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My Very First Car Was Not A Range Rover Evoque

Written by Ben Carter

My very first car was not a black, Range Rover Evoque with premium wheels and black leather seats. In some of my dreams (with other adult content sprinkled in) it is my first car... But not in real life. My first car was a 1998 Toyota Camry. It was maroon colored with a V6 engine and a drivers seat that leaned as if an extremely heavy man had spent six years pushing all his weight on one side of the seat each time he got out of the car.

Other than that, and the fact that one half of the costs of the car was to repair the backend, which was smashed in by a minor-ish accident, it was a sweet ride. Probably the most reliable, all purpose car of the two I’ve ever owned.

I remember recording a video of the vehicle, posting it to Youtube and sending it to my mother, excited to be on the verge of purchasing my first car. I had just finished my first year in college and earned an internship at a newspaper in Florida and needed wheels to get to and from while there. I have no idea how, but somehow I had enough money to purchase a car that summer and ride to Stuart, FL. (It may have just been left over graduation money from high school graduation the year before).

If I remember correctly, the total purchase price of the car, with the cost of damages included was $1700. The woman who owned the used luxury car dealership I bought it from was really only charging me $900 for the car. The other $800 was going towards the cosmetic repair of the car. She was actually being quite generous in her price-point considering the low mileage on the Camry and its general good condition. It’s also possible I was doing her a favor by taking a busted, trade-in off her, used-BMW-Mercedez-and-other-expensive-cars-people-buy-but-can’t-really-afford lot.

I saw a lot of people stroll in and out of that dealership looking at cars the rapper Nelly’s friends might have had parked in the parking lot during the “Tip Drill” shoot. But whether or not these folks could afford them was sometimes questionable.

A lot of things we buy are often questionable. But one of the most pliable purchases we can make is a car. You can stretch out the length of the time you have to pay off the car. You can put down a smaller down-payment in exchange for a monthly car note you can manage. You can bargain with the dealer to get a lower price, or go for a gentlly used car over a brand new one.

But there are other car expenses you can’t easily finagle over the lifetime of any car you buy. You can’t do anything about what insurance cost. The price of gas is something only God can predict and unexpected maintenance or even accidents are always going to impact your monthly car expenses.

Even at age 19, heading to a state I’d never even been to before, I looked at a lot of the other folks coming through that dealership wondering why they weren’t asking about my non-luxury, Toyota Camry, circa 1998. Even then I felt I was getting the better deal than half the stuntastic wanna-be's that walked through the door.

Why are people willing to overextend their finances for a fly whip?

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