Financing College by Selling the Van

by Debt Destroyer on September 24, 2008

First it was Netflix, now it’s the van.

I’ve been putting off writing this post for about a month.  It has been about that long since we’ve decided that selling our van would be in our best interest (financially speaking).

I first brought this idea up way back in July, but my wife wasn’t on board quite yet. Then we both read Dave Ramsey’s, “The Total Money Makeover” and we realized that we probably made a mistake when we bought our van in the first place.

If finances weren’t an issue we’d never sell this van.  We love it!  It’s just that with me going back to school and only working part time, we sure could use an extra $330 a month.

We didn’t sell our van right away because we had 3 long out of town trips in the works and my wife had 5 weddings to shoot this month.  So we decided to wait until after Columbus Day weekend to get the ball rolling.  And almost as soon as we picked that date, we started to question our decision.

Do we really have to sell the van?

If we truly want to get rid of debt, then the answer is simple…YES!

I took out a student loan ($7750) for this school year.  Hopefully this will be all I have to borrow, but it will still be adding to our debt.  Our theory is even if I have to borrow a little more, we’ll still have less debt when I get out of school then when I went in.

If you remember back to one of my first posts I laid out our debt situation.  There I showed that we owed $11,000+ on our van.  I hope to be able to get $15,000+ for it.  If we do, we’d pay off the $11,000 debt and have $4000-$5000 for the new vehicle.

Looks good on paper doesn’t it?  But let me tell you, it sure doesn’t feel good.

As mentioned above, we love our van.  We love having a sleek, reliable vehicle that also has handy features (leather seats, DVD player, automatic doors, & butt warmers).  It’ll be sad to see it go.  But even when we “cook the books”, we can’t make ends meet too much longer with a $300+ monthly vehicle payment.


Anyone have any advice on selling a vehicle?

I’ve either totaled or traded-in my previous vehicles, so I have no clue how to go about this.  I guess we did sell my wife’s old car to her folks, but that happened so fast that I hardly had time to pay attention.  Plus her Dad took care of everything…before I knew what was going on, I had a check in my hand.

Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Until next time,


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

celticbuffy September 25, 2008 at 8:57 am

I’m sorry that the van has to go, it is a great one, but I think down the road you’ll be glad you did. I looked into selling my car but I’m about $3000 over when consider what I owe and what I could sell it for due to the amount of miles I’ve put on it.

I would suggest you try a local TV station’s website that has an area called Automall. You can upload pics along with your listing and then it is available for anyone anywhere to view. I used this site exensively when looking for my last vehicle and I’ll use it again when my current vehicle dies or my teenager has enough $ for her own (hopefully that won’t happen, the thought of the insurance gives me seizures of panic).

Good luck!


Pete September 25, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Where are you located? I work with an online automotive classifieds website, and I’d be happy to get you a free ad if you are in one of the locations we are advertised in..

Shoot me an email!


fern September 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Good luck with that. What kind of mileage do you get? You’ll probably have to settle for a lot less than you’d like.


The First Creditor September 25, 2008 at 10:16 pm

I plan on doing the same thing in a few months and my tentative plan is to:

1.Look up the kelly blue book value on my vehicle
2.Find an online marketplace such as Ebay to list it on


Money Funk September 26, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Try Auto Trader – place ad online and you can submit a photo or call them and they will come out to take a pic. My friends all seem to have good luck with them.

The van… school… it will all be worth it. When school is over and you get back financially rolling you can buy an even better van! 😉


John (Debt Defier) September 27, 2008 at 11:06 am

Thanks for the comments everybody!

@Celticbuffy – Part of me thinks that site is going to be Sioux Falls centered. But I’ll check it out anyway.

@ Pete – Thanks for the offer of a free ad, I’m in NE South Dakota.

@ Fern – Mileage varies greatly. It doesn’t get very good mileage in town at all (teens). But does decent on the highway(mid 20s)…all depends on how fast I drive.

If I have to settle for far less that I want, I won’t sell.

@ First Creditor – Good luck to you!

@ Money Funk – I agree that we’ll be able to get a better van…at least thats the hope. I’ll keep Auto Trader in mind.


Personal Development by TRCoach September 28, 2008 at 8:35 pm

What about using Craigslist – its free and has good traffic?
Tom (TRCoach)


Sue September 30, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Okay there is alot of talk about you selling the van but shouldn’t you see what you are going to replace it with before you sell it. Are you currently paying 10% of your take home pay towards your debts? Once you are doing that your van will be paid off in shorter time frame. Good luck.


NtJS October 3, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Ug. That’s hard to do. I had a little sedan a few years back that I just loved. It wasn’t over the top – actually it was quite cheap. Just a joy to drive and it looked great.

Anyways, we sold it. We needed a pickup far more than a little sedan, so it had to go on down the road without us.

Since you asked, here are some posts we wrote on buying and selling – two parts on each.
Selling Part 1
Selling Part 2
Buying Part 1
Buying Part 2

Hope those help!


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