(When last we saw KHG, she was realizing that the Baja no longer fit her needs and she was ready to buy a sparkly new car.)
As I shopped for cars online between interviewing Chevy Volt owners for the New York Times and editing a book about marketing, I remembered that if I was going to take this search seriously — and apparently I was — I should probably consult my own book. How much car could I, a lowly freelancer, actually afford?
Turns out, not much. But not as bad as I thought.
I turned to the section on budgeting in Take the Wheel (page 19 for those of you following along at home) and ran the numbers. The sad, sad numbers. I used only my income and my portion of the monthly debt and bills — kind as if my husband were a roommate instead of a supportive, trusting partner in a long-term committed relationship. It turned out that, by taking my own fucking advice, I could afford no more each month than I was currently paying for the Baja. My dreams of a brand-new car flew out the sunroof.
I dangled the promise of a new-to-me car like a carrot: as soon as I signed the bottom of form 1040 and paid my tax lady (who is the best), I would allow myself to actually purchase an automobile. The search was on.