For the first two years I lived here I was carless, living in the city and loved it!! Even the rain didn’t get me down. On particularly bad mornings I remember meeting a few of the girls for coffee and sharing a taxi up the hill to work and loving the opportunity to chat along the way.
Of course M had a car and was smitten and therefore willing to chauffeur me around so there really was no need.
But then my work parameters were set to change and I was living out of the city centre so it was time. It was January 2007 and I bought my first European car….and by European I totally mean a 2000 Nissan Micra Japanese import. Best of all, I PAID COLD HARD CASH!!!! Amazing!
That little car was perfect for me to get comfortable with the Irish roads. There was no where I couldn’t park, it was automatic, and so small filling that up the tank was practically a bargain. I happily drove that car literally into the ground. It was good to me. After 6 years of service to me it was ready for retirement in March. Being 7 months pregnant at this point it was clear I would need something a bit bigger and more reliable. Even if most of my driving is for work I still needed something that would fit two car seats.
Before Little M joined us we had bought a “family vehicle” in 2010. (again COLD HARD CASH!!!) It’s stick shift or manual as they say. I promised to learn. I tried. A few times actually. I just didn’t try hard enough. So, on weekends my husband pretty much continued to chauffeur the family around…pretty amazing guy right?!?!
The quest for a new vehicle for me began this March and well let’s be honest it was going to have to be automatic. There are a lot of really steep hills in Cork!!!
Anyway, I ended up with another Nissan, a 2008 Tiida this time and guess what…paid in COLD HARD CASH!!!! Of course it was tempting to go straight to financing a brand new car, but to be honest the idea of buying what we could afford and not having a car payment was too good to pass up.
Besides, with two young kids in the back seat, and a car park at work with spots so tight I had to actually stop parking there when I was about 6 months pregnant because there wasn’t exactly enough room for me to get in and out without squashing myself and baby- I knew I didn’t want anything I was going to be precious about.
I wanted a reliable, comfortable car, with windows that worked since the Micra’s had stopped working months ago. M wanted something big enough we could actually share the weekend driving. Both of us wanted to pay cash.
So we went with the Tiida which ticked all our boxes and paid for our third care in COLD HARD CASH.
It’s big enough I can now chauffeur my dear husband around.
It seems to me there is a bigger culture here of buying used cars. Don’t get me wrong people buy brand new, but for the most part everyone we know tends to buy “new to you” rather than “brand new.”
There also is a lot less wear and tear on cars here than in Upstate NY, no salt on the roads or extreme temperatures so they run a lot longer (case in point my 13-year-old Micra).
There are still all the costs of owning a car here like back home. The annual car tax seems a bit steep to me. The car insurance is significantly less than at home and we can manage to pay it once per year rather than monthly. Gas/Petrol is currently running about 1.57 e per litre so that is most definitely significantly more than home.
But I still paid COLD HARD CASH.