Wherein I trade-in my swank minivan for a much more practical driving apparatus

good-bye Odyssey
your cup holders will be missed
your ass warmers, too

I did a ridiculously dumb thing last weekend. Something incredibly impetuous. Something truly adverb-worthy.

I made a budget.

And when I was finished with that budget, my husband and I, both ashen faced and horrified, yelled, "HOLY SHIT."

Turns out, like much of America these days, we're living not so much outside of our means, but in, like, Antarctica of our means. We are fresh out of cash. Fresh fucking out. (coughdoctorsandhospitalsandbillsandgroceriescough)

We decided that either A) I have to rapidly sell a book for a cool handful of cash or B) certain cuts have to made.

Well, I'm in the middle of writing two books, but neither are ready to go out on submission, and (alas) books that sell for cool handfuls of cash are not as easy to produce as one might think.

So we decided to opt for choice B: take the State of Texas approach and stop paying for schooling or healthcare for our kids. (Kidding. Uneducated sick kids are a real drag on utility bills). This meant we had to do the unthinkable.

We traded in the swank minivan.

Bye-bye cup holders and ass warmers. Hello, manual gearshift and doors you have to open yourself.

We spent eleventy hours at the car dealership yesterday working out a deal, but, in the black of night, with three exhausted children, a trunkful of crap from the swank minivan, and five Zoom Zoom baseball caps, we drove home in our new Mazda 5.

It is like the younger, dare-I-say – hipsterified – minivan. Like a good waif-like hipster, it has a smaller footprint, both physically and carbon-ly and it's color is "galaxy gray". Also like a good hipster, it has an aftermarket rack (luggage rack. This metaphor is getting unwieldy). It has sliding side doors, seemingly because it wants to say, "I am no minivan! I am a small sporty thing that generously provides unflingopenable doors in order to be a better neighbor to other cars!" It has a 5-speed manual gearshift. And I think there is a requirement that you say "zoom zoom" at least twice while driving somewhere.

It is also half the payment of the swank minivan and will probably use half as much gas.

The kids love it. They are very excited to ride around in the new car, even though the quarters are much closer. There is a LOT less space for flinging crap at each other, though, and when Ike-a-saurus throws his bottle it can easily smack someone in the face or lodge into the steering column, instead of just landing harmlessly on the floor like it used to.

I… am learning to like it. I like that it's a standard, because driving a stick is fun. I like that it has three rows of seats, even if the third row is where the groceries need to go. I like that it has a tiny turning radius and that the steering is really sensitive. I like that the payment is so much less.

I must not mourn the swank minivan, and instead embrace the hipster, uh, driving thing. The Five I'll call it, I guess. I need to make my Five cool. I need to make it swank. It needs some incomprehensible stickers on the back, a political joke, an alien face, something… something… to make it interesting.

Maybe it needs some spinners.

Or I could give it a mustache made out of smaller monthly payment invoices.

Either the way, the budget is now way more HOLY CRIZ-AP instead of HOLY SHIT, and that, my friends is a 30 mpg step in the right direction.

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9 thoughts on “Wherein I trade-in my swank minivan for a much more practical driving apparatus

  1. I promised myself a few years ago after years of drowning in large car payments for swanky vehicles that I would never pay more than $15,000 for a car. It is only a means to get me from here to there. This means used cars (van, in my case), a vehicle my husband affectionately calls “rusty” and a very small, cheap new vehicle. I am much happier now with my small payments and small insurance bill.

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