Almost two years ago, I flew to NYC and bought a 2006 Mini Cooper S convertible from a very nice fellow I found on ebay. I negotiated a killer deal since convertible season was quickly winding down in New England, and I avoided paying taxes since I purchased from a private seller. All in all, it was a good purchase… except for the fact that I had to take on a loan to pay for it.
I lived without a car payment for the majority of my adult life, and I never really appreciated it until I had a shinier toy to cruise around in that cost a pretty penny. For the first year, I just paid my car note without really thinking about it, but the expense of car ownership started weighing heavily on me several months ago. Yeah, I take home enough money to easily make the monthly payments and maintain it, but I realized that owing the bank pretty much zapped all of the pleasure I derived from driving a “nice” car. I started missing the crappy old Saturn that I drove into the ground through high school and college, which I had paid off by the time I was 18.
I considered kicking my installments into high gear and paying off the loan in record time, but the truth is that I didn’t particularly want to own it. When I evaluate my priorities, owning a nice car simply isn’t one of them. Even if I had a monstrous bank account, I wouldn’t purchase a fancy car (except, maybe, if I ever won the Mega Millions). There are so many other things I would rather do with my hard earned money than sinking it into a depreciating asset.
Now that I live with my BF in an area of town with access to a Marta train station, I don’t actually need a car. So, as you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post, I sold my car today. It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but I can tell you that I feel considerably lighter without the $12k car loan on my shoulders! Not to mention the burdens of insurance, trips to the gas station, and maintenance…
While I mentioned above that I don’t need a car right now, I am sure that I will want another one in the somewhat near future. I’m guessing that I’ll tire of depending on others for rides and taking the train, but the next car will be something that I can pay for with cash. And it won’t be so nice that my blood pressure spikes every time I spot a new dent or scratch. A used Honda or Volvo will do me just fine.
For the time being, I’m living life as a pedestrian armed with pepper spray. I’ve enrolled in the commuter program through work, which subsidizes the monthly MARTA transit card. I plan on using MARTA through October and then deciding how badly I want a car. My opinion of MARTA isn’t very high, so chances are I’ll be posting about my new used car here sooner than later.
I leave you on this fall-like Friday with the top 5 things about driving that I absolutely will not miss as I hoof it to MARTA:
Not a big surprise. Who likes sitting in Atlanta rush hour traffic? Not me. I particularly won’t miss the Freedom Parkway exit during my driving hiatus.
#2. Dodging Distracted Drivers
Please, get off your cell phones! Now I have to depend on you to not hit me while I’m in the cross walk…
Most of the driving I did was in the city, and the roads suck. ‘Nough said.
#4. Street Parking
It’s been a way of life for the past few years, at my old apartment and here at the new place. Parking on the street means leaving your car vulnerable to drunks walking on top of your car (happened to my neighbor) and having your window smashed in (happened to me).
#5. Gas Prices
Yeah, they’ve been on the decline recently, but you know that won’t last. The Mini was a pampered car and took premium gas. I’ll be happy to have something that is happy with regular ol’ gas.
I hope you all enjoy the fantastic weather in store over the weekend! Until next time…