When not to be frugal

This is the type of post you write and you feel a tad hypocritical about sharing, but I am an open book in many instances especially when it comes to my finances. I look at this way, while there are some who would never share as much as I do about my financial life, I hope that by sharing maybe someone will learn something and not make the crazy mistakes I have made in the past.

I realize that for some of my readers much of what I write and share may seem like common sense but let me tell you there a whole lot of folks who when it comes to their finances are fucking clueless. I know, I used to be one of those people. How else can you explain folks in the past few years who made maybe 50-60G’s tops and bought half a million dollar homes? They believed those folks offering the mortgages and never did any research, once upon a time you had to be credit worthy to buy a house so even though folks knew they weren’t when those folks said they were, they bought it. Now many of those folks are losing their homes. Truth is I would have been one of them had it not been for some serious blessings that rained down upon us.

But I am not talking houses, I am talking about my car situation. Yesterday, the Spousal Unit and I bit the bullet and got financing and bought a late-model SUV…people who know me personally know this is a huge deal for us. First off, for years I have referred to SUV’s as FUV’s…fuck you vehicles. Reason being, a large portion of folks I have observed driving them drive like assholes. I know not nice but oh well. In some way I just had a mental block against them.

So how did a person who goes from striving to live cheaply decide to buy a car that is a lot more money and most certainly not as light on gas as our previous car? Well, we had discussed the fact that if our options for a car came down to financing one that we needed to get something that truly met our needs. It was one thing to pay cash for a clunker and live with the fact that it wasn’t quite what we needed, it was another thing to commit to payments and still have a car that required us to rent trucks and vans from time to time.

See, my son elder boy is 6’3 and in our past 2 cars he has been very uncomfortable, with the addition of girl child it’s been even tighter than before. It also does not help that periodically I shop for my job and end up in a pinch scraping rides because our car was too small. Then there is the fact that the Spousal Unit observed that with my car phobia I am much more relaxed in large cars. I hate being enclosed and anytime I am in a larger car, its much nicer so the Man has been hoping this means I will think about driving more and making him drive less. Of course there is the matter that I have no idea how to park my land yacht but I will figure it out.

Point of this is, we decided that while being frugal was important it was also important to look at the whole picture and the whole picture means a car that truly fits our needs. While older paid for cars are great, it also helps if the owner is someone who knows how to work on them…sadly neither I nor the man have that skill. So we went for the car that will fit our needs and while gas consumption is a concern we are fortunate that our day to day lives don’t require a great deal of driving. After all, my job is a mile away from the house and the Spousal Unit’s office is in our house and we are still a one car family.

Sometimes cheapest does not always equal best and as I strive to live within my means, I am learning it’s still a work in progress. There are times when the cheapest option is not the best and the most frugal option may require spending a tad more cash…sort of like shoes. I find that when I buy a good quality pair of shoes, say a pair of Dansko’s the initial outlay of cash hurts but $100-130 on a pair of shoes that can last at least 6-7 years turns out to be a good deal.

Thou shall not covet that SUV

It was a great weekend, the weather was just lovely up here in Maine. I hit the beach, had the local french fries known as pier fries (hard to describe, but they are delicious) local ice cream and even checked out a local concert at our church (it was a date for the hubby and I even with the girl child is tow). I even worked in a lovely pedicure in time for the weather so I could show off my purty red toes. What more could I want?

I want my friend’s new GMC Envoy, that’s what I want. I have been mostly content with our 12 year old Nissan, after all its cheap on gas (fill-up now that gas prices are down again averages $20), my insurance on it is cheap and more importantly its paid off. Only problem is its a tad rusty and really small, as I was reminded Saturday when I hit an amazing yard sale that had the most lovely chairs (vintage) for less than $20 and an amazing chaise lounger for $20. No way in hell we could get these things home. There is also the problem that when elder boy is home, our car is a tight fit for the 4 of us. So we really could use a larger car, its just that financially its not the greatest of times.

So yesterday, my girl called me and wanted to show me her new ride….Lawd, it was beautiful, its everything I want in a car. Large enough to have fun with yard sales, we could all comfortably fit and enjoy going on a drive, a large vehicle would also mean that I don’t have to wait for the annual pickup for leaves and lawn trash since we would have a vehicle big enough to take our stuff to the transfer station ourselves.

Plus with my pesky agorophobia being in a larger car would probably make me more apt to drive on a regular basis, since I would feel less like I am in a sardine can.

Thing is mathematically that car is costly, as I was asking my girl, to fill her tank up is $40 (um and gas is just a hair over $2 a gallon, gulp…what happens when it goes back to $4 a gallon). I know insurance would be more plus in Maine we have the annual excise tax, thankfully ours is only $100 a year on a 12 year old car???Imagine what it would be on a big newer car? See, these are all the things that the Spousal Unit brought up as I racked my brain trying to figure out how to get that car.

See, the Spousal Unit is more inclined to stick to our original plan of buying a used Volvo in cash late summer early fall and maybe later adding a small older pick-up truck. Both options would no doubt be cheaper than a 2-3 year old SUV and we would own the cars outright, no payments. Only thing is the Nissan just needs to get through the summer and we will be in the home stretch.

I know he is right but dammit, I want that SUV, guess I should remember the Good Book, though shall not covet..in this case I should not covet my girl’s SUV.