I bought a new car today.
Which is technically an SUV so I’m now one of THOSE people.
I don’t mind being one of THOSE people. It’s awfully nice to be able to see in the sea of other SUVs. Which was kinda my point when I went looking for something to buy...being able to see. Not something one can easily do in this day and age when driving a sedan. Not when nearly every other car on the road is an SUV - aka THOSE people - or a truck (the other THOSE people).
My choice had nothing at all to do with my level of sporty. If it did, I’d be driving a Smart Car.
Instead, my choice - like so many of my choices lately - had nearly everything to do with visibility. Seeing and being seen.
I should have gotten the Serrano Red one1. Heh.
But visibility (or invisibility as it were) is not the point of this post. That one’s coming. Maybe. Or it might just be in the book.
The point is actually about money.
Long time readers, friends, will know that, at the end of 2010, I gave myself a stern talking to about debt. Specifically, a come to Jesus talk to get the hell out of debt. I even started (and never finished) a blog about my experiences with debt.
I am super duper ecstatic to report that, 4 years and several expectation/attitude adjustments later, I did just that. I clawed my way out of debt - and bought a HOUSE in the middle of it! - one paycheck at a time.
That happened just this spring. But I was too tired and sick to tell you about it. (Another post. Or, yannow, book about debt. We’ll just have to see.)
For the last couple of years then, really since I bought the house and found out my FICO was 724 and on the climb, I’ve been monitoring my credit and FICO via credit.com.
Climb it did. 100 points, in fact.
Pretty much perfect credit.
So, since I had near perfect credit and no debt (aside from the mortgage), I started thinking about the last time I drove a new car off the lot in 2001 - a car that, after 14 years, had almost reached its useful life - and about buying a new car.
Subsequently, I did extensive research (thank you, Interwebz!) about the various cars I wanted to buy, the incentives currently offered, best practices in car sales negotiation, and what it means to be truly “well qualified” for the best financing options.
And then? Then I got pre-approved for credit.
So, walking into the dealership this afternoon, armed with the knowledge of my excellent credit - no matter the measure, my pre-approval for the absolute best rate for my terms, and knowledge of the car sales industry, I should have been ridiculously confident...cocky even...about what they would do for me.
Instead, I was a nervous wreck driving over there.
Because I’m a woman. Without a husband who can negotiate on my behalf and “do the math”.
Because I was terrified that all the financial power I’d gifted myself and knowledge I had in my brain, sans man, would somehow fly right out the window during the test drive...while I was falling madly in love with the car.
Or I’d somehow doubt myself under the influence of a more knowledgeable, capable salesperson. (WTF?! I don’t even.)
But something happened as I pulled into the parking lot of the dealership, taking one last, long satisfying drag off my cigarette.
All of a sudden I said to myself, “Self?
Fuck this attitude.
I know what I know.”
And what I know is that I’ve worked damn hard for my credit score and that hard work should have them doing everything they can - within reason - to keep me from walking out the door.
What I know is what’s fair. For me. For them.
So I popped a couple of mini altoids in my mouth (yo, cigarette), walked through the door, and asked for John Francis (the internet manager I’d been speaking with about my Price Promise from Edmunds.com).
My experience was pretty typical for a woman, at least, at first...I think. Unfortunately.
It was all about the color...exterior...interior.
Which I cared about a little. I mean, at what point have any of you ever thought my personality just screamed “ORANGE!!!” aside from never? And, frankly, when I think of the word “beige”, I can’t help but think about that horrible sexist joke told to me in high school about painting the ceiling beige.
Once we’d established I wasn’t hung up on color (interior or exterior...except for that awful orange) and was more interested in driving feel, we took a test drive. Which was fabulous. And, in just 10 minutes, I was crazy in love (with the car, not John Francis...although he’s totally sweet and adorable and someone - who wouldn’t qualify as a cougar like me - should just scoop him up with a love spoon).
I was sold.
And then the finance guy pretended to run the Price Promise numbers.
Which came out to $100 a month more than I knew I should pay (because research).
And I said, “Uh...hrm. John Francis? This isn’t anything like the number I came up to when I ran the numbers every which way to Sunday.”
And he was all, like, “What number did you come up with?”
So I told him. Because it was honest.
He said, “OK. Give me a few minutes and I’ll get back to you with what my finance manager says.”
10 minutes later - and a couple of quick double checking of my math and theirs on my smart phone (turns out they were attempting to get me to agree to finance the MSRP LOL) - John Francis came back to me with a number. THE number. The one I knew was 100% fair.
And I was all like, “OK yeah! There it is.”
So here we are.
I’ve got a crazy gorgeous new car.
On my terms. Which, in my opinion, are pretty damn fair.
And, as I was sitting there, signing the paperwork, I thought to myself, “Sticking up for myself, knowing what I know, wasn’t so hard. I did good. Dianne Juhl would be proud of me and my feminine face of money.”
I am the feminine face of money.
Don’t fuck with this face.
1: I didn’t get the red one - even though I strongly considered it - because Acr0nym has a Santa Fe in red (albeit several years older). Otherwise, the red one would have been mine!