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What it feels like to seriously upgrade from driving a lemony wreck to a luxury car

Someone asked me the other day how it felt to go from what I drove (a wreck.. a rusted, heat-less, unreliable lemon of a car), to the one I chose now that has heated seats, built-in GPS (that’s why I sold my old GPS), and automatic doors that work and can lock without an issue.

I know this sounds so basic to all of you…

“Doors that lock? That sounds…. like that should be every car..”

…but my old car didn’t lock sometimes. I’d press on the manual lock in the car and it would make a locking sound, but then the door would stay open.

I finally just gave up trying to get it to lock.

If the wanted to steal stuff, they could have at it — I had kids sand toys, a car seat and spare jackets to steal if they wanted. My car looked so terrible that thieves probably just glanced past it.

As for the heat? It worked sometimes.

During winter and sub-zero weather, this is not cool. I made sure to always bundle Little Bun up in full snow gear in the car, because even if it DID work, there was no guarantee the car would be warm until we reached our destination 20 minutes later.

It wasn’t worth the hassle. And I would laugh each time I get to where I needed to go, and then the heat would suddenly turn on full blast, searing hot like a desert wind.

I appreciate the car far more than I ever would have

I think I really appreciate the car far more just because I drove such crappy, used, wrecks for all of my life, plus I have constantly walked and taken public transport (still do!) that it is a real, bona fide PLEASURE to drive something that doesn’t suck.


I appreciate it far more than if I had started off with my high income, buying luxury SUVs to begin with.

I am super glad I waited.

…especially with a child & public transit

Especially after having Little Bun, a car is pretty much a necessity. If you can afford it, can park it, and drive it, a car is a real time and life saver when you have children.

It is hell to take the bus and lug all of their (and your) crap with them if it is to go to work or school. If it is just for fun, like the metro trips I go on with Little Bun, NO PROBLEM, I can go with just a little purse in summer, but during winter?

Forget it.

Why?

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.

Kids get whiny because gets hot when they’re on the bus it is cranked up to Island Temperatures while it is Subzero Winter outside, so you are bundled up for the Winter, but sweating and crammed like cattle into a tight, packed bus that feels like Summer.

You could, like me, also try to take off their and your coats to not get nauseous from the overheating (I have very sensitive motion sickness triggers), but then WHERE DO YOU PUT THIS CRAP? The bus is FULL, and everyone is glaring at you because you have a small child and you are taking up a seat space for a tiny human…

(Worse if you have a stroller. OMG. DEATH STARES. Now you are taking up THREE seats, you Terrible Excuse for a Parent for having Procreated.)

Not only that, people so close to me, are elbowing me, I am trying to fend off accidental elbows from Little Bun’s body and face because he’s so small you can’t see him, and I am lugging his lunch, my lunch, my work bag, and all of our crap.

Finally, as if that isn’t enough, my motion sickness tends to kick in if I cannot see the road / horizon. I need to see where I am going, and if I am squished up behind the back of someone with no view out, I start to get sick, and feel dizzy.

Oh, and Little Bun naturally doesn’t want to sit, but wants to stand and see what is going on, so now you have to angrily and quietly plead, beg and threaten your child to SIT DOWN AND SIT STILL…. which almost makes you lose you stop off, at which point the last hurdle is to get him, your junk, yourself, through this tight, packed sea of passengers, OFF THE BUS IN TIME and without anyone getting hurt.

………..Yeah. #AllRealProblems

Aside from that, here are a few things I really, REALLY appreciate in my new car that I know people are going to think are banal, but… honestly, it makes such a difference.

Built-in GPS

I don’t know what cars do or don’t come standard with this, but OMG. I really, REALLY like having a GPS built in.

I don’t have to worry about carrying a separate device, or worse, stashing it in between my legs to look at my *cough* crotch *cough* to check my location as I am driving because the GPS holder / suction cup fell off the windshield AGAIN because of the cold and/or heat…

I like that I can see the streets in a screen that is located, permanently fixed to my right with no chance of it falling down between the seats as I am trying to figure out which exit to take (cue lots of stress and panic on the highway)…

Built-in Bluetooth to my iPod

I can connect my iPod touch now, and I am able to listen to my OWN MUSIC without having to use some fiddly AM/FM tuner device that doesn’t find the right radio station with the clearest frequency to play songs.

I have playlists for Little Bun (he called his “Dance” LOL…), and I have my own playlists. It’s magical to be able to hear your own music on surround sound in the car, and in such crisp, clear quality.

Heated Seats

I am told this is standard now in many cars as an upgrade.

I have never, ever had heated seats in my life.

To me, this is the #1 signifier of a “NICE CAR”.

I love these things. I sit in the car, my whole back gets warm, and it even helps my bad back if I happen to be having a bad day.

The other day, my partner says to me as I am waxing poetic on how much I love these seat warmers:

“Darling…..I use the passenger side heated seat warmers to keep the baguettes warm when I am out shopping. :-P”

LOL

The car keeps driver profiles

I HATE. HATE. HATE. re-adjusting my seat and my preferences when I am in my car after my partner has driven it.

Now? No problem. I just set it to my profile and DONE.

Controls on the steering wheel

Again, STUPID, but SO HELPFUL.

I can adjust the heat, the music volume all from my steering wheel instead of having to squint at the dashboard or try to fiddle with it while driving in traffic to get it warmer or colder.

Actual joy in driving my car

Let’s face it, my car was a wreck. Every time I drove it, I felt blah. Not terrible, not meh, just… indifferent.

Now? I am PLEASED to drive it.

I find things to do, places to be, and find real pleasure in driving a nice car instead of thinking: Oh no.. I have to put in a winter jacket and sit in that wreck…

Way more space than in my old car

This car is way more organized. I have spots for things I didn’t have before, and even though my car was big before, it had so many (useless) seats in it that I didn’t need or used, that going to an SUV has really changed how much space I have.

Everything is so organized now.

Long story short? Magical.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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8 Comments

  1. StackingCash

    I’m still amazed you “suffered” so much for so long with your wealth. Even a reasonable priced vehicle has all the amenities the luxury cars have these days. Perhaps the most important thing is the safety features a modern vehicle has. Does your car have remote start to get the temperature comfortable? I guess my mid life crisis has caused me to be less frugal and more practical when it comes to living well. Speaking of which, I still highly recommend a nice Bosch dishwasher 😉

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I was cheap AF. Still am for some things. 🙂

      Reply
  2. ArianaAuburn

    I bet those features will help keep you and Baby Bun safe.
    I was aghast when you mentioned driving a car with crappy heat settings during those bitter Canadian winters. Like seriously that was not worth it. And there are a lot of crappy roads driven by crappy drivers in the dead of winter. Hell, a luxury car should be a requirement when you have to transport your kids around.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Agreed (now that I have a good car)

      Reply
  3. Jen

    Just bought a luxury vehicle (used) and I am SO happy with it. I had been driving a very basic 2005 car for 10 years. My new car should go for at least 250,000 miles and is inexpensive to repair, so I think it was a good choice and will break the cycle of regularly replacing crappy cars. It is truly a joy to drive. There are so many options buying used…I researched every possible car that met my requirements and the one I picked beat out lesser vehicles on price. Expecting to be in this car for 15 years or more, so it’s a good thing it’s lux.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      RIGHT!? I feel the same way.

      Reply
  4. Maggie

    Lol, I’m very happy that you get so much joy out of your new car! Pure appreciation.

    Reply

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