Deactivating Facebook and Decluttering My Brain

Sunday, February 23, 2014
   Yesterday, during a PMS induced frustration, I decided to deactivate my Facebook. So if you're reading this and didn't find it via a link on my page, then that's awesome! I'm going to try it for 30 days, after some Google searches I have discovered that this is apparently a very hipster thing to do.

 As someone who lives 600 miles from their family I can attest that Facebook is a good way to keep in touch. It's also a huge time-suck and zaps my productivity. I found myself going on to check my notifications and then falling down the proverbial rabbit hole.

  I found myself playing the comparison game. I've spent most of my life playing that game. You know the one. When you're young it's "she's so much prettier than me and that sucks." As an adult this becomes "They're more successful than us because they just bought a new car" or "Wow, their house is so beautiful. I wish we weren't renting." and my favorite: "I'm not a respectable adult yet because I don't have children." Ouch, that one stings.

 On the flip side it can lead to a sick sense of satisfaction "How many times has she been married? We're not even 30 yet."

 Those other people are probably putting up facades anyway. We want to appear perfect to outsiders but on the inside we are anything but. The couple with the new house might be struggling to pay their mortgage and having the fights that money struggles can bring. The couple with the new baby could be making one last effort to make their marriage work.

We're all broken. I know I don't share the negative aspects of myself online either but I do share them with the people who matter. If you know me pretty well you might know how much I struggle with anxiety. You may even be one of the lucky (and ever so patient) few who have talked me through a panic attack in the middle of the night.

 I'm done playing the game. I want to read more, learn more, and become healthier both mentally and physically. I don't want to spend my time comparing myself to other people. I want to focus on how I can be a better person and make a positive impact on others.

Craigslist Shopping for Cars

Saturday, February 1, 2014
    Wow, I've not updated in awhile. I have no excuse other than hibernating and being lazy. We started looking for a car around November and finally found on in January.

   I think the best decision we made in 2013 was moving closer to my work. There were a few cold mornings this winter that my Nissan decided it didn't want to start anymore. I was able to walk to work easily. It's also nice to get full nights of sleep without dancing elephants on the second floor.

  I was hesitant about buying on Craigslist at first, because dealers are supposed to be reputable. I learned through this experience that dealers are also pushy, smarmy, and really don't care to help you if you're not financing a fancy schmancy car.

 After looking online and visiting a couple of larger dealerships we quickly realized that wasn't the route for us. We changed our focus to looking at smaller "I have 20 cars in my backyard" places. It was there that I fell in love with an adorable lime green bug that was definitely in our price range. We took it to our mechanic to have it checked out and they said the transmission was about to go out. Please note that this is after the guy said "Oh yeah, that car runs great! No problems there!"

  This is when I got fed up and started obsessively stalking Craigslist for new listings every few hours. I e-mailed, sent texts, and hardly received any responses. Most things in our budget needed a lot of work or were gas guzzlers. With much patience and persistence I finally got what I wanted.

   It isn't pretty, new, or shiny, but it has been well maintained. The lady bought it new in 1999 for $19,000 and did regular maintenance on it. It's a Mazda with 114k miles, I have a huge stack of receipts for oil changes, labor, and the original bill of sale. We paid $3,000 for it and the only thing that we need to have done is to replace the right CV joint. 

   Because we had a plan in place we didn't make an impulse decision to go into debt for something new and shiny. We were able to save up pretty quickly and buy something outright. I think being on the Dave Ramsey plan has made us make more mature decisions with our money, if we didn't have that plan in place we might have made a decision based on emotions instead of making a well planned decision.

  My tips on buying a car are pretty basic but might be helpful, I'm not sure. Here they are anyway:

  1) Either be very specific or very open-minded. 
                It's easier to either have something very specific in mind or just go on value alone. There are about 20 new cars posted every 15 minutes on the Knoxville Craigslist site. This will help you weed out options you're not interested in and save time.

  2) Find a good deal? Now go to Kelly Blue Book or
                It's easy to find out the value of the car you want to purchase. You can input the individual properties of the vehicle or type in the VIN number.

   3) If you're buying from a dealer ask for a CarFax report. 
                 This will show you any maintenance associated with the vehicle, it also shows any accidents or damage the vehicle may have incurred. 

   4) Feel free to haggle, but be reasonable about it.
                  Haggling is just a part of buying on Craigslist, or even at a dealer. Only haggle after you've seen the car. We have the Nissan posted right now and people are making really low offers via text message. I've been just deleting those messages. Sorry, I'm not going to sell a running car for $200.00. Also if you are really interested in making the purchase take the cash with you. It shows the seller you're interested, good deals sell really fast on Craigslist. 

  5) Have it checked out
                 It only costs $20 at our mechanic to have a car checked out for major issues. That's nothing when you're looking at making a big purchase. I would rather spend $20 and find out a car needs tons of work and not buy the car rather than buy it and then realize I need to spend lots of money to fix it. 

 Those are my non professional tips on purchasing a car, it was an exhausting process. I'm not going to lie, I did break down and cry a time or two because it's just so much EASIER to finance a new car than find a good deal. I can say that I'm really glad we don't have a car payment though!