J and I have been looking at cars for the past month and decided our favorite car within our price range was a 2003-04 C-series Mercedes Benz. (Jon Hamm being the official voice of the brand played no part in my decision. I swear.) We were going to take our time looking for the right one when J emailed me at work last Thursday, telling me our little Hyundai wasn’t going to pass smog this month because…it needed a new cat converter (wah wahhhh). Since the Hyundai was always supposed to be a temporary car and we had paid so little in cash for it nearly four years ago, we decided to nix dumping money into it and instead upgrade our lives.
So we did that Thursday night after I got off work:
It went down something like this on Thursday:
5:00 pm: Leave work
5:05 pm: J picks me up at the curb. (Curb-side service. Score.)
5:25 pm: Test driving our Benz.
5:45 pm: Going over price/technicals with dealer. Bargained down $2,000.
6:05 pm: Signing paperwork
6:06 pm: Freaking out.
6:35 pm: Leaving dealership to Black Eyed Peas on the radio.
I named it Andiamo, because it purrs down the freeway at 80. And it’s shiny. So shiny. I love how shiny it is. It makes me want to rub it gingerly with a diaper and sing songs to it in a Barry White voice. In the words of Lester Burnham (he, of American Beauty fame): “It’s the car I've always wanted and now I have it. I rule!”
I never thought back in April that my financial life would be so different mere months later, but it still hasn’t sunken in that it’s mine. Sitting there, surrounded by leather, I can’t help but feel that I’m sitting in a corporate rental car or something, mine only for the weekend till I have to hand in the keys and fly home. But it’s not a rental. It’s mine. And I’m already home.
Some people wonder why, in the last year and a half, I worked hard saving. Obvi it was because with no incoming salary and the little part-time work I had not amounting to much, my savings had to stretch. Which was expected and completely fine, leaving my job to write was THE best decision of my life. In the words of Madonna, “Absolutely. No. Regrets.” *said with a deadpan expression while wearing ostentatious sequined leotard and clutching disco-inspired horse-riding whip*
Sure the compromise was inevitably going to be scrimping, but it was a small price to pay. Andiamo was worth it. I paid almost entirely cash for the car and it felt so fulfilling driving off the lot, truly owning something of value. The feeling is so different than the quick high I used to get from buying a few nice dresses from Banana. This purchase, in contrast, feels like an actual reward for all that time I spent budgeting and saving. It's like that scene in Almost Famous when Stillwater upgrades from their broken down old bus and heads down the tarmac to board their shiny new plane.
Next big purchase: A house. Probs within two years, but we’ll see. In the meantime I’ve become one of those people who looms outside of your friendly neighborhood Safeway in front of the real estate publication racks, flipping through house catalogues and carting home dozens at a time.