Another car payment.


At Thanksgiving, in the midst of a writing funk, our car, a 2012 Kia Sportage, crapped out. We were on our way to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner on Black Friday when the engine hiccuped while I was passing a car. Nothing much, but it felt odd, yet, it really wasn’t noticed by my wife or daughter. As we continued down the road, that odd feeling turned into a loud squeak and an engine that could not maintain speed. I pulled off, and it died. With the check engine and oil light on.


I was able to restart the car, but with a shudder and shake. We ended up getting it towed back to our local mechanic and our daughter, who was on her way back from Thanksgiving with her boyfriend’s family, came and picked us up. We called on the car the following week, and while there are HUGE issues with this group of Kia cars, our car was not “VIN specific” to the recall and thus, $5000 – $7000 for a new engine and $3000 for a used engine, all for a car worth $4000.

NOTE: Kia was fairly rude to both my wife and me, on the phone and via direct message on social media. We won’t be purchasing another Kia in our lifetimes.


So, the “new” car search begins. Keep in mind, we had a plan: pay off the car I’m driving, pay off the house, save a little bit, purchase something else.


I wasn’t too worried as we had three vehicles for two drivers. Now, two vehicles, two drivers, we are fine, right??


My wife wanted an all-wheel drive, and for good reason. She drives 30 miles to work every day, and with the way our winter was last year, the all-wheel drive gave her a sense of security. But, the older I get, the more allergic to debt I become. We settled on a Ford Escape, not the first choice of either of us, but something reliable, all-wheel drive, and with a good safety record.

The problem, with the 2015 car comes the 2020 payment. Ugh. Debt is hard enough to navigate when you plan for it, but when it’s something like this, it blows up those plans!

So, we continue to put together different scenarios where we can be debt-free, where we can have less debt, but all scenarios involve a cut back in “miscellaneous spend” to pay down loans.

When does it stop? I wish I could answer that question. My wife reminds me of weddings on the horizon, the bathroom needs fixed, the front porch needs some work, and “Old Red” (our going to fair, moving daughters around truck) is really old.


However, I have a beautiful wife, two beautiful daughters, a roof over my head, some amazing people in my work family, and a job that allows me to do something I love. True, there’s not a lot of money in the bank, but things could be worse.

We’ll manage, we always do. Just a few more years.

I just wish it wasn’t always so dang hard.