Two years ago today I purchased a 2000 Honda Civic EX and financed it on a two-year payment plan, a stunningly idiotic impulse on par with base jumping from the top of my two-story apartment building. My thinking at the time went something along these lines:
bq. I’ve got a job working for an internet company, and have you seen the number of stock options I had written into my contract! I may as well put this baby on my Visa!
Seven months later with 17 payments still to go, a little known glitch some call “reality” hit the stock market and I was forced to accept the fact that I was paying more on my car than I was on rent, every month. “What are you driving, an aircraft carrier?” friends would say upon learning of my financial tactics. “It’s a Honda, Heather, not a houseboat.”
I inherited these aggressive credit strategies from my father who taught me at an early age that vigorous coupon usage could, although indirectly, fund a college education. I casually mentioned to him at the one-year mark that I was seriously considering refinancing, and the consequent hernia and brain hemorrhage he suffered knocked at least a couple years off his lifespan. I am a Hamilton. We don’t “refinance” anything.
Five days ago I wrote the last check to American Honda Finance Corporation, and scribbled on the “For” line, “You ain’t gettin’ no mo’ o’ my money,” temporarily slipping into Dooce Gangstah Ho mode. Today that check cleared, and the little black economy car resting loyally at the curbside is officially property of Heather B. Hamilton.