In my net worth updates, you might notice the line for car loan that is now at $0 (hooray!). I purchased my current car in January of 2012 after my prized 1992 Acura bite the dust. She was an oldie, I loved that car! Though dated, the body & leather interior were in awesome shape, and the infrequent maintenance needs made it a steal of a car when I bought it in college for $3,000. Ironically, the 20+ year old car is not the hoopty I’m referring to!
In December 2013 I proudly told my parents that we’d have the $10k car loan for my 2005 Matrix paid off within 24 months of the loan’s start date. Not two weeks later, I slid off the road on a very icy, blustery night, and the guard rail chewed up my bumper. I pulled over, hopped out to see the damage, and realized my bumper was hanging off, attached only by one side. I tried to pull the whole thing off and throw it in my backseat, but after a couple minutes my hands were freezing and I was nervous about being on the side of an icy road at night. So I pulled the belt off my coat, used it to tied the other side of the bumper back onto the frame, and headed home.
After I spoke to my insurance company and the husband did some online research, we realized it would cost us at least $1500 to have the bumper replaced. If we claimed it with insurance, we’d have a $500 deductible and my annual cost would go up $300-400 for the next three years with the blip on my record! To pay an autobody shop out of pocket was going to be about the same. So we found a replacement bumper online for $200, and decided to paint and install it ourselves. By “ourselves”, I mean Boomerang Guy and his dad 🙂 We determined we would still use my December commission check to make the final big payment on the car, and wait a bit to buy and replace the bumper.
Before we knew it, it was March and we were spending all our extra time and money getting the house ready to rent. April 1 we moved, and then we were out of town for 16 days in April on vacation and a work trip. Now it’s May, and I’m still driving my tied on bumper! I did upgrade from my coat belt to some thin ropes…mostly because I needed that belt back to keep my coat closed and keep me warm 🙂
I get a lot of crap from friends and coworkers for the state of my car, but honestly it doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve never been very attached to nice cars or taken pride in that as a status (obviously, by my 1992 Acura!), but I was surprised when I realized it didn’t bother me in the slightest to have a tied-on bumper. To be fair, I basically only drive to work, run errands, and to see friends, so maybe if I was visiting clients or worked at a fancy downtown office, things would be different. For me, it’s been a great reminder that while a car is a “need” for me at this point in life, the only real requirement to meet that need is reliability. Anything features or details past “I can trust it to start and get me to work each day” would simply be a want, and therefore not something I should be spending a lot of time or money to get.
That being said…I am also known for putting things off if there’s not a pressing need to complete them, especially if it’s something I have to ask for help with, like this. So to keep myself motivated, I am publicly setting the goal to have the bumper ordered, painted, and put on my car by June 15. That gives me five weeks to sweet talk Boomerang Guy and my father-in-law to get it done for me 🙂 🙂