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Changing Priorities as I Age

It's amazing how my priorities have changed as I've aged. In my youth, I coveted the latest, greatest new things, especially cars. While I could never afford top of the line anything, I've always managed to get by.


Fast forward to my fifties, and my philosophy is more along the lines of if it's not broken, I'm not replacing it. I still use the microwave oven my parents gave me for my college graduation in 1995. My car is eleven years old, and my phone is four or five years old. I am still wearing the sweater in which I had my driver's license picture taken over six years ago, and it still looks great.


I would rather hold on to what I have than pay for new things. The worst mistake a local jeweler made when I was shopping in her store was telling me that I should replace my wedding ring because it's out of fashion. I mean, how rude can you be? That's one thing I never plan to replace. Thanks to that comment, I left her store and purchased my niece's graduation gift elsewhere.


I've actually reached the point where it makes me angry to be forced to replace things. Why don't water heaters last for thirty years anymore? Why should I replace my laptop every four years? I had my first one for ten years. Then there's the issue of how often to replace my car.


I bought my car new in 2013. It's now eleven years old with a little over 99,000 miles on it. Things are starting to wear out, and a few systems were knocked out when I was hit in a local roundabout. I didn't realize it at the time, so I didn't file a claim against the other guy's insurance to have those systems fixed. A few other systems stopped working shortly after the warranty expired.


It's nearly time for my 100,000-mile tune-up, which is going to cost me an arm and a leg. My husband has been telling that I need to trade my car in for the past couple of years. There are a few reasons I resist that suggestion. 1. My car is mine, free and clear. 2. I don't like making car payments. 3. I have not found another car I like better than the one I already own. 4. Interest rates on car loans are ridiculous right now. There is no way I'm paying those kinds of rates.


The reason I'm so well acquainted with current auto loan rates is because my husband bought a new truck over the weekend. We shopped around for months, got quotes from several lenders, and evaluated our options. While I chose to wait until the rates lower, my hubby was tired of waiting and went ahead with his purchase.


He bought a nice truck, and I'm certain he'll be very happy with it. It's a big ol' 4x4 with a 392, so it will have no problem pulling our trailer while it's loaded down with farm equipment. There's plenty of legroom in both the front and back seats, so we can take his vehicle when we travel every now and then.


After much encouragement from my hubby, I test drove a car while we were at the dealership purchasing his. Like he told me, we were already there, and I may as well drive the model I'm considering purchasing to see if I like it.


Oh, I liked it just fine. It had the power I enjoy, the new car smell, and everything was working order. However, I did not like the price tag at all. I can attend a lot of writers' conferences for that much money.


There was one vehicle on the showroom floor that caught my eye. I'm not an SUV person, but the 2023 Dodge Durango SRT 392 spoke to me. I made myself at home in the driver's seat and explored the dash. Did I mention the seats were red leather? Oh, that was some luxury. Then the salesman quoted me $81,000 to purchase it, and I very carefully climbed out of the vehicle and gently closed the door.


When I was in my twenties, I would have jumped at the opportunity to buy a shiny new car if I could have afforded it. Now, in my fifties, I can afford a new car, not the Durango, but a Charger or Challenger. I just don't want to pay the price for one. Besides, I love the car I already own. Who needs a working phone system or air circulator, anyway?

It really boils down to me figuring out how much money I'm willing to put into my Charger for repairs and maintenance as opposed to making a monthly car payment. At this point, I've decided to do the maintenance until interest rates fall. Once the rates are decent, and I have some more miles on my Charger, I will reassess.


I made many poor financial decisions in my youth. I didn't have my priorities straight. Now that I'm older, I think things through. I guess I did get some wisdom with my silver hair.


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