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Just the other day, I noticed a giant crack stretching across the entire front bumper of my periwinkle minivan. I didn’t really care how it looked, but it did stress me out a little. After all, I didn’t want it to fall off, drag against the ground, or cause an accident.
When my husband got home, I asked him what he thought we should do.
“It’s a nice car,” he said. “We should probably get it fixed.”
So, later that night, I did some research to see what I could come up with. According to the Kelley Blue Book, my amazing vehicle is only worth a mere $4,000 at this point, and that’s without accounting for the ugly and cracked bumper. So, the next morning, I called a local body shop to see what it might cost to repair or replace the broken part.
“It will cost at least $500 or $600,” they told me. “Maybe more.”
That pretty much sealed the deal in my eyes. I mean, a cracked bumper is just not that big of a deal. Let’s face it: Nothing looks cool with two car seats in the back anyway, am I right? When Greg got home that day, I thought I might need to convince him that it was a total waste to pay for the repair. But, as usual, he saw things my way.
“It doesn’t make any sense to fix it,” I told Greg. “Who gives a shit?”
“I sure as hell don’t,” he said.
God I love that man.
Taping Your Car: All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
A few days later, we headed to Walmart to find a solution to our problem. And while we started by looking for some sort of automotive glue, we eventually stumbled upon an entire rack of automotive duct tape. Yes, that’s a thing. Judging by how many different kinds of automotive tape they had on display, it seems like taping your car is actually quite commonplace. Anyway, we totally bought some and brought it home to see if it would work.
Now, keep in mind that I live in a fairly affluent neighborhood. Our house is one of the cheapest by far and we’re part of a small minority that doesn’t own a Lexxus, a boat, or some other fancy contraption. So, when I was duct-taping my car, a crowd began to gather. Well not really, but a few of my neighbors did saunter over to ask what I was doing.
“I’m taping my car,” I yelled. “Isn’t it obvious?”
What the Joneses Would Do
We all know what the Joneses would do in this situation. They would drive their broken minivan straight to the dealership and upgrade into something snazzy like a Mazda CX-5 or a Hyundai Santa Fe. And of course they’d finance it for at least 5 years and pay oodles of interest for the privilege. Or, better yet, they’d get a zero percent interest offer and upgrade to an even bigger and better family car like a Toyota Land Cruiser or a Hummer, all while convincing themselves that they’re getting one hell of a deal.
But I’m not the Joneses, damn it. And, judging by the fact that you’re reading my blog, I’m guessing that you aren’t either. It makes zero sense to trade in a perfectly reliable car because of a harmless little crack. Why? Because my car is 100% paid-off and has been for several years. On top of that, I’ve only put around 50,000 miles on it, insurance is cheap, and I just plain like it. I don’t care if I look like white trash driving it, there’s just no way I’m trading it in, selling it, or taking any kind of loss, capiche?
We’ll Never Be the Joneses
And that’s why we’ll never be the Joneses. Keeping up with your neighbors can be expensive, especially when they’re busy trying to outdo each other. No thanks. I would much rather have money in the bank than drive something that isn’t a reflection of my values. And quite frankly, a minivan with a duct-taped bumper is actually a fair representation of who I am: Imperfect, but debt-free, reliable, and awesome.
Do you try to keep up with the Joneses? Would you be embarrassed driving a car with duct tape?