So this happened yesterday:
These well-loved relatives of mine are otherwise mustachian dudes--blue collar, never broke 60K income in their lives. Built their own house THEMSELVES (no mortgage), didn't have cable until all the kids moved out, never had AC in the house, rolled change and turned it in at the bank, etc.
Seriously good money practices except for the FREAKING CARS. THE CARS. THE CARS. THE CARS. (I'm still steamed)
In their most recent two-year-carousel of car-shenanigans, these relatives have:
1) Traded in a just-paid-off vehicle with under 75000 miles AND sold inheritance stock to buy a (yay used!) fully loaded SUV (It's just the two of them). Paid an ADDITIONAL premium above the shafting on the trade-in to find the ultra-rare-according-to-the-dealer light blue color. Justified the purchase because:
A) <dead relative> would have wanted me to enjoy this specifically-colored dream car of mine
-Keep in mind that this person has been financing vehicles for years and has had genuinely nice vehicles for the last 15 years.
B) I've prayed about it and I have a lot of peace with the decision. God wants me to have this vehicle.
-No kidding? You have peace about buying what you want? Who knew world peace was so easy--just make sure everyone can buy whatever they want! And this incredulity is coming from me, a person who believes in God.
C) I NEED all-wheel-drive. The winters here just aren't safe to drive with <perfectly reasonable sedan>.
-Keep in mind that this person drove this other vehicle for about 3 years and got stuck in the "unsafe winters" exactly ZERO TIMES.
2) Traded in a paid-off, still perfectly working truck for a BRAND NEW truck that they then financed. Which fine, whatever, it's stupid but THEN THIS RELATIVE REFUSED TO DRIVE IT BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT TO PUT MILES ON THE TRUCK. He instead drove around the old THIRD TRUCK that he had kept for farm use.
So all that for context. Because the real reason I am posting this is because I called the relative yesterday to see how he was doing while recovering from a minor medical procedure. He proudly (and somewhat cryptically) mentioned that he had to go pick up his truck from <dealer and repair shop>.
I, with my mustachian blinders, walked right into the bait:
Me: Oh, repairs on the truck, huh? Bummer.
Me: Did you have it detailed or something?
Me: So...what's the deal?
Him: Well, I was having some trouble with it. You see, I had to open two doors (the front truck door and the extended cab door) to get my equipment bag out of the back seat when I was on the job. (I guess he did drive it occasionally)
Him: So I traded it in for a brand new truck where I can open the back door separately. But I got a great deal since I put so few miles on it in 7 months. I basically only paid $300/mo to rent the truck I just traded in. I did have to finance an additional amount, though, since it didn't quite cover it all.
Me: <dies inside> So, that's....cool.
Him: <continues on>
It kills me to think of how much further they could be ahead (or how he literally could have retired 10 years ago at 50) if they'd just invested instead of upgrading their cars.