We bought a new car this weekend. Our 15-year old station wagon breathed its last on the previous weekend while I was at the grocery store and it was time to bite the bullet and upgrade.
I am very happy with the vehicle we chose, but I have never had a car payment in my life. I'm still kind of reeling with that anxiety. In the last year, we have bought a house and two-year old vehicle. I don't usually fret amount money; either we have it or we don't. But we had a RIF a couple of months ago at work, and I have been worried about whether or not I will be able to continue to support my family at this new standard if I lose my job.
On the other hand, I have never had a nice car before either. This new Jeep is reliable and has a great warranty. I don't have to worry about whether the heater will work in the winter, or if it will make it on a long drive out of town. That security is very comforting. Also, it is very fun to drive. I had no plans to buy an SUV, but it is surprisingly fuel efficient and our commute is very short.
I feel strongly that we ought not to live beyond our means, but I also don't want my girls to feel like they are growing up deprived. I don't usually cook much in the summer, but I guess I'll be cooking more so we can afford the new chariot.