Thursday, August 03, 2006

The bill I couldn't wait to receive

Yesterday afternoon I reached into my mailbox and pulled out some advertisements, a credit card offer and, of course, a bill.

Normally, I’d grimace and maybe wait a while before opening the request for my hard-earned dollars. But this time I was actually filled with excitement as I ran my finger under the sealed flap of the envelope. Inside, I found an invoice for a hefty chunk of change, but I was all too happy to learn that my bank wanted nearly $500 of my money.

The bill simply read “Final Payment. Please remit by Aug. 14, 2006.” The key words here are FINAL PAYMENT.

My car is about to be paid for. It will be mine. All mine. And I must say it feels wonderful!!

I’ve had multiple issues with my little VW over the years, but I think the problems really got to me because I was still paying for the car that seemed to be sticking its tongue out and singing, “nanny, nanny, noo, noo” every chance it got.

It’s been a learning experience, and I now know that buying a car when you’re in dire need of motorized transportation calls for extreme caution - and never ever letting the sales rep know just how bad your situation is. You see, when I bought my Jetta, I was living in South Georgia and was about to move to North Georgia. My Honda Civic had an unfortunate head gasket eruption on the way to Orlando the week before I was to relocate, and I was lucky to get $400 for her parts in the tiny town where she died.

I needed a car, and I needed one quick. I’m pretty sure I had “sucker” plastered across my forehead because, shamefully, I paid far too much for my car and in the process allowed the sales manager to convice me that a few concerns I had were nothing to worry about.

In the end, I have a car that I like but wouldn’t buy again if I had it to do over. However, I now know what not to do in the car-buying process. Research is key, patience is a must and walking away from an offer is essential if it’s no good.

I’m hoping to keep this car for another year or so, and then start all over again. Next time, though, I’ll be smarter.