This community is the best place to come when you're not sure what to do, so thanks in advance. Here's the closest I can get to a Cliff's Notes breakdown.
Last year I decided to get back on the credit grid after a 20-year absence (longer version here if you're so inclined). I had a paid home equity line from 10 or so years back, always paid on time, but nothing else. In June 2012 I opened a secured Visa with Wells Fargo for $1000, and in August added a Chase Freedom ($4000), Citi Thank You Visa ($3000) and then an AMEX unicorn (sadly, the $500 limit, but the backdating to 1991 was invaluable). I went into the garden and have been PIF since then. I started getting all kinds of pre-approvals in the mail, and tossed them out without opening them. I was gardening, after all. Then I got tempted when the mailbox was full one day, and did a little drapping. I picked up Discover More ($3000) and then FNBO Amex ($10,000! Color me surprised!). Back into the garden.
Then I left my $50K job to work with my beloved full time from our home business. Then my 13 year-old Jeep died. Waa-waaa! Sad trombone! Then I kicked myself up and down.
So here's the current breakdown: We're only paying me about $15k/yr, my CC util is ~3.5% ($750/$21,500), and my EQ is at 770 (at least per the last score watch update with FNBO reporting, but not Discover yet). The Jeep is going to cost ~$2000 to fix, but it's old with a history of electrical problems, which have haunted me for years, having to replace the PCM at least 3 times already - $$$!!!). We're looking to be moving into a new rental townhome in the next couple of months, but it's further away from places where I'll need to be, and will need reliable transportation. I don't really care if I lease or buy (although owning something when I'm done has a great appeal but I'd like to keep the payments as low as possible).
Help me Obi-Wan-Kenobi-people! You're the folks I come to for good advice! What makes the most sense for me to do?
What sort of car are you looking for? 15K depending on the DTI calc is just problematic most likely regardless of your pretty FICO score. Any chance you can do a joint loan of some sort? I'm not as familiar with that, also is it for work? May have options there too though I'm wholly unqualified to talk about that, just end of the day your income is close to the povery line, and that's a challenge to purchase anything beyond an incredibly cheap car I think. I could be wrong, but the situation just seems challenging, hopefully others will have a more qualified opinion.
Id buy a used honda or toyota from a little old lady who never drove it for ~5 k and save your money in case the poop hits the fan.