Monday, January 25, 2016

Why I Don't Miss My MINI (Or Any Other High-Maintenance Possessions I've Ditched)

Right after I finished graduate school I decided to start saving for a car. As long as I could remember I wanted a MINI Cooper S. So once I had a sizable down payment saved I bought the used MINI of my dreams. I named her Eloise and, wow, was she beautiful. She was British Racing Green with White racing stripes. I got exactly what I had thought I wanted.

Soon after getting her the repairs piled on. First, she needed a new gas tank, then a new HPFP, then basic maintenance, then a new head gasket and rebuilt cylinder. This was all in three years and totaled over $8,000. My dream car had turned into a complete nightmare. Every time I had rebuilt my emergency fund it felt like something else went wrong and it was always expensive. I lived in a constant state of anxiety. I worried whether or not I would make it my destination on long drives and if I would be safe driving at night.

I had been saving for a solo trip to Spain and that's when the engine needed to be rebuilt. All of my hard earned savings went into resurrecting Eloise once again. It was time to start the research process for a new car that was lower maintenance. A dream that chokes your other dreams and your financial security is not a dream at all. It's a weight, a very heavy and expensive (both financially and emotionally) weight.

My current car, a Honda Fit, doesn't handle as well or accelerate as fast. However, it did make room the dream of Edie, the puppy that I can now afford because I am not dumping all of my discretionary funds into a car. Edie gives me love that Eloise never could and has taught me that I am capable of being patient with and caring for another life. Now that the financial weight of my old car has been lifted off of my I've been able to achieve many other goals and live with much less anxiety every day.

This experience has taught me that I cannot afford to support material objects that spark anxiety. If I have to worry about the cost of maintenance or sacrificing other goals/dreams, it's not worth it. Other things that I've ditched are a carbon fiber road bike (that I stopped racing with years ago), super trendy/fast fashion filled wardrobe (that needed constant updating), and cheap computers that needed replacing every 2-3 years. Quality over quantity and prestige are my new guiding principles when shopping. I know that I'm much better off for these decisions and the difference is reflected in my bank account and anxiety level.

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