The agony and the irony. The weekend before Michael lost his job, we bought another car…ideally, we’d have liked to paid cash for one, but didn’t have the savings built up yet. So he ended up getting an ’04 Accord (that’s not really our car in the photo); and, gritting our teeth, we incurred another car payment. We drove it around, getting used to the idea of this new (and tres chic!) car for two days (and feeling bigger in our britches than we should have) before Michael no longer had a job and then it was too late to give it back. Gotta love it when that happens. Tongues-in-cheeks, we’ve nicknamed the car Big Pimpin’. Pretty fly, for a white guy.
Anticipating some major budgetary changes, we also decided to act on another idea we’d been tossing around….we got rid of the Element. Oh how I liked that car for it’s spunk and versatility! I was grumpy about it. But God sure does have a sense of humor, and it showed yesterday when Michael drove off with the Element (I won’t lie, I ate a couple of donuts to console myself) and drove back in a 1993 Toyota Camry….almost the exact same car in color, model and trim level that he owned from 1999-2004. I had to laugh. Michael’s Camry was impeccable….let’s just say that this one has seen better days in its 14 years of existence. Don’t let the picture fool you. It has little scratches all over it, a couple of chips on the hood, but other than that (hey! it’s got a sunroof and 12-disc CD changer!), it makes a perfect grocery-getter. The best part? We were able to trade down, pay off what we owed on the Element and get the Camry free and clear. We’ll even get a nice refund from the DMV when we go to license it.
What prompted the Element-dump? Besides needing to free up some space in the budget, we’d been reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey…and were challenged by his ideas on car buying (among other things). Check out his thoughts here. Fairly counter-cultural, but it seems to make sense to us. I was shocked (and disappointed in myself) at how much pride I had in driving that Element. Ridiculous! My car should not – will not – define me! But I had let it.
My mood is improving. I was bummed out yesterday, because the smart thing to do never seems like the fun thing. In the long run, though, I’ll be happier. Should we run into dire straits, the bank can’t take it away. It’s reliable. It’s like having an old friend back. And with a little Armor-All and a new-car-scented air freshener, ole Humble Pie is growing on me.