I have never purchased a new or leased car without either my parents (#judgemegoahead!) or my husband's advice and help with the money crunching and negotiating. And, agree with me or not, I feel like car salesmen often have different attitudes towards women, or mothers, walking into their shops solo.
So, when I went car shopping recently, and a sales man offered to have someone watch my two kids so I could actually take a test drive, AND accepted my low-yet-researched offer -- I jumped on it and basically bought a new car without my husband around, or even his input.
Let me give you some more background though, so you don't think I emptied out our shared bank accounts and bought a Lambo on the fly.
We had agreed that I would need a new car when our minivan lease was up, and he didn't have the time with his work schedule to go look for cars so I took the kids with me (usually without much planning, more like, "Since the dealerships are near the store we're at right now, I'll just pop on in, kids-and-all"). I went to three local dealers over the span of a month -- we weren't really in a rush.
I had also looked online casually at some cars I was liking, and I don't think I even shared too much of those auto-investigations with my husband, because I wasn't really planning to lease a car without him, or so soon anyway. And, the visits to dealers were always fast and rushed with the kids at my side, and I never did an actual test drive (I wasn't about to hire a sitter for car shopping, or switch car seats into a dealer-car just for a ride around the block. No way...no time for that!).
It makes me chuckle now, but when I think of how my face must've looked when the salesman said, "I'll have one of the guys watch your kids. Let's drive the car for a few minutes." I probably thought he was nuts, initially, then I saw that leaving my two kids (ages 4 and 5.5) with complete strangers for 8 minutes would afford me that elusive time to myself to actually check out a car -- for real. I said, "Sure, let's go. NOW."
I liked the car a lot (we were stepping down from a 7-seater to a small SUV), and after the test drive when my kids were coloring in the kiddie area and the guy was giving me his typical schpiel trying to get me to probably go home and 'chat with the hubs,' it dawned on me. I'm just going to low-ball his initial lease offer. If he accepts it....heck, I have saved the family a TON OF TIME by having to come back, show my husband, etc.
When he went back and forth with his sales managers (with me saying, "Nope, sorry, I can't do that") I was growing in confidence about negotiating my first car. Ultimately, they accepted my offer, which I totally wasn't expecting or planning. We were going to have a new car! (And pay less than our previous vehicle. Yay, me!)
Just as an FYI, I was texting my husband a few times giving him the heads up, but he apparently didn't get them during the short time I was at the dealership. (So, in theory, this wasn't completely done without his knowledge, IMO; yes, he was taken aback, he says, when later I texted, "I got a car!" He wasn't mad, really, he was just a bit surprised I had done this without making it a combo-decision. When all was said and done and when we went in the next day to sign the paperwork, we both agreed that I sped up this process; if we had gone in together, we bet it would've taken a longer time to narrow down a car and to settle on a price with a dealer -- a process he admits he HATES.)
I wasn't sneaky, at all. I just did something we usually do as a team, but this time I did it as a solo-player. I left super proud that I got this car for our family, and did it on my own. I am not sure I have ever made such a big, expensive decision for the four of us. Made me one proud mama!
Have you ever made a big purchase without your spouse's advice or input? How did they react? Let me know in your comments!