Over the weekend, a friend and I were enjoying a couple of beers in my neighborhood. As we sat outside people watching, he drooled over every fancy car that drove by.
“That's a whatever-whatever,” he would tell me. “It costs $100,000.”
I live in Los Angeles, where these symbols of affluence are common.
“I can't help it,” I told him. “All I can think of when I see a car that expensive is that the driver made a terrible financial decision.”“But what if the driver is rich and can afford it?” my friend argued. We then got into a conversation about fancy cars, happiness and frugality. I argued that, no matter how much money I might make in the near future, I plan on driving my Corolla into the ground. “You wouldn't trade it in for a nice, sleek Mercedes?” he asked. I said no, and he looked suspicious. But here's why I think I'll drive my car until it wears out. It's got sentimental value The non-money answer is that I love my car because it used to be my brother's. Both of us had Corollas. I paid for the down payment on mine and spent five years paying it off completely. Since college, Old Trusty and I had been through a lot together; he had a good 150,000 miles on him. So I wanted to take him with me when I moved to California, but my parents thought he was unfit to make the trip. My car was a 2004, and my brother's was a 2008 with considerably fewer miles. For some reason, when my brother went off to college, my parents bought him a new truck (how come I never got a new truck, guys?). Mom and Dad insisted I accept his newer, less worn-out Corolla, saying it would give them peace of mind.