Out with the new, in with the old?
I can't remember feeling any more proud than I was when I purchased my first brand new car with my own paychecks at seventeen years old. I was a junior in High School. I would drive that car like it was the best thing on the planet. The car I drove before this had no power steering, no power windows and if I remember correctly didn't have a radio or a/c and heat. It was a mess to say the least. However, it did get us from point A to point B and that's all that mattered. After signing the papers, I climb into my newly washed and polished car.
The first thing I did was roll my windows down, with one finger versus the arm workout I would acquire each time I wanted the wind blown look. I don't know about you, but I love my windows down, it makes me feel like I'm apart of the earth. Radio played in full blast and I would sing my heart out. I was in my own little world. My 2002 Toyota Celica never gave me any trouble and I would have kept that car forever if I could have. The exciting news that we were adding a second baby to our little family of three came and we knew we had to part with my car to get a bigger one that could fit not one but two car seats.
I wanted to keep that car so badly, I tried to place both car seats in the back only to learn the hard way it wasn't going to work. After tossing the idea around of getting another vehicle I was ready to start looking. We looked and looked and looked. For months. With just purchasing a family business, one baby already in diapers, one on the way, we had to find something that we could afford. Going to a car dealership was out of the question because not only were those vehicles priced way up, we didn't have the credit we needed in order to get approved. I was about ready to pop, both from being 9 months pregnant and being frustrated and over car searching online. A few times we would pull up to test drive the car to find only half of the information was correct while the other half was misleading of false all together. It was a live and learn instance and we quickly knew the questions to ask or avoid before driving to see anything else. I knew what I was looking for, I just hadn't found it. Nothing against mini van moms, cause those are cool too, I wanted more of an SUV. After driving many miles to and from Houston, we finally found a Tahoe on craigslist. (I know, that sounds bad.) Come to find out the address was at a Porsche dealership. I about died, of course, wondering what we got ourselves into.
We pull in and my husband insists that we are in the correct place. I climb out very cautious trying to find the vehicle we spotted online. Not seeing it parked anywhere, we walk inside to get assistance. The gentleman proceeds to lead us out the back of the building and to our car we inquired about. We test drove it and asked the important things we knew to ask at the time. It was a 2002 Chevy Tahoe. It had 120k miles on it. They were asking 12k for it. We had enough to put half down in cash. We hoped that with the cash, that would prove we were worthy of 'something', even if our credit didn't show otherwise. Lucky for them, more luckily for us, we were approved and had the keys in hand. We marched out of that office and drove home to show all of our close family members. I remember driving up honking, waving while they would slowly come out with a confused look on their face not sure who is at their house. In the beginning of being a brand new SUV owner, I would not let anyone eat or drink in it.
By the end, there was suckers stuck in between the seats we would find only when we would pull the seats down to let other passengers in the very back. One hundred thousand miles and six years later, it was time to trade my Tahoe in. We knew that if we didn't make the trade sooner than later, we would be in deeper than we wanted to be $. It was accumulating more problems than it was worth. Our kids were getting older and a bit more responsible. Our business was much more established so the thought of a new car didn't seem so out of reach like it had once before. In my immature mind, I always thought that having good credit really didn't matter. I knew I could always pay cash. If you are one to think like I used to .. you may want to change your way of thinking, because there are perks. (Like having zero percent interest on a brand new car.) My better half wanted to make sure I had everything I needed so we purchased a fully loaded Ford Explorer 2014.
It had everything except a sun or moor roof. It cost me $800/month not including gas to keep it rolling. Some may say, 'not bad.', while others may say, 'holy sh!t.'. Again, the no eating rule came into affect. If a door was shut too hard, if fingerprints would drag my newly cleaned windows, if feet would scrape the back of the seat, I would go berserk. I never did tally up the total cost spent on cleaning suppies or car washes but it had to be quite a bit. I continued to drive it for two years to the exact date before wanting to trade it in. Although I didn't trade this car for a newer car, I traded it in for one with less miles and less up keep. A 1998 Honda Civic.
Handing over $1750.00 has never felt so good to get a set of keys in return. The windows are automatic, the AC/ heat works and the sunroof works (the kids get a kick out of that). The only thing missing is a radio but I am just fine cruising with my windows down, earplugs in, listening to my radio on my phone. It's kind ironic seeing others watch me sing and dance and just be happy in my old beat up car while they are like robots in their brand new spiffy washed and polished car. It's as if they almost wonder how am I this happy when I drive such an old and beat up car. I used to be them watching, wishing I was just as happy. It is a freeing experience - that's for sure. (And bravo to you that want and have new cars, I'm not here to down you whatsoever. It just wasn't for me!) After getting the extended warranty and gap insurance, we ended up profiting 2k back into our pockets. Had we not had good credit, we could have been upside down and it not go as smoothly as it did.
My kids were uncertain at first but even they love the car and want me to honk when I leave from dropping them off at school. It's not about the outer exterior, it's about what sparkles underneath. I can't fail to mention the time I had gotten pulled over (so far at the time of writing this at least 😜) when I was traveling with my daughter from dance one evening. I often just drive not paying much attention to my speed. A cop driving in the opposite direction of me flipped his lights on a made a u-turn. I knew automatically he was after me. I pull directly over not giving him any more reason to ticket me. His lights shine on my rear view mirror as he parks behind my car and walks up to the passenger side window. I handed over my lisence and was readily available with my insurance information on my phone. The gentleman walked up to me and gathered my info from me. He kindly asks where I was heading so I tell him we are on the way home from dance. He proceeds to tell me that I was going 49 mph in a 35 mph zone. I sit as he walks back to his car to run my information. I tell my self it's okay because I hadn't gotten a ticket in over 9 years .. so it was what it was. He walks back up to my car what seemed to be about 5 minutes later. He hands me back my lisence and asks me to sign his warning. Warning? What?? I grab his pen and slop my signature on the paperwork. I will never forget what he asked me next. He asks, 'ma'am, can you promise me that you won't speed any more?' Of course I apologize for speeding and he lets me continue on my way as he goes on his. On the way home, I wandered had he not given me a ticket because he 'knew' by the looks of my 98 Honda that if I had to pay for this ticket my daughter just might not had been able to be I dance? It never know, but I can bet you it didn't hurt anything by driving my rugged little beat up car. Lastly, it costs me a whopping $16.00 to fill my gas tank up. And even better, I still get from point A to point B, and that's all that matters.
P.S. If you happen to drive a car like mine ... ROCK THE SHIT OUT OF IT!! ✌️