First Impressions of a Jacked Up Car

I'll be going down a rabbit trail as I talk about our jacked up car. Please stay with me. I have a hard time telling brief stories.

So, last night, I went to a Chi-natti's and had a fabulous time at an event with some of my very favorite people!! In normal Andrea fashion, I arranged to ride with someone. I don't do it for the gas/money-saving, but mostly to have extra time with people who I get very little time with.

I was picked up in the mom-van by Amy, Celia, Jenny and Cortney. We were meeting Emily, Erin, Amy, Debba and Tela for apps, dinner and dessert (oh em GEE, GET the bruschetta and flourless chocolate cake.  Just do it and thank me later). But before all the gorging on too much good food and laughing, we had the ride down.

Caleb had practice last night so I told Paul I had a ride so instead of driving his car, he could take our van to practice with all three boys (yes, he's an amazing dad to take ALL three children and allow me to do this stuff. I know). He left a while before I was getting picked up. But, I realized something as I looked out the door.

Paul always just pulls into our driveway, never backing into it like he's gonna make a quick getaway or anything. Last night, he backed the car in. I thought that was odd. But, then I instantly knew why he did it.

I have shared before about how getting a new car for Paul is on our financial to-do list. We want to save money to pay cash for his car. It's literally on its last leg and last week, that last leg start to wobble. He was on a business trip when he was backed into by another car. It was totally the other person's fault. He got insurance information and that was that.

After the incident, Paul texted and told me what happened. To which I responded “NEVER text me something like this.” Then I responded with, “Are you ok? Can you drive the car home?” He was ok, and the car was, and is, driveable. However, I didn't realize how bad it would be.

We only have liability on his car because, well, honestly it's worth nothing so doing full coverage makes NO sense! Plus, we raised our insurance deductible. And, seriously, I'm not even sure the car is even worth the deductible at this point. But it runs and will likely make it through until we can pay cash for a new (to us) car. We hope.

He got home and the boys were all inquisitive about the damage screaming, “Mom, did you know someone hit Dad's car? Did you see it?” To which I responded, of course I knew and walked out to look.

Now, as I also mentioned he has duct tape on his rear light (it's red so it matches and all as you can see above). And he's got his rear view mirror jimmy rigged up so it doesn't, well, fall off in transit. But when I saw this humongous dent, I just said, “Babe, you really need to get that fixed.”

We talked about it and he thought the insurance would likely total out the car (and he just got new tires and the brakes fixed). Plus, he didn't feel right even suggesting getting it fixed for the other insurance company because, seriously, it's a junk car and we know it. And we knew our plans to get a car within the next few months. We've decided not to turn it into the insurance, knowing we'd not pay a dime since it wasn't his fault.

On a side note, I wanted to get it fixed too because our niece may need a car. If it still runs when we get a newer car, and it's reliable, she can use it too. But, what teenage girl would want to drive a car with a huge dent in the side. Well, I guess a teenager who wants a car would.

Getting back to last night.

When I got home, we talked about the food and how much I knew he'd love the pizza. Then, we got to talking about the car. I said “Did you back in so the girls wouldn't see the car.” He said, “Yeah, I didn't want you to be embarrassed.” I felt bad and proud that he'd take the time to consider my feelings (but not surprised because that's the kind of man he is). Plus, I knew my friends would NEVER think anything given a few of their car stories (which are also ironically about Toyota vehicles, which is what our Camry is!).

I've NEVER been embarrassed of his crap car. Mostly because he has to drive it. I've been embarrassed for him because of his position and he probably had the worst car in the parking lot. To which he said, yes, in fact, he did. But, it doesn't bother him anymore, he just wants the people who work at the company to do good work not be impressed with his car.

And, honestly, he's wanted a nicer car. Not even a super duper nice car. Just one with a rear view mirror that he doesn't have to worry about falling off and stuff :) I would just jokingly tell him to inform the people he's driving around for work that, “Hey, the car is paid for. It's falling apart. It runs. But it's paid for.” Surely people could respect a family for wanting to do the best financial thing, especially paying cash, in full, for a need like a car. (I think they would).

Over time, he's become ok with that. He wasn't always considering he is the primary breadwinner in our family. And, honestly, the man deserves a vehicle he can be proud of (or at least one with working A/C). But, now he just doesn't seem to care. He's never ever been the type of person to care about any material things either (just to clear that up). But we both know that sometimes you are judged incorrectly for material possessions when we all know life isn't about that. But, it's also gotta be a little better than a duct tape taillight car too, right?

And, actually he has said he is driving this until we have the cash, as our original goal has been, to get a newer car for him. And, I'm glad because I'm not a magician and can't just make money appear. I am, however, focusing on being more diligent about the many ways I save in order to pinch more to save for our car. Given this incident, we're on an accelerated saving plan now!

Save on what you need. Spend on what you want.

You've heard that a time or too here, right??!! We're saving on what WE need to spend but this time it's for something we ALSO  need. We're not concerned with what others think either, especially over a car.

I will be very honest and admit that I've looked at a vehicle and made a judgment both ways. A really nice car, you think they have money. When they could be swimming in debt. And, a jacked up car as we own, and members of our family own, maybe they have very little. Both stereotypes are wrong for the judgment and the thought. Hello, Millionaire Next Door (well, not next door to me. Or maybe they are since no one acts like it).

Through time, and a lot of maturing, I realize that appearances are flawed (oh, and, DUH we're not supposed to judge).

So, what would you think?
When/If you see a person driving the jacked up car we have?

I hope no other jacked up car owners take any offense to this post. Obviously we know it's not a priority. I'm making light of this, and thought that the situation that happened was a perfect example of how we are so aware of the judgement and perception of others. And, for the record we don't care what anyone thinks about us or our cars :)

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  1. And, Karen, if you’re reading this I just wanted to thank you again for your offer in my other post. That meant a lot and I didn’t view it as pushy at all!

  2. Paul is a good man!!! And honestly I don’t think twice about what peole drive anymore! Because now that both our vehicles are paid for, we are going to drive them until Evan and Carter needs a car – ha ha! We have even thought selling one if ours and buying a junker for a profit for Jeremy to drive!

  3. We have had many, many, many a jacked up car that we drove until they were literally coming apart in pieces! lol each of our cars were driven until there was no more life in them, except one. When I graduated from college hubby and I as our graduation gift bought me my first brand new car, that was in 2006 it will be paid for next month. Hubby on the other hand likes sports cars. So, one year as a bday, xmas, & anniversary present we had saved up all our extra money and money given as gifts added to money we had saved over the years to put towards a car and bought him a used porsche that was in good condition. We live very modestly but because we shop at high end consignment shops for our clothes, even the goodwill’s around here have awesome clothes (dd is clothed in all justice, limited too & abercrombie shorts and pants and we didn’t pay more than 1.50 a pair lol!) we are clothed designer and drive super nice cars so people often judge us that we are young spoiled kids that come from rich families when that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I was at work yesterday on my break matching up coupons to the ads and a coworker asked what i was doing and I told her and she was cracking up and we just went through this discussion. She was like wow, I had no idea. I just assumed you guys came from uber rich families and you got lucky in your careers due to your status growing up. I had to tell her nope, we were just thrifty, creative & crafty! I said it takes time to match the coupons, dig through the stuff at Plato’s & Goodwill, but it’s kind of the thrill of the hunt lol I am always so proud when we get great deals or I spend 15$ on 90$ worth of stuff at the grocery. :) So, bottom line, I think many people tend to judge, it takes an open mind to consider appearances may be deceiving!

  4. I’m glad everyone is okay!

    When I see a mangled car, I immediately say a prayer for all those involved. As someone who drove around in her first car with the front fender duck-taped on, I can say people stare, but most just want the gory details on what happened. I haven’t run into many folks who are judgmental, just nosy!

  5. I don’t think of anything when I see a jacked up car. Just about everyone I know has something wrong with it, mostly because of the crazy weather issues we’ve had in my city over the past few years. The icestorm caused giant limbs to fall on my car, so I’ve got dents in the roof. I thank God that I was able to move the car back a few feet before the rest of the tree fell on that spot. I’ve also got dents in the side from where I was too close to a brush pile going down the road (that’s from the rubble left by the windstorm that we had). That’s not to mention the gash in my bumper left by the fire hydrant I backed into when I was picking up a bicycle the first month I had the car. I can’t afford to get those cosmetic things fixed when it’s more important to keep my car running. It’s paid for and it’s keeping me able to visit my family and go to work.

    All my friends have had car issues the past few years, from the icestorm, the snowstorms, the gale force winds that blew through from Hurricane Ike and the urban flash flood. Crazy things happen. A jacked up car to me just means that you’re not into flashy appearances and it’s more about functionality than form.

  6. I saw a bumper sticker once when driving my kids around in my 1994 Grand Marquis with dents all the way up the side, thanks to my sister who had no idea she was even hitting my car, that read, “Don’t let my car fool you, my treasure is in heaven.” I thought this was sooooo perfect when I was driving my car. I kept reminding myself that our debt was paid off, I didn’t care what anyone thought b/c of that, and that when we did turn in the accident to insurance, my car ended up paying me to drive it b/c we got more money back than we paid for it. Funny thing is, we got a new-to-us car in July which is a 1998 Camry that looks like Paul’s! It only has 40,000 miles and is paid for!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully you can find a sweet deal like that. :)

  7. Lauren Keith says:

    There is nothing wrong with driving “a jacked up” car, as long as it is safe for him to drive.
    I, too, do not want a car payment, and I worry about purchasing a car on credit and then something happening to my job, our health….SO I drive a junky car too….it was my Dad’s ….(who’s in heaven now) van.

  8. We too are jacked up car owners….but it is paid for!

  9. I wonder about this. I know that I’ve driven cars that have saved me tons of money, but I also know that car maintenance is mostly a function of self-discipline. A bad-looking car, dented or just dirty, implies carelessness more than poverty. Of course rich people can avoid this impression by keeping a new car, which might not be properly maintained.

  10. I commend this man. Now, when I see fancy cars, I just think “slave to payments!” …he must be broke!

    I love the freedom from stress that I drive an older, paid-off car!!!

    1. Becky, thanks. I commend him too on most days! I’m just glad we’re on the same page as a couple for why driving it until it’s completely dead is the smart thing to do!

  11. chris (baldscreen) says:

    Andrea, we have one of those Camry’s also, looks like the same year from your picture, and are still driving it. It has been the best car we have ever owned. We are hoping to get another year or 2 out of it since we still have one in college and a wedding this year. :) I do understand what you said in your post: I remember going to functions @ my childrens’ school and all the cars in the parking lot were these big, nice, newer minivans and SUV’s and I was driving a Ford Ranger with an extended cab that was a manual transmission. But it was paid for. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I sure did feel sorry for myself. I finally got my minivan last year, now that the kids are gone, but we still have a few years of schlepping things back and forth to the dorm. And we paid for it with cash. It felt so good. :)

    1. Chris, the Camry is a 92 (I think) which we purchased used in 2001. It has lasted a LONG time and we are lucky. I really don’t drive it but it did make me think about what types of stereotypes people have with what people drive. I’m sure some people who work with him wonder why he’s driving such a beater! I guess I’ll let him blame me :)

      The annoying part with this is that we haven’t saved 100% cash to pay for a new-to-us car yet. I gotta crunch the numbers to figure out what to do. We can definitely get a loan to cover it but I really wanted to pay cash for it. What to do…what to do…

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