I am in maintenance mode with my car.
I spenth the last two weekends doing work on my car that was long overdue. Luckily, I drive very little (less than 1000 miles in the last 8 months) so the work was moreso time-overdue than miles-overdue.
I had two options. I could turn the car into a shop and have someone do the work, or I could attempt to do it myself. The lazy part of me called a shop to get a quote. The frugal part of me looked at the quote and said "this is stupid" and I proceeded to go purchase the tools I needed to do the work myself.
Well, the third option would be to do nothing. I could just keep letting the car sit in the garage and not pay it any mind, but waiting for something to happen is the worst way to make something happen.
So, I found myself learning and doing car work the last couple of weekends. When I didn't have the right tool, I took a trip to my local auto parts store.
All in all, the amount of money I put into getting the parts and tools came way below what the shop was going to charge for only the parts themselves. Seriously, it's good for car shops that people are so incapable of doing simple work on things they rely on every day.
But that's beside the point of this post.
The point is that I own a car.
I own a thing that requires my time, energy, and money. Even if I had just paid a shop to do the work, the money I spent equates to an amount of time and energy at work.
Anything in your life that takes time, energy, or money without reciprocating is called a sink. The more technical term for this is a liability.
My car is currently a sink. It takes my money in the form of insurance, fuel, registration, and tickets. It takes my time in the form of money, maintenance, paperwork, and parking. And all of the time I spend thinking about it takes my energy. As long as I have my car, it's going to require a set amount of time, energy, and money.
What do I get in return? Nothing much. I don't use it for anything productive, so I'm selling it.
Before I fixed the transmission leak, when people asked if there was anything wrong with the car, I told them the work that needed to be done to fix the transmission fluid leak. Nobody wanted to do it. Those who could would come at me with super lowball offers. One guy offered $200 because it's not worth much in that condition. Haha.
Now, that the leak is fixed, I'll probably have an easier time selling it. Something else will break on it soon again, but that will be the buyer's problem.
I don't think people think more than a week out about things that they buy. I suppose the typical American buyer's thought process goes like this:
"Hmm, there's nothing wrong with the car now, work was just done, and I won't have to do anything for another 3k miles... well that's in basically forever. Here, have my money.
I struggle with understanding this because I think most people will think the same way that I think, that they'll realize that the amount of maintenance that goes into a 31 year-old car is pretty high. It's not difficult, but it will happen. Even though nothing is wrong with it now, there will come a time when there will be something wrong with it, and if you don't fix it, you're going to have a big problem on your hands.
The future always comes.
People will pay so much for convenience it's absurd. The funny part is, convenience comes at double the cost. You have to pay for it and you learn nothing in the process.
This inconvenience of fixing my car myself benefit me in three ways:
- It cost much less than paying for convenience, even after buying the tools I didn't have.
- I now have more tools.
- I learned how to do a new thing.
Where does all your money, time, and energy go?
For every thing in your life, there is a certain committment you have to make to that thing whether you want to or not.
Even the tools that I acquired to perform the fix will require maintenance: I need to find a place to store them, and every time I move, I'll have to lugg them around with me.
Nothing is immune from this.
Your car, TV, phone, pots, pans, job, relationships, family, health, even your mind will deteriorate unless you spend time, energy, and money to maintain them.
It's not always bad to be in maintenance mode. It doesn't make any sense to get rid of everything in your life just so you don't have to do any maintenance.
But it does make sense to cut the things that you don't like maintaining out of your life so you can have more money, time, and energy to spend on the things that you do like.