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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Reflections on my Car


Well I've come to a decision and to be honest it's been agonising. Life would be a lot easier if I wasn't concerned about consumerism or debt or the environment, it really makes everything a lot more hassle.

But then I think that's part of the point isn't it? We're so not used to thinking about the 'should I have it?' question and given the easy availability of credit we rarely think about the 'can I afford it?' question either. If you can afford you can have it and no one should tell you otherwise, not even Jesus. That mentality is sadly in the church as well as outside it. Only in very recently as anyone ever thought 'what about the environment?' when making major purchases. So going through those processes and weighing it all up is part of a better decision making process, part of not just doing something 'because I want to'.   

On the flip side as one of my commentators mentioned we can get all hung up over things, become eco-pharisees, take all pleasure out of life. I had to be sure that driving an old car wouldn't be some weird kind of badge of honour. 

So while it's been a nuisance, it's also been helpful and anyway we've decided to keep the old banger. Here are my reasons, see what you think about them

1) We weren't thinking about buying a new car - the pressure came from outside us not from within. So we were content and then the thought of having a new car actually made us less content with how things were. That is I guess how advertising works.
2) The old car is actually fine - it needs some new brake pads and stuff, but nothing every car doesn't need now and then. So actually we don't need to replace it. The thought of something new made what was older feel like we did
3) You pay for things to depreciate - the only way out of this one is to keep things till they wear out or buy into a never-ending round of upgrading. My current estimate is that our current car has cost us £250 a year in terms of its purchasing cost and that decreases every year. We'd need the next car for 10 years to match that.  
4) It felt like a pressure, and there wasn't peace about spending money on something we will need someday but don't need now. For example my better half isn't pregnant so if she went and bought lots of things for the 'nursery' it wouldn't be a good use of money right now. 

So, phew, decision made, time will tell whether it was the right one but I'm happy with our reasons

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