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Hi, everyone,

I need advice on whether or not (and if so, how) to sell my car.

Here's the background:

A little over two years ago, I hit bottom financially due to a combination of a loss of the primary breadwinner's income (DH), huge debt and a separation. But in the last 14 months, I found a new job (not a career, but good benefits, decent pay @ $42k annually + another $110-$150/month in freelance work), moved out-of-state and rented an apartment. I rented a room for eight months before moving out on my own, so getting an apartment was significant to me.

About two months ago, I decided to buy a car. I'd been playing with the idea, but looking back, I'm concerned that I made an impulsive, emotional decision. I couldn't afford to pay cash, and my credit was bad, but I convinced myself that I needed it.

Here are the numbers:

2009 Honda Civic, certified pre-owned with good gas mileage
Financed $15,874
12.45% APR
$316 per month (paid 2x/month, auto-draft from checking)
$92/month for insurance

Right now, I'm living at my limit. About $300/month goes to my daughter, who's in college. And I have credit cards, also about $300/month. Utilities, rent and other misc expenses are around $1,300/month. This is before food, emergencies (no fund), etc. I'm only contributing 1% to my retirement plan now. When I ran the numbers, purchasing the car seemed doable because I was spending so much on eating out and groceries--or I wanted it to seem doable.

DH and I are reconciling, and he's moving in with me since he doesn't have his own apartment. We're going to split the utilities and rent (approx. $490/month from him). Once that happens, I thought I could snowball the credit cards, pay them off in 18 months and increase the contributions to my retirement plan.

There are a few things at work in my situation, many of them emotional. I don't like being dependent on DH given our history, but that's the situation I'm in now. His income is much higher than mine, but he has financial problems that I know nothing about. We're essentially going to be roommates, not mixing our finances to achieve any joint goals for at least the next year.

When I bought the car, I felt like I 'should' have one at this stage/age in my life. Everyone I know is accomplished and settled, and I still have to take the bus or train to work in my 40s. I know how that sounds, but I'm admitting it so I don't end up on TMF a year from now with the same problems.

I know I won't get $16,000+ for the car if I sell it, which means I'll still owe the finance company. But I won't have to pay for gas, insurance, maintenance, etc. And the consistent payments should help my credit score, correct?

If I sell the car, should I do it on Craigslist? Take it to a used car dealer like CarMax? It has several scratches now. Should I get them repaired first, even though that will cost me?

Thanks in advance.

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