No more car payments

Just over 2 years ago, Mrs FmC and I found ourselves in the local Jeep dealership one Sunday morning. We were considering replacing our ageing Ford Focus (which we had suffered a long-running issue with – perhaps that is what made us lose interest in it, looking back), and wanted to look at the new Jeep Renegade.

I am not one for visiting car showrooms on a regular basis, but have to admit that once over the threshold, the lure of shiny new vehicles is very tempting!

Immediately we were drawn to a carbon black model sitting at the front of the showroom, with a giant cardboard cut-out of Batman & Superman standing next to it. On closer inspection we discovered it was a Dawn of Justice special edition – based on the film of the same name. It looked gorgeous! Blacked out windows, black alloy wheels, custom upholstery and a Batman v Superman badge on the back! My inner child presented itself immediately 🙂

What’s more the price seemed reasonable for such a cool looking car – around £20K. There was apparently only 500 made for the UK market – 250 with diesel engines and 250 with petrol.

Mrs FmC loved the Batmobile too (always dangerous when you assign a fond name to something you don’t yet own!) and was encouraging me to buy it.

So, before you could sing “Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na Batman!” we were sat in front of a salesman discussing a deal and various PCP intricacies.

To keep things brief (because this is not actually the point of the post, would you believe) we bought the car. We managed to get an excellent deal: a dealer contribution of £2,250, a trade-in against our Focus of £3,000, 0% interest free credit on a 2 year PCP contract, a free boot shelf, a set of premium Jeep car mats and the cardboard Batman & Superman cardboard cut-out1 to boot! All for a monthly payment of £169. Result!

We enjoyed the car very much over the first few months. It was our first experience of owning a brand new car. We felt proud. We enjoyed the more commanding seat position compared to the old hatchback. The speaker system was better. It had built-in TomTom sat-nav. People would notice it was the ‘car from the Batman v Superman film’. But the novelty soon wore off.

As the months passed, I hadn’t realised the effect of not actually owning the car would have on us. We were more cautious where we parked it. Due to the low annual mileage we had been ‘recommended’ to agree by the salesman, we started to worry about how much we would have to pay if (when!) we exceeded it. We didn’t even seem to wash it as much as I would have expected. As it wasn’t ours, it seemed we didn’t have as much pride in it.

Towards the end of 2017 we knew our time with Batty (as it was then named) was coming to an end. Jeep had been in touch by then too. We definitely didn’t want to buy it outright. And unlike the day we first stood in the showroom and signed on the dotted line, we had changed our mind about trading it in for another new model (which is why we only signed up for a 2 year agreement – it seemed like a great idea at the time to have a new car every 2 years).

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No news is good news

No, really.

Around a month ago, I decided to give up on news. Much of my day was wasted consuming news. During the working day, I would follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter and constantly click on my BBC News browser bookmark.

I would pride myself on being bang up to date on major events occurring in the world – often before others around me knew anything of them.

After work I would often make a point of turning over to the news at 18:00 (when I typically eat my dinner). Sometimes even the 22:00 news too – habits (I am quite sure) that have been subconsciously passed on from both my parents and grandparents.

But Mrs FmC has always been the complete opposite. She avoids the news and has no interest in watching it. I can now understand why.

Let’s face it – there is rarely any good news. Most of it is negative and depressing. From Brexit scaremongering to terrorist related atrocities, the typical news is doing us no favours.

The other thing I realised is that none of this news is relevant to me as an individual. I am not missing out as a result of not knowing. I feel relieved.

I did worry at first of appearing ignorant to others due to this change in habit. But then I remembered from Brené Brown’s excellent book Braving the Wilderness (which I just finished) that it’s OK to stand alone. I am an individual and proud of who I am.

So although I am still subject to news bulletins on the radio and various other sources – I am very happy with my choice to cut down on exposure to news. It has definitely made me feel happier.