Ok, so I am about to embarq on a new concept, doing research

and buying a used car from a person with CASH. That will entail bargaining (which I suck at!) and restraint of impulse (new stuff there too) and really really paying attention to details. I have narrowed the search to toyota camry, or celica, or possibly honda accord. Coupes not sedan, I have carted kids around for 22 years, this is gonna be a car for ME! I am excited and scared. I am just looking for tips from y’all. I am going to pull the carfax, and really kick the tires. And try to negotiate. Any other suggestions?

For me, I was separated for five years

and shared custody and expenses with my ex. I went off the financial rails when he became disturbed
and I had to take full custody. He stopped paying anything, I had my daughter full time, and I had to get a lawyer who worked on strictly
cash. I blew through what had been a decent emergency fund, borrowed a little, started using a credit card to fill the gaps, and dug myself
into a hole. I was doing a “budget” in Excel and telling myself everything was OK. The shocker came when I had to fill out the state’s
financial forms, and could NOT make them balance. They showed me spending a lot more than I was making. And as I dug in, my spreadsheet
stopped looking so cheery. The forms were right. I was bleeding money. The first step for me was – not even doing a budget – just tracking my spending in Quicken, and labeling it according to the categories on those state forms. For the first few months “CASH-UNKNOWN” was a big category. I had to track my spending for several months before I had a real picture of where it was all going.

Don’t worry about the car for right now, you need to get your big picture in focus. You’re an accountant, you know *what* you need to
do. DR talks about the “four walls”. Budget for food, water, mortgage, transportation and utilities. Then you make the plan for tackling
everything else, and start tweaking.
And don’t forget to breathe! You have your family, your health, your job, you’ll get through this.