I almost won a car yesterday. Well, being honest, I won a chance at almost winning a car yesterday. It was a marketing ploy to get me in the door of a dealership. I knew this was a possibility, but since I am in the market for a car, I figured I would go anyway. Flash forward to over eight hours later, and I’m leaving a 2010 Toyota Yaris “in the back” of the dealership, with a lump in my throat at being thisclose to having a car.
Let’s go back in this car story to the very beginning. When I got my first car, I had just turned 22. I had only had my license for about six months. I had never bought anything of that value. I had no co-signer. My interest rate was 11%. Just before I paid that car off, I was rear ended and the car was totaled. When I went to get another car, things had changed. My student loans were out of deferment and my credit didn’t look as good as it did when I was a debt free undergrad living on borrowed time. I was denied at every dealership imaginable, even with $3000 to put down. So I ended up at a “buy here/pay here” place to get something to drive. “Buy here pay here,” for those unfamiliar, is a car dealership that will let you finance a vehicle with any credit. They charge you ridiculous interest rates similar to store card rates and your payments are bi-weekly instead of monthly. I ended up with a 24% interest rate. 🙁 After paying this car off and getting the title in the mail, a drunk driver ran a light and turned in front of me, totaling my car. So the search began again. What would my credit say this time?
The credit wasn’t an issue. The interest rate is still high, but falling at around 16%. I am putting down a little more. I was surprised that they were able to put me in a car at the payment amount I wanted of the quality that I found. The problem was I had to have the down payment, or at least a good percentage of it, and I didn’t have the check yet. I couldn’t borrow that amount of money from anyone, and my credit isn’t that good, so I ended up having to leave the car until I have the money in hand. At least they’ll hold it for me.
I really didn’t want to leave that car behind. I had spent all day haggling, wheeling, dealing, test driving, Kelly Blue Booking, calling my uncle for his opinion, having my credit checked, etc., and to leave without a car was a bit demoralizing. I could bemoan not having a co-signer, not having good enough credit to sign and drive, and not having written big enough checks for whatever company they use to insure my check until they could run it. I could be angry that I am even forced to buy a car I hadn’t budgeted for having to buy because of someone else’s poor decisions. I could be upset that I still have to get a ride everywhere and can’t just get up and go where I need to when I need to go. I could be irritated that pursuing my education has put me in the same financial predicament as someone irresponsible with money who probably had a lot more chances than I have had to screw things up. I could be all of these things and it still wouldn’t change the situation.
In a few days, I’ll have a check in my hands for the down payment. I’ll be driven back to the dealership, hand over the check, and drive off in my car. I will post pictures to Facebook and put a few personal touches on it. I’m not denied, just delayed.
In life, not being able to do what we want when we want can seem crushing. When we have plans or deadlines in mind to be in a certain position in life or to have acquired certain things in life, we get discouraged when it doesn’t seem to be happening for us. What’s hard to remember is just because we don’t have something, doesn’t mean we never will. Some things are delayed (to us), not denied. Just because I’m not married now, it doesn’t mean I will never marry. Just because I don’t make $50,000 dollars a year or own a house now doesn’t mean I never will accomplish these things. Sometimes, I want things now, when God is saying “not yet.”
I’m trying to grow to the place where I can tell “delays” and “denials” apart. Everything is not going to go according to my plan, and thank God it doesn’t. If I had married the person I thought I would marry and had the job I thought I would have when I was younger, I would be miserable. God knows best. I can take this experience of spending eight hours hard at work to acquire a car and still having to wait as a lesson in patience, discernment, and more patience. I should have the car just in time for my birthday, so I like the symmetry. I won’t owe anyone for helping me out with its purchase in any way, and I will be free to do what I want with it once I get it. It’s the best way things could turn out. #repeat.
What has been delayed for you? How do you keep yourself encouraged and cultivate patience while waiting?
- Adam’s Story: The Burden of Having Co-Signers (knowledgeoncredit.com)
- Hurry up and slow down! (peakperspective.com)