I Bought a New Car! Part One: The Decision

For those of you who have already read Take the Wheel, I was in love with my 2005 Subaru Baja. It was the ideal car. I searched for it, I waited for one I could afford, I bought it and threw the dog in the back seat and drove happily ever after.

The Baja in happier days.

The Baja in happier days.

But then.

When I drove with two coworkers to a writing conference six hours east of here, we had to cram our luggage into the fourth seat and wrap our business’s booth gear in plastic so it could ride in the bed — in one of the worst storms we’d seen in a long time. When I drove to the coast with a friend and the dog, we had to cram my luggage, her luggage, and the dog gear into the fourth seat, leaving the bed empty for lack of tie-downs.

I tried upgrading the stereo, and I bought the Baja-specific in-bed bike rack. I wanted to stay in love, but it wasn’t working out. My needs had changed. It wasn’t her; it was me.

I did love the bulletproof Subaru engine and all-wheel drive, so I first fell in love with the shiniest new Subaru of all, the Crosstrek hybrid. Which was way too expensive. So I flirted with the gasoline-only Crosstrek. That flirtation lasted a couple of months, during which time I was amazingly able to convince my husband that my buying a brand-new car was a good idea, despite my position as a freelance writer and book editor (in case you weren’t aware, not one word of my job description screams “Lucrative!”).

But I wrote this book, and I did all this research, and I knew better. I knew it was time to do the math.

Part Two: The Budget