Allow Me to Introduce Myself…

Editor’s note from Travis Pizel: 

It is with great excitement that I introduce to you Suzanne Coblentz, a brand new member of Team EOD!  Suzanne is the Social Media Manager for CareOne Debt Relief Services, along with wearing many other hats.   She brought me on board as a customer blogger over three years ago, and is the person responsible for launching my blogging career.  She’s dedicated to helping people rid themselves of the shackles of debt, is a personal friend of mine, and is someone that I admire and respect immensely. She’ll be sharing her personal perspective on debt as well as everyday finances every other Wednesday with The EOD Nation.  Check out Suzanne’s inaugural post below and give her a warm welcome in the comments!



Blog Author Suzanne Still Loves Her Car!!

“Mommy your car is gross . . .”

This was the delightful comment my almost eight-year-old daughter made to me the other day as I pulled up to pick her up from school. I noted that the comment was accompanied a by a look of embarrassment. I was instantly stricken and quickly pushed her and her backpack into the back of the car, careful not to make eye contact with her little friends standing on the curb.

I drive a crappy car.

It’s old and it has dents and scratches and hasn’t been washed in over a year (okay, so that is just me being lazy). I think it also bears mentioning that I own this car, like in full, as in, this car is paid off.
After I recovered from the sting of embarrassment, I seized the opportunity to teach my young daughter a lesson . . . she was trapped in the back seat with no hope for escape, so it seemed like good timing. My kids get a lot of these ‘lessons.’

See, I refuse to be a hypocrite.

I work in the debt relief industry and I have firsthand experience with what happens when you lose control defining needs vs. wants or when you are not adequately prepared for life’s emergencies. I have a responsibility to the people that my company helps. I have a responsibility to live a financially responsible life, or to put it another way, to practice what I preach.

I wasn’t always like this: a buzz kill of financial foreboding, that is.

I too used to live a little bit in the gray, where wants and needs are concerned. When I began working for CareOne over seven years ago, I had some debt. I have since paid it all off and feel super lucky to have done so.

Working here it is impossible not take stock of your own spending and saving behavior and see where you are missing the boat. I have seen so many families slip into desperate situations with just one medical crisis or car accident.

It is the basic understanding that our financial lives are fragile that drives me to live a pretty frugal life. I feel very fortunate to work here and truly appreciate the financial wake-up call.

About Suzanne Coblentz

28 Responses to “Allow Me to Introduce Myself…”

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  1. I am glad that you have been able to keep your paid off car so long! I plan on keeping my car as long as I can because I bought it new with the intent of driving it until it dies.

    • Hi Lance! It has been a real lesson and so my next goal is to save that car payment into something more productive…but I am a work in progress. You are clearly ahead of the game having that “drive it until it dies” mentality! Thanks for commenting.

  2. Travis says:

    We’re *ONE* payment away from owning both of our cars for the first time EVER. I can’t wait for our cars to get crappier and crappier! LOL.

  3. I’m an occasional offender of this as well but, we should be teaching our kids to take care of our stuff even if it’s paid off. You wouldn’t want people to come into your house if it was trashed inside, so why go in public when your car is a mess inside or out (or both).

    30 minutes on a weekend and a hose can do wonders to your car. I should take my own advice and wash my cars this weekend!

    • Hi Johnny Moneyseed,

      Okay, you have a point. Perhaps I could do a better job of keeping the old girl up. Perhaps a nice wash and shine will help to limit my daughter’s embarrassment…too :-).

  4. Like Lance said we hope to drive our cars in to the ground. We paid off our family car last year and it was an awesome feeling! We’re actually hoping to be able to pass it off to our oldest (who is 5) for her first car.

    • Hey John,

      Now that IS an awesome feeling!!!! Congrats on working your way to crappy car ownership! I think that is a perfect idea…I shall save my car for my daughter. (Insert evil laugh here) Thanks for commenting!

  5. Petunia 100 says:

    So don’t leave us hanging! 🙂 Did your daughter seem to “get” the lesson you gave her that day?

    • Hi Petunia,

      To be honest…I think she tunes me out, but I am confident that some of the lessons will sink in through repetition…LOL. In other words, she is the recipient of many lessons :-). Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog.

  6. JMK says:

    Our normal mode is to buy 3yr old cars and drive them for 10 years. And we pay cash for them. At this point we need two vehicles so we have them on an alternating replacement schedule where we replace one of them every 5 years. I’m currently driving a 2000 Civic an mathematically at 13 it’s due for replacement this year, but frankly it shows no sign of stopping so I may get another 2 years out of it. Only a major repair (engine/transmission) would cause me to replace it at this point. We had it really well rust proofed the week we bought it and not in the 10 years since. It has only minor rust, the paint is certainly no longer shiny, and the A/C stopped working 3yrs ago, but otherwise it gets me where I’m going and it’s reliable. Also, because it had virtually no book value at this point, I don’t bother insuring for replacement, just liability. I personally don’t put any value in a new car, but I’m certainly glad others are willing to take the hit on the depreciation. I couldn’t keep buying 3yr old cars otherwise.

    • JMK,

      I am so excited to hear about your 5 year replacement plan. I have been working on this with my husband and I think I have him convinced that we need to be strategic about replacing our cars. To be fair, his is actually older and somehow, crappier than mine! I would like to replace his first, pay it off then tackle mine. I am going to also borrow your idea about buying a 3 yr. old model…thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  7. Cms says:

    Welcome Suzanne! Enjoyed your first post….your employer is lucky to have you as you truly believe in your job. We drive crappy cars too and the irony is that my husband works for a car manufacture. He gets a lot of comments about his ol junker but we don’t mind. Looking forward to more of your posts!

    • Hi Cms,

      I think we need to start a crappy car club! It’s awesome to see so many of you with similar opinions regarding new cars. I think your husband is awesome! He must get a ton of peer pressure so good for him (and you!) Thank you so much for checking out my first blog and I look forward to your feedback on future posts!

  8. Yay!! Go Team EOD! Glad to see you over here Suzanne! I feel you on the no washing thing. It’s hard to stay motivated to wash it when you know a rinse isn’t going to do much for the look of the car. 🙂 I just try to keep the bird poop off and vacuum it once in a while. Although we don’t have to deal with mud or road salt here in Phoenix. So the cars stay looking decent even without a wash.

    • Hey there Ashley!

      Why thank you for the warm reception. I envy the lack of road salt…but I know those dust storms aren’t doing you any favors either. I am going to make a more concerted effort to wash (hose down) and clean out the interior more frequently. The car has been good to me, the least I can do is keep her cleaned up.

  9. Welcome to the team Suzanne. I have to admit that I have a relatively new car. I got it before I started pushing myself to get together, but it is a manageable debt that I can handle and I love the car. I won’t be getting a new car for a long time because I will push this one to the limit. I will look forward to hearing from you on EOD!

    • Hi Grayson,

      Thank you so much for the welcome :-)! I see no shame in having a new car. You can afford it as stated above and you can still join our crappy car club if you want (perhaps in another 7-10 years when that new car smell is long gone LOL). Thanks for stopping by!

  10. So true, Suzanna, and very well said. Great post.

  11. Dee says:

    Loved this post! And I really think that crappy car owners should be a bit prouder. We have over 200,000 miles on each our cars and we have no plans to replace them any time soon. I am so close to being out of debt and I get positively sick at the thought of going backwards if I bought a car!! Our last car had 280,000 miles (you have no idea what crappy looks like until you see that one!) and our first car had 343,000…also extremely crappy.

    My children tend to be mortified by our cars as well and I also share ( or threaten? better word…) with the reality of “one day…you might be driving this and you might be happy about it!” They laugh and say that” I doubt it!”

    • Hi Dee,

      I agree!I I think we should all have a special banner or something LOL. I do love the idea of torturing my daughter with the idea that, “some day all of this will be yours…” LOL, but then she misses out on that other valuable lesson, getting a job and paying for her own car ;-).Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  12. We, too, have a crappy little car that gets used for most miles (we also have a 4×4 for snow days). The fan belt squeals and we’re unable to tell if anybody dinged it in the supermarket parking lot lately. My wife has been on me to sell it but I just have a hard time parting with old faithful. As for people driving with me… that’s when you tell who your true friends are! LOL It’s also the perfect way to get others to say, “No, wait. Don’t worry, you can ride with me.” Savings all the way!

    • Hi William,

      Ha! You just cracked me up with that last comment . I too have had people see my car and then offer to drive. I also feel there is a real sense of freedom when you can leave your car in a parking lot and honestly not care if you come back and there is a door ding or a scratch. Thank you so much for joining the discussion!

  13. Lee says:

    I just stumbled upon your post Suzanne – Great work!! I actually feel a little better about my 9 year old Toyota and my quest to reach 200,000 miles. I’ve been waiting for those same remarks from our 10 year old, but so far he has cut me some slack and has resisted ducking in the back seat when I bring him to school. LOL.

    Paid Off Car > Monthly Auto Loan. Keep up the good work!! – See you soon, Lee

    • Hey Lee,

      Yes, rocking the jacked up old car is not for the faint of heart LOL! I think my daughter has realized that she gets a boring lecture about finances when she makes those comments and so they have ceased….for now. Thanks for the shout and come back and visit soon 🙂

  14. Welcome Suzanne! I was that guy who bought the newest BMW after owning a Hyundai for a year. Realized I was paying a mortgage payment on that beamer. I downgraded to a Toyota Camry and had friends tell me my life must be going off track but I said visually it may seem so but my bank account tells of a different story.

    Eventually, I got rid of a car all together. I know for some that may not be ideal. But, I found taking public transportation in CA was pretty effortless. I take the trains and walk or bike to the places I need. On occassion I’ll borrow a friends car or use a car sharing company for longer trips. I’ll chip in for gas for long weekend trips and its always so much cheaper than paying insurance or the countless parking tickets I used to get.

    • Hi Jason,

      We all fall into the trap of trying to keep up appearances at some point. I love that you have totally embraced the value of your bank account and not your ride. Very freeing perspective 🙂 It sounds like you have taken it one step further by leveraging public transit and good friends – which is just smart! Thank you for sharing and for reading 🙂

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