Monday, February 24, 2014


Two steps forward...three steps back--life feels like that for me sometimes. Last summer, a stupid deer jumped out in front of my Volkswagen causing $7500 worth of damage--not quite enough to consider the car totaled. Anyway, after several weeks, the good people of Barnett Body Shop restored my car, but unfortunately, the air conditioner didn't work quite right. After another trip to the body shop, they figured out the problem and fixed it.

Fast forward to this past weekend in New Orleans.

Saturday morning, we took Jude to the Audobon Zoo and later planned to make our way to the French Quarter for some vittles. On our way to the Quarter, we got stuck in traffic (one of those perks of driving in the middle of Mardi Gras), and as we waited for a parade to go by, the car began overheating and the air went hot. However, when Jeffrey accelerated, cooler air came through the vents, and the car returned to normal temperature.

We knew our car's malfunction had something to do with that damn deer.

Anyway, Jeffrey told me that maybe I should look into trading in the Volkswagen for another car. I agreed with him that we may be dealing with a pretty big problem. I mean, what car overheats in 70 degree weather? I had decided that I would look up different cars as soon as we returned home, hoping to find another Volkswagen.

Unfortunately, I found nothing. Well, nothing I wanted to pay that much for anyway. I couldn't believe it. Three years ago when I bought my Jetta, I wrote a check in the neighborhood of $15, 000, handed it over, and drove off in an almost brand new car. Now, that same sort of car (a one year old car), costs at least $5,000 more than what I paid for one three years ago! Seriously?!?!?

The thing is this. I like the car I have. I don't want to get rid of it. Why? Probably a pride thing. My Jetta is the second car that Jeffrey and I paid cash for. We like not having car payments. We like putting crap loads of money into savings. Could I cut a check for $18,000? Sure. But why should I pay that much for something I'm not even dying to have?

Then I asked myself this question: "How in the world can people afford this stuff?" As it turns out, $18,000 for a one year old used car is actually nothing compared to other car prices. What I found on was that the average price of the sort of sedan I would want ranges around the $25, 000-$30,000 mark. Don't even get me started on the price of a SUV! Let's just say that I will be bending over strapping two babies in cars seats, and after seeing those prices, I won't even complain about it. Even if I had that sort of money to throw around, yeah, I don't think so. Not as long as deer roam the great roads of Mississippi!

However, I don't think I'm searching for vehicles beyond my means. Most people I know that drive these sort of vehicles make around the same amount of money I do. I guess the difference is that they finance, and I won't. I wonder, though, if most people bought only what they could afford (meaning no financing), would car companies lower the price of their cars? Is the reason cars are so expensive because so many are willing to go into debt for them? Are the consumers to blame for this inflation (at this point, I think one can easily guess that I didn't study much of in the way of Economics).

I'm sorry, but I just can't do that. It's bad enough that I have a mortgage. Granted, we have about nine years left on it, but still. That's nine years we owe someone!

I realize my view on debt is not popular. For the record, I don't have a smart phone, Tori Burch flats (even though I've wanted a pair for YEARS--I visit those flats at Saks every summer), or a lot of other cool stuff, like a $30,000 car. However, as I was feeling sorry for myself over this car issue, it dawned on me that I've always been able to afford the stuff I needed even if I can't always afford what I want. I'm glad I don't operate in reverse as that seems to promise nothing but a life of misery from never being able to keep up. So I may have to buy another car. Hey, at least I can, even if it's not the fanciest thing on the market. However, I'm still holding out hope that my Jetta will get fixed for good and my money can remain where it belongs--in the savings account--just in case an emergency like this arises later.

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