In this edition, I question whether or not being grateful for a "new" car is appropriate. I'm having mixed feelings about our recent purchase.

Being Grateful: Seventy-First Edition

In this edition, I question whether or not being grateful for a "new" car is appropriate. I'm having mixed feelings about our recent purchase.Hello everyone! I hope all my US readers are enjoying Independence Day.

I remember writing my “being grateful” post last year on this subject, and I seriously can’t believe a year has passed already. So much has changed!

Speaking of which, I have some financial news to share with you all.

Should I Be Grateful for a “New” Car?

Yep…that’s right. We finally decided to get a new-to-us car. Specifically, a 2013 Civic. What can I say, I love my 2002 Civic, so it made sense. Plus, I’ve been in my grandma’s 2015 Civic, which is close to the same thing, and liked it.

This has been a decision that has been weighing on us for a while. Long-time readers will remember this post (published in 2013!) where R and I argue about the “need” for a new car.

If you want some background, you can read up on it there. Not much has changed, except…

A few months ago, the check engine light came on, and it was due for inspection last month. We knew it was either make the repairs to get the light to turn off (likely a sensor issue), stay with my car being our only car, or get another car.

After the amount of money R had sunk into the car, he wasn’t eager to spend more. My car is just about at 100k miles, and I’m just expecting something to go (preparing for the worst!).

Even though his car only had 115k miles on it, it had never run well, and we didn’t want to push our luck. It’s been shaking whenever it goes over 50mph, it creaks when it turns, and I wouldn’t trust it to get us anywhere far.

R had been browsing Craigslist to get a feel for the market ever since we moved here, and last weekend, I started digging in.

We knew we were going to go with a newer Civic, Elantra, Accent, or Corolla. They’re all fairly inexpensive and reliable. We also wanted to keep our monthly payments under $200 (with a budget of around $13k). We had money set aside for a down payment.

I may do a separate post on this in the future, but we obviously got the Civic. I still can’t believe we did it, either. Every time we go out to the parking lot, I have to do a double-take.

To be honest, if it were completely up to me, we would have gotten an older car for less. I got an amazing deal on my Civic 5 years ago – $6,000 for ~50k miles, original owner.

We’ve been trying to look for something similar, but to no avail. Most cars under $10,000 had 100k miles or more on them. I get that cars are likely lasting longer nowadays, but R and I aren’t car-savvy enough to inspect it ourselves and didn’t want to risk getting a lemon. (We still don’t have a reputable mechanic here.)

Plus, a lot of cars down here have rebuilt titles, so a dealership seemed like our best option.

Congratulations?

I had consulted with my parents before we made the decision. Once we got the car, they congratulated us, and my immediate response was, “For what? Getting into debt?”

Yeah I know, I’m so cynical aren’t I? =)

I don’t want anyone to think R pushed me into making the decision. In the post I referenced above, I was very against getting a newer car, and my stance hadn’t changed as much.

Ultimately, it made sense, and R’s name is the only one on the paperwork in case you’re wondering. We’re not married yet!

Of course, our insurance also went up, but we mitigated that by putting R and the car on my policy. There was about an $80 difference between our quotes!

So Am I Grateful?

Yes and no. We didn’t jump into it, and for our first experience, it actually wasn’t too bad. We had one very pushy salesman, but we were able to walk away each time because we weren’t in a rush.

The car is certified pre-owned, which means it’s covered under a decent warranty. We’re able to get a lot of peace of mind, and considering I’d love to do more weekend and day trips in the future, it’s nice to have a reliable car.

However, we have been operating as a one-car household for the most part since we moved. I don’t usually have to be anywhere during the day, and R took my car to work most of the time.

I won’t lie – that makes us look pretty wasteful. But work can change, and besides taking day trips, I’d also like to be able to drive to my parents (or anywhere) by myself if need be, without worrying about my car breaking down. It’s nice to feel safe, and I like having a backup just in case.

Thankfully, my car isn’t costing us much because it’s paid off and the insurance is around $30/month (hopefully decreasing with less usage).

Bottom line – we can afford it, though I know it seems like a bad decision given our student loan debt. That’s still our #1 priority. We’ll make extra payments on the car after our student loans are gone.

We plan on having this car for as long as it will last, and at 38k miles, and being a Honda, it should do well.

In Other News…

Getting the car has actually motivated me to tackle my student loans more. With my payment, R’s payment, and now the car payment, a bit too much is going out for my liking (my fault, I know).

I read up on my student loan servicer’s policy about directing payments to certain loans, and contacted them to see how it was possible.

They told me they can reapply a payment toward a certain loan, so hopefully it works. I have a $1,400 loan sitting at 6.8% that I’d love to get rid of.

Why have I waited so long? Truthfully, I’ve been wanting to build up my income. I was bringing in close to nothing this time last year, but as of a few months ago, I’ve doubled the income I was earning at my day job.

I also opened a business bank account for myself, so technically, our money is back to kind of being separate. It’s a little weird, but I’ve grown my balance to equal our joint account, and I feel safe paying off this loan while taking tax payments into consideration.

Writing Around the Web

Why Being Too Frugal on Vacation is a Bad Idea on Frugal Rules – I’ve always been honest that I have a problem with spending money. I don’t like doing it (as you can tell from the car purchase). But when that interferes with your vacation, it’s not a good thing.

How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill on Wherewithal – I posted about switching to Republic Wireless over a year ago now, and it’s been saving me about $750 a year. Phone bills can eat up a big part of your budget if you’re not careful!

Why You Need More Than One Source of Income on Young Adult Money – Ever since I began freelancing, I’ve been addicted to diversifying my income and work as much as possible. It pays to have backup plans!

What are you being grateful for this week? What are your plans for this weekend? I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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Being grateful 70th edition

Being Grateful: Seventieth Edition

Being grateful 70th editionHello everyone! Can you guys believe it’s basically the last week of June already?

It just doesn’t feel like my birthday is coming up in a few weeks. Or that I’ll be headed to Austin in less than 50 days.

I guess that’s what I get for keeping busy. Yikes!

Not much has been happening outside of work this week, mostly because I’ve been trying to balance catching up with the work I missed while I was gone, and working ahead for July.

The convention I’m volunteering for in August is going to require me to be working 12 hours each day, and I have the option to volunteer for extra things at night, so I’m not really going to be available for four days.

That’s pretty darn scary, plus I want to enjoy my time while I’m there (actually seeing the city and spending time with friends), so I definitely need to kick things up a notch in July.

But let’s not get carried away with the future…

What I’m Being Grateful for This Week

One thing I’d like to mention is the fact that the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage yesterday. What a momentous occasion, and I’m really happy for everyone out there that doesn’t have to worry about their state’s law now.

I don’t get into talking about politics often, mostly because it doesn’t interest me and there’s so much arguing over it, but I generally believe people have the right to be with whoever they want to be with.

I’m sure there are many same-sex couples out there grateful for this news, and I’m grateful our country has progressed to this point.

On another note, I’m happy for my mom because she changed her work situation. She was about to quit the retail job she’s been working since last summer. She technically doesn’t need to work – my parents are retired now – but she’s quite the social butterfly and can’t stand to be inside the house all day.

Unfortunately, working retail has worn her down. She hadn’t been able to find an office job, and decided a job would be better than nothing.

Lately, they’ve been scheduling her for a lot of hours. “Part-time” was turning into 30+ hours a week. On the days she wasn’t scheduled, she kept getting calls asking her to come in.

Her manager got wind of her wanting to leave and pretty much begged her to stay. My mom asked for a 2-day schedule on her terms. Hopefully it works out for her, as her manager is notorious for scheduling people incorrectly.

My mom has always been a hard worker and it seems to have paid off. At least it rubbed off on me!

I’m also grateful for the nice weather we’ve been having. Since living in the south, I’ve learned that pop-up thunderstorms are basically guaranteed throughout June – September. As someone who hates thunderstorms, I’m not a fan, but I do love it when the sun is out and shining.

(Ironically, it stormed later on in the day. Of course.)

This is a silly one, but I’m grateful for Steam’s summer sale. I snagged two games I had been eying and paid around $15 for both. I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to gaming these days, so I try and strategize my purchases as much as possible.

In a way, I’m grateful for that as well, because I’m not waiting on the edge of my chair for anything that was announced at E3. I still have a huge backlog to go through! That means I never pay full-price for a game.

Also, a little financial tidbit, I’m grateful I’m finally relaxing more with our spending. As I’ve said before, I used to be extremely uptight about spending even $5. It’s a byproduct from my childhood.

I still haven’t been budgeting – we’ve only been spending on priorities. So far, it’s worked out. Our bank account is doing fine and we’re still paying extra on our loans. Less stress on me = win.

Writing Around the Web

Why We Should Stop Judging Others Based on Their Spending on Frugal Rules – I’ve personally come a long way on this since I started blogging. It’s very easy to get caught up in the mindset that being frugal automatically makes you superior to others, especially because there seem to be quite a few people with that attitude. I’m done with judging other people based on their purchases. If you want to lease a car for $800/month, go for it. Who am I to say no?

Pushing Past the “Broke” Mentality on Young Adult Money – I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of people saying they’re broke when they’re not actually broke. Mismanagement of money is often the #1 cause of living paycheck to paycheck, and it’s time to break the cycle.

How to Save Money on Your Living Situation on Wherewithal – I am all about saving money on rent because it’s the biggest expense I pay every month. After living in a basement apartment for $1,250 a month in NY, I’m grateful to only pay $1,040 for a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom place in NC. However, even now, I’m wanting to downsize to pay less to put more money toward other goals. This is pretty much my complete guide on the subject.

What are you being grateful for this week? Looking forward to July? How has June treated you? Are there any big annual sales you look forward to during the year?

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The reasons I have for being grateful this week, despite the fact my flight was canceled and my trip home ended up costing more than I thought it would.

Being Grateful: Sixty-Ninth Edition

The reasons I have for being grateful this week, despite the fact my flight was canceled and my trip home ended up costing more than I thought it would.Hello everyone, welcome to the weekend! I hope you all have plans to enjoy Father’s Day if the father figure in your life is near. I’m actually writing this from my parents couch, so as you can tell, I’m visiting for the occasion.

This week has honestly been a whirlwind I’d rather forget about. In a nutshell, our flight ended up getting canceled at the last second without any reason.

We were rebooked on a flight leaving the following day, but ended up booking with another airline because I simply don’t trust Spirit anymore. (More on this in another post.)

It’s a good thing I trusted my instincts, because that flight was delayed/canceled the next day. We ended up paying $314 for another flight, and Spirit only partially reimbursed me.

Because my mom didn’t want to bother family (our flight was at 8:45AM with the airport an hour away), we ended up staying overnight at a hotel instead of going back to someone’s house.

Overall, it was a tiring first few days this week, and I’ve been completely off my routine since. But, since the purpose of this post is to remain grateful, let’s see how well I can do…

Looking On the Bright Side

Well, for one, the flight we booked going back actually had a layover in Charlotte. With my mom’s permission (I didn’t want to leave her stranded!), I got off there and had R pick me up at the airport. She then went on to SC (where we normally leave out of, because it’s cheaper).

The original plan was to have R take Tuesday off. He was going to leave to come to my parents’ house on Monday night, stay over, and then we’d leave Tuesday.

So at least a trip was saved – especially since we came back this weekend. R did take a half day on Tuesday just to relax at home with me, though, which was nice!

Always Grateful for My Grandma

While our flight ended up not being free after all, my grandma came to the rescue on the hotel. I had been calling family back and forth to give them status updates as we made new plans, and my grandma was concerned we didn’t want to be picked up.

She finally relented and said if we stayed at a hotel, she would pay for it.

I learned long ago that if my grandma offers help, it’s near impossible to refuse it, and honestly, she gets insulted if we do. She ended up mailing me a check before we even got home, so there wasn’t much I could do.

I was getting rather upset at how much the trip was costing us, and my mom was stressed about getting back a day later (she actually ended up missing a day of work), so this really helped us out.

My grandma has always been the glue that ties our family together and I know we wouldn’t be where we are today without her generosity.

A Gentle Reminder to be Grateful

I do have to say one thing…staying with family wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I don’t want to get into the details on here, but suffice to say I’ve gotten used to only being around R, who is fairly easy going.

I’ve written before that I used to be pretty cynical, and my sense of humor (in real life) is pretty dry and sarcastic.

However, I’ve made an effort through this series of posts to focus on the good in life, because being cynical all the time is emotionally draining.

Boy oh boy did I get a reminder of that last week. There are some people who just can’t be happy. They have to find something to complain about no matter what.

I couldn’t take it after a few days; the negativity wore me down. And this is coming from someone who probably acted the same way maybe two years ago.

Isn’t it funny how seeing other people act a certain way makes us reflect on our own actions? I’m actually grateful for that in and of itself, because it makes me realize how ridiculous I’m being sometimes.

Regardless, I think a little gratitude goes a long, long way in helping any situation, and your attitude. There’s just no reason to complain about the tiniest, inconsequential things. Especially when it’s hurtful or offensive to others.

Writing Around the Web

How to Plan Ahead With Your Budget on Wherewithal – This is something I’ve been talking about a lot because not a lot of people do it, despite how easy it is. Even if you don’t keep a budget, at least make note of when certain expenses are going to pop up!

5 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job on Frugal Rules – I’m not proud of it, but I’ve left quite a few jobs over the time I’ve been working. I never do so without thinking it over, though. These are some of the more common signs it might be time to leave your job, and I also include what you can do to better your situation before jumping ship.

5 Things to Consider Before Becoming Self-Employed on Young Adult Money – On the other side of the coin, I talk about what you need to think about before quitting your job and jumping into self-employment. It’s not an easy transition, and there’s so much more I could have included here.

How to Tell if Your Student Loans Are Private or Federal on Magnify Money – Surprisingly, many students graduate from college not knowing a single thing about their loans, least of all, where they come from. Most loans are federal, but if you’re not sure exactly what that means, this post is for you (or any friends with student loans!).

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! What are you being grateful for this week? Do you ever need a reminder to be grateful? 

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