I don’t like talking about money. I think most people feel the same way. But today I have a story that touches on the subject, although it’s not really about money at all.
My husband and I are very cheap. Still, we aren’t the best when it comes to managing finances. Got a long way to go, and then some.
Growing up in America, the hubby started working as early as he could. From mowing people’s lawns to retail shifts to clerical work, he’s been there, done that. So he’s pretty much independent, the kind of guy who thinks he can fix it all. And he will, even if he ends up spending more money buying parts.
A few months ago, after he realized our old Cr-V was maybe a lost cause, he decided to go ahead and buy a new (used) car. He started looking at car reviews and comparing models, and included our boys in the conversation by talking about what’s available and what we needed exactly.
I was a bit sad the day we drove to the dealership. Think Toy Story 3 moment. Redder, named by our then-almost-four-year-old oldest son, was the first car we bought together.
Twelve years, we’ve had it. It holds so many memories. It brought our youngest son home from the hospital. Daily trips, quick runs to the grocery, the doctor’s office, or to church. Many times, we drove it to and from Outer Banks, in North Carolina. So many conversations, so much laughter. Because we love driving to places, the boys grew up in that car.
But it was time to say goodbye.
I thought it was funny how most of the people we talked to at the dealership seemed surprised we had kept our car for so long. They were even more surprised when, after asking the hubby how long he intended to keep his new car, he said “Forever.”
Yea, we’re that couple.
We’re that family.
So on that November day, we ended up driving home in a 2014 Subaru Forester XT. But only after many attempts at bargaining. Believe me, we were in the manager’s office longer because the hubby wanted to make sure he got the best deal. And I think he’s satisfied. As he should be.
It’s a great buy, especially because the previous owner, who worked at the dealership, had it loaded up and then decided he needed an even bigger car. Thus we get to benefit from his upgrades.
And it’s a pretty cool car. The little things have tickled our fancy. Our youngest boy loves the smell of the leather seats and claims he feels like we’re in a plane, what with all the screens and lit-up knobs and stuff. The older one loves the additional legroom, poor tall, scrawny kid. I am very grateful for the heated seats, knowing winter won’t be as painful this year.
So far, buyer’s remorse hasn’t set it. But, a new car means new bi-weekly car payments. After being free for at least five years, it’ll take some getting used to. The whole experience, however, reinforced a life lesson for our boys, and it’s this: When it comes to stuff, it’s okay to want a better model. As long as you can pay for it. And only after you look around for the best deals.
We really only needed an all-wheel-drive owing to the fact that the hubby has to work in all kinds of weather. But the upgrades are sweet, and we’re looking forward to our next long drive to test them out.
I’ve been told, over and over, that men should be the leaders of their households. Not bosses, but leaders.
Now, I’ve always struggled with the idea of submission. I definitely don’t think it’s anything like the subservient model being touted about in some circles.
But, I have to give credit where credit is due.
The hubby is by no means perfect. But, through the whole ordinary process of buying a car, he did model to our sons good stewardship and responsibility. So, I do see the hubby as our family’s leader, not because that’s how they say it should be, but because he has grown into that role. Imperfectly, but faithfully.
On the way home from church yesterday, my younger son E asked his older brother J, “Kuya, remember the days of Redder?” And so, for the next several minutes, the boys laughed and reminisced, trading stories of past trips we took in the old Cr-V.
It was a good moment, the kind my heart takes pictures of.