I mentioned earlier that we spent $12,200 cash on our new used car.
Spending that kind of hard-earned money (all in one day and on a single, constantly depreciating object) has caused some subtle (mostly quirky) changes in our lifestyle. Here are a few quick observations on that.
- I realized that I love our money more than our car. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love the car - it’s wonderful (although, it’s the characteristic bland Toyota) and one of the smoothest vehicle I have ever been in. However, the loss of the cash brought more agony to me than the gain of the car. It gave me a weird *hollow* feeling. I know that’s not the right way to look at it - money is saved for a purpose, and it’s alright to spend some of it for the right reasons at the right time. Anyways, it’s probably going to take a few more days to come to terms with a $12,200 drop in our net worth (I don’t consider the car in my net worth calculations).
- Panic. I still keep trying to reassure myself that we did the right thing by putting cash down for this. At times, this has led to mildly panicky situations resulting in diminished math skills.
- Crazy stuff. Every morning I peep out of the window to make sure that the car is still there. My wife will have more to say on this, but I am not going to allow her to write about it. Also, I am contemplating on buying one of those steering wheel locks (or “club“) as a theft deterrent. I am not sure how effective those things are, but I still feel the urge to get one.
- Parking changes. We have been extra-careful about where we park our car. We avoid parking near cars that are not parked *neatly* or cars that major dents in them. Also, I thoroughly examine our car from all sides to make sure there aren’t any dings/scratches before driving off from the parking lot. We weren’t so picky with the old Nissan.
- Change in driving habits. This is true for both me and my wife. Our sense of *safe* driving has been elevated to a new dimension with this purchase. It’s probably the unconscious pressure of sitting in such an expensive box-with-four-wheels. Over the last week, we have been driving like people play chess - we can almost figure out how the driver behind us will react based on the traffic situation around us. So far, we have correctly anticipated the actions of at least three jackrabbits and (fortunately) steered away from them in time.
- People’s reaction to our cash purchase. We generally avoid disclosing any details of our financial transactions to even close friends and relatives. However, we try not to lie if some of them ask us specific questions. So, the story about our cash payment got out among some of our friends. Somehow, the answer “We paid cash” does not go down well with most people. We have been greeted with replies ranging from “Ha, funny. What was the loan APR?” to the all-encompassing “What… !?” (as in WTF!) to just a disbelieving silence. I just don’t understand what’s so dramatic about paying cash - we saved the money and then we used it - that’s it, it’s not at all a big deal. Anyways, in retrospection, I don’t think it was a good idea to be that honest about how we purchased the car. In future, for all acquaintances (work colleagues, etc.), other than close friends, we have decided on a “We got a good loan rate” story - if that’s what people want to hear, then that’s what we are going to tell them.
So that’s how things have been.
Hopefully, all the excitement (and the quirkiness) will wear off in a few more days and we will be back to our normal lifestyle. Also, hopefully, the good things/habits we have learned/developed over this entire car-buying business will stay with us for a long time to come.