Hello, gentle readers.
Philip and I have this tendency. I'm not sure yet whether it's a good one or a bad one. We have a tendency to spend a month or two (or a year or two) to "discuss" things we'd like to do or purchases we'd like to make. We bring up the topic, then freak out about committing to a decision (whether it be getting married, adopting a kitty, purchasing a bike, choosing a TV, deciding where to go for the holidays) and shut it down for awhile.
Now, we have to get used to the idea before we can really talk about it. Maybe a month later we bring up the topic again and perhaps make a list of pros and cons or features desired. We get excited and check Craigslist or discuss hypothetical situations, then put the list on top of the fridge and forget about it until my next cleaning frenzy. Maybe a month later, we'll talk about it again and decide to look deeper.
And then one day, we innocently decide to window shop. We won't make any decisions today, but we should look around and see what we might like. "Oh, let's just look at the Humane Society today. We won't get a cat yet, but we could look!" "We should really go to Best Buy and look at TVs so we know what we like." "Let's go test drive some cars so we know how different cars handle. It will help us narrow our search."
This last statement came from Philip yesterday. We've been talking about getting a new car for the aforementioned two or three months. Felicia the Focus is getting high in miles and we've taken care of several maintenance issues in the past year. We checked out three different dealers and weren't sure quite what we were looking for (although a Subaru Outback was our original intent and a small SUV was in the running as well). We didn't find much at the first two dealerships, but we turned around when we saw the Dewey-Griffin Subaru dealership.
To make a long story short, after several phone calls, test drives (with internet-based research in between), and haggling, we bought a new (to us) car. This is so typical of us. We talk and think and research and think and talk some more for weeks on end; we'll go "look" at options, and two hours later, voila! We have a new cat/bike/TV/car.
The reason I'm not sure if this is good or bad is because I usually lay awake the night after such a purchase and wonder if we really made the right decision. Did we really need the 40" TV? The psycho kitty? The slightly-more-spendy-than-we-had-hoped-for-but-will-last-many-years car? There are people starving and not getting good drinking water and here we are, spending thousands of dollars on a car when we could probably find one for much cheaper that would work well enough for awhile.
Here is my rationalization (as Philip can tell you, I'm great at rationalizing--I get this from my mother):
1. While the actual purchase of these things is spontaneous, we put a lot of thought and discussion and research into these decisions (with the exception of adopting a cat. That was pretty spontaneous all the way around).
2. If we are going to spend money on something, we like to invest a little more money for peace of mind or to be intentional. Yes, we could have gotten a cheaper car. However, this car has the low mileage and the reliability that will last us for a good 5-7-10 years. We'll eat less meat, but buy the free-range organic chicken for when we do eat meat. We will purchase the 40" TV with the intention of watching less of it. However, when we do watch it, we'd like it to be intentional and communal.
So there you have it. While I'm still suffering a bit of worry at writing the biggest check (so far) in my life, I know that we made a choice to invest. Time will tell if that choice was right, but sometimes intentionality involves some risk. I hate risk, which is why I laid awake awhile last night, but sometimes risk pays off.
Really quick details about the car: It's a 2004 Subaru Outback Impreza Sport, all-wheel drive, 63K, roof rack, basic interior, but it handles well and we like it a lot. For now, it's sitting safely in our carport until I call our insurance agent today.
And now to reconfigure the budget.