon, we decided to research the possibility of buying a hybrid.  We didn’t have any firsthand information to base this decision on, as neither one of us knew anyone who had a hybrid. Since we didn’t have anyone to ask about their own experience, of course, we turned to the internet.  We read reviews.  We researched.  What we found was that a used hybrid was about the same price as any regular used car.

The Toyota Prius

We considered the possibility of a several different hybrids on the market before eventually zeroing in on the Toyota Prius.  We briefly considered buying a new Prius but ultimately decided that we preferred buying a used car that had low mileage and was within its warranty.  We set out to find the perfect car.  Luckily, the internet exists.  How in the hell did people car shop before the internet anyways?  Did people really drive from dealer to dealer to read about and look at each individual car in person?  Oh, the horrors!

Anyway, we found two Toyota Prius prospects that I thought would be perfect.  The first one was a black 2010 model.  It had the newer body style and less than 20,000 miles.  It was definitely dorky looking like all Priuses are, but it was slightly sporty since it was a black model with a sleeker look.  We drove to the dealership to test drive it.  It was love at first sight, and I thought this one might be it.  At around $19,000, this car would have been a great deal for what we were getting.

How NOT to Sell a Car

Let me give some advice out there to any car salesman or future car salesman that may be reading this.  When somebody wants to test drive a car, don’t tell them where to drive and when to turn.  The salesman that we were working with insisted on riding in the car with us and told us to turn right, then left, then to turn around in a parking lot to head back to the dealership.  This totally turned me off and this car went from the front-runner to completely out of consideration in an instant.  I wasn’t going to buy this car if it was the last one on earth.  Why?  I didn’t like the salesperson.


Our Toyota Prius

Here is our Toyota Prius! If you look carefully, you can see my stockpile of paper towels behind it.

We then moved on to the other Prius that was a contender.  We immediately fell in love with it as well.  Being a 2009 model, it had the older looking body style.  It was also bright red and looked kind’ve like a Ford Festiva.  But hey, we’re nerds.  We don’t mind if we look stupid as long as we’re saving money, right?

We took it for a test drive.  It was awesome. It even had a super nifty touch screen dashboard control.  Furthermore, it was immaculately clean and had less than 20,000 miles.  This was “the one” and we decided to buy it right then and there.

Club Thrifty: Uber Negotiators

Of course, when we took it back into the dealership we acted like we were going to drop off the keys and go home.  We waited for the salesperson to take the bait then slid into our roles of good cop/bad cop.  Of course, Greg is the good cop and I am the bad cop.  We went back and forth a few times.  We negotiated.  Greg acted like it was a possibility.  I acted like I wanted to go home.   We channeled our inner William Shatner, karate chopping our way to the best deal we could possibly get.

In the end, we ended up wanting to pay around $17,000 for it and they wanted $18,000.  We got up to leave and they caved.  The car was ours, and we made a large down payment.  In the last six months, we have paid the car off and now own it free and clear.

Why I Love My Toyota Prius

I am now a Prius enthusiast.  Whenever I hear people complaining about gas prices, I can breathe a sigh of relief that they really don’t affect me anymore.  I rarely get gas and when I do it’s usually about $20 to top off my tank.  On our last vacation, we drove from Indiana to Gulf Shores, Alabama, to New Orleans, back to Gulf Shores, then back to Indiana for less than $150 in gas.  Even after spending that little, we still came home with almost a full tank.

In March, we went to a funeral convention at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  I was excited to find out that Toyota was also having a convention in the same building.  I wanted so badly to tell someone who worked for Toyota what a Prius enthusiast I was.  I set out to find someone, anyone, who would listen to my story.  So…I found some important looking Japanese guy and started telling him how much I loved my Prius.  I started telling him how my two kids and car seats fit fine in my Prius…and how I barely get gas…and how I think it’s the perfect family car…and how I wanted to be in a Prius commercial…. He stared at me while I talked, smiled a little, then walked away.  In hindsight, I’m not sure that he even spoke English, but that’s OK.  I still love my Prius.  Toyota, if you’re reading this: CALL ME!  I’m still available!