Father’s Day, Fitbits, and financial anxieties

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It’s fitting that today is Father’s Day, as I find myself a sniveling, crying, shaking, scared mess, literally crying out “I just want my dad!” This car situation isn’t getting better, in fact I’m even more freaked out. SO freaked out that today, on the day my friend who used to be a car salesman was going to be take me car shopping, I woke up totally fucking sick. Stressed-induced sickness — it’s a thing.

This whole car bullshit couldn’t come at a worse time. I just shelled out a sizable chuck of my savings to pay for a new laptop, and I’m still feeling the pinch from that. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to take a vacation this summer until I found a good price on Maui airfare. So I bit the bullet and splurged a little, which I now regret. And I just had to take a significant reduce in pay, but not necessarily workload. And now my car has decided to crap out on me, forcing me to decide — during this already stressful and confusing time — to invest in a car that I’ve outgrown, or decide to get a new one ASAP.

On top of this, I’m struggling with a lot of guilt. Working for the Empire we constantly have to think about “checking our privilege.” (So much so that it’s become a running gag — I laugh to keep from crying.) So during one of my panic attacks last night, I cried to Aaron that I know I’m being an asshole. Talk about “check your privilege”… I’m totally upset that I have to decide between spending money I do have to keep a car that I still like, or spend money that I can somewhat afford on a newer car. Boo fucking hoo, right?

To which Aaron replied that I shouldn’t be so hard of myself. This clearly IS hard for me. I’ve never bought my own car before. I’ve never spent this kind of money before. And I’m also dealing with a lot of other financial issues at the same time. I have to remember that sometimes, even though — yes, there are totally worse things a person could have to deal with — I need to be kinder to myself. Me feeling shitty and then telling myself that I should feel shitty for even feeling shitty, isn’t going to help my anxiety. Which is totally something my therapist was helping me work through.

Of course, I just canceled my therapist to make up for the loss of income, so I’m a fucking mess.

Anyway… let’s write about other things…

Update on the car

Like I said, I had to cancel my trip to dealerships today. But as you can see, at this point, I’m thinking that I’m going to try and trade in my car for a newer vehicle. After reading an article called “is it worth it to replace my transmission” I had a change of heart. The article says that, you may want to re-think replacing your transmission if the car you have has outgrown it’s usefulness. So it made me think of all these reasons to get a newer one:

<ul>
  • I can’t trust that my Mini won’t crap out on me in the near future. My sister had a mini as well, and her Super Charger went out, and after that, so did her transmission. Foreshadowing my fate?
  • <li>While I still love my car, I think I've outgrown it. It was great when I was a single girl in my 20s. In my 30s, with two dogs, and a 6'3 husband, it just can't fit my whole family comfortably. </li>
    
    <li>Now that my parents moved away, I do constant runs to LAX to pick them up for visits and my car barely fits three people and two sets of luggage.</li>
    
    <li>Aaron and I have been wanting a good road trip car that we can BOTH drive back and forth to Texas that we can also camp out of in the summer.</li></ul>
    

    That sounds like a few good reasons to shell out for a new car, yes? But I have some hesitations:

    <ul>
    
  • My current car has everything I could ever want: Navigation system, heated seats, backup sensors, windows that roll up by themselves when I lock my car, custom seat covers, etc. Therefore, my car doesn’t feel eight years old. With all the bells and whistles it still feels like a new car!
  • <li>I would not be able to afford all those upgrades on a new car. Does that mean in eight years I will regret getting rid of bells and whistles for baseline, when it feels like outdated?</li>
    
    
    <li>Money! I am not in debt, but I will be the moment I purchase a new car. And things are already tight since I got my pay reduced. I don't want to have buyers remorse.</li>
    
    <li>And though it was always probably a silly pipe dream, the piddly savings I have been working hard to gain had always been my "downpayment fund" in my mind. Once I spend it, I feel as if I should just kiss the idea of a home goodbye.</li>
    
    
    <li>I am just not comfortable in a negotiation situation. I will totally get fucked over for sure.</li></ul>
    

    Hence, I super wish my dad was able to get down here to help me!!!

    Speaking of my dad

    I got him a FitBit for his birthday. One of his hobbies is fitness so I figured he’d LOVE it. And he totally does! I got one for myself (this was before my financial meltdown), because I thought it would be a fun way for us to encourage each other to be more active, and even compete with each other. (Privilege alert: I also had to get rid of my trainer after the pay decrease, and knowing my lazy-ass self, I’d need something else to motivate me.)

    But get this: my dad, who’s totally a retired guy now, is KICKING MY ASS! In less than a week he not only shot past me, but he shot past my boss Ariel who has been leading the pack like mad since I got this thing. Which actually makes me really proud.

    For example, on our “7 day step total” I am at 33,534 and my dad is at 66,364. That’s crazy, huh? I can’t even compete with that. But I’m gonna have to try. Especially since this financial anxiety is leading to feelings of depression. I’ve barely got off the couch this week and I need to find other ways to motivate myself besides throwing money at the problem.

    7 thoughts on “Father’s Day, Fitbits, and financial anxieties

    1. KathyRo

      My vote is to ditch the mini. I was on the fence until you listed all the reasons the car doesn’t fit your life, mechanical problems notwithstanding. As far as your other concerns, here is what I think ( cause you asked, right? yes, you totally asked. )

      – The next car you buy will not be your last car. Yes, it might not have the bells and whistles you’ve grown accustomed to and yes you’ll have to take on some debt. But you will have a chance to do better in the future.

      – You will get fucked over. So get over that. Yes, you heard me right : accept the fuckage.

      I was dreading buying my current car. Like you, I was sure I was going to get fucked and that fear did more damage than any car dealer ever could because I actually wound up holding onto the old clunker for too long ( i.e. after *more* repairs had piled up ). At the same time I was going through some equivalent shit with my house and those two strong forces compelled me to examine my emotional response to what should be a purely logical decision. I thought specifically about expensive things that I’m comfortable buying, things that I know I can get the absolutely right thing for the absolute lowest price and there’s really only one: computers. And why is that? Oh because I have a lot of fucking practice. And what are the chances I’ll become practiced at buying cars? Zeeeeeeerrrooooo. None. Not interested. So there: I accept that getting the very best possible price for the very best possible car falls into the exceedingly fat category of “shit I’m not good at”. Done.

      One thing I am reasonably good at is deciding whether something is worth a fixed price, a price somebody else had the responsibility of picking out of thin air. If you hand me an item and tell me what the price is, I’m very comfortable deciding if that item is “worth it” to me. (That’s not really a special gift — anybody who’s shopped for groceries can do that. But I like to pretend it is.) So that’s the next thing I did. I got an internet quote for the car I wanted. The price was less than the sticker but was it the very best price? Probably not. But I already released myself from that expectation, right? And the car was totally worth it to me.

      So when I finally went in to get my *new* car ( tsk – you know I don’t know dick about picking a used car! ) my only obligation was to get the salesman to agree to a price somebody else had already agreed to. That made it completely easy for me.

      I’m not suggesting you do exactly what I did or that you have to get a new car instead of a used one. I’m only saying you shouldn’t expect perfection in this arena, any more than you do any other part of your life.

      Accept the fuckage.

      1. meganfinley

        I asked! I totally asked! And oh man did you deliver. Kathy, how can I even thank you for this amazing response. THIS. THIS THIS THIS is what I needed.

        You’re totally right. I can’t even tell you how much relief I felt after reading “accept the fuckage.” No seriously, I cried. I needed to hear that from a totally logical perspective. I know SHIT FUCKING ALL about buying cars — new or used. And because of that, I’m going to get fucked over. Once it becomes something that I can just accept, I can stop stressing out about trying to beat the system. Holy shit that feels freeing!

        Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    2. KathyRo

      You’re more than welcome!

      In the interest of full disclosure ( and because I’m a chatty bitch today ) there is one other thing I had going for me when I showed up at the dealership: I already had a pre-approved loan from a credit union. I only did it because a) that’s where my last car loan had been ( go with what you know, right? ) and b) I thought it would minimize time in the salesman’s office, a place I am intensely uncomfortable in.

      But apparently there is no minimizing that time. Apparently if you show up knowing exactly what you want, with a firm offer in hand and a pre-approved loan the salesman is still obliged to try his schtick. He’s still going to make you wait a long time while he “checks with his manager”. He’s still going to try and upsell you on another model. And most importantly, he’s still going to try to get you to sign off on a “monthly payment plan” rather than an end price. This last bit surprised me the most. (Dude, did you not just hear me say I’m an engineer? Do you really think you can run game on me using numbers??) So even though I can claim no foresight for this, it totally helped to calm my on-edge nerves to just simply say “I have financing lined up”. (And you can always use their financing if it’s better. Pre-approved doesn’t mean “locked in”.)

      It still took 2 hours. Sigh. In a way I get it : this is their job. They’re obliged to put effort into it just like I do my job. But someday I’m going to walk into a dealership with a cashiers check for the sticker price of a car and tell them I’ll buy one… if they can complete the transaction in 15 minutes. I bet the top of their heads come clean off. LOL!

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