I done fucked up today, I think.
My current car is a 2001 Ford Escape with nearly a hundred and seventy thousand miles on it. The fabric on the driver’s side door is mostly peeled off, there are big patches of rust inside all the doors, and there’s a big crack in the rear bumper. The radio intermittently decides it needs to take a rest and won’t turn back on for anywhere from a few seconds to a day. It leaks oil from a leak so deep in the engine that repairing it is an absurdity. And its gas mileage… well, leaves something to be desired.
That said: it turns on when I need it to turn on and it gets me where I want to go, and while it’s loud as hell at speed it’s not an uncomfortable ride by any means. It’s just that at 170K it is only a matter of time until something breaks that will be pointless to repair. To get ahead of myself a bit, I was offered $1200 for it as a trade today and I think it was probably a pretty generous offer, all told.
The boy has named the car Joey Car Kristofferson. I will very much miss having a car named Joey Car Kristofferson, to the point where I will probably insist that its replacement be named Joey Car Kristofferson II. (My wife’s car, incidentally, is called Lisa Car James. Don’t ask where the boy got the names. No one knows.)
So anyway, I took that car up there for a test drive earlier today. It’s a 2016 Kia Soul in the + trim level, with 28,000 miles on it. It’s immaculately clean and seems to run beautifully. It’s small– trunk space, in particular, is kind of a joke– but it fits my main need in a vehicle, which is that it rides high enough that I climb into the seat and slide out, rather than the other way around. I refuse to struggle to get out of my car, which means I’ll never own a sedan again. I’ve started to seriously hate them. I test drove a brand-new Ford Escape a few months ago, and loved it, but financially I think it’s a better idea to go for a lightly used vehicle right now rather than a new one. Unless I lease, which I might choose to do but <insert every website and argument about leasing ever> and my brain isn’t set up for that right now.
It’s just under fifteen thousand bucks, that car, and with the financing I’d expect to get I’d probably be making payments of just over $200 a month. Which is in the neighborhood where I’m thinking Yeah, I can swing that rather than I can afford that. To my mind, that’s a real difference; you can swing a new purchase if you can come up with some ways to cut costs that would absorb a lot of the new bill and figure you’ll be okay. You can afford something if you don’t have to think at all about what you’ll do to pay for it. For example, I can afford to spend $25-50 pretty much whenever I want so long as I don’t, like, do it every day. But if I want to buy a new shirt or something? I don’t have to think about that. A car payment means I’m thinking things like well, I do eat out way too often anyway and I’m spending too much fucking money on comic books every week while I’m considering what it would do to my budget. And the down payment would have to come out of our mutual savings, which my wife will likely have something to say about. We did just drop three and a half grand on a new bed, after all.
I’m not sure I have a point here, and I don’t know if I’m asking for advice or just talking. I just need to decide how quickly I think I need a new car, and whether I should buy a new one before I need a new one.
Go buy some of my books and make this easier, dammit. 🙂