Last night after trivia*, my teammates and I were chewing the fat about oil changes. I mentioned that I liked my mechanic, because he was quick, honest and that when he replaced the engine in my 1991 Toyota Tercel, he put in a new clutch at no charge. To which inspired an exchange something like…
Teammate: WHY! did you replace the engine in your car, why didn’t you just buy a new car?
Me: That car was paid for shortly after I got it in college. At the time of the engine blow, I was making less than you were in your first year of teaching and buying a different car (used or new) was certainly going to cost more than $1000 for a new engine.
Teammate: uh, get a loan!
Me: I’m adverse to debt. Besides my student loans, I didn’t have any until I bought my current car.
Teammate: *eye roll*
Me: Actually, I did not pay for that engine because M’s neighbor backed into the side of my car and wrote a check for $1500 to get the front quarter panel replaced and a new paint job (the car was faded red). I ended up getting the repair and paint job cost $500, so I banked the rest for future repairs. I put minimal repairs into the car for the following 5 years and then sold it for slightly less than I bought it. Besides, as a young teen my Depression-era grandparents said “if you cannot buy it today in cash, you wait until you can.” That stuck with me.
Teammate 2: but who buys cars in cash?!
Me: Obviously, my grandparents and all those people who make planned purchases.
Teammate1 & 2 : oh
I love these conversations because I like to think it makes others realize it is possible to keep your head above water regardless of how low the income (I’ve always earned less than my friends, including those of whom are teachers).
*we came in 3rd so that’s 2 free appetizers to split among the 5 of us