It’s a curse. Something of a cross between radar and a super-magnet hard-coded into my DNA. The ability to find the most expensive item possible. Without even trying. And fall in love with it.
So, here we are … four cars heavy in a two-driver household. We didn’t plan it this way. A month ago, we had one car each. Albeit my husband had hijacked my sporty little topless Jeep for his commute, leaving me on the island with his monster diesel truck, which I despise. But still, the math worked out. Two drivers = two cars. Then, our friend was leaving for Africa and had a little commuter with ridiculous gas mileage. He asked if my husband would like to park it on the other side of the ferry to minimize his wait in the ferry line during his summer commute. Sure. A fuel-efficient car for free? We can put that to good use. So, now my husband has his free car on the other side of the ferry, my Jeep to get to the ferry, and I’m still wrangling the beast into parking spaces at the grocery store. Then, a few weeks ago, an acquaintance that we were selling our Tahoe to decided it wasn’t the right fit for him anymore. Lucky for us, we got it back. So now we have two gas-guzzling monsters parked in our driveway. Plus the Jeep and the commuter parked at the ferry. Four vehicles. Three payments. It isn’t a pretty sight when I look out the window, and it isn’t a pretty sight when I look at my bank account.
It’s a good thing I’m a Minimizer – Minimizer – Minimizer – Minimizer. We figure that we can trade in the two vehicles for a single vehicle so that the equity in one makes up for the lack of equity in the other, and we come out with a single payment. So, yesterday, we decided we needed to go check out some different types of cars so we could come home and do some quality Internet research–after sitting in them and getting a feel for them. Ideally, I’m looking for a hybrid, because I think it is the environmentally responsible thing to do. The problem is that car dealers are still trying to capitalize on our emotions, and have yet to set hybrid prices at a comparable or competitive price. So, my second choice is the most fuel-efficient vehicle I can find without a hybrid engine.
Hybrid cars are roughly the same price as the non-hybrid, small, fuel-efficient SUVs that I’m looking at. The cars are nice. But the dog would have to sit on my lap. So, environmental sustainability or enough room to seat our whole family (dog included)? I’m really more comfortable in the SUV … not just physically, but mentally … I’m sure their crash test ratings are comparable, but for some reason, sitting up a little bit higher and feeling like I’m not going to be squashed by monster diesel trucks with my kids in the back seat gives me some driving confidence.
So, we go to look at some used cars. Name brand and style are something that have fallen off my radar a long time ago. I want something that is comfortable and suits my family. And doesn’t cost too much to maintain. So, we go to Hyundai. Then to Kia. Then to Nissan. We’re walking around looking at all of these vehicles that look exactly the same to me. I can’t tell the difference between any of them. Four wheels? Check. Steering wheel? Check. Room for the dog? Check.
And then I see it. Three rows away and about three-quarters of the way down the lot. This cute little SUV that has a little something different about it. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just glistens in the sunlight, or sparkles at me as though beckoning me from afar. I approach. The Infinity FX35. The sales man is on to me now. He’s off to get the key. I slide in to the contoured leather seat enveloping me like a marshmallow. I don’t need this, I think to myself. Quick. Rationalize.
I ask the man what maintenance is like on these, because the BMW X5 that I started the year out with was looking at a $5,000 maintenance bill before we traded it in (for MY Jeep). He informs me that Infinity builds their cars to not need a single bit of maintenance for 105,000 miles. Convenient, I think. Since your warranty runs out at 100,000 miles. Maybe I should just stick with the American-made vehicles that can be serviced by the mechanic down the street. Something deep within my soul tells me I should be supporting the American automotive industry anyhow. I don’t need to test drive it. We’ll just head over to Chevrolet …
That’s weird. The Chevy dealership across the street is abandoned. Hmm … what to do? The goal here is to consolidate our two gas-guzzling beasts into a single, environmentally responsible, yet family-friendly vehicle.
And then the purchase justification scenarios start running through my mind. I don’t work on my feet all day. I don’t need pedicures. I don’t do a lot of heavy lifting. I don’t need massages. I sit on my [buttocks] all day at this computer. So, when I have to be in the car, I should at least be able to treat my bottom to marshmallowy heated leather seat luxury, should I not? My husband laughs.
We return home without minimizing our vehicles. But now I know what I’m looking for … without speaking out of my a** … or, perhaps, speaking directly from there.