Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spin Cycle: A Car Story


Once upon a time there was a young couple who wanted to save up for a down payment on a house. They decided, as a way to save money, to not buy a cool car. So they drove vehicles that would save them money instead.

The young husband drove a moped to work, the moped his wife had used to go to class as a college student. His work, after all, was only a mile away.

The wife drove a car that her friends made fun of. A lot. A 1979 Ford Fairmont. They had bought it from an old man. The old Ford had 31,000 miles and had cost them only $700.

Several years later, when the engine blew, the wife was excited to get something else to drive.

But the couple had young children and a new mortgage. They also were taking care of the husband’s elderly grandmother. They needed something that could hold a lot of people, a dog, beach stuff; plus something affordable. So they bought a used mini van.

The mini van lived for many many years and had a load of mileage.

Then one day, while the not-so-young-anymore wife was at a stop signal, a speeding car flew into the car two cars behind her. The five car accordion action killed the old mini van.

There was a brief period of SUV ownership. Not a new SUV, but the closest to new that the couple had come to in car ownership. This fine black vehicle was loved by all and even given a name. Joey. Everyone loved Joey.

But Joey used a lot of gas and the daughter, now starting college, was going to commute to save money (by not dorming) by using her mother's car. What a paradox. What a conundrum.

The mom, meanwhile, was in a bit of a funk. A WTF kind of mood. She had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and was beginning chemotherapy. She got a burr up her ass that perhaps once in awhile one should just go for it.

So, at 48, she bought her first ever new car. In truth, she ordered her car. It was such a popular car that there were none to be had on the island. Ordering was fun. She could get exactly what she wanted.

She got a black Prius. That averaged 50 MPG.

And while she made enormous car payments, she mostly took only weekend privileges. She let her daughter use the car to commute to college most weekdays.

But oh how she loved driving her car to the beach on the weekends.

Four years later the family moved to town so the children could be closer to the college.

The mom got her car back and the daughter took the bus to school.

Life was good.

Then, one day during Spring Break, the mom, being in a generous mood, said, “Daughter, you can take my car to campus today instead of taking the bus. I’m not going anywhere.”

And the daughter rear ended an SUV.

The Prius was in the fender shop for six weeks. It came out. It went back in. It came out. It went back in. And then it was fixed. That's what they said at least.

The mom decided it wasn’t fun anymore.

So she decided (since the pay cut for teachers) that instead of getting a summer job, she would sell the car. Pay off some bills. Save some money. Take the bus to her new job next year that is only eight miles from her house. Or buy an affordable used car.

Get stranded at home this summer and instead of working a second job she could finish her writing project.


* * *



OK I haven’t actually sold the car yet, but I am 90% sure I will.

For more spins on money saving, head on over to Sprite’s Keeper.

36 comments:

Kristan said...

That's a pretty good story. :)

"Get stranded at home this summer and instead of working a second job she could finish her writing project."

I like the happy ending in particular! ;D

tulpen said...

No car and no job other than dicking around, I mean writing for the summer sounds lovely.

Jack said...

I don't have a car either and hubby has been pressuring me to go on the hunt with him for one - I think he's tired of sharing his. Anyway, we've been looking but every time I see the price tag, I start to think of all the other things I could be doing with that monthly payment: Putting it towards our retirement, a cottage, a pool, kids education...

Good luck with selling your car!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Good luck selling it. There is nothing worse than spending money on cars. Ugh! BTW, I think you will love my post today and some of the photos I had up over the weekend ... and even tomorrow's. Yes, I'm writing about you-know-what again!
: )
xo

kyooty said...

Good luck selling the car.

sherri said...

I'd rather write than drive any day of the week. Or read, for that matter.

Christy (Columbia Lily) said...

yeeurgh. i don't know if I'd want to give up my car. Even if I don't drive it, it's the thought that I CAN that helps sometimes.

Only a few weeks left, right?

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

New job next year?? Is this good?
Closer sounds good. Paying off bills sounds good. Working on the writing sounds awesome!
But I'm sorry about the car.
I hate cars.

Susan R. Mills said...

Sounds perfect! I'd give up my car to write all day, that's for sure.

Brian Miller said...

i figure i might have to do that...lol.

only a movie said...

My car is black as well. I like black cars. During my first summer off (only a couple of years ago), I decided that I wouldn't drive if I could walk or bike - so I pared down all my errands to my walking route, etc. I tried to curb the driving to once/twice week. It was pretty cool.
I'm sorry you are selling your car, but it sounds like a good trade-off. Peace of mind is sometimes priceless.

Shadow said...

pity about the car, but writing for the summer? that's good!!!!

Mrsbear said...

I think that's a great solution. And getting some writing done is a great byproduct of not having a vehicle. Good-bye little Prius. :(

idgtm said...

This is an excellent story. Phooey, about the car accident.

Walking or taking the bus is a great idea.

Jan said...

I didn't own a car for 20 years because I couldn't afford it - I walked and took the bus everywhere.

I was a lot thinner then...

mo.stoneskin said...

You were a minivan momma? Who would have known? I never thought it would have enough storage though, what with all the dogs and beach gear.

My name is PJ. said...

A summer spent writing sounds energizing, gratifying and cathartic.

You go, girl!!

TechnoBabe said...

You didn't end with the customary "they lived happily ever after".

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I didn't realize you were a breast cancer survivor as well! Congratulations! And I think your plan to sell the car and spend the summer writing is phenomenal! I vote for that!!! Cheering you on! ~Janine XO

Joanna Jenkins said...

I would do just about anything to avoid car payments.

Hope the car sells fast-- if you decide to go through with it.

xo

Sprite's Keeper said...

Wait, you got the new job!!?? Woohoo! Congrats! And spending the summer writing while still having time for meditation? Sometimes, these stories do have a happy ending! You're linked!

CaJoh said...

My wife bought a new car before she met me. Now it is starting to cost more to fix than it is to have payments on a new car. Since it is her car she'll have to make the decision to trade it in, but until then we have something that takes us from here to there.

What a great way to "Spin your wheels"

Gal Friday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gal Friday said...

was smiling when you got to the part where you finally treated yourself to that new car(I, at age "nearly"48, have yet to ever have a brand nerew car, too!).
All's well that ends well(for now)--I think you are doing the right thing by deciding more time "stuck" at home this summer to write(forced creativity?)is better than a part-time job and needing a vehicle.

Melissa B. said...

As I read this post, I kept thinking "Red Vette Convert" in the back of my mind. I'm glad you got a Prius, though. Just stay away from those trucks and SUVs!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

You made a lot of great and budget-minded choices over the years! Sorry about the Prius meeting up with the SUV - at least your daughter was OK, right?

Sounds like your plan for the summer is exactly what you need - and another brilliant decision on your part! ;)

Oh, and congrats on the job! :)

Mama Badger said...

The new job didn't deserve a post?

I'm glad you got to own and enjoy a new car at least once in your life. Good for you! I will admit that I think you only need to do that once, though.

PB says that my next one might be new. Ooooh, to be the first one to make an ass groove in the driver seat. Unimaginable luxury.

Patty O. said...

Love the story! I would so like to own a Prius, but that won't be happening in the foreseeable future. Oh well.

Anna See said...

loved your car tales... do tell us what you end up doing.

pegbur7 said...

Loved your spin on this. Stopping by from Sprites Keeper.

pegbur7 said...

Loved your spin on this. Stopping by from Sprites Keeper.

anymommy said...

Used, old beat up cars are better anyway. That way, you don't have to feel bad when something happens to them. That's what I tell myself. Great story!

Mom Taxi Julie said...

I hate making my car payment! We live 12 miles from town though and there is no public transportation we can walk to. I can't imagine having no car!

Casey said...

I don't blame you. Sell that stupid car and write. I know the car didn't do anything wrong so technically I shouldn't call it stupid. Sorry, car.

creative kerfuffle said...

i love the history of your cars story, but am very intrigued by the new job mention : )
i don't think we've ever bought a new car. it seems so pointless. the hubs is a weirdo about cars. his is older than dirt, no air and it needs so much work. it is paid for. he doesn't want to sink any money into it, and yet he is the one who drives the most. some days he drives 250 miles for work. while the suv sits in the driveway. w/ air. and brakes. yeah, i don't get it.

Kingsmom said...

Sorry about the car. Honestly, I'd give my right arm (okay maybe my left) to live somewhere with good public transit. It's relaxing not to have to drive. Good luck selling the car.