The car

I lease a car. That's what I've always done since my first car. I like getting a new one every few years (although I don't particularly like the process) and even though you always have a car payment when you lease, it's less expensive in the short term compared to buying. I'm not saying you should lease rather than buy. I'm not even saying you should have a car. I'm just sharing what I do.

Having a car was a no-brainer for me when I lived in the suburbs. Especially when my daughter was little. I drove my car to work every day. As a single mom, I was the one responsible for leaving work early to go pick her up at school if she wasn't feeling well.

Now I live a 5-minute walk away from work, and my little girl is not so little anymore. I don't take my car every day. In fact, I use it on average only two to three times a week. For a while I considered and looked into a car-share program. You know, the ones were someone else is ultimately responsible for the car, you just reserve it and you either pay a monthly fee to use it, or you pay by use. But the thing is, with car-share programs, you're never guaranteed to get the car when you need it. Someone else may have reserved it before you. Or the person that had the car before you may return it late, which can complicate things for you if you haven't taken that into consideration.

I like having my car available to me whenever I need it. Even if I don't need it as often as I used to. Also, Mr. Romantic lives a 25-minute drive away from my place, and so does my mom. Taking my car to go see either them saves me a lot of time. I'd need to take up to two different buses to go visit either one of them if I didn't have a car, and it would take me anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours (or more) of travel time depending on when I would want to go (peak times during the week or the reduced weekend schedule). That's too inconvenient for me. (First world problems.)

Mr. Romantic and I have plans to travel with all of the kids (his two kids and my daughter, and perhaps my daughter's boyfriend). The little car I lease could accommodate five people, but probably not comfortably enough for an extended road trip.

When I was shopping for the new car, one of my friends suggested I take the whole crew into consideration (Mr. Romantic, his kids, and my daughter) and maybe get a minivan or a vehicle that seats 6 to 8 people.

I've borrowed minivans before. They consume a lot of fuel. And they're more expensive than the smaller cars I tend to lease. I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to count on one hand, maybe two, the amount of times where it would be convenient to have a minivan. In this case, it really isn't worth it to me to pay more for the convenience.

The solution? When we do plan whole-family road trips, we will also plan renting an appropriately sized vehicle for the occasion.

So even though I'm paying for something I don't necessarily need (it's definitely a want), I'm not going overboard in getting something more than what is useful for the majority of times when I do use it.


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