Why I Married My Car


That was my salary my first year out of college. Ahhh. . .the glamorous world of advertising.

With this paycheck, I had to afford rent, food, gasoline (for my mom’s beat-up Chevette) and, of course, alcohol. . .while living in a top 50 metro. I remember that I budgeted $10 a week for food, and $10 a week for drinks out with my friends. Good thing I had my priorities straight.

At some point, the Chevette died and I had to get a new car. I got an Escort for about $8,000. I don’t remember what my car payments were, but I was drowning in them. While talking to my dad, somehow it came up that the cost of my car would be about the same as the cost they’d have to pay for a wedding should I get married at some point (hillbillies don’t need real fancy weddin’s). Because I didn’t really foresee a wedding in my near future, I asked them if they’d consider paying off my car loan with the promise that they’d never have to cough up money for some future nuptials.

The deal was made, they paid off the loan. In essence, I married my car. I married an Escort. Not surprisingly, that marriage did not last too long, and I traded the Escort in for a Jeep a few years later.

Less than 10 years after my “wedding for a car” deal, I married a real live man. But, I stayed true to my word and did not ask my parents for any money to pay for the wedding or honeymoon.

I never regretted this deal, because it helped me avoid the one thing my father had begged me to avoid at all costs: credit card debt. I don’t recall him ever warning me about drugs, men or sex, but I do remember his commandment:

Thou shalt not charge more on your card than you can pay off in a month.

So when I heard this on the radio today. . .

“The (average)* 18 year old owns an (average)* of four credit cards. . .”,

*am not sure where the ‘average’ goes and can’t find the original source.

. . .I think my dad must be rolling, er. . .shaking, in his grave (he is cremated).

Four credit cards at 18. I bet none of those kids are driving around in a lame Escort with a “Just Married” sign in the back window.


  1. Alpha DogMa says

    Your dad must have really loved you, paying for your escort and all. Please let us know what GREAT google searches come of this post. Oh, yeah all sorts of weirdoes are gonna come a callin’ now. Last week someone came to my site with the phrase “how to p1mp s1ster” (I leeted that up for your protection).

    I can not wrap my head around the fact that some people have credit card debit larger than my mortgage. Mind you…I kinda live in a dump.

  2. *sigh* Next time I marry for money.


    I loved our cheap-ass wedding. Best pahty eva! Lots of booze, lots of dancing, swimming and nakedness.

  3. CSierra says

    I am cracking up because I just had the conversation about the “first car” flashbacks – Ford Granada hand-me-down from Grammy was mine. The first brand new car was the useless, or impractical-in-New-England Eclipse, which I think ran about the same $8,000 as the Escort (ok, maybe 10 back then).

    Our 16 year old neighbor just got her license AFTER illegally taking her sister’s Jeep for a run to the store while only on her permit and smashing it up then taking off from the scene…but the tears seemed to be punishment enough because she got her Mercedes SUV handed to her by her parents as soon as the 6 month probation was up on the suspended permit incident. Gotta love those family values!!

  4. toyfoto says

    I got the old Chevy Nova, a car my mother HATED. Thing was in the shop more than it was out, too.

    Seriously, though. 16K a year? I made $12K. … for something like seven years at a community newspaper. I went to art openings to eat.

    *My parents were the same with explination of how credit works. I hope I am as successful with my kids.

  5. mrs. q. says

    Only after having two kids did I carry a credit card balance. And I feel horrible about it. Daddy would not be proud. So we used our tax return to pay it all off and vow to be good.

    Hey– we paid for our own wedding AND I didn’t get a free car??! I think my European trust fund makes us even. :>)

    My kids will not get shiny new cars when they can drive. No way. They will get old tank cars, like the brown brontosaurus, and like it.

  6. I don’t think kids are brought up that way anymore (frugal) I think they are brought up overindulged. I think young singles and newly married people think they NEED everything their parents have not realizing it took them 20 years to get all that. I feel kind of less than because everyone my age has better furniture, more kids clothes, goes on more vacations but we are leaving in our means which is good.

  7. that girl says

    A good reminder to start talking to my Tween about credit.

    In a word, INTEREST. Sucks me dry.

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