#15. Dad, do you think that it is important to maintain an image, even if you cannot afford to do so?

Be authentic! Maintaining an image that your income cannot support goes against being authentic. You cannot pay your bills based on how you appear to be.

Dad, how do you afford it?  I mean, I know you don’t like going in debt, but you drive a great car, have multiple TVs, computers, and laptops… You even have a big flat-screen in the basement. How do you afford it?

Let me start by asking you a question:  Have you ever heard of “instant depreciation?”  That’s what happens to virtually everything from cars to appliances, RVs to boats, the moment they first sell.  The retail value of your brand new car, refrigerator or television set drops considerably the moment you take possession of it.

However, you can have all of these things for a fraction of the price, if you buy them used.  My car, for example, was well below retail when I went to look at it.  When I told the seller that I couldn’t give him more than half what he was asking for it, he accepted that as my offer.  I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how little I paid for it, but I will say it runs, is sturdy, and will go anywhere a boat for 100 times the price will go.

We simply do not buy new cars.  If you’re determined to have a fairly new car, you can quite easily pick up a very low mileage, late model ex-lease for about half the price of a new one.  You will often get better service out of it with less downtime because the warranty bugs have already been ironed out.

Let me tell you about top of the line flat-screen TVs… The number one problem with TVs and monitors is blown capacitors, generally because people don’t use a surge protector (I found this out, quickly, on Google).  

People will literally give you broken appliances, TVs, monitors, etc. – even cars.  Youtube is loaded with terrific, free, how-to videos that show you how to easily and inexpensively repair such things.

So how do I afford to have some of the great things I have?  I rarely buy new, and I use Youtube.  Yes.  It really is that simple!

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