She died…

A couple weeks ago my trusty old Black Beauty gave up the good fight.  She and I had a lot of great times together.  We spent hours and hours listening to great music, books on tape, and just the hum of the road.  She outlived all the rest, and was better to me too.  She wasn’t as pretty as when we first hooked up and kind of smelled funny, but I still enjoyed her to her final hours.

And in the end, I sold her for $350 for scrap parts.

In October of 2001, I bought a 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue.  Off the top of my head, I’m not sure exactly what I paid for it, but I’m thinking it was around $13,000.  It had just over 50,000 miles on it.

In May of 2012, I sold the Oldsmobile Intrigue to my mechanic for $350.  It had just over 179,000 miles on it.

You’re probably thinking “wait a minute – that’s 11 years!”  I know, I know… way too long to have a car, but hear me out on this.

My intent was to drive the car for a handful of years and eventually get something newer, nicer, and more schnazzy.  But the damn thing ran like a top for so many years with NO problems that I just couldn’t justify spending money on something else.  Plus, after awhile it just became a challenge to see how long it would go.  All the while, I was squirreling money away for a new car purchase.

People have said to me before, “I’ll always have a car payment.  It’s just something I’ve accepted.”

My take is somewhat different.  I can’t stand making payments on anything besides real estate.  The thought now of financing a depreciating asset just doesn’t jive with my money philosophy.

So, after a few years of researching, reading, studying, waiting for the right deal to come along, I finally found it.   The car I’ll now drive for the next 5-7 years.  And what’s incredibly awesome is knowing that I stroked a check for it and it’s all mine.

It’s a lifestyle choice, right?  Some people decide that they’re going to get their dream car and stretch out the financing of that vehicle as long as they possibly can to swing the payment.  Or, maybe it’s just a lease — and then 3 years from now you go in for a new one.

To explain me driving a car for almost a dozen years, I made a LIFE choice.  My choice was to minimize the monthly amount that was spent on vehicle payments in exchange for putting more money away, investing in real estate, and saving for my kids’ college.

Choices are everywhere.  And there aren’t right or wrong ones necessarily, but they do all tend to have consequences.

What choices will you make to create a bigger LIFE, not a bigger lifestyle?