As the snow finally melts (hopefully for the last time this year) people are flooding into the neighborhood car washes to get all the excess salt taken off their beauties. I considered jumping in line with the rest of the herd last week as I was doing my monthly fill up at the gas station…..Partially because my car hasn’t been through a car wash in about 3 years. Partially to watch my 1 yr olds reaction in the back seat.
Then I remembered the significant amount of rust that lives over my front right tire. And that if someone were to lean on it with a little force their hand would probably go straight through into the wheel well. Surely a powerwash with spinning rubber things would take at least a few chunks off the front. At that point it hit me……
My car is too crappy to go through a carwash.
And that would be enough for a lot of people to trade up for a shiny new car.
Something that WAS embarrassing? The high pitched squeal that was coming from my brakes a few weeks ago. Neighbors literally turned to see what was making one of the WORST noises known to man. Having an older car that makes that noise does not scream frugal, it screams Cheap Ass that can’t properly maintain it. Thankfully I was able to get that fixed within a week (The noise came on fast and strong – I swear I didn’t put off normal maintenance out of pure laziness!)
This should embarrass me, but it doesn’t
As I was weighing the fact that more rust would fall off than dirt, I decided that a new car is still not filtering it’s way up my priority list. We have two vehicles, one nice one that Mrs. AE primarily uses (I steal it whenever it is available). And our second car that has two uses:
- Getting our kids(s) to daycare
- Getting me to the bus stop a mile from our house
As long as it starts and is safe enough to perform those two activities, I am not going to replace it. Looking like a super cool dude, or replicating the average American household with multiple new cars and car payments isn’t worth the sacrifice.
My car is a symbol of how we spend
I’m not picking on vehicles, that is just my example of not spending on something that doesn’t matter to me. People would look at my ice fishing gear and call that a waste of money – but to me, it isn’t. Cars catch a lot of heat, and a lot of it is warranted, but if that is your jam, buy a nice car! No judgments here.
BUT If your jam is just to LOOK like you are a big effing deal – head over to ThinkSaveRetire.com and read about The pseudo-affluent: If you look rich, you probably aren’t. He has some first-hand experience ditching a sexy car for the Financial Independence life.
For those of you that are wondering my car is a 2002 Honda and this is what the front right fender looks like:
Weird, but the other front fender has 0 rust. Can’t say the same for the back two fenders – they are deteriorating.
Here is my equation of the week:
Rust = Money
These are the choices we need to make
We could afford two decked out vehicles, but it would take money directly out of how much we save.
I have mentioned this before, but before paying for child care we could absorb an extra $200-300 a month in extra costs without any issues. Today, every extra dollar that we want to spend above and beyond our current lifestyle would need to come directly from our saving/investing bucket.
Eventually, we will have to replace the car, but at 160,000 miles it still runs great and if we maintain it I have another 40,000 miles easily. Considering it goes about 40 miles/week max it is going to be around for a looooooooong time.
Anyone else rocking a crappy car that is banned from the car wash?