Something crazy has happened.

We bought a new car.

Let me rephrase that: We bought a car that is new to us.

The thing that makes it crazy is that it wasn’t a big deal. At all. We drove down to Brinkman’s in Tecumseh, NE (if you’re looking to buy a good car from some trustworthy people, this is the place to go…ask for Steve, he’s the coolest) like it was any other day, talked to Steve, drove the cars he thought fit our needs the best, wrote him a check, and drove away in our new car.

This surreal Bonk Moment has been brought to you by a Total Money Makeover.

I know it sounds like I’m blindly drinking whatever Kool-Aid Dave Ramsey is whipping up, but hey, we’ve got a great car that runs well and we don’t owe anyone a dime.

Let’s stop this for just a moment and talk about our previous car situation…We are the owners of a trusty old ‘97 Ford Taurus named Hermione (Paul is probably smacking his forehead right now, but yes, her name is Hermione). Hermione has taken me all over the place, has bashed her butt into a big ol’ sign, gotten me on Car Talk, and been an all around good friend…Lately, though, she hasn’t been sounding all that great. As fond as I am of her, having only one car and a cute little baby-man to drive around was getting us a little nervous.

We were quietly panicking…We had to have a car, but could we afford car payments? Absolutely not. Well, maybe, but then we couldn’t pay our student loans, or have internet, or, you know, eat.

So what did we do? Ignored the situation for a while, and hoped good old Hermione wouldn’t get the Avada Kedavra before we got things figured out. Turns out we’re a couple of lucky people.

One big lesson we learned from this Makeover is that you never want to owe anyone. Anything. Ever. I know that somebody out there’s about to start talking to me about “building my credit” and “credit cards can be a good thing,” but I’m just going to let you know that my fingers are in my ears and I’m singing “La la la la la la…” in a very annoying voice.

We’ve got big plans when it comes to money, and those plans mainly include not owing anyone a dime in about 5 years. Hopefully I’ll be sending out tastefully censored pictures of me lounging in my money-bath for Christmas cards in 2016.

What does all of this jabbering mean when it comes to buying a car?

It means we set aside a chunk of our tax return, called a dealership, told them EXACTLYhow much money we intended to spend on a car, asked them if they had anything for us, and bought ourselves a car.

Is it the most amazing car I’ve ever seen? No. Is it the worst car I’ve ever seen? Heck no. It’s quite decent, in fact, and what matters is that I’m not worried about it exploding.
What also matters is that we wrote a check and now we’re done with it. We planned for licensing and insurance as well, so we’re totally covered.

I know it can be depressing to be stopped at a light next to a shiny, brand-new car. This is the time when you close your eyes—scratch that; you’re driving—take a deep breath and know that you’re not making car payments. Know that after a few years of saving and trading up, you can be driving that same car without ever being in debt to anyone.

This is what Paul and I are telling ourselves, anyway, and it seems to be working so far.

I know I’ve got some readers out there who are on the Makeover Train with us…How have you guys dealt with car buying?