Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cars Are Freaking Expensive And I Would Rather Buy Books

   Today's topic is going to be cars. More specifically, why I still don't have one. I was nineteen the last time I actually owned a car, and I was twenty-three the last time I actually drove. That was a while ago, as I am thirty-one now. I know that I once posted this funny little blog about a squirrel  but there are other reasons -- reasons that are actually more pressing the poor Mr. Squirrel. And those reasons are money.
   Yup. That little rectangle of green paper that makes life go round here in the United States. You all know; you are all right here with me, struggling to pay bills and buy food and all that good stuff that takes cold, hard cash. (Or debit cards and checks. Same difference.)
   Let me outline something for you. First, I have always hated driving. At no time in my life have I ever thought driving was in any way fun or entertaining. Speed scares the shit out of me. Second, I don't mind walking -- most of the time. Now let me add some things up for you. Let's talk car payments. The most expensive one that I have heard of is $500, my mom's was around $400 I believe, and my sister's -- the cheapest -- was around $200, but when she went in and bought her car, she practically bought the thing up front. She only owed a couple thousand more, I believe. So say I had the cheapest car payment. That is still $200!! That is over double my light bill. That is more than my cable bill. That is not more than my grocery bills (damn healthy foods), but it's close.
   Still, say I saved (and saved and saved and saved) and bought the car all up front. Does that mean that there are no expenses? No. Washington has an insurance requirement, I believe. So there is insurance. What is that? 100? 80? I don't know. Not free = too much. Then there is gas. Back when I owned a car, gas was $1.38 a gallon, usually. I remember that, because I was extremely poor, and had to budget very carefully just to afford gas, and I used to spend five dollars a week on gas. A gas tank would laugh at me now if I tried that shit. Then you have your maintenance: oil changes, tires, and all that good stuff. Might not be a monthly bill, but I believe that you are supposed to change oil every three months? I could be wrong. But what I do know is that I can't do it: so not free. Not free = too much.
   Now let me explain something else to you: I have always been poor. At one time, I only made $6,000 for an entire year. Since I am not living in a poor country, things are costly. So I had to budget, and I couldn't buy things like books and games. I couldn't even rent my own place; I lived with my mom. And before I lived with my mom, I lived in a one room shack on a piece of land that was used as a garbage dump with 6 other people, and before that I rented an apartment with two other people, and before that, I rented a room in a house. I did not rent the house, I rented a room, and the common areas were shared by three others who also rented a room, and the landlord, who owned the house. So this is the very first time that I have been able to afford to live on my own, in my own apartment. And this is the very first year where I might actually break the poverty line. I might not be under the poverty line this year -- which makes me happy. But because I cut my expenses and don't go in for things that I don't really have to have -- like a car -- I can live above my economic status. I can buy books and games and afford vacations
My sister's car when we went on a winter vacation in the mountains.
sometimes if I plan very carefully. (This need for caution is why I do not enter bookstores unless I do have money. No browsing for me. I know myself too well for that foolishness.)
    I am good at walking, and my mom and sister help me out from time to time. I used to be good at taking the bus, and I could again, but I need to restock my pepper spray. The last time I was on the bus there were four scruffy men in the back of the bus, and the conversation they were having entailed a couple of men explaining to the others that killing a man was actually better than assault, because apparently if you can reduce your sentence to man slaughter, you actually spend less time in jail. Who knew??? And my brain was thinking, "Ummmm, I want off now. I'm good; I can walk." Also, they have made a mess of the bus routes since they redid them all. But give me a good can of pepper spray, and some time to learn the new routes, and I can do the bus again, although that really isn't necessary now that I don't have to commute to a college campus. (The internet is a wonderful thing.)
   But I am not putting the money out on a car right now. Some things are worth more to some people, and I am going to tell you, in the issue of car versus books, books win. I want my money to go into making my house look like you've just walked into a bookstore. Ahhhhhh, dream big, Marie. 

No comments:

Post a Comment