best for you.

We got our car and I love our car. It’s small, it zips, it fits the bike in the back, and I just love it.

Our car is also cheap — low priced, good monthly payment, etc. It’s perfect for us in every way.

And then someone I know — makes less money than us, has no trade in, barely any credit — talked about getting a new car.

Took a test drive in a car.

Pretty much settled on a car.

A car that’s $10,000 more than ours.

I read all this and I’ve been … not upset, but just confused. Irritated.

How can they get that car? We couldn’t get that car?

And then I started wondering.

We have a lot of mutual friends on Facebook. Do people see our car, and now their car, and think we’re cheap? Do they think Husband and I are poor and can’t afford anything else?

I spent more time than I care to admit mulling over this selfish inquiry the past few days. Especially when people who wrote nothing about our car told this person that they were getting a nice car, great car, what an awesome buy — did we not make an awesome buy? Is there something wrong with our car? Our car is lower on U.S. News Best Cars list, do people see that and think we got a lame car? Or do they see through the superficial standards for a good car (i.e., built in navigation systems)?

When I told Husband how I was feeling, he got a little upset. ‘I feel like you think these things,’ he says to me. ‘Why don’t you like our car? Do you think we have a cheap car? Do you think we made a bad buy?’

I love our car. I love how it take 3 point turns and makes them u turns. I love how we can fit into any parking space and parallel parking is a breeze. I love how a guy walking his dog told me he loved our car and that it seems like a great city car (it is). I love how what we pay for gas is cut in half.

So why do I care what other people think?

Husband pointed out that other people don’t know anything about us, and we don’t know anything about other people. Maybe the person I know has been saving money, maybe they don’t care about a big car payment, maybe someone behind the scenes is helping them buy the car. Maybe that’s what they’re choosing to spend their money on, or … maybe they aren’t even going to buy the car.

Husband pointed out that when we went on the test drive, we fell in love with the car and bought it that night, no questions asked. We had the money, the resources, etc. We had a plan, done our research, and we knew what we wanted. The person test drove the car, claimed to love it and be all over it,  but hasn’t bought it yet. Why? We don’t know, and it’s not really our business.

‘I want people to think we’re poor,’ Husband tells me as he pours syrup on his waffles. ‘I want them to think we’re struggling over here, while we’re doing just fine. We bought that car even though we could’ve afford a $400/month car payment. But we didn’t want to pay that, we wanted a smaller car so we could use that money elsewhere and save it. Everyone makes that choice differently.’

FYI, I did not know that we could have a $400 car payment. I mean, we were doing the $363, but I felt like that was kind of stretching it for us. But I think that’s because that just felt like such an astronomical amount and we felt pushed into that amount by his dick credit union. There’s so much that Husband understands about what we can afford and where we’re at money wise. I still feel like $40,000/year is that greatest salary ever.

I was raised by parents who fed off the same principle as Husband. My dad was making six figures and they still made us pay for half of any used cars we bought (like, the Cavy was $4,000, my parents paid $2,000 and my sister and I each chipped in $1,000). They live in a two bedroom one story, they rarely went out for dinner or see movies, we didn’t have cable until I was 20, and they just replaced their 30 year old living room TV this year (and only because it stopped turning on). The only reason I ever knew how much my dad made was because I peeked on a FASFA form (he vehemently tried to keep it from us for years).

I have an uncle who owns a bunch of property and is basically the Monopoly man in real life, yet he drives around in a Cadillac from the 90’s and lives in a half complete house on the wrong side of Joliet. He is one of my favorite examples of how money shouldn’t define your life.

So, in conclusion, I wish this person all the best. They may have the money for this car, or not, it’s really none of my business.

I really have been striving to focus on my life and my priorities, and not look at anyone else’s, but damn is that hard sometimes. Glad I have Husband to nudge me back in the right direction.


we got our car!!

Oh man!

Is there anything better than getting something after waiting soooo long for it? I contest that there is not.

Husband and I, we had a whole plan mapped out for the month of March. We were going to spend some money fixing a few things on the Subaru, pay it off, get the interior cleaned, test drive a variety of cars, then choose the best car and buy it towards the end of the month.

But here’s what happened instead.

First of all, if you’ve ever compared a line of cars, you see that there’s not much difference between them. We were comparing the Toyota Yaris, the Nissan Versa Note, the Honda Fit, and the Mazda2. Besides a price point difference of a couple hundred, and the fact that the 2015 Honda Fit wasn’t out yet, they were all pretty much the same car. In fact, Husband and I had confused the Toyota Yaris and the Mazda2 when we saw them out on the road. So we were really going into this just trying to find a car that we liked, since everything else seemed to be the same.

Last week, we had an appointment to fix the Subaru’s windshield on Tuesday. That was one of the many things wrong with the car, as well as the clutch, the steering wheel, the brakes, the shocks, the air conditioning, the left headlight, the spark plugs, and the tire alignment. The car needed about 3-4 thousand dollars worth of work put into it, and it had about 180,000 miles on it.

Basically it was a hunk of junk and we were ready to get rid of it, but we did want some money from it. It’s a long winded story, but when Husband originally bought it he was young and in crisis and not too smart financially. We had poured a lot of money into paying it off.

Anyway, we decided to get a jump start on test driving and so we went to look at the Mazda2 on Monday. We had sat in the Mazda2 at the auto show and I had gotten a really strong ‘feeling’ that it was the car I wanted. We went for the test drive and the car salesman was super, super nice — stayed quiet for the majority of the ride and let us talk things out. We were listening for noises we had read about in reviews online and were checking to make sure the review mirrors and such were okay. There was no pressure and we looked at the Sport and Touring options. When we got back to the lot, the salesman asked if we wanted to talk about buying the car that night.

I immediately put the brakes down. I had never bought a new car before, and was immediately suspicious of buying a car right away when we had to still pay off the Subaru. It all seemed too good to be true. We agreed to sit down and talk about what was happening next, but we made it clear that there was a lot of issues with the Subaru and trading it in was maybe not something the dealership would want.

We sat down and laid everything out. We had the money to pay off the Subaru, we just hadn’t done it yet. The manager took the Subaru for a drive and we talked about monthly payments. Truth out, we were paying $363/month to get the Subaru paid off and so were looking for a car payment closer to $200. Numbers were tossed back and forth, 0% financing was secured (yay!) and we made a deal about the Subaru. Basically we only “rolled over” a couple hundred leftover from the Subaru (which will get paid off with our first payment anyway). I talked about it with my parents later, who are like my financial gurus, and they agreed we did everything exactly right. Our down payment pays off 40% of the car, which was so, so exciting to do.

I feel really good about this. I had been worried about it because the Subaru was such a hassle, between the large financial burden and the fact that I couldn’t drive it. So many options are open now that we have a reliable car that we can both drive.

here and there updates

I’ve been a little quiet around here as we’ve been working on a few things, and I wanted to see how they panned out before I made any serious talk on “paper” about them.

Husband got a new job! He is working hard to figure out what is expected of him and what his day to day tasks entail. They created the position and then sought him out to come work for them, which is unbelievably awesome, so they’re still working out the kinks of a true ‘job description’. There are talks of trips out West and to China in his future, which would be a great opportunity for him. I’m so proud of him, and I know he’s proud of himself too.

Financially, things were a little sketchy. We were expecting bonus money from his previous job until his boss told him the company might not want to give it to him because he quit (even though, contract wise, he didn’t do anything wrong). So we had to deal with that disappointment and look for other avenues (aka our tax returns) in regards to paying off the Subaru. We had fully accepted this and I had stopped thinking about it. Then yesterday we checked the mail and there it was — a full bonus check. Money we’re putting into savings, but money we were surprised and relieved to see. We are doing well financially because his new job came with a significant leap in salary. Right now Husband is making monthly what he and I made together monthly back in 2011.

So, yes, all kinds of blessings right now. We’re looking at this surplus in money as a blessing to do things we couldn’t afford but needed — mainly, my dental work.

Yes, I made it to the dentist! I found an amazing dentist who advertises on my sister’s radio station. Going to the dentist for the first time in about four or five years, I was nervous and scared. She was amazingly patient with me, explained everything that she saw and what needed to be done. Yes, I had serious issues in my gums — but my teeth were perfect (no cavities or anything like that). Turns out I have strong teeth but weak gums. Plus my permanent retainer was causing all sorts of trouble, catching plaque like a full time job. The second time I went (and I’ll go again at the end of March), I met an amazing dental hygienist who did the procedure — mainly, numbing my gums and then digging all up in them to scrape out the plaque. I was crazy scared, but she explained everything, repeatedly asked if I was OK, let me listen to headphones while she worked to keep me calm, and showed me how to floss the retainer so it stays clean. I’m actually fine with going again to finish up the other side, and the every six months appointments I’ll have to do from now on to keep my gums healthy. My last dentist was ridiculous and his hygienists were some of the meanest and constantly degraded everyone, so I’m grateful for a place where the people are nice.

What else? Stepson is doing good; we’re working on simple Math with him because that seems to be his main struggle at school right now. Next weekend we’re doing an overnight at an indoor water park and I can’t wait. I started a ‘project’ on Instagram where I take pictures of Stepson every weekend we have him and post them with a few thoughts. I plan on turning them into a book at the end of the year, just so we have some momento of this age.

Husband’s dad wants us to go with them on a RV road trip to Yellowstone over the summer. I’m not sure if this is actually going to happen or not, since his dad hasn’t mentioned it since, but I hope so! What an adventure!

Finally, work is going really well. We got a new director and she has more confidence and appreciation for us than the previous two directors combined. I’ve been leading a lot of tours for my room, which is positive for the center (they all basically have been enrolling) and positive for me because I feel more confident in my abilities and knowledge. I’ve been doing some serious thinking about what the next step is for me in this career — I’m fine with my job as is, but I know that physically I probably won’t be able to do this forever. Husband and I have been discussing a few options, and we’ll see what I can make work!