Girl’s Best Friend

By Candice Hightower


The truth can set you free, and don’t I know it. If you’ve ever seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory then you may have met me (in part anyway). I’m the quintessential Violet Beauregard. You know, the grape girl that goes pop. Only my inflation followed by an all out burst fest is usually brought on by holding back. That’s right—your very own preservative. But I figure new year, new pop-free beginnings. So please excuse me while I let a little air out one conscious zip at a time. That said, I’m going to admit what most women won’t: I’m jealous of my best friend. Okay, I didn’t expect to hear a deep sigh of shock (especially the kind heard ‘round the world), but just hear me out.

First things first, BFF and I have been an item since the 7th grade (admittedly the 80s). And true to fashion, she was the initiator. She passed me a discrete note in social studies that read, “Do you want to eat lunch with me?” I responded with an unenthusiastic nod of consent (again, true to fashion) and the rest is history. From middle school and high school to college and real adulthood, we managed to remain best buds even after a failed attempt at being roomies in our early twenties. So what is the source of this friendly envy? She’s a free woman and I’m not. We’re not talking single vs. married or housework vs. house arrest. The reason I’m green all over is simple: just recently she wrote the last and final check paying off her smart little SUV.

Sorry to disappoint. I know I should be a hater for more obvious reasons like her fearless personality, her booming business or the fact that she has always, always had cuter gentlemen callers. She’s amazing and let’s face it, if I didn’t love her to pieces I could so hate her. Trust me, I’m well aware that my “auto payoff” pining is not of the drama drenching soap opera kind. I also know it would be more intriguing if my envy had more of a Desperate Housewives flavor, but I weighed my options and coming clean reigned over dramatic effect.

Still, I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to have that extra cash in pocket and own your four-door baby free and clear. Undoubtedly, it would be an absolute dream. I can see it now: cable television with all the unnecessary channels, the white sapphire earrings I’ve been craving for over a year and a savings account too crowded for my credit union. Truth is, I can’t keep my head in the clouds too long because my liberation day is more than a couple years off. It’s slightly discouraging, but it could be so much worse. Instead of feeling trapped in a car I despise or can’t wait to unload, I am feverishly looking forward to the day when she is mine, all mine. But some people aren’t so lucky.

With banks offering auto financing that gives drivers up to 96 months (in quick liberal arts: math, that’s eight years) to pay their loans off in full, many people feel and actually are stuck. The payments may be lower when stretched out over eight years instead of three, but if you’re like most of us, around year three or four you’re looking to upgrade to something bigger, better and of course newer. We must choose between paying up sooner or paying dearly later. It may not seem like much of a choice, but this economy has made us all way smarter than that. We don’t need some guy sitting behind a desk telling us what we can afford. We know and many of us had to learn the hard way.

In the financial hole is nowhere for me, so until and after my hood gets stamped “PAID IN FULL” I will be loving her (my ride and my BFF) like there’s no tomorrow. That’s it. The truth is out. No Oompa Loompas necessary.

Take It from Me: Paying off any amount of debt is truly a cause for celebration. To keep discouraging feelings at bay as you chop your creditors down, make a payoff wish list of what you would do once your bills were out of the red zone. Treat yourself, keep it constructive and make it worth it.

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  1. I just traded last November. My current truck at the time (an 01 Frontier) had been paid off for three years when I traded. I can’t stand a payment, and work/save religiously until it is gone. Hopefully I can pay my cuurent one off in about 2 1/2 years.

  2. I hear you, little sister. Having a car that’s paid for is a beautiful thing. I had a car that had 223,000 miles on it that had been paid off for 14 years. I just bought something new 8 months ago, and now I’m wondering why I did that since there was nothing wrong with my old car and it still looked great. I just got seduced by the new car, that’s all.

  3. Last time I bought a new car I paid for the thing largely up front and accelerated the payment schedule so I owned it fully just two years later….that was five years ago. I enjoy it too much to be bothered to replace it and wouldn’t be arsed to latch on to something new…

    The missus went the whole hog back in Y2K and bought her Forester new in full….she has since saved sufficent to buy a new one (again in full, after trade) but hasn’t worn the old one out!!

    Finance is just a way to give other people money to compensate for your own impatience…..

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