Now that the holidays are over I figure it’s time to get back in the habit of writing a post at least every now and then.
Just the other day I pulled into Dominos to pick up our pizza. Yes every now and then, mainly when Melissa is traveling for work, I buy a 7.99 large 3 topping pizza. In front of me I noticed three or four delivery drivers parked waiting to take their next order. This should come as no surprise considering I was parked right beside the Dominos building. What was surprising was the quality of these cars. I mean they weren’t BMW’s, but they were nice cars. All looked to be fairly new and in good condition. Perhaps delivery drivers make more than I thought or maybe everyone in our town is really generous with tips, I don’t know. For better or worse my stereotype of a pizza delivery driver is a 16 year old kid with a beater car.*
I personally don’t care if you drive a nice car or not. I’m not really a car person as the title of this blog should suggest. However, I am guessing that if you are delivering pizzas for a living a nice car is perhaps not the best financial choice. I would also dare to guess that the car is financed with a $300-$500 dollar monthly payment. That’s a lot of pizzas.
So it might come as a shock to you that we bought a new car. That’s right. This summer we were beside ourselves with excitement when we bought this bad boy.
Yep you are seeing correctly. We bought a 2001 Toyota Echo for $1,500. It had about 166,000 miles on it and it gets about 40 miles to the gallon. So yes new is a relative term. When we saw this car parked in front of my father-in-laws shop I said if it’s a 5 speed manual I would buy it a heartbeat for the right price. As you can guess it was all that and more. It includes manual windows, manual locks, manual climate control, and even a tape deck. As a final added benefit the ride quality is horrible. Depending on the day driving this car will either put my back in or out as we shake and bounce down the road. When we drive our old SUV it feels like we are floating on air.
All joking aside we really do like this car. You can park it anywhere, it’s zippy in a 0-15 mph sort of way, and it is great for running the kids around. So here we are with no consumer debt, no mortgage, no car loans, and we get excited about a $1,500 dollar compact Toyota. I have five bikes in my garage that cost more than this car. And yet pizza delivery drivers are rolling around in way nicer cars than myself. I guess you could argue that driving is their job so a good car makes sense. Yet one trip around town will show you that all sorts of people are driving around in cars they can’t really afford.
The current retail industry tells us that if we can afford the monthly payment then we can afford the item. Back in the day you could get a loan for a house (which is a hard asset that hopefully appreciates). Then you could get a loan for a car (a depreciating asset). Now you can finance almost anything. Mattresses, counter-tops, washing machines. You name it and you can probably finance it. Just remember why you can do this. The companies get more sales, more interest payments, and ultimately bleed the consumer out of their hard earned dollars. All so you can make monthly payments on a mattress. I certainly couldn’t sleep at night on a financed mattress. In the end you will be forced to work-work-work just to make a bunch of payments that never seem to end.
Enjoy the ride,
*I actually think it would be fun to deliver pizza’s by bicycle. Getting paid to ride my bike. By definition would that make me a professional bike rider? Probably not.