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.