As they wrenched the paper signing my life away out of my hands, I dropped to my knees in defeat. This was it, the end of everything.
Just kidding, I did finally buy a car though.
There is a lot to be said about the process of buying a car. I felt a huge range of emotions throughout the process. Fear, excitement, frustration, clarity, apprehension. For many people a car is the second biggest personal purchase they will make in their life behind a house. That fact boggles my mind a bit.
When I wrote the check for my down payment, it was easily the largest sum of money I’ve ever transacted at one time, whether that be receiving or giving. The emotions involved in it were interesting. For one thing, I wasn’t nearly as emotionally attached as my dramatized intro suggests. The down payment proved to me that money really is just a tool. A number. I didn’t feel like I was giving away a piece of me or anything like that. I was exchanging one tool for the use of another.
Far and away the most intense negative emotion I felt during the actual buying process was apprehension. Really, it’s been that way throughout the whole journey. My one goal basically became trying to make sure I didn’t screw this up. So as I drove off the lot the sentence running through my mind was “I really hope this thing doesn’t break down.” Which looking back is a very negative way to think about it. I struggled to let myself be happy about my purchase for a while because of my apprehension. I don’t recommend this mindset.
I should probably mention the fact that I love the car itself. Check it out, it’s a 2010 Ford Escape Limited.
Ever heard someone say “you’ll know when you find it” when they’re talking about a purchase? They say you’ll know its the right choice when you experience it. It sounds like complete bull when you hear someone say that to you, but I found its true and a tangible feeling.
When I test drove my car, which for reference was the 5th car I tried out, it felt different than the others. The other cars I drove weren’t bad by any means, but this one felt very different. It felt comfortable, and I enjoyed the experience of driving it. It was a car I would be proud to drive people around in. It made the other cars feel “meh” even though the cost was similar to other options I was considering. That was how I knew. I found myself trying to find reasons I shouldn’t get it.
It’s also a great relief to check this big to-do off my list. I am officially T-3 weeks until I move to downtown Indianapolis, so this was a very necessary purchase. There will be a lot to discuss financially from my point of view in the next month.
This is the first post in a mini-series I’m writing about my experience buying my first car. It will discuss many different facets of the process including budget and financing, research, post-purchase, and more. Follow along as we go, and hopefully by sharing my experience I can help you prepare to buy your next car. If you have a question about anything I mention in this post or the ones to come, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.