I used to think parents had it all figured out. That adults knew how to do everything right and had all the answers. I know now, we’re all just doing the best we can with the tools and knowledge we were given.
Growing up, we didn’t have much. My mom was single, working long hours and raising three girls on her own. Buying our clothes at walmart didn’t bother me much as a child. But as I grew older, I remember feeling very self-conscious about my outfits. I started to worry about what others thought of me and my attire. Weekend visits with my dad turned into trips to the mall. He’d buy me and my sister the pricey name brands we so desperately needed to fit in. I gained a sense of entitlement and expected my parents to provide the same things my friend’s parents could afford to buy them. It makes me sick to think of how demanding I was back then. Always expecting more then we could afford.
When I got my license my dad bought me a brand new Nissan Altima. It was an amazing feeling! To own something so big! So new! He purchased this for me with the agreement I would start helping with the car payments. I was young and stupid. Too self involved to see how much strain this extra payment was putting on his own finances.
I never paid a penny on that car.
He eventually sold the car leaving me in a bind I had never experienced before. How was I supposed to get to school? to work? This is when I first learned how to hustle. Things were no longer given to me and reality set in. I picked up a second job and worked day and night to earn enough money to buy my own car (or in this case to get a loan). Loans seems to be a common thing. Buying a car with cash didn’t even seem like a viable option.
I purchased a Honda Accord. It wasn’t my favorite car but it was nice and I felt accomplished earning the money and getting a loan myself. A few years later, still feeling entitled, I thought to myself, “If I’m making payments on a car, I might as well be driving my dream car.” So I sold the Accord and got another loan. This time for an Infiniti G37. Whoa baby! Talk about buying happiness. The feeling of cruising down the highway in the car of your dreams is one of the best feelings ever! I still own this car. And it still gives me so much excitement to drive. But I also still owe money on it. So technically it’s not mine. It never was.
I’m writing this because my next payoff goal is my car. To be completely honest, it should have been paid off years ago. But I refinanced it a few times for the sake of lowering my payments, to have more money available, to do other things. It was selfish for me to refinance when I had extra income I could have used to pay it off over the years. Instead, I spent that money on concerts and travels I couldn’t really afford. I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned about the value of a dollar. And I’m thankful my parents finally said, Enough is enough. I believe we enable others by giving more than we have to give. It was a difficult lesson for me to learn at a young age but I am a better person because of it. Wiser and full of gratitude. I’m so excited to finally pay off my car and own it entirely!! If all goes as planned I’ll be back in 2 months to celebrate!
Do you have a car payment? Have you ever purchased a car with cash?