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The Jeep is Sold and I’m Swimming in Cash


Many of you know that my wife and I purchased a 2008 VW Beetle just a few weeks ago. We found it while searching Auto Trader and we had just enough cash to make the purchase without getting the banks or the dealership involved. The only question at the time was, “What do we do with our Jeep?” We obviously didn’t need it anymore (I don’t think there’s ever a time when 2 people really need 3 vehicles), but should we trade it in and keep our bank account stocked up? Or, do we try to sell the Jeep ourselves to get more money out of it?

While I know that trading a car in is almost always the worst financial move (because obviously the dealership needs to make money), I figured that I would at least ask the salesman what he would give me for it. His price: $4,000. Based on Kelley Blue Book, this Jeep was worth $6,400 in good condition, so I just couldn’t let him take it for $4,000.

So, we drove the VW Beetle AND the Jeep back home. The next day, my wife and I cleaned up the Jeep and took it to the shop to get looked over. Unfortunately for us, our SUV needed some new Control Arms that would cost $750 in repairs. Rather than try to sell a busted vehicle, I decided to just go ahead and get it fixed.

We soon had another surprise. There were a ton of Jeeps for sale and not a huge market for them since they only get an average of 16mpg. Within the first 2 weeks, I think I only had one phone call. Let me tell you, I was starting to get nervous!

After 2 more weeks, I had 3 parties take it for a test spin. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of interest until that 3rd person took it for a drive. I could tell that she wanted it, and I couldn’t let her get away. It took a few days and a trip to her mechanic, but we finally settled on a price and made the transaction yesterday!

Since the tires and brakes were worn, we agreed to come down from the $6,400 Kelley Blue Book price and settled on $5,850. Even with my $750 repair, I still came out ahead by $1,100 compared to the trade-in price!

Those With Money Make Money

I think it’s true that those who have money are often able to capitalize on more opportunities than those who do not. This situation with my Jeep is the perfect example! If I would have been strapped for cash and really needed some money from my Jeep immediately, I would have only received $4,000 for it. But, since we had enough money in our savings to pay cash for the car, we were able to make an additional $1,100 by avoiding the trade-in! As we continue to build up our savings, I believe that there will be even greater opportunities available in the future!

Do you trade your vehicles in or do you sell them yourself? What is your reasoning?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Congratulations on getting the Jeep sold. I am sure that is a big relief. Yes, those who have money will make more. In your case, you had the time to wait for your price which was a fair one.

    • Thanks CFM! Yep, if I was strapped for cash, I would have jumped on the first offer that came along, or I would have just traded the Jeep in.

  2. Did you think of Ebaying it? I sell my cars through Ebay and it’s simple. Regardless of how you sold it… you sold it and now swimming in cash. Congrats.

    • I didn’t think about eBaying it, but that would have been a pretty good idea! I’ll keep that in mind when I need to sell again.

  3. For years I’ve traded in cars to avoid the hassle of selling. Your story has inspired me to give selling the next car a try.

    • I’m glad that I could inspire you Wayne! Let me know when you’re swimming in cash from your next vehicle sale. 🙂

  4. This is an excellent reason to keep an “opportunity fund”. As you said, having the money to buy your new car without a trade in gave you the opportunity to sell for more.

    Congrats on the sale!

    • Exactly right! Thanks SFH! We work hard to save up that extra cash, and it’s nice to see that it’s paying off today.

  5. Good work. I sold my last car through Craigslist. I kind of had the same experience where it was very quiet and would get an occasional ‘sight unseen’ lowball offer or requests to bring it into a dealer to have them give me a price. After I was almost ready to give up, someone inquired and I could just tell by the e-mail exchange that she was likely legit. We met up, she took it for a spin, had a friend look it over, and made an offer on the spot. We took care of everything a few days later.

    • Once you get that one interested person, it’s best not to let them go, especially if there wasn’t too much interest prior to their visit. Sounds like you did it right too! Congrats!

  6. I would use the money and book a cruise for two departing from Amsterdam!

    I always buy/sell my own vehicles. Way better pricing. I love to negotiate.

    • Lol! I don’t think we’ll be going on a cruise any time soon, but I do have some of that earmarked for some new golf clubs! 🙂

  7. I’ve seen quite a few posts from people who are buying and selling their cars themselves and it’s really making me feel confident that I can do it in a few months when it’s my turn to buy a new-to-me car.

    • It’s really not that big of a deal. All you have to do is let the people test drive the vehicle, maybe take it to their mechanic, and then sign your name on the title when they give you the money! Easy peasy!

  8. This is when I feel so grateful to have a dad who buys cars for under $1500, fixes them up, and sells them for over $4k. It will come in handy down the road when Dave & I need to purchase a 2nd car

    • Yep. Sounds like your dad could score you a pretty good deal! Keep a tight relationship with that guy! 😉

  9. I can attest to the those who have money make money. I sold my old car for $400 over blue book when I bought my new car a couple years ago because I didn’t trade it in. Also, in my recent post on how I Paid for My Hobby I made money by having the money to buy in bulk.

    • Your car must have been in pretty good shape for you to get $400 more than blue book. You sound like you’ve got it pretty well figured out! Congrats!

  10. This is something my boyfriend and I will probably be dealing with soon. I have a feeling we’ll probably trade in our old cars for one new (to us) car purely for the simplicity factor. My very old car is only valued around $2k on KBB, so since it’s such a small amount I could get for it, I was thinking about donating it instead. My boyfriend is much more comfortable bargaining than I am, so I guess we’ll see what kind of trade in deal he can get and go from there.

    • Donating it might not be a bad idea. Someone gets the chance to enjoy it at a fair price, and you’ll get to write off the value on your taxes. I would advise against trading it in though. Since it’s only worth $2k, you’d be lucky to get $1,000 at trade in. If it runs, I’m sure it would be an easy sell, especially if it gets good gas mileage.

  11. I always try to sell a car on my own rather than trade it in. I traded a car once because it was hard to sell.

    • Yeah, when it’s a hard sell, sometimes it might be better off to trade it in and let the dealership sell it instead. You need to make sure that you’re getting a fair price though.

  12. I remember trading one of our vans in one time. We actually got a fair price for it and the van we purchased was an upgrade compared to what we had. We paid cash for the new one and owned it outright. Since then, we have never traded a vehicle in. We almost always sell it ourselves for the reasons you stated.
    Congrats on the sale!

    • Sounds like you’ve got a pretty good system when it comes to selling cars. If I would have had a higher offer on our Jeep, I might have entertained the idea of trading it in, but $4,000 didn’t seem quite high enough.

  13. Congrats on selling the Jeep! We trade our vehicles in. We did one private sale, and it was so frustrating and stressful that I swore never again. I know we get less for our trades, but we tend to drive out cars until they are ready for the wrecker, so last year when the dealer gave us $1,000 for our van, we were OK with it.

    • Yeah, if you’re driving your cars to their near-death, then you probably aren’t losing that much when it comes to the trade-in (probably less than $1,000), but even if it was $800, that’s quite a few hours worth of work! I think I’ll be sticking with the private party sales.

  14. I sold my last car through Craigslist 2 years ago, and I had some iffy moments as well. The car-buying market was terrible! Thankfully, a college student eventually bit on our tiny, fuel-efficient car. But it sure took a while.

    Definitely, if you have the time and the cash to wait it out, selling on your own will give you a better rate of return.

    • Fuel efficient cars are gold right now! If gas goes above $4.00 again, those cars will be purchased left and right for 10-20% more than their value! Congrats on selling your car yourself by the way. You’re one of the few that do this anymore.

  15. Private party sales can be a lot of work. But It sounds like you only entertained a few people so it worked out for you. One of my friends is a used car dealer and he gets away with $100 buys all the time. Those are usually his $1,995 special’s. I don’t know why people just give over the keys to him for just a Benjamin, must be his charm.

    • That is pretty crazy to let someone buy your working car for only $100. It would be so easy to sell for just $1,000! I think you’re right – your friend must be uber charming!

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