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Don't Laugh. It's Paid For.

I drive a 2007 Honda Accord EX with a huge crack in the windshield.  There's nothing fancy about it other than it's color, red.

Don't laugh.  It's paid for.

You see, I hate having a car payment.  For the first six years after I graduated law school, I didn't have one.  In my family, we recycle cars.  We hand them down.  After graduation from law school in 1990, I was handed down a 1981 Honda Prelude.  Red.  That car had been purchased by my oldest sister when I graduated high school.  In 1988, she purchased another Honda and handed the '81 Prelude down to my sister The Writing Diva.  I don't recall how I ended up with it, but I did.

I literally drove it until it fell apart some 15 years after it was purchased, all my fault for taking out the undercarriage on a curb.  Given that that '81 Prelude had already survived one car accident, it was a shame how I ended up taking it out.  It ran like a dream.  All I had to do was keep the oil changed, get regular tune-ups, and replace the tires.  Whenever I came home, my dad would even wash and wax the car for me.   Even toward then end, when my friends would laugh and say, "When are you finally going to get a new car?", I would respond, "Why do I need a new car when this one is paid for?"  From 1990 to 1996, I had no car payment.  Sweet.

I bought my first car in 1996 when I totaled the '81 Prelude, trading up for a Honda Accord.  The '96 Accord was crushed by a moving van in 1998 and replaced with a 1998 Honda Accord (See a trend here?).  From 2003 to 2007, I again had no car payment.  I had every intention of driving that '98 Honda Accord until the wheels fell off.

I ended up handing it down to my nephew and buying the 2007 Honda Accord that is officially mine, all mine, today.   The '98 Accord is still running.   And now I'm gunning for my family's continuous car ownership record, held by my middle sister -- 22 years of driving the same car.

We're a buy and hold kind of family when it comes to cars.  We typically drive our cars until the wheels fall off and duct tape will no longer do.  Why?  Because we HATE having car payments.  My oldest sister who replaced her '81 Honda Prelude with an '88 Honda Accord drove that '88 Accord until 2007, 19 years.  But the family champ is my middle sister, who drove a '78 Toyota Corolla until 2000, replacing it with a 2000 Honda Accord.  Twenty-two years she rode in that Corolla, with duct tape on the bumper and red tape on the rear tail lights at the end.  I'm looking to beat her record and buy my next car used and for cash.  Right now I'm competing with my dad, who's been driving a '98 Acura for a while.

And yes, I'll get that cracked windshield fixed now that I no longer have a car payment.  I refuse to make an insurance claim.  I've already made enough of them on this car.

But don't laugh.  It's paid for.


Nicky Jett said…
I was thinking about this today - I thought I want to "borrow" a car. I say borrow because I would have a car note. I don't want a car note. Today when I heard the feds (FRB) were buying back Mortgage Backed Securities... I thought - nope I'm not buying a car. This blog post was like shining star. Thank you!

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