Replacing The Beast & Love For The CarMax Return Policy

It’s been over a year since The Beast went belly up (see obituary below).  I have been hesitant to write this post because I know many of you were attached to her and, well, it was just too damn painful.  But a lot of lessons came out of her passing that I thought the best way to honor her would be to share with you her replacement story.  After all, this alone saved me from what would have been the second biggest financial mistake of my life (you can read the first HERE).

First, a few words of advice…

When replacing the love of your life a car that you have had for many many years that has seen you through thick and thin and everything in between, don’t just go with the size or type of car you had before without reexamining your needs. You’ll want to reevaluate your current vehicle requirements before taking the plunge.

Examples:

  1. Have the kids have grown from their car seats?  Maybe a third row is no longer necessary.
  2. Not off-roading any time soon? Ditch the Hummer you bought to look cool and get something more realistic and emission friendly.
  3. You’ve decided you no longer need 8 cup holders in your automobile when 5 will suffice?  Downsize said cup holder requirement.
  4. Are you about to have a kid??  It might be time to upgrade from the 2 seater Smart coupe to a more comfortable 4 person Prius.
  5. One kid about to start driving?  Maybe it’s best to revisit the new car idea in another couple of years.

The last one, I didn’t have that option.  The Beast was dead before I actively started looking for her replacement.* But I did have an idea of what I wanted. My personal list of requirements for my new used car included:

  1. 4 Doors
  2. Air conditioning
  3. Cruise Control
  4. 4 windows that worked
  5. Gas mileage better than 18mpg (which is apparently what a lack of compression does to a 17-year-old car)
  6. Less than 90k miles
  7. Under $10k

Things I wanted but weren’t necessary:

  1. Option to build out another sleeping platform
  2. Silver in color – I’m fancy like that.

Pretty standard.

Knowing The Beast was on her final miles, I had already been preparing mentally for what her replacement would be.  Buying a new car was a big deal for me!!  I had been with The Beast for 15 years and she was EXACTLY what I wanted when I got her.  I was hoping for the same clarity when purchasing this next car and eventually narrowed my choices to the Honda Fit.

I searched Craigslist and Honda dealers for weeks before finally focusing my sights on CarMax. I found exactly what I was looking for.  A 2016 silver Honda Fit with everything on my list….except the price.  I originally thought I would buy something 5 years oldish but, as sometimes happens when shopping, I lost my thrifty superpower when I found this car.  It happens.

CarMax Purchase

Buying at CarMax is a simple transaction.  You see the car, you like the car and if it is in the store, you can buy it that day.  If not, they will ship it to you for a nominal fee.  There is no wheeling and dealing or negotiating.  You just go, buy, and drive.  I realize for most frugal folks this may seem like a loss – we love to haggle and get the best deal, but in this case, I didn’t have the mental capacity to sit in an office with a sales manager going back and forth on price so he/she could find a way to come out ahead.  I just couldn’t do it.  Instead, my friend John and I went in, bought the car (I financed it with the intention to pay it off in the next few months with no early payment penalty fee), and soon after I drove off with new plates, tags, insurance, and a smile plastered across my face.**

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Continue reading “Replacing The Beast & Love For The CarMax Return Policy”

Intentionally Left Blank

~ A quick THANK YOU to all who commented, emailed, text, and called in response to this post.  Hearing your stories and how this post impacted you have left me verklempt.  I literally do not have the words to express how much it means to me – to not only hear your words of encouragement but also for you to share your vulnerabilities with me.  I hold them dear.  You have restored my purpose in writing and sharing my life stories which is invaluable to me at this moment.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. ~

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A couple months ago I was interviewed for a feature on Marketwatch and a few days ago a woman emailed me to follow up with some questions. I had no idea what was coming (I should really start asking for those questions in advance) but I figured the usual mainstream FIRE related mumbo jumbo like tips for beginners or how did I get here.  Most of these questions I have answered before.  With confidence.  No hesitation.  Almost always saying too much because, you know, I can’t help myself.  But this time was different.  This time I stumbled on almost every question asked.  I found myself searching for words that should not only be at the tip of my tongue but should easily fall off of it.  And they didn’t.  By the time she got to the “What do you want to do when you retire?” question – I was an internal mess.  So what happened?

I mentioned my crazy year in the last post but what I didn’t do is explain that most of that moving around was due to a relationship that no longer exists.  And though everything is fine, we are friendly, life will go on blah blah blah, the end of that relationship also signifies the end of what I thought the last 1.5 years would lead to.  That is the tough part to reconcile.  Because when I think about my FIRE journey and what comes after retirement what I thought, at least for the past 1.5 years, is no longer my future.  Turns out, that part of my life was temporary.  But that alone didn’t throw me, it goes deeper.  This year, despite everything else, I also reached FI.
Continue reading “Intentionally Left Blank”

Life Update – I’m an Engineer Now ;)

I’m back… 🙂  

I got a text from a friend this week that whipped my brain matter into a froth. It was a screenshot from a tweet she sent out last year…

Already??!!  I remember like it was yesterday… and I wish to God I could forget the song!!

This past year has been both the shortest AND the longest string of three hundred and sixty-five days in all of my 40 years. At times it has felt like a complete whirlwind where I couldn’t catch my breath, and others it felt like I was walking through mud…where I also couldn’t catch my breath, but for completely different reasons. In an effort to not make this a 10k* word post, I am going to gloss over almost everything except the key highlights:

  • June 2018 – Bought the Caboose
  • June 2018 – Moved to Denver
  • Summer 2018 – Went to FinCon, Camp Mustache, and every CampFI of 2018 (minus the second Florida weekend)
  • 2018/2019 – Spent a lot of time in Georgia
  • 2018/2019 – Spent a few minutes swimming upstream in the mainstream media (more on that in a later post).
  • 2018/2019 – Spent nominal amounts of time at work
  • 2019 – Had a lovely vacation in Europe where, amongst other things, I lived in a castle and dined on Pannekoek
  • May 2019 – Moved to Lake Geneva for the summer

Whew!  I’m finally taking a moment to breathe before summer gets into full swing. Marla, my friend and caboose neighbor, is set to arrive next week which will get the 2019 season kicked off right.  We have a lot of visitors due for visits (see your invite below!) in the coming months but I also have FinCon, Lola Retreat, a trip to Vancouver, and a possible jaunt through Spain (still in the planning stages) to look forward to.  To round it all out, another move awaits me in October.  Something tells me I am set for another whirlwind of a year.  But first, the present…



Now that I live in a train car, I can somewhat declare that I am a locomotive engineer. OK, so there is no engine to speak of, but I am maintaining/living in the area which the engineers’ who once worked on the engine used to use as an office. That must count for something, right? Plus, I have these kick-ass locomotive engineer overalls so it’s officially official via my wardrobe at least…I am an engineer.

So what can I tell you about caboose living that I haven’t already? Continue reading “Life Update – I’m an Engineer Now ;)”

Want To Check Out My Caboose?

Clickbait?  Maybe…

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Ok, just kidding.  That is me trying to dumpster dive at Aldi…my technique could use some improvement.

What I really want to show you is my OTHER caboose…

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Isn’t she lovely??

I teased about this purchase back in July, but if you haven’t been following along on Twitter or Instagram then I have failed as far as keeping you updated.  So let me shout it from the rooftops once again… Continue reading “Want To Check Out My Caboose?”

Fuck It FI aka When You Change Direction On The Path to Financial Independence

Too long a title?  It’s my blog, so deal.  😉

When you take several months off between posts, it seems every post you write has a catch-up theme.  I’ll keep it brief, but this one is no different…

After my road trip ended in February, I began a stage of floating.  I floated from one house sit to the next, from one work trip to the next, and one grand idea to the next.  As of a few weeks ago, I traded all of that floating for rooting.  In a tiny home.  In Denver.  COLORADO!!

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Welcome to Our Tiny Home ❤

The road that led me here has been a long, windy, and lately a bumpy one.  4 years ago I first got the idea to move.  And then I met someone, so I stayed.  6 months ago that ended and I decided to move again.  And then I met someone else, nearly changing my course yet again.  But that too is over and I am finally here.  No strings attached. 10/2 UPDATE – new strings attached 😉  I moved everything I have across the country into 283 sq ft of what I soon hope to call “home” and actually feel it.

So where does that leave me on my path to FI??  Well, I coined a new term that I am sure will spread like wildfire – I am currently on the path of Fuck It FI… Continue reading “Fuck It FI aka When You Change Direction On The Path to Financial Independence”