I have a confession to make. I bought a car.
I already had a car. It was fine. In fact, it was great. It was a reliable car. It got me from A to B, and sometimes C, without fail. The running costs were low and maintenance was cheap. I could even play my awesome music through Bluetooth. I didn’t even have to scrape ice of the windscreen in winter because that, my friends, was heated. I bought this car when I shouldn’t have, but I stuck with it, paid down the finance, and owned my own vehicle. Goal, achieved.
In November last year, I traded in this fine piece of machinery and forked out a demoralising £9,000 in cash to buy a slice of precision German engineering. A newer, fancier, better car. Because I wanted one, because I deserved one and because it was what people did when they moved up the corporate ladder. Baaaaaaa.
I convinced myself that my employer was making me get it. As part of my monthly pay check, I get a car allowance each month to put towards a vehicle. We are made to believe that there are rules for the car you own, such as the need for it to be within three years old and also reflect your position. Writing this now, I’m not even certain that this is a rule. I was never asked to change my old car, and by old it was only 5 years old, I made that choice. I chose to believe this possibly fabricated rule to ‘allow’ me to buy one. It was against my plan, my new found frugality and against my self professed mastery of controlled spending.
I drove the shiny black piece of automotive royalty off the forecourt and to work, where I parked it outside my place of employment where it will inevitably spend most of it’s life. It was comfortable, fast and getting out of it made me want people to look and see me. I cringed at myself. I was one of them.
Now, I’m not sure it’s regret, but I don’t feel like I need my new car. If I was forced to sell it and downgrade, I would survive, perfectly content. I almost wish there was a real reason for me to do that. Here’s the thing, I really want to, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Those keys stay rooted in my pocket.
In the next week I’m changing two tyres and they are twice the cost of my old ones. The back seats don’t go down so the practicalities aren’t as good. It doesn’t play my eclectic choice of music through Bluetooth. I had to scrape ice in the winter.
I did all the sums justifying my spending. The true cost of owning my new car vs my old, demonstrated the affordability. I of course cut corners to make it seem more affordable. Of course I could afford it in the sense that after I had all my bills paid, there was money left over. But this isn’t spare if it’s going towards investing.
It seems that I wasn’t quite over the consumerism and capitalism that has been rooted in my soul. Deep down, I wanted that car, for wanting its sake, living the dream and showing off.
And now I can’t bring myself to downgrade, stick the balance in my S&S ISA and forget about it.
Why can’t I? What’s stopping me? It’s admitting to this new way of life that so many disagree with. It’s taking all the questions, all the funny looks. I’m just not ready for it yet. Not many of my friends or family know I’m on this path, because I’ve never felt the need to tell them. This would be opening the door.
The price I pay for this cowardliness? Sitting in a high priced, quickly depreciating asset, to and from work.