I personally believe that you (nor I) deserve anything. You earn things, sometimes you get lucky and sometimes fate has a different plan for you than you did for yourself. If you drop this word from your vocabulary, I think you will see the world differently and benefit from doing so.
Here is a classic mistake that people make, so avoid this now or correct it if you’ve already headed down this path. You graduate college and/or you get your first job and you start earning a real paycheck for the first time in life. You may have had a few jobs prior to this, making a little money here and there. But this is the real deal, you have money coming in every two weeks that is more than ever before. You’ve “made it”…or have you? This is where things get tricky, because it is so easy to get sucked into spending that money unwisely. Treating yourself to a new car seems like a nice reward for you working hard in school and landing a job that pays the bills. IT IS NOT….IT IS A TRAP. You do not deserve new car…yet.
Marketing and Advertising companies are specialists in one thing: getting you and your money to part ways. Creative financing “allows” you to lease a car that you can’t afford to buy outright. A couple hundred bucks month commitment doesn’t seem that bad, especially to be able to roll up in a new ride that all your friends admire. And…there is your trap:It is your ego that thinks you deserve a new car. The marketing and advertising campaigns KNOW that this is something that everyone desires, to be admired and envied by others, and they capitalize on it as often as possible. The car commercials are always doing their best to get you to want to be seen in that car, and then they conspire with the banks to make it affordable to as many as possible. I use the term “affordable” loosely; just because you can make a $600 a month car payment doesn’t mean you should. Save the Tesla for later…get your shit together first.
And oh by the way, that $644 car payment (average for a new car purchase since 2021) isn’t the whole story. When you finance a car you are required to have full coverage insurance on it as well. This protects the bank who did your loan in case you wreck the car. That adds another $200 on top of your monthly payment. Did you notice gas prices are a little high these day? It literally costs twice as much to fill your gas tank as it did just a few years ago, so that is an additional expense you need to budget for. In total, you are looking at a monthly average cost of $1000 to LEASE (rent) that car. You put a couple of grand down, which theoretically should be added into the cost as well, but we’ll let that slide for now. And oh by the way…you’ll be turning this car back into the dealership in a few years, and be starting from ground zero to do it all over again…assuming you didn’t go over your allotted mileage program and have a penalty fee to roll into the next lease you sign up for.
This is why deserve is a good word to drop from your vocabulary…you don’t deserve a new car, you just WANT one. Marketing and Advertising make you desire it, and the banks help get you trapped into that system as early on as possible.
Many of us had good practice living lean; I was the definition of a starving college student. I lived off of a Taco Bell burrito a day my first semester away at school. I started playing racquetball against people and betting dinners. I couldn’t lose, as I didn’t have the money to feed myself I certainly didn’t have the money to buy someone else’s dinner on top of it. So I got good at performing under pressure, and I ate a lot of meals at the expense of my friends that semester. But part of the problem with the struggle is you get sick of it. You WANT to have things easier and to have nice things, so as soon as you have the means, you jump at the chance. This is where discipline is so important. You HAVE TO set yourself up for success by outlining some rules to live by. In effort to assist with this practice, here are a few thoughts to get you started:
—LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS This is hyper-critical throughout your life. Extend your lean living into the rest of your life; if you can, you will have money stockpiled for whenever you need it, such as losing a job or buying a house. Pay yourself first, and you will always stay ahead of the game.
–Get a system in place and FOLLOW IT. Read: I will teach you to be Rich by Ramit Sethi. It’s gold, and has the system that you can plug into place and use from now on. Tried and true process, don’t sleep on it.
–Stop caring what other people think None of us are running the same race and no one starts from the same place either. The comparison game will get you nowhere, other than into debt.
If you employ the above strategies, you will be way ahead of most of the people you associate with. The average household in the U.S. has over $6,000 of credit card debt alone, not to mention student loan debt, mortgage payments, car payments and other general living expenses. Don’t fall into the traps in the first place, or get out as soon as possible. Otherwise the hole you dig will need a ladder to exit from, and I am speaking from experience on this one. I was $70K in debt, without a mortgage payment factored into that, at one point in my life. It sucked, but it was my own fault. I didn’t know the rules of the game and I paid the price for it, literally and figuratively. This is why I am on such a crusade about this stuff, we are not taught this in school and to some degree I think that is by design, but I’ll save that rant from another blog post.
You don’t deserve anything, you get out what you put in. If you put a system in place that has your long term benefits in mind and stick to it, you will live an easier life. I honestly believe that; I have done it the hard way for a long time, and now that I do it the easier way, my life is so much better. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to learn from my errors and do things the right (easy) way now. Get on the right track, and one of the biggest stressors in life with be handled with little to no thought about it, you will just operate within the system you have built and the rest takes care of itself.