You know who I hate? The Joneses. They are a family that lives down the street from me and they always seem to have the newest cars on the block. I watch them drive by my home nearly every day and they look at my beater of a car in the driveway.
I can see them laughing at me and my car – but I have five words for them, “Don’t Laugh, It’s Paid For!” My wife, on the other hand, has a few other choice words for them…
You Are What You Drive – Right?
Just to get everyone on the same page, I drive a 13-year-old car that has 191,000 miles on it. The trunk doesn’t stay open on its own so you have to hold it open to get the groceries out.
The driver’s side window will roll down, but it’s anyone’s guess if I can get it to go back up. That’s why I have a strict, “no rolling down the driver’s side window” policy in my car. With my luck, I wouldn’t be able to get it to go back up and it would rain that night.
The front passenger bumper sticks out a little bit because my wife drove over a bumper on the freeway. Also, there’s a perfectly square crease in the front bumper where I may have parked a little close to our other vehicle’s trailer hitch.
Oh, and it doesn’t have cruise control or Blue Tooth.
My Car Has A Special Feature That Most Cars Don’t Have
However, there is one feature it has that I’m extremely proud of. It’s a feature that not many other cars have. That feature?
It’s Paid For.
That’s right. No car payment – none, nada. I haven’t made a payment on my car in probably ten years. I will make one admission though. My car is a piece of junk. It rattles and shakes and could break down any day if it wanted to. However, for some reason, it just keeps chugging along.
My Car Does Not Define Me
When I was younger I drove the most expensive vehicle I could afford at the time. I bought chrome rims for my truck, put ridiculous illegal neon lights underneath, and had it lowered. I was so cool I couldn’t even afford how cool I was. Maybe you can relate?
15+ years later, here I am, secretly excited for the day when my car reaches 200,000 miles. With only 9,000 more miles left to go, I’m feeling pretty confident it will make it.
When it all comes down to it, I would love a better car. Actually, I really would like a truck. But you know what I don’t want? Another car payment. Right now my wife and I are all in to pay our home mortgage off as fast as we possibly can. A $500+ dollar truck payment doesn’t fit into our overall plan.
Plus, if you read my earlier post, you know I am anti-car payments in just about every situation. If I’m going to buy a new vehicle, I’m going to pay for it with cash. Then, when a few years pass, I’ll look back at that family down the street and again tell them, “Don’t laugh – it’s paid for.”
Put Your Money Towards Things That Add Value To Your Life
Early on I thought that material things added value to my life. That truck I had was so cool – except it wasn’t. That cool truck didn’t get me a better job, awesome opportunities, or memorable vacations with my family. In reality, that truck gave me joy when I bought something new for it – but that was about it.
Year’s later, I hardly remember that truck. The memories are fleeting and if I never had owned it, it wouldn’t bother me.
Life experiences, on the other hand, are a completely different story. I remember most of the vacations I went on as a kid and I remember all of the vacations we have done as a family.
I often think about our beach trips often and the time and moments we have spent together. I have learned that experiences bring much more value to my life than things.
Change Your Mindset, Increase Your Happiness
If you find yourself struggling with feeling happy, I would encourage you to double-check your spending habits. Where is your money going? Are you spending it on material things that leave you with fleeting happiness, or are you spending the majority of your money on experiences?
If you’re struggling in life right now, see where your focus is. Focus on the things that bring you value in life. Sometimes a simple shift in mindset can make all the difference in the world.
Stay Motivated With “Don’t Laugh It’s Paid For” Swag
As I was typing this post, I found that there is a whole community that loves “Don’t Laugh It’s Paid For” stuff.
For instance, check this out:
Don’t Laugh It’s Paid For Bumper Stickers!
I couldn’t believe it – I want one of these for my car! If you have a paid-off car, you can pick one of these bad boys up at Amazon.com here.
Don’t Laugh It’s Paid For License Plate Frames!
If you don’t like the idea of putting a sticker on your car, this sweet license plate frame can do the trick. You can find it on Amazon.com here.
Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is
I encourage you to reevaluate your current situation to ensure you are managing your finances in a way that makes the most impact for you. Also, if you still have a car payment, you could buy one of these license plate frames and hold onto it until you get that vehicle paid off. Anything to keep you motivated will help you in the long run!
As far as that family down the street? They can laugh all they want – because I’m comfortable with who I am and what I have accomplished. I wish the same for you my friends!