Everyone wants to have a fun, fancy, beautiful car. If you’re a car fanatic, you’ve probably spent countless hours lusting over hyper fast Ferraris, extremely luxurious Bentleys, and classic muscle cars. Even if you don’t love cars, you’ve surely thought about how nice it would be to own a new Mercedes-Benz Range Rover.
Unfortunately, luxury cars are very expensive, and most people can’t afford their dream vehicle. For some people, it can be depressing to not have a fancy car, especially if the car they do have is older or in rough shape. However, it’s important to find happiness with the car you do have, and by looking at it from a new perspective, you can do exactly that.
Part 1 of 2: Embrace the positives of the car that you currently have
Step 1: Think about when you were younger. When you were a kid, you wanted to have a car; it didn’t matter what car it was, you just wanted to have a car all for yourself, that you could drive wherever and whenever, and treat however you wanted to. Well, guess what? You have that now!
Chances are, the 10-year old version of you would be psyched to know that you have the car you now have, so you should be excited, too.
Step 2: Don’t forget that the grass is always greener. The reality is, when most people get the nice things that they desire, they just desire even nicer things.
If you suddenly had a BMW, would that really sate your craving for an awesome car? Or would you want a newer car or a more customized car?
Many people desire what they don’t have, so it can be healthy to remember that if you got a fancy new car tomorrow, you’d probably still feel the same way.
Step 3: Think of all the things that your car does do well. The main purpose of a car is to get you from Point A to Point B quickly and reliably. Chances are, your car does exactly that.
There are probably a lot of other great things about your car, too: it allows you to meet up with your friends, and even transport them. It gives you a way to carry home groceries easily, move furniture, and visit family members. The list of things your car can do far exceeds the list of things it can’t.
- Tip: It’s a smart idea to write down the list of all the things your car does for you, and then keep that list in the glove compartment. Every time you get in your car, read the list again to remember just how great your car is.
Step 4: Think about the stress involved in owning a nice car. There are a lot of negative side effects to owning a fancy car.
The payments are extremely high, which means that you have constant pressure to keep your job, or else you risk being in serious financial trouble.
The maintenance is a lot more expensive (and frequent), which can quickly dip into your savings. And, when you have a nice car, every tiny ding, scratch, or bird dropping is traumatic. Sure, fancy cars are fun, but they’re also a lot more stressful than car ownership has to be.
Step 5: Take a moment to think about why you want a fancy car. Most people want a fancy car because of what it says to their surroundings. A fancy car suggests that you’re rich, and that you have lots of nice things, and it can make other drivers jealous. Is that really the most important factor in owning a car for you?
Many people drop thousands of dollars on a car simply so they can impress a bunch of people that they’ll never meet. When you think about it in those terms, a fancy car doesn’t sound so desirable, and the car you already do have may be perfect for you.
Step 6: Embrace the weirdness. A lot of cars develop weird quirks and mannerisms over time.
Perhaps your car has a distinctive smell, or makes a great noise when idling, or has a perfectly round dent right in the front of the hood. Whatever it is that makes your car weird, embrace it – it can be really endearing, and make you love your car a lot more.
Part 2 of 2: Make your car even better for you
Step 1: Make it distinctly you. Your car, your rules: you can do whatever you want with your car to make it yours.
Personalizing your car can be a great way to find happiness with it, whether that means putting a gumball machine in the front seat, filling the dashboard with baseball bobbleheads, or trimming the interior with artificial turf. When you make your car distinctly you, you’ll instantly love it.
One of the best ways to personalize your car is to add bumper stickers. Adding bumper stickers is very easy: find the stickers you want in a store or online, clean and fully dry the area of the car that you wish to cover, and apply the sticker, working from the middle out to the edges. Use a credit card to work out any air bubbles or pockets that get trapped in the sticker.
Step 2: Save up money to take care of and improve your car. Even if you don’t have much money, you can always save a tiny bit to put into your car.
If you put 1% of your paychecks towards your car, you’ll eventually have the money necessary to do something fun for your car, whether that means getting it detailed, getting a car seat cover, or getting a thorough tune up or inspection from a reputable mechanic. The simple act of putting aside a little bit of money to put in your car makes you feel attached and invested in your vehicle, and will increase your happiness with it.
Step 3: Make some memories in your car. Like many things in your life, the most important thing about your car is the memories that you have with it. As such, the best way to find peace and happiness with your car is by making new and wonderful memories in it.
Go to the drive in movies with a date, or on a weekend road trip with your best friends, or pack dinner and eat it in the car on the way to a big concert. The more memories you have that take place in your car, the more you’ll realize just how happy it makes you.
You may not be able to afford a Lamborghini or a Rolls-Royce, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find total happiness with the car that you do have. All it takes is a little bit of effort, and a little change of attitude.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Be Content With the Car That You Have and was authored by Brady Klopfer.