In this age of social media, it’s easy to look at the image that those around us project and feel that our own position is a bit inadequate. Feeling content is something we all struggle with, myself included. It’s only natural to want to share our triumphs and successes in life via the internet, but the struggle or sacrifices made along the way are often hidden from the public’s eye.
I’ve noticed that young people sometimes comment on my lifestyle as being something they strive to obtain. I think this typically stems from the idea that I own a home, have a wife and young children, and still manage to own a decent project car. I don’t disagree and find this praise to be very flattering. When I step back and think about it, while a lot of what I post is truly out of a passion for these cars, it also comes back to the same desire most of us have to project our successes in life. While I strive to be humble, it’s all too easy to drop the humble-brag post from time to time.
I thought it might be fun to shed some light on one of the main things I give up that allows me to own and tinker with my 240- my daily driver. I actually got the idea for this post from those “My hands look like this… so hers can look like this” memes, as funny as that is. My current means of transportation for day-to-day driving is a 2004 Pontiac Vibe with just over 200k miles on the clock. I picked this car up from my brother-in-law- last November for $1,000 as that is all he was going to receive from the dealer when trading it in for a newer Subaru. This is actually my first American car, despite the fact that it was built as a joint venture with Toyota (which is more or less the only reason I could bring myself to buy it, haha.)
While nothing about this car excites me in any way, it’s so nice to not have the burden of a car payment. I’m fortunate enough to say that I have never had a car loan and my hope is to be able to keep it that way. I’ve watched a number of friends and family members move up to much nicer vehicles over the years, and it is easy to be a bit jealous when looking at my neighbor’s driveways. I need to constantly remind myself how lucky I am to have my S13, and owning a nicer vehicle to drive every day is something I have to give up in order to make that possible with the income I have.
It can be a little tedious to bounce from car to car every couple years, but the financial benefit is usually worth playing the game (knocks on wood desk.) I’ve had a fairly good streak of vehicle purchases going since I sold my Evo back in 2014 (which was my only car at the time) with a $1200 1996 Toyota Camry, $650 2007 Mazda5, and the $1000 Pontiac Vibe I am driving now. All of these cars required a bit of work to be road worthy and had their share of issues, but keeping the costs down for my commuter cars is essential to maintaining the family budget.
The days are growing shorter already and the snow will be here before I know it. So, this February, when you see me posting an older photo of my S13 from the summer because it hasn’t been driven in a few months, remember- I’m actually outside in the snow scraping off my old Pontiac Vibe to drive to work (because my S13 needs to be in the garage, of course.) Balance and compromise is the only thing that makes owning my 240SX possible.