Monday, February 11, 2008

Proud card-carrying member

Need I say more?

I think fighting consumerism is a good thing. We own two cars, a 2006 Toyota Sienna that we bought used, through a non-profit, and a 1988 Toyota Corolla, which we have no intention of replacing anytime soon. Before we bought the van, our "family car" was the infamous 1988 Lincoln Towncar, may she rest in peace. (Read about our pet beast here and see some pictures here.)

Cars are such a status symbol. I think people thought we were really poor and felt sorry for us when we drove the Towncar, but in reality, we felt our needs were being met and couldn't really justify buying a new car "just because". (Granted the humilation factor was high, but not because the car was old--it's because it was HUGE!)

Just because we can afford to buy something, doesn't mean we have to or we should. I find it is so hard to find contentment in a world that is always telling us we need this or that new thing. Being in Ethiopia was so freeing in certain ways, throwing off the need to "have stuff", living day to day in simplicity. (Ultimately, I think fighting consumerism is good because every dollar we spend somewhere is a dollar not spent elsewhere--opportunity cost.)

Oh and I found the "Junky Car Club" on Margaret Feinberg's blog. So I'm in good company! (And if you have a junky car, join the club.)


Rachel said...

Both of our vehicles are 2003's. Are they junk? Mine might be, it has to get smogged this year to get registered. It's absolutely not a clunker by any means, but apparently a possible polluter.

Our across the street neighbor told me they were in a lot of debt after doing their backyard. Yet they both got new cars last year. She said they never drive cars for more than a few years, it's important to them. Paying my bills is important to me. It's so strange how people prioritize things.

Brianna Heldt said...

Rachel I agree. I always thought it so interesting to see ramshackle houses/trailers with satellite dishes mounted on top! Everyone truly does have their own priorities.

I'm not sure what counts as a junky car and what doesn't. 2003 seems too new, but maybe we should ask the club's founders to be sure, heehee.

Lara said...

Thanks for the link to their site. I love that something like this exists. We are striving to live more simple as well. I wish it were easier to change old habits.
Our cars aren't junkers yet, but I can definitely join the junky bookshelf club. Instead of buying a brand new pretty bookshelf at Office Max, we bought a cheap one off of CraigsList and I will be spending tomorrows nap time painting. Does that count a little bit? =)

Becky said...

Have you seen Troy's RX-7 with the peeling paint? Most people spend more on groceries per month than we did on this car. We traded/purchased my car from my parents. In total ALL our cars together are worth maybe $2,000. But insurance is cheap, registration is cheap, we don't have a car payment and you can't miss Troy's horrible paint job!

Becky said...

Oh, my car is a '99, RX-& is an '89 and our very old truck is a '72. We like to think we have all the decades covered!

Samantha said...

Our junky car (94 saturn sl) used to be our nice car 2 years ago before we got our MPV van. I too can't bring myself to buy something new when what I have still works just fine. I find myself wishing something will finally die (like my microwave) so I can get a new one!

$50 a month on cable when you are poor seems crazy to me too, we've never been able to bring ourselves to do it, and so does spending $5+ a day on cigarettes. That must add up fast. Our neighbors steal pallets, refurbish them and resell them for a living, and anytime I see them outside, they are both smoking. I don't know how much that costs, but it must be alot!

Margaret Feinberg said...

The thing my husband Leif and I like about the junky car club is that it isn't just about the car (paid off or not) but also about your priorities like sponsoring a child which we do through two different organizations.

As for cable - we don't have it. We rely on a homemade antenna (Leif made it out of parts from an old Atari) to pick up our local news...



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