I really, really, really don't want him to be THAT guy.
June 6, 2012 6:24 AM   Subscribe

My husband has the opportunity to buy a [lower-end luxury brand sports car] from an ill family friend for a great deal. I am totally against it.

We're 28 and 30. We've been together ten years (whew!), have a fantastic relationship, and see eye-to-eye on most financial things, though he's always been spendier than me (even when we were restaurant servers in college). Now, he is an executive and makes ten times more money than I do. I am in a low-paying creative field. He considers his money our money -- for the most part. This is a rare impasse, but one that is strumming fundamental differences between us.

The car would cost $12k. It's worth $15k from a private party, $18k from a dealer.

His reasons for buying the car (I asked him):

-- It's an opportunity to buy a nice car at a fraction of the price.
-- He wants it.
-- It has sentimental value, because it belongs to a close family friend (a parent's best friend) with a terminal illness.
-- He's been driving his current truck since college, works hard, and has earned it – even deserves it, because he makes most of the money in the household.
-- He's the one who commutes (20 minutes each way), while I work from home.
-- My car (a hybrid, two years old, which he pays for, drives on occasion) cost more.

He makes very good money for his age, and has friends who make very good money. I run in creative circles, where even many hardworking friends are struggling. I have a lot of first world guilt over stuff like our house (we own two). We've both traveled a ton in developing countries, and that has profoundly affected my lifestyle and worldview. Additionally, my family has always struggled more with money than his. I recognize that all this biases the way I feel.

Reasons I don't want him to buy the car:

-- I am disgusted by flashy sports cars, and flashy signs of wealth in general. I know it's not that expensive, but the brand is a status symbol. I feel like a big part of him wants to be "the guy in the [sports car brand]". Whereas I would feel humiliated for my broke friends and struggling family to see it in my driveway.
-- We plan to try for a baby in the next six months. This is not a baby-friendly car; there is no backseat.
-- I try to be an environmentalist. It's important to me; I work hard at it. I drive a hybrid. 17/25 miles per gallon for a small car is terrible compared to what's out there (though maybe 10% better than his truck). In general, I resent his disinterest in hybrid/fuel-efficient cars.

He's been considering a new car for a while. However, not a single car he's considered has been any sort of sports car. This is totally out of left field – and only in the ballpark because it's a friend offering it (and a good deal). Spending big amounts of money makes me twitchy, especially with the massive home repairs we need to do. But I'd be on board with him buying a different, even more expensive car – just not a frigging flashy brand sports car meant for two when we're planning a family, even if it has sentimental value.

I want him to be happy and drive a car that makes him happy. However, I feel that buying this car would be extremely selfish on his part (excepting his not wanting to hurt the ill family friend's feelings); he agrees it'd be a mostly emotional purchase. Then again, he does make vastly more money than I do. And the car really is a good deal.

He's read, tweaked and approved this post. Basically, we just want your thoughts. How do we solve this without resentment on either side?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (145 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Do you really absolutely need two baby-friendly cars? FWIW, my parents had one family car (minivan) and one sports car (that had a backseat but it was a squeeze), and they managed alright even with three small children. This will, of course, depend on your lifestyle, employment & childcare situations, etc.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:30 AM on June 6, 2012 [22 favorites]

I see your points and appreciate your viewpoint, but I think you should let him have his fun - as long as he can afford it.

Is the hybrid a baby-friendly car? You only will need one car that can take a kid at a time, and that for me is the only real practical reason not to buy this car, that is not just a difference of opinions and personal values. If he's going to get a lot of pleasure out of it, I don't think you should veto him - it doesn't really see fair.
posted by KateViolet at 6:30 AM on June 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

Why are you resentful of him buying a car that he wants when he/you can afford it?

Is not buying the car going to positively affect either A. Your family's finances (doesn't sound like it) or B. The life of anyone who is struggling?

Your first-world guilt about materialism is a separate issue and should not be confused with your husband's wanting to have something fun and nice that he can afford and get a good deal on. This is not objectively an extravagant purchase. He earned it, let him enjoy it.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 6:31 AM on June 6, 2012 [49 favorites]

I don't have and have never owned a car. I'm an environmentalist. I don't like flashy cars or homes. But if I were you, and you two could afford it, I'd let him buy the car, and I'd be happy that he was happy. Life is too short to burden loving relationships with disputes like this.
posted by smorange at 6:34 AM on June 6, 2012 [104 favorites]

However, I feel that buying this car would be extremely selfish on his part

Why is that not okay?
posted by DarlingBri at 6:34 AM on June 6, 2012 [23 favorites]

As far as the conspicuous consumption angle... he is getting the car used. The car, with its sentimental value, is going to someone that the current owner likes, and wants your husband to own the car. Husband isn't buying a new car, creating more cars on the planet, he is getting it used, the car is already there. Maybe you feel more awkward about some other aspect that you haven't sorted out yet?
posted by kellyblah at 6:35 AM on June 6, 2012 [9 favorites]

The fact that the car is used goes a long way to alleviate the environmental and status issues. Plus it doesn't sound like he'll be putting a huge number of miles on it.

Then there's the fact that commutes suck. If this can make his commute a little more fun, I think it's a good thing. It'll come back to you in the form of a happier husband.
posted by alms at 6:35 AM on June 6, 2012 [18 favorites]

Just let him have his fun. There are no practical reasons against it: you are ok with him spending more money on a car, so it's not financial, and your hybrid is a fine "family" car, so it's not about the kid in the backseat. If it's his car (you each have your own), shouldn't his emotional wants and enjoyment outweigh yours?

Honestly, it's going to be difficult to navigate this in either direction without one of you feeling resentful. One of you is going to have to suck it up and be happy for the other person because they have something that makes them happy (which, again, I think makes more sense as you for him).
posted by J. Wilson at 6:36 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

The car already exists; it can't be unmade, so its environmental impact is moot. Of course it would be better for the world if the car had never been made, but since it exists, wouldn't you rather it belong to a nice guy like your husband instead of some jerk?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:36 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

If the car is on the practical side other than the gas mileage then I don't understand what the problem is. It has better mileage than the truck, should have a fairly good trade-in\sale value since you would be getting it so cheaply which means the two of you aren't handcuffed into keeping it.

I think it would have helped if you said what car it was. If it's going to be really expensive to upkeep or something like that then it seems silly. Otherwise it sounds more like you just need to do things together to offset your guilt for having a nice life.

He pays for yours and it's more expensive. It's not like your hybrid isn't going to have a negative impact.
posted by zephyr_words at 6:37 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's his money, I think that as long as he can afford it and it doesn't put you guys out financially, he should be able to have it. I understand the first-world guilt feelings you have, but at the end of the day, it's just a car, and honestly, no one else that you care about is going to judge you for the brand of car you have in your driveway. I would also feel that it was not fair, if I were him, to be making ten times more money than my partner and have that partner be resentful over purchases that I can afford.

It's just a car. A car that has emotional meaning to him. Is it really worth fighting with him over this? Let the guy be happy.
posted by ohmy at 6:38 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Going out and buying a new, flashy, sports car from a dealer makes somebody THAT guy. Grabbing a good deal from a friend is pretty much the opposite.
posted by tyllwin at 6:38 AM on June 6, 2012 [22 favorites]

You're in the wrong here. His reasons for getting the car are reasonable and well thought through. I think that if your resentment of your husband and his interest in luxury cars is so deep seated that you would be willing to deny him one just to maintain what is coming off as a holier than thou sense of environmental responsibility, you may need to reexamine your relationship and your ability to be a supportive spouse. This is a childish thing to be a stick in the mud about. I understand where you're coming from however. I just think you may be really thwarting your husband when really you shouldn't.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:38 AM on June 6, 2012 [48 favorites]

You have two houses but are worried about a car that gets 10% better mileage that the car your husband is currently driving? Your houses are way more of an environmental drain than this used car he wants. Let him buy it. This is not worth starting World War III over.
posted by jabes at 6:38 AM on June 6, 2012 [25 favorites]

Your posting sounds like you want him to be happy and the framing implies even you believe he deserves it.

I think the issue might be "what will everyone else think?" and that might be coming from you because you're known as teh environmentalist among your social circles.

A friend of mine is totally eco conscious to a great degree even running such a business. Her husband bought Porsche. In their case it was a clear cut case of wholly incompatible people and value systems since he felt ashamed of her "green hippie shit" and this was his way of making a point.

That there is what caused rifts and resentment.

I don't pick this up from your post.

Only you can answer if your husband's emotional happiness/well being is more important to you that some random perceptions of everyone else... and if you can let go of that correlation and live with it as "its his decision and it makes him happy and to the hell with what the world thinks"

That is the real question I am reading here, imho.
posted by infini at 6:40 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I try to be an environmentalist. It's important to me; I work hard at it. I drive a hybrid.

This is good that you have goals, but, you still drive a car. You and drivers of non-hybrids are just at different points along a continuum, not different species.

I think all two-parent two-car families I can think of off the top of my head have a whole-family vehicle and the other one either does not take the whole family, or does so only uncomfortably and in a pinch... Your kid will, when older, probably adore the odd outing in the one-parent-and-you, sit-in-front-seat "cool" car.
posted by kmennie at 6:41 AM on June 6, 2012 [16 favorites]

You don't want your partner to buy a car that symbolizes everything BUT family. You may be slightly worried that his purchase signifies something greater than "NEW CAR". You are projecting your guilt about alternate issues onto this because it scares you to confront the larger fear.

It isn't about the price (you'd be willing to have him spend more) and it isn't exactly about the 'status symbol' (hybrid cars are quite expensive and definitely a status symbol). Your husband wants a flashy car that bachelors often drive and you are, rightfully, slightly nervous about it. Why does he want it? What does it mean? Doesn't he want the baby? What kind of lifestyle does he want? Why isn't this fitting in with our shared life goals?

I don't think that either one of you is right or wrong, but I do think that you should let him have the car if he really wants it.
posted by 200burritos at 6:41 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am disgusted by flashy sports cars, and flashy signs of wealth in general. I know it's not that expensive, but the brand is a status symbol. I feel like a big part of him wants to be "the guy in the [sports car brand]". Whereas I would feel humiliated for my broke friends and struggling family to see it in my driveway.

Do you think your broke friends don't know how much your hybrid cost? (Never mind your two houses!)

I think a lot of people were raised to feel that it's flashy and obnoxious to spend money on nice things that other people can see. And certainly it can be, if the intention is to impress people. But these days I tend to think that the culture places far too much emphasis on policing other people's consumption styles and that it is not especially productive to do so. If you don't want to spend money, I can understand and respect that—but to say say to your husband that he can spend $X, but only on boring and unimpressive things, seems to be a little selfish on your part.

Whit Stillman tells a story about about growing up in a family of wealthy liberal WASPs (I think his father was some sort of Democratic administration official) and having to hide the more expensive of his toys and belongings when his parents had guests, so that no one would think they were showing off—and how he found this much more hypocritical and obnoxious than the showing off would have been. I'm not quite sure whether I agree with him but I can certainly understand the sentiment.
posted by enn at 6:43 AM on June 6, 2012 [24 favorites]

As others have said, that it's a used car means the major environmental impact is already said and done. If he's going to get enjoyment out of the car purchase, with that he can afford it, I see no reason to not let him drive what he chooses to and from work.

It's OK for him to be selfish on this regard. He's not killing any dreams of yours or any shared dreams by buying the car, is he?

If you're super concerned about the environment, not just what you and or others will think about the car, make a donation for the difference between what he is paying for the car and what it would cost from a regular private seller to the cause of your choosing to help offset some of the issue.
posted by skittlekicks at 6:44 AM on June 6, 2012

So what does that car truly mean for him: is it to be a hobby, does it mainly have sentimental value, or is it mainly a means of status display? All this makes an enormous difference. Partners can leave each-other pretty much alone with their hobbies, for example. Heck, I won't ever knit, and my girl has no interest whatsoever in model trains. That's all fine. But it seems like you're making this into a question of ethics somehow, using your own view of what the car, and drivers of that type of car, symbolize as a benchmark for what should be done with it. That seems tricky.

It seems like you guys are operating in a grey zone where he either already somehow is 'that guy', or if he ends up not becoming that guy, will risk staying inwardly frustrated. A sound relationship is worth so much, don't risk that by making a huge deal out of what, in the long run, are nothing but surface issues (provided the car is really affordable for your husband, as you say).
posted by Namlit at 6:45 AM on June 6, 2012

Yeah, I don't know. I'm struggling in my creative field and a friend owning two houses where I can barely make my rent would probably cause me bigger issues than a used sports car.

Plus, your bit about the status symbol thing? You think hybrid cars (not that much better than regular cars for the environment) isn't a status symbol? Why is your status better than his?

As for the kid thing: as long as you can get around with your car and the kid, you should be fine. My parents had a sports car when I was growing up and, when I was old enough to ride in the front seat, it was a real joy to go places with my dad in that car. It was a bonding experience.

On preview: what kmennie said.
posted by AmandaA at 6:46 AM on June 6, 2012 [49 favorites]

All the reasons you've listed down are red herrings. The baby, the environment, the sick friend, the good deal. They're all just rationalizations you're both making up to support your views: and it's clear that he wants a sports car, and you really don't want him to have one. This is, frankly, a first world problem of very minor consequence in reality, but with (already) some consequence to your current happiness in your relationship.

At the end of the day, sometimes couples will just disagree on a seemingly simple issues like this. Both persons I think need the maturity to understand that this is part of having a relationship - that there are times when you just have to back down over issues that seem perfectly rational to you. It's a give and take: looking at the long view. You can't keep score. This is one of those things where it's about the process, not the outcome: it's about the journey, not the destination. The important thing is the act of truly listening to each other, and acknowledging each others feelings - and having trust that the other person has your best interests in mind - regardless of the final outcome. Don't be so invested in the destination that you don't enjoy the journey.
posted by xdvesper at 6:49 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

That is a very cheap car for something he's so excited about.

We are in a similar situation in that my husband is about to buy his dream car (used, at a reasonable price) and I don't like the car specifically or see why he wants it. But who cares? He's the one driving it and it's important to him.

Pick your battles.
posted by something something at 6:49 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

It really sounds to me as if you are making this car a very personal issue when it is not really about you.

It sounds as if your husband would take a lot of pride and pleasure in owning this car.

It sounds as if he's being financially responsible by purchasing it at a discount (when he's in the market for a car anyway, as you've said), and in addition to the car, he's also holding onto something sentimental for his dollars.

It also sounds as if your husband has worked hard to earn this kind of car, and this car would fit into his job and friend circle.

This doesn't have to be about your personal preferences or the opinion of your friends. You can let it be about him having something he has earned and will really enjoy. Good, healthy relationships involve compromise and embracing each others' differences, not controlling, guilting, or resenting if we don't have everything our own preferred way.

Maybe you can consider that one day you'll be able to smile inwardly when you see how happy the car makes your husband feel by the look on his face or by the joy he takes in driving it, instead of resenting it for not living up to the standards of your environmental sensibilities and friends.

If your friends or family question you on it, tell them the story of the sentimental value, and tell them that while it's not really your style (as they can see by your vehicle), you really love how happy it makes your husband, who has worked hard to earn it.
posted by Serendipitous at 6:53 AM on June 6, 2012 [18 favorites]

I agree. If you really are that solvent, $12k on a car is nothing, really. If he wants it, he should have it, with no guilt.

And if you're worried about the environment, please remember that buying a second hand car is much better than buying a brand new hybrid that does a couple of extra MPG and is chock full of toxic batteries.
posted by derbs at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

I hear you about the embarrassment factor. I recently got a [nice new household item] and frankly it's been a bit unpleasant to have to explain to my broke friends that I have it. And I could have put the money toward two important volunteer projects, an important legal case and a bunch of other stuff. But the thing was a good deal, I had a unique chance to buy it and I needed some kind of replacement for my existing [old, dirty, last-legs household item]. I am torn between delight in finally having [new household item that works well] and shame at having the ability to acquire it and the lack of self-discipline to forgo it.

So here have been my strategies:

1. I've been really forthcoming with everyone about the item and its provenance, both its relative cheapness and its newness. I do not want to hide my relative privilege or create fodder for gossip and speculation, plus having this up-front reminded of what I chose to do instead of supporting things I believe in is helpful to me. Plus, of course, it's better that folks know that it was a special deal than that they think I kicked down full price. Also, I want to support a climate of openness about financial status in my social circle - it's important that the better-off in my social circle do feel pressured to give money and help to the less well-off, rather than hiding our comparative privilege. (Not that anyone is actually rich; it's just the difference between a crappy retail/service job and a grown-up job with benefits)

2. I have been thinking about ways to better forward my values. Would I feel so bad about [item] if I were really living my values in every other aspect of my life? No. I feel bad about [item] because I make minor, frivolous financial decisions all the time. How can I stop making those? Would I feel so bad about [item] if I were really working as hard as I could on the things I believe in? No. I feel bad about [item] because I am often lazy and [item] represents a lazy, self-indulgent side of my character.

If you were really the principled, thoughtful, socially-responsible people who just happened to have this wacky car, you would feel like the car was a loveable eccentricity, and so would everyone else. (I know a really committed radical fellow who owns a motorcycle, for example.) Work to feel better about the rest of your life and let the car go.

(Although honestly I would sort through the whole kids/kid-friendly car thing too - it would be kind of a pain to have one kid-friendly car, then it breaks down and you can't take the kid in the other car. That would be my biggest anti-sports-car argument.)
posted by Frowner at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

he is an executive and makes ten times more money than I do.

If this is actually true, $12k on a car is chump change for you guys. Even if you're only pulling down $15k a year, which is really low pay to the point that it'd be hard to believe you aren't working part time, that means he's making $150k. But if "low paying" means the $20-30k range, then geez, you can afford to spend twice that on a car and not really notice. Unless your house is about to collapse into a pile of splinters, there isn't any expense I can think of, including kids, that would make a purchase like this one unreasonable from a financial standpoint.

But here's the thing: even if he's only making five times what you are, this is still a reasonable purchase from a purely financial standpoint. Unless you're not driving at all, you will, in fact, need to spend money on cars. Twelve grand for a used sports car is a steal.

This has nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with your own baggage.
posted by valkyryn at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2012 [30 favorites]

How about agreeing that he gets to make the decision with this car, but you get to pick out the next car you buy?
posted by alphanerd at 6:57 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

-- My car (a hybrid, two years old, which he pays for, drives on occasion) cost more.
-- I am disgusted by flashy sports cars, and flashy signs of wealth in general.

This does not compute. It seems that you are entirely concerned with others' perception of your lifestyle choices, since the dollars and cents involved paint you as the extravagant one here. Let him get the car, and donate the truck to a charity.
posted by apparently at 6:58 AM on June 6, 2012 [20 favorites]

You are putting a lot of judgments onto his desire for this car. He has explained very clearly and reasonably his reasons for wanting the car. Meanwhile, you are forcing your own values onto him, as well as warping his own reasons through the filter of your own values.

This is what I hear from what you're saying:

I would feel humiliated for my broke friends and struggling family to see it in my driveway. So would he not feel humiliated? Is he supposed to feel humiliated? Do you feel like he doesn't care about poor people? Would you be happier if he donated the $12k to charity?

I know it's not that expensive, but the brand is a status symbol. So the brand is a status symbol to you of "flashy" "wealth." That sounds like your own prejudice. But everything is a status symbol: many people think hybrid cars, which are not cheap, are about showing off in a different way. Did that prejudice keep you from buying the hybrid? Or maybe there is some kind of class issue between the two of you that you're insecure about? Your husband is fortunate to have a well-paying job--is that a secret? Do you feel insecure that he makes so much more money than you?

This is not a baby-friendly car. Do you think he doesn't really want a baby? Or do you think that you're going to have to be mostly responsible for the baby?

I try to be an environmentalist. It's important to me; I work hard at it. Do you think he doesn't work hard enough at being an environmentalist? Do you think the environment isn't important enough to him?

None of these other issues will be fixed by his not buying this car that you can afford, that will make him happy, and that gets better gas mileage than his current car.
posted by thebazilist at 6:59 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I hate cars irrationally; I hate expensive cars and I would be embarrassed to be mistaken for someone to whom a fancy car meant something important. I would feel exactly like you. In fact, I have been in this position (not the ill family member part, but the rest of it) and felt exactly like you. But I dropped my objections to his buying the car.

I let it go because in then end, people should be allowed to do the things that make their lives and the trappings of their lives more comfortable when they do not jeopardize the stability of their lives. Your husband can afford this car; he has sentimental reasons for wanting to do it; he has self-worth ("I deserve this") reasons for wanting to buy this particular car to replace his truck; and he has a long commute which this may make marginally more tolerable.

Your feelings are valid and your reasons are no more or less irrational than his, but I would still let it go. Conflicts arise in relationships and are often resolved with one person giving in. Are you largely united on values issues? On self-image issues? On how you present yourselves to the people around you? These things matter (on a sliding scale, of course) but two people can have a disconnect over a single application of / exception to those values and remain united. Part of remaining united as a family is letting your partner do benign stuff that matters to them when it does not harm you, even if it sits uncomfortably with how you want to be perceived by your friends.

This is a benign thing your husband wants to do. He has listened respectfully to your objections and they have not changed his mind. Come to terms with it. Frowner's got some good strategies above.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:03 AM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

I want him to be happy and drive a car that makes him happy.

Then let him.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:04 AM on June 6, 2012 [8 favorites]

There will be times in continued life together when you want something in your life that he doesn't fully understand or approve. Perhaps it will be something you want to buy, a new hobby, or a career change. You may ask him to make sacrifices. (Maybe you already have.) How will you want him to treat such desires?

He is being responsible. He didn't run out and buy some flashy car the first time he got a good job. He waited years and years and is now only asking to buy a car that is cheaper than the one you already drive. It is used. Also, he isn't betraying some pledge of environmental purity that you both took. You are a two house, two car family already.

As for flaunting your wealth, your friends and family already understand you two are wealthier than them. The second house and new hybrid haven't escaped their notice.

Let this one go. Let him have some fun.
posted by Area Man at 7:06 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The baby-seat thing is the ONLY thing here that would give me pause before saying he should buy the sports car. How long does he intend to keep this car? It's not just the baby seat that's an issue--in many states, kids can't ride in the front seat, period, until they're 60 pounds (which for my tiny younger stepdaughter meant until she was about 10). It's one thing to be only able to take the baby around in one car when s//he has to stay with one of you at most times, but it's going to be more of a pain to juggle pick-ups/drop-offs for family convenience when s/he starts going to day care, school, etc. Heck, I'm a stepparent so my needs for transporting kids were less than most parents', but I still needed a child seat in my car.

My other question is: are you going to be willing to drive the sports car if you need to (i.e., his is in the shop, he needs the kid-friendly car, etc.)? Is it a stick shift, and is that going to be an issue? (It's a huge nuisance having one person drive stick and one not in a household, quite honestly.) Can you get past the "status symbol" problems?
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:11 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

(yours is in the shop, not his)
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:12 AM on June 6, 2012

While your anxiety is real (and something your husband should acknowlege, if he hasn't already by helping you write this Askme), I don't find any of your logic compelling.

A car that once thrilled the elites but still offers, many years later, everyday pleasures and dependable service at middle class prices is a very good thing. And any used sports car that sells for the price of a pre-owned corolla is not a "flashy sign of wealth." If anyone thinks it is, tell them, "Well, this particular car has a lot of sentimental value to my husband, and it only cost as much as a used Corolla." And assuming your husband makes the same deprecation, then it'll be you, not him, who's fixated on car brands. And frankly, I already see this in your question. A hybrid -- especially one kept in the driveway most days by someone who works from home -- is a status symbol, though of a different sort.
posted by hhc5 at 7:12 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Your husband is being incredibly rational, and his reasons and thought-processes for wanting this car are well laid out and completely valid. It sounds like you're imposing your own standards and values on his actions when those actions do not effect you past your own wealth-shame.

It's natural to feel a little guilty when you have more than the people around you. But as someone said upthread, pretending you have less than you obviously do is even more annoying than being ostentatious with your wealth.
posted by nickhb at 7:13 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

A lot of good points above - I just want to focus on the commute. Commutes are the transition zone between personal and public life. They require committed time each day during which only the most minimal multitasking is possible: drinking coffee, listening to something on the stereo, or (if you are the woman I see sometimes) putting on liquid eyeliner at speed on a major interstate.

Consider what it might mean to your mornings and evenings if your husband looks forward to his morning commute, and comes home in a good mood because he's spent the traffic-laden, idiot-filled drive home in a car he loves. Compare that to how he might feel if he spends it in a car that, at best, is mere transport and something he bought primarily because it doesn't have a Fine German Engineering hood emblem (I am suspecting this is a Mercedes or BMW). In the latter case, he may remember this argument every day that he drives the replacement car.

You are worried about what your friends will think of you if you let him buy this car. It sounds like that's more important to you than what he wants to do.
posted by catlet at 7:13 AM on June 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

I can't say much that hasn't already been said except to add that a clean but several year old Z4 or Boxster might not come across quite as flashy to your friends as you're fearing. They're practically professorial. Get him a scarf.

On preview, I see that hhc5 has indicated the same thing.
posted by ftm at 7:13 AM on June 6, 2012

AskMe is not particularly pro-sports-car, particularly when serious money is on the line. However, none of your reasons are particularly good ones to veto this affordable purchase. (also, I dispute how "flashy" a $12k sports car could be. Sounds kind of low-end)

Those reasons you list are good ones for you not to buy a sports car. Certain judgments are ok to make for yourself, but not for others.

How do we solve this without resentment on either side?

By not turning everything into a Clash Of Values.
posted by deanc at 7:15 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your husband's high paying job allows you to have all the things and status symbols you want - low paying creative work-at-home job; houses; prius; baby. Would be extremely churlish of you not to let him have the car he wants and can afford. This seems to be a matter of style, not substance.
posted by yarly at 7:17 AM on June 6, 2012 [64 favorites]

This isn't a money issue. Put simply, unless this is something extremely exotic, a $15,000 car, even if it's in amazingly good shape won't turn many heads - the people who care about that sort of thing will know how much the car is worth, and they'll know it's not worth all that much. Actual flashy sports cars go for around $45,000 and up. $12,000 for a quality used car is something most people would consider frugal.

If he were spending $45,000 on a $60,000 sports car, you'd have every right to be worried. If he were buying this car when you didn't have the money, you'd have every right to be worried. But buying a used car for $12k when you have the money, that gets better fuel economy than his existing truck? Again, unless this is something very exotic, your concern is a bit like wanting him to buy store-brand soda instead of a can of, say, Red Bull.

Here's what makes matters more confusing: unless you have a really old hybrid, your car is more of a status symbol than his sports car will be. Since the Insight and Prius were introduced, hundreds of thousands of people have done the math, looked at fuel efficiency, looked at the benefits of driving a hybrid, and have found that the total cost of ownership of a hybrid is generally greater than that of a normal car even with the high cost of gas. A hybrid - especially the Prius - says "I care enough about the environment to potentially pay more for a car designed to help save it, and I can afford that."

To make this clear, it's the well-off people that drive newer hybrids and the working-class people who drive 10-20 year old sports cars around where I live. My extremely wealthy boss and his wife both drive brand new hybrid Toyotas, and the guy across the street who hustles for odd jobs drives a Mercedes from the early 90s.

Your husband, your broke friends and struggling family may already be looking at your hybrid in the way that you're concerned that they'll be looking at his sports car.

It sounds like there's no tangible risk here, only emotional risk. If the car doesn't work out, it sounds like you'll be able to sell it easily. You have another car to transport the baby. There's still fuel economy savings over your husband's current car. It's not a whole lot of money for a couple that is doing OK. The only question is resentment.

Here's the thing: your husband bought you the car you wanted, equipped the way you wanted it, at a higher price than a standard car. You would be being selfish to deny him the ability to own his own car, equipped the way he wanted it, when he's already done the same for you, and you can afford it. The exception is if there were something that would be egregiously out of balance with your car - if the car had particularly bad fuel economy (it sounds like it doesn't) or is at a price much higher than your own car (it isn't).

Let the guy buy his terminally ill friend's car, seriously.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 7:20 AM on June 6, 2012 [76 favorites]

What? You have two houses, but you are worried about what your friends and family will think about a $15k car in your driveway. Are your houses $15k or less, too? (I know the car costs more than $15k, but $15k is what you are paying for it.)

This is not a baby-friendly car; there is no backseat.

This bugs me. It IS a baby-friendly car. If there is no backseat and a relatively new-ish car, then there has to be a switch to turn off the air bag when there is a baby seat in there. It would just be husband + baby driving around. I drive my older kid in a booster seat in a two-seat pick-up just fine--safely and legally.
posted by TinWhistle at 7:23 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd just like to nth the fact that to me, the kind of person that drives a used sports car that would retail for 18k from a dealer screams "guy that likes fun cars", not "douchey rich toolbag".
posted by hot soup at 7:25 AM on June 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

Let me elaborate some more: one of the parts of the maturation process is the understanding that the practical is more important than the symbolic. Your reasons for getting upset about the car are mostly symbolic: it has a "status" brand, and you don't like sports cars that are "flashy." Things I've realized that are more important are things like the amount of money you have in the bank and your monthly cash flow. The "environmental" consequences to your husbands lifestyle are far more embedded in the fact that he has to drive 20 minutes to work than the nature of the car he's driving, and I don't see you getting indignant over the fact that he has a commute. The environmental consequences would be far greater if he bought a brand new Prius, given all the metals that needed to be mined to build one. You're placing an emphasis on symbolism that is far, far out of proportion to its practical consequence, while ignoring the symbolism that is perhaps more important (eg, the sentimental value).

Your possessions do not define you, and this is the thing you're hung up on. Your hybrid does not make you a good person. The ownership of a "flashy" (but let's face it, essentially middle class) sportscar does not make someone a loudmouthed jerk.
posted by deanc at 7:26 AM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

I bought a used BMW once and for the first few months, every time someone asked me about it, I made apologies (it's very used, it was very cheap, has a bunch of dings, etc) for owning it. One day, my friend told me to cut it out and stop apologizing for having something nice...that I had earned it.

She went on to say (rightly) that anyone who would hold it against me for wanting and earning something nice for myself is a judgmental jerk. FYI--she was a waitress and I was a lawyer when she said this.
posted by murrey at 7:27 AM on June 6, 2012 [16 favorites]

This has nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with your own baggage.
+1 on this. I semi-get this because I grew up extremely poor and that has not been the experience of any of my partners. The only time this has ever really been an issue is when I felt that the purchase impacted our shared life negatively -- I think that is your real concern, but I'm not sure how valid it is. I'm getting that from the fact that your first two reasons against the car indicate that you are more concerned that your husband will not project an image of "married, family-oriented, responsible" with this new car. It is obvious that you care very much about what other people think of you/your family, and it makes you sound somewhat insecure.

The best way to resolve this without resentment on either side is not to make a "moral" mountain out of a "materialistic" molehill. Your possesions don't define your integrity.
posted by sm1tten at 7:29 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I suggest, frankly, you stop worrying about what everyone else will think and start focusing on your own and your husband's actual personal well-being, especially in the context of fulfilment and self actualisation. We are not put on this Earth to provide genteel, non-offensive entertainment for others.

As far as the environmental concerns go, leaving small footprints is a good idea, but having two houses and two cars and planning to bring a child into the world (the biggest energy expense you will have on the planet) already and then griping about swapping one car for another with slightly worse gas mileage is at best a straw-man argument.

I think there are be deeper issues here but what is crystal clear is that you are being unreasonable about this particular topic, anon, and he should buy the car and enjoy it, and if you can't be happy for his happiness, then at least never say a word against it in the future.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:30 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Are you able to drive this sports car, so when he needs to take the baby somewhere without you, he can use the hybrid and you can use his car? As long as he doesn't intend to use the car as an excuse not to be responsible for his share of child-related duties, I think you should let this go. You already have a hybrid car and two houses: a used sports car that came from a friend of the family that is worth about the same as a higher end subcompact is not a huge marker of conspicuous consumption in comparison.

You need to have a discussion about how this car will work with a baby and eventual toddler, what you want about multiple children and how this car will continue to work if you do that, but you're putting your wants ("don't look like I'm spending money wastefully, whether or not I am") over your husband's ("drive a car I would enjoy that also has sentimental value").
posted by jeather at 7:30 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Whereas I would feel humiliated for my broke friends and struggling family to see it in my driveway.

(not your) broke friend and family member here. I would be delighted that your husband had bought the car - do you have such a low opinion of us that you would believe otherwise?
posted by humph at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

We've owned a Miata (two seats) and a Subaru (five seats) with two kids. We still own a Miata, now with five kids. No backseat is not a big deal. My children, even as infants rode in the Miata. Disabling the passenger airbag was the only concern, as these were earlier models that didn't have weight sensors that would do it for you.
posted by narcoleptic at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2012

I think you should forbid him to get this car, and also sell your hybrid car, which is also a status symbol. The truly environmentally friendly thing would be to have no private car.

I also think that you should sell your second house, because either it is providing rental income that you don't need (since your husband earns so much, you don't need to keep part-time serfs to survive) or you are holding that land out of use. Not many people realize that owning land and holding it out of use has been a major contribution to the current depression. After you sell the second house, I think you should return the proceeds to the community since it is you who owe rent to the community for monopolizing a natural resource, and since, through the community's economic activity, they have been contributing to the value of that second house. But if you have been letting someone live there free of charge, I take all that back and good for you.

But if you don't want to do those things, that's fair enough, what's not fair is holding your husband to a standard that you don't hold yourself to.
posted by tel3path at 7:34 AM on June 6, 2012 [49 favorites]

He's your husband, but this is not about you. It's doesn't hurt you, it's something that will make him happy, and it does not matter even a little bit what other people think. Just suck it up and take a hit to the part of you who wouldn't make this decision for yourself and let him be a grown man making a decision for his own sense of well being. It's worth it.

And honestly it will be much easier for both of you to be happy if you don't prioritize what other people think ahead of your own well being. That should not really be a factor when making decisions that don't affect those people one iota. I surround myself with people who support me and whom I support and I truly cherish those relationships. We want each other to do well. I highly recommend it.
posted by Kimberly at 7:35 AM on June 6, 2012

Yeah, I'm also coming down on the pro-car side. I'm not big into cars, but $12K seems cheap for a car, and really and truly, a late-model Prius or whatever is a MUCH higher status car than a 20-year old sports car worth $12-15K.

You have two houses, and two cars (even if one is an old truck). Your friends know how much money you have.

If and when you have a baby, the baby (and hubby) can go in your hybrid. You don't need two cars for baby transportation. I often ride my bike to work, but I wouldn't port baby around on my bicycle.

This doesn't sound like an irrational purchase; life's easier when you let things go for others' happiness.

Also, FWIW, my SO and I are comfortable, and we're doing better than a lot of our friends. If they ever wanted money, we'd help them out, and we're generally relatively careful with our money (we rent our apartment, we drive a 12-year-old handmedown car, etc.). But I don't think I'd ever forgo a purchase out of fear that it would make my friends feel poor by comparison, any more than I would forgo having children out of fear of offending friends who can't have kids. Friends should be happy for each other's good fortunes.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:38 AM on June 6, 2012

If your friends so narrow minded and care so little about you that your husband buying a second hand car and trading down on fuel usage pisses them off, are they really your friends or just some crazed environmentalist you know? If that's the case why do you care what they think.

All the other reasons you give are hokum so I suspect there is something else behind your resentment at him getting the car.
posted by wwax at 7:39 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I want him to be happy and drive a car that makes him happy. However, I feel that buying this car would be extremely selfish on his part

And you stopping him from buying it would be extremely selfish on your part (and fwiw, I don't agree that him buying a used sports car at a bargain price would extremely selfish - at worst it would be mildly selfish because it would be putting his desires over your fairly irrational embarrassment. As pointed out about above your environmental concerns invalid - even not including your intention to bring more people into this already over populated world - and its perfectly possible to have a family and a sports car.... and by the sound of it, if it were really an issue, you could afford for him to have a second 'family' vehicle.)

or to put it another way "Jesus Christ, let the poor emasculated son of a bitch have a shitty used sports car" ;)
posted by missmagenta at 7:41 AM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

it's the well-off people that drive newer hybrids and the working-class people who drive 10-20 year old sports cars around where I live.

This, I think, nails the issue the OP has with the car-- her husband is buying something that is essentially déclassé. It's not something that upper middle class intellectuals buy, it's something that somewhat loudmouthed guys who work in sales buy after they close their first big deal. The problem is cultural: the "successful bourgeois bohemian" class presentation she identifies with has a different set of consumptive signifiers -- hybrid cars, telecommuting/work-at-home job/walkable neighborhood -- than the one implied by this purchase.

The way I deal with a similar purchase, particularly when someone asks what kind of car I drive, is to self-deprecatingly joke, "the same kind of car every other 30 something yuppie guy drives." then I add, "and it's completely awesome. Worth every penny."
posted by deanc at 7:43 AM on June 6, 2012 [26 favorites]

One more tidbit on top of all the good sense above:

The terminally-ill friend has offered this good deal for a reason - perhaps he'd/she'd really like for your husband instead of some stranger/dealer to have the car. Also, no lengthy hassles selling it. And maybe he/she needs the money, especially without the delaying possible hassles. Time, you know.
posted by likeso at 7:45 AM on June 6, 2012 [12 favorites]

Not to sound hard, but your broke friends and struggling family may be more taken aback by your two houses and brand new hybrid in the driveway than a used car. The $12k used car of your dreams is a hell of a lot more attainable than two houses.

If being an environmentalist is important to you, and status is not, why is he the one commuting in the 10 year old truck with terrible mileage while your hybrid sits in the driveway? Shouldn't the one who drives the most take the hybrid--or is it important to you to be seen in a car that you think people will associate with being "green" and responsible?

The only thing that makes me pause is the baby thing, but if it is an issue when the baby actually gets here, it can always be sold--but at least he would get to have it for a while.

Personally, if your friend is selling the car because of their illness, I would not be comfortable paying less than it is worth from any other private seller. I would be more concerned about being the guy who got a deal on a car because of a friend's illness than the guy in a sports car.
posted by inertia at 7:47 AM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

What likeso said, too. Terminal illness is expensive, and it is hard work with an endless number of administrative hoops to jump through, and the last thing the sick friend wants is even more red tape to deal with.

But if you're really committed to not having the car, maybe your husband should give the friend the money and promise to collect the car "later" or something. Or at worst, keep it only as long as the friend is around to think it's gone to a good home.
posted by tel3path at 7:48 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's OK for you to express opposition to this decision as long as you allow him to make this decision. At least half of your family income "belongs" to him, and for the benefit of everyone, he needs to be capable of spending some of it on things that make him personally happy. You are separate individuals and it is right and proper that you will sometimes disagree, but you shouldn't needlessly hold each other back from exercising that personal freedom.

Of course, after the decision is made, it's better for everyone if the merits of the decision are left in the past. The way to not make this a wedge between you is: accept that he knowingly consented to do this with some of his own money, and that therefore, barring exceptional circumstances, it's the appropriate decision for the family, because needlessly denying him this is harmful to the family.

Also, he should do something nice for you.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:51 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

-- I am disgusted by flashy sports cars, and flashy signs of wealth in general. I know it's not that expensive, but the brand is a status symbol. I feel like a big part of him wants to be "the guy in the [sports car brand]". Whereas I would feel humiliated for my broke friends and struggling family to see it in my driveway.

That's your problem, not his. I tend to be the same way, but if I got a good deal on a nice car, I wouldn't think twice about it.

-- We plan to try for a baby in the next six months. This is not a baby-friendly car; there is no backseat.

But yours is, yes?

-- I try to be an environmentalist. It's important to me; I work hard at it. I drive a hybrid. 17/25 miles per gallon for a small car is terrible compared to what's out there (though maybe 10% better than his truck). In general, I resent his disinterest in hybrid/fuel-efficient cars.

Again, that's your problem, not his.

You are a couple, but you are not identical people. Recognize that he is not the same as you.... and that that's okay. Let him have the car; it sounds like he's been pretty frugal to date. If the car really is that good of a deal, he can sell it in a year or two when you need a larger car for a baby. In the meantime, geez, let the guy have some fun.
posted by Doohickie at 7:51 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Given the price and the mpg I'm thinking this is a BMW 3 series, which is what I own. No one cares. It's not that flashy.
posted by desjardins at 7:52 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, but your insurance, maintenance and speeding tickets will go up.
posted by desjardins at 7:53 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think you need to accept the fact that your husband is a separate person from you, with different opinions and preferences. Not better or worse, just different.

As you've said, this isn't about money. So don't worry about what other people will think - anyone that would judge you based on your husband's purchases isn't worth keeping around. Let him buy something that makes him happy.
posted by barnoley at 7:54 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I had a similar situation, although the car my partner wanted (and ultimately got, although I was annoyed by it) was more like $60K.

The only legit reason not to let him buy this is that if he's driving a two seater, then all child transportation duties automatically will default to you. Might want to discuss this before you go ahead with it.

Otherwise... eh just be gracious about it and be glad his dream car isn't $60K.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:55 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

A dear friend of mine recently died of cancer and she was so completely gutted by the medical expenses that could barely afford to buy groceries. It's an act of kindness to buy this car from your terminally ill friend and your husband genuinely likes the car. That's a win-win.
posted by kate blank at 7:58 AM on June 6, 2012 [16 favorites]

$12K? My Honda Accord cost more than that, and that's nobody's idea of a status symbol.

I'm sorry, but all this guilt isn't helping anyone. If you want to donate a huge chunk of your household income to charity, then go ahead. But just avoiding the appearance of wealth really does nothing for anybody.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:06 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Let him buy the car. It sounds like the kind of car that will not depreciate quickly. When he gets tired of feeling flashy and/or you have a baby, it will have good trade-in value.
posted by mareli at 8:09 AM on June 6, 2012

The only legit reason not to let him buy this is that if he's driving a two seater, then all child transportation duties automatically will default to you. Might want to discuss this before you go ahead with it.

Important point: The OP said they plan to try for a baby in the next six months. The whole baby transporting thing is a red herring up until the point that, you know, they have a baby. It might take a couple years before they have to worry about it, and maybe by then he will be ready to sell the car and get something a little bigger. Or, as was said above, lots of families can function with one "family car" and one "personal car."

If you had a baby right now, you would have a relevant point... maybe. Until you are pregnant, it's not even a topic of conversation.
posted by Doohickie at 8:09 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I recently bought a sports car with some similar hand wringing (see here in the green), I would like to assuage some concerns. He won't turn into an ass and you won't be the talk of the town. In the coming week you will probably be amazed at how many sports cars there are on the road. Once I considered buying one it seemed like they were everywhere.

They are quite fun though. My wife had reservations and it is utterly impractical but for fun outings without the kids we always choose the sports car. Have some fun with it!
posted by dgran at 8:11 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and... if he does get the car and then you get pregnant, don't tell him he has to get rid of it; chances are he will come to that conclusion on his own, either before the baby comes or shortly after.
posted by Doohickie at 8:12 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Once I considered buying one it seemed like they were everywhere.

The term for this is "Yellow Volkswagen Syndrome". You don't ever see a yellow Volkswagen on the road until you own one and then you start to see them everywhere. In other words, most people don't notice what kind of car other people are driving.
posted by VTX at 8:21 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your husband's hard work pays for you to live in two houses and drive an expensive hybrid car, all while working a low-paying job in a creative field. Yet you want to deny him a $12k car because you don't like the way it looks?

He's not the one being selfish.
posted by ewiar at 8:22 AM on June 6, 2012 [33 favorites]

Yeah, uh, to my eyes, your new Prius is far more of an embarrassing status symbol than a used sports car. The television show TopGear even has a running joke about the smugness of Prius owners.

Bigger picture: Sounds like you've got some pretty severe issues in regards to thinking too much about what people think about you. The sooner you can realize that people really DO NOT THINK THAT MUCH ABOUT YOU, the much better of you'll be.
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

I think many (most?) interpersonal conflicts are about one person wanting the other person to be different than he is. In this case, I think what's bothering you is that you are seeing an aspect of your husband that you simply don't like. He is excited about the car; you wish he were not the kind of person who would get excited about a sports car. This is a conflict based on core personal values, and that's why your reaction seems out of proportion to the rational elements of the disagreement.

So, I guess the next step for you is to acknowledge that there is a part of your husband that appreciates things like flashy cars, and to work on accepting him as he is. You don't have to like that about him, but it sounds like most of the rest of his personality, the way you two are together, and the way you live your values as a family are all working out really well. Keep doing life together and try to live with the fact that he will be different than you sometimes. (That sounds a little glib in print but I mean it earnestly and recognize how very, very difficult it can be!)

Maybe it would help smooth out any resentment if you also added something new to your life that sort of balanced out the sports car energy? Buy the car but start a new monthly volunteer gig together, or something like that, to reaffirm your shared commitment to making the world a better place.
posted by TrixieRamble at 8:30 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I grew up with my father having a commuter car and my mother having the family car. Neither car cost as much as a Prius does today.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2012

Seconding Tel3path's comment. Addressing the status problem:

Data point: I come from a well-to-do family, but you wouldn't know it from looking at us. My parents are cheap; both of them have cars from the early 90's and they chose to remain in their starter house. While you're worried about coming off painfully rich in front of your friends...I wouldn't. Your husband is acting exactly like my parents; embrace that, because the nouveau riche tend to be extremely flashy and even more conspicuous consumers. If this is about appearances (which I strongly encourage you to eschew), then please believe me when I say that you aren't putting forth any airs by buying a *heavily discounted sports car.* You already did that when you got the Prius. Hopefully, this makes you feel better about his getting it.

Also, you own two pieces of property in a time of foreclosures; why are you disgusted by the presumed flashiness and non-green status of a car? Furthermore, you have the advantages created by your husband's income that already set you apart from your friends in noticeable ways. Do you resent him for making that kind of lifestyle significantly easier for you?

Is there something else bothering you? I don't think this is about the car itself, or even what it represents.
posted by Ashen at 8:40 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

OP here.
It's always interesting to see what people guess about your relationship from a single HR question. I mean, "let the poor emasculated son of a bitch have a shitty used sports car." Emasculated? Seriously? My goodness. But most of you have great points, and I think you're right, as much as it bothers me. I love him and I'm going to let him make the decision himself, and try my best not to resent it.

A few thoughts/clarifications, though, because there are quite a few untruths being guessed about us:

-- It's a Porsche, not a BMW.
-- It's ten years old. Good mileage, but pretty old. It's a stick, which I can't drive (but lord knows I need to learn already). This is also why he usually takes the manual truck to work, not the hybrid. But he does drive it often.
--My hybrid was also bought used. It's not a Prius.
-- Sick friend is doing just fine financially, but wants husband to have the car for his own sentimental reasons.
-- We rent out the other house. It's not like we live in both! It was our tiny starter home and I would love to sell it, but we're 20% in the hole right now.
-- BELIEVE ME, I know I am fortunate to be with this high-paid guy, which gives me the freedom to create. I am aware of this always and feel bad about it often. Reminding me sure doesn't help with the guilt factor.
-- Yeah, you guys are right about the hybrid being a status symbol too. We didn't buy it for that, but I totally see how it is.
-- I do understand that my resentment has to do with my own baggage. Know that I struggled so much with wording this so I didn't come off totally holier than thou; I don't think it's that so much. It's more a sense of guilt and adjusting for privilege and crap like that. It's self-judgy. It's a stomachache. But I think it also plays into a fear I've always had about him, as much as I love him; that there is a part of us with different values, and if he weren't with me, he'd happily be the cliche repub exec with the fancy toys, like a lot of his coworkers. Of course, he isn't that person now, but the lifestyle tempts him. (As I guess it does most people, which is understandable. Just not my thing. I'm sorry if that's judgy.)
-- I guess it's true a baby can ride in front if you turn off the airbags (though can you do that with a 10-year-old car?) Otherwise, if there's only one kid car and it's my car, I'm the kid driver by default, all day every day. I don't want riding in dad's sports car to be the fun thing to do with dad, woo! I want him to be an equal parent, or at least semi-equal. (Is that more baggage?)

There are a bunch more things I could refute or have thoughts on, but that's helpful to no one. It's probably fair that I'm being piled on right now, though I do think a few people are being extremely uncharitable toward me and my relationship. (ie, super mean.)

But thank you so much for your thoughts.
posted by sox! at 8:54 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

"BELIEVE ME, I know I am fortunate to be with this high-paid guy, which gives me the freedom to create. I am aware of this always and feel bad about it often."

"Feel bad" usually means we feel ashamed.

You shouldn't feel ashamed for your good fortune. Embrace the fact that this is who you and your husband are instead of fighting it, and make the best of it and use it to help others if you can.

This may be something you need to talk to someone about and figure out where this misplaced guilt is coming from. Perhaps it will help you to view your situation as a gift and opportunity instead of a shameful burden.
posted by Serendipitous at 9:01 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I would really check your jurisdiction about the baby being in the front of a car. A combination of practical and forward thinking is that when you do have a kid and driving is an issue, you should offer your car as well as his as part of the, "may need to trade in for mini-van" equation. Depending on your hybrid it is a PITA to get a baby out of a 2 door and backseat.
posted by jadepearl at 9:03 AM on June 6, 2012

If you want to assuage your guilt, volunteer and/or donate money to your preferred cause(s). I am certain some non-profit can use your creative skills. The kind of car you drive is not really an indication of your compassion and generosity towards those less fortunate. Sure, some uncaring dicks drive Porsches and huge SUVs but you're not one of them, and neither is your husband. If his values were that different he wouldn't have married you and vice versa.

I want him to be an equal parent, or at least semi-equal.

Then this is a conversation you need to have pre-baby and it has nothing to do with the type of car he drives. Why do you think he won't be an equal parent because he drives a sports car? That's a super weird extrapolation.
posted by desjardins at 9:03 AM on June 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

I don't think a 10 year-old porshe is a status symbol/flash of wealth, so take that worry out of the equation.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:08 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

In my opinion. My gut reaction when I see someone in a newer Porsche is, "That guy is probably a dick." When I see someone in an older Porsche I think, "Neat old car!"

Something about a new Porsche makes me assume that they bought it as a penis extension but an older one makes me think that they just like fun cars. I'm aware that both of these are assumptions and my own bias but that seems to be what some of your stated reservations are about. This mostly only applies to the 911 and other higher end Porsches. The Boxster I usually see as someone who just likes fun cars no matter how old or new it is.
posted by VTX at 9:10 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

You can learn to drive stick (you have lots of time) and discuss the kid-in-car thing so that you can figure out how to ensure you're not the only person doing the driving.

If your husband really wanted to have lots of toys and live that cliche, he would. He chose to marry you instead. He helped you write this question and is considerate that this upsets you. It doesn't mean he doesn't want the car also, or that is the first step before you buy a McMansion and two SUVs.
posted by jeather at 9:11 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

that there is a part of us with different values, and if he weren't with me, he'd happily be the cliche repub exec with the fancy toys, like a lot of his coworkers.

If things were different, they would be different. Deal with things as they are, not as they might be.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

It's a Porsche, not a BMW. It's ten years old.

At $12,000, this means it's a Boxster, not a 911, so it really is the "middle class" Porsche.

you guys are right about the hybrid being a status symbol too. We didn't buy it for that

So what makes you think your husband's purchase of a 10-year-old entry-level Porsche is a status symbol?

the lifestyle tempts him. (As I guess it does most people, which is understandable. Just not my thing.

I hear you. Really, I do. As much money as you want to spend on expensive toys, you can. There's no upper limit. But do you have an iPod? Take nice vacations? A great pair of running shoes? A nice backpack for travelling?

The accumulation of toys doesn't make you happy, and yes, it is tempting. But certain things are useful, and, in general, nice things are better than not-as-nice things. Once you grapple with this, you can make better judgments about what is worthwhile and what is not.

Honestly, I hear where you're coming from-- I grew up around people for whom possessions defined you and defined your position in the social pecking order, and this was something that I was completely unable to understand and grapple with as a kid growing up in an immigrant family with highly practical-minded parents. But at the end of the day, my parents saved up their money and bought a house on a big plot of land and renovated the kitchen because having those things was more pleasant than not having it. But growing up means that you don't constantly invest huge symbolism into every single purchase-- on either end of the "virtue" spectrum. Things are not deeply laden symbols of your values. Sometimes they're just things that serve a practical and/or personal/leisure purpose.
posted by deanc at 9:13 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I am not a car person, but I would jump at the chance to buy a 2002 Porsche for 10K.

But in any event, having money really isn't anything to feel bad about, any more than you should feel bad about being beautiful, tall, intelligent, in good health, or a good singer, or having kids.

Everyone has nice things in their lives that make them stand out from their peers. You really don't need to beat yourself up about your good fortunes; just be grateful, and when you can, share your good fortunes with others--be it charity, reaching for something from a high shelf, singing a song, or talking them for a ride in a bitchin' Porsche.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:17 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just want to point out that I was quoting some-one else's post which seems to have been deleted. I assumed it was mostly in jest, clearly someone disagreed.
posted by missmagenta at 9:17 AM on June 6, 2012

Er, $12K. I can't drive stick, either, though!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:17 AM on June 6, 2012

Thank you everyone.

Serendipitous, I'm sure you're right, but I haven't had nearly enough caffeine to begin to unpack that. It doesn't help that I am in an industry that devours your heart and self-worth and spits it back out again.

desjardins, I guess sticking that in there was weird. It'd just be a part of it. If I'm working from home, at the lower-paying job, I'm already childcare #1 no matter what; and if I'm the only one who can drive the baby, it would only add to an already uneven responsibility (which is fine! Just not TOO uneven). That's a derail though and a topic for another day.

It is indeed a Boxster! I guess it's good to know car people don't think it's flashy at all, but car people aren't my concern.

I also totally hear you guys with all the "Well you have a hybrid and houses! Why don't you donate ALL your money to the orphans! Babies are carbon explosions!" But what's your point -- that unless you live in a yurt in the deep forest, why try at all? I think it's important to seek balance and to at least try to be conscious of consumption -- if we have the privilege/ability/finances to, of course -- even if we're imperfect at it. YMMV. This is also a derail.
posted by sox! at 9:34 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

How equally you parent has nothing to do with him buying this sportscar. Learn to drive stick and the problem is solved. You are making up barriers here.

I love him and I'm going to let him make the decision himself, and try my best not to resent it.

You are going to try your best not to resent the financially inconsequential item that makes your husband happy? Fucking hell, woman. There is nothing for you to resent here. This car doesn't cause you or anyone else injury or harm. LET GO. You should consider being happy for people you love who make decisions other than the ones you would make to be a pre-emptive lesson in parenting.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:37 AM on June 6, 2012 [34 favorites]

Well I sort of guessed it was a Boxster! If it's any consolation, Porsche are renown for their high tech efficiency, getting more from less. Although for his faults he was close to the Nazis (like most of the large German automobile makers), Prof Ferdinand Porsche even invented the hybrid car, and they are releasing a super fast hybrid sports car that will do the best part of 80mpg.

And trust me, no one sees a 10 year old Boxster as some flashy Gordon Gecko douchemobile. Compared to most American cars, the Boxsters seem pretty efficient!
posted by derbs at 9:41 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also totally hear you guys with all the "Well you have a hybrid and houses! Why don't you donate ALL your money to the orphans! Babies are carbon explosions!" But what's your point -- that unless you live in a yurt in the deep forest, why try at all? I think it's important to seek balance and to at least try to be conscious of consumption -- if we have the privilege/ability/finances to, of course -- even if we're imperfect at it. YMMV. This is also a derail.

Not really a derail. Sorry, but your question is largely about avoiding what you consider conspicuous consumption while engaging in what others here consider conspicuous consumption.

FYI, I am fairly low-earning, and most of my friends are, and a lot of them drive used luxury cars. Why? You get a nice car for a not a lot of money, and your commute sucks a little less. Driving a Porsche/BMW/whatever is not just about high status symbol, but also the experience of driving a sports car. There is no comparison.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:43 AM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

DarlingBri, I really value your contributions here, but yikes. My husband is very happy already and does not do without. This car is not his heart's desire, I promise. I also disagree that it is financially inconsequential for a variety of reasons. But I said, I AM letting go. The decision is his, and I'm going to try my best to feel okay about it, which I think is the best anybody can do.
posted by sox! at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

It is telling that you are making up patently untrue barriers to this that you resent the lifestyle your husband's wealth affords you but do not want to give up your half of that life. Making him give up the things he wants is fine, though, because your arguments are supported by your beliefs (in your mind, at least.)

Yes, it is true that we should strive for balance even if we can't achieve it, but why not adopt then? Or, if you and your husband's happiness is paramount, then damn the economy and sell the house. Sounds like you could "afford" to lose the money, but you don't want to.

I do not think "emasculate" is too strong a word, because you've been given a way to live life the way you want but will not allow your husband a small, relatively inconsequential object. His hard work pays for your ability to be creative. To enjoy the fruits of his labor and not allow him to do the same because of a (frankly misplaced) belief is, in fact, taking away part of what he wants his identity to be. That is the very definition of emasculation.

You. Are. Wrong. Here. Do not try to equivocate.
posted by InsanePenguin at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2012 [17 favorites]

Maybe you are worried that its a midlife-crisis-mobile with all that that implies? Hopefully its not red at least.
posted by meepmeow at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2012

So what's really bothering you is that there's absolutely no reason to buy the car other than that your husband likes it, and buying a 10-year-old Porsche by choice marks him out as the kind of person you don't want to be and (by extension) you don't want him to be.

The only remaining explanation, once all rationalizations have failed to hold, is snobbery, and I say that not to criticize you but to make an important point. Snobbery is always a way of keeping other people away from you. Now your husband is doing something that makes him a person you want to keep away from you. My guess is that you either distance yourself from the Porsche-driving gas-guzzler or you re-evaluate your opinions about other people, the masses, That Guy who drives a Porsche. I would also guess that it's not even what other people are going to think, at least not actual people - these are most likely imaginary people whose opinions you're worried about, just as it is imaginary Porsche-drivers you fear being compared to. Just because they're imaginary doesn't mean they're not very, very important - they're avatars for shame. Of course that's going to cause you anxiety.

You can lock down your shame, insist that your husband stick to being the kind of representation of you that you want; clearly banning the Porsche would be part and parcel of that. Or you could consider the truism that someone who earns has the right to spend, pay attention to what's being said here about the image that a 10-year-old Porsche actually projects, and most of all contemplate that your husband is a separate person who contributes to your household and is entitled to his share of the fun.

I know you're afraid that the Porsche is a reminder that, if he weren't with you, he would want different things than those he has with you. But that's because he's a separate person with separate tastes, and he is not supposed to be you. The flip side of keeping That Guy away from you, is making sure your husband doesn't separate from you by displaying values and tastes that aren't yours. You could refuse to allow the Porsche but the problem of his not being an accurate reflection of you would just come up again.
posted by tel3path at 9:49 AM on June 6, 2012 [8 favorites]

First of all, sorry for the piling on. Looks like you were able to separate the good from the bad, and look at the advice constructively.

I get the conspicuous consumption thing, and how certain brands can generate certain emotional responses about the owner.

However, just remember that maybe... just maybe.... people actually buy Porsche Boxsters because they are one of the best examples of a high-performace, low-cost sports car that money can buy. Remember that being able to say "I own a Porsche" at lunch meetings isn't the primary motivation. While you personally can't relate, there are a lot of people that derive a great deal of genuine pleasure from driving a fantastically designed sports car every day. Believe it.
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 9:51 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

That is the very definition of emasculation.

No, emasculation is a sexist term that has nothing to do with my husband (who is the manliest sort of feminist) or our relationship.

tel3path & teriyaki_tornado, I really appreciate your recent comments, and I am going to try my best to reframe it that way. I think I'm getting too thread-lurky so I'll stay away for a bit. Again, thank you everyone for weighing in.
posted by sox! at 10:02 AM on June 6, 2012 [13 favorites]

How long does he intend to keep this car? It's not just the baby seat that's an issue--in many states, kids can't ride in the front seat, period, until they're 60 pounds (which for my tiny younger stepdaughter meant until she was about 10).

Anyone got a cite for this? As far as I know this only applies in the case where the vehicle has a back seat.
posted by Mitheral at 10:07 AM on June 6, 2012

I drive a 2007 VW GTI (2-door) and my wife has a 2012 Subaru Outback. We have a small child, and the Subaru is the only car with a child seat in it.

I have talked about replacing my car soon, with a BMW 3-series, and even though my wife is not a big car person and would likely never want a BMW herself, she is perfectly happy to let me get one if I want one, as long as we can afford it.

When we all go somewhere together, we take the Subaru, because it's child-seat equipped. If I need to take the baby somewhere by myself, I will borrow the Subaru, and my wife can borrow my car.

Mostly though, I drive my car to work. It's a long commute, and I'd like it to be comfortable, and I want to have a car that *I* will enjoy driving. My car is mainly for me, not for my wife. She has her own, even if we occasionally swap for logistical reasons.

Anyone got a cite for this? As far as I know this only applies in the case where the vehicle has a back seat.

You're right. I don't know of a single place where kids can't ride in the front seat of a car with no back seats. They an ride in the front seat of cars with back seats, too, if the back seat is already full of other children.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:10 AM on June 6, 2012

But what's your point -- that unless you live in a yurt in the deep forest, why try at all? I think it's important to seek balance and to at least try to be conscious of consumption -- if we have the privilege/ability/finances to, of course -- even if we're imperfect at it.

The point is that there is no logical rationale to drawn the line at the Boxster, especially when a second house has a much larger carbon footprint than a used sports car, and when a second house is much more expensive and conspicuous than a used sports car. I mean, hell, the flights you've taken to the developing world have probably caused much more environmental harm than this sports car will.

The point is not to guilt you about having two houses and being able to travel to places. The point is that you're asking your husband to cut back on the things he likes (viz. the Boxster), when you're apparently not willing to cut back on the things you like (viz. two houses).

You don't want a Boxster for your own personal reasons, not out of some provable environmental issue, or even necessarily out of an objective desire to avoid conspicuous consumption. It's more than okay to have personal opinions and personal reasons for things, but you're not making a strong case as to why your husband shouldn't buy this car. You can afford it, and you don't have to touch it if you don't want to.

I see extremely non-rich hobbyists with cool cars all the time. I'm not a car person, but I think it's neato and harmless. Someone who would judge your husband for driving an old Boxster is being a jerk.

It's not just the baby seat that's an issue--in many states, kids can't ride in the front seat, period, until they're 60 pounds (which for my tiny younger stepdaughter meant until she was about 10).

I know that this is not the case in NY. Can't speak for other states.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Mod note: Folks, cool it a little.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on June 6, 2012

I also disagree that it is financially inconsequential for a variety of reasons.

If there is somewhere else you think this 12K would be better off going, then that may be a legitimate cause of resentment. Except you didn't mention any of that in your well-articulated list of issues you have with this purchase. I can only address the information you've offered here.

I'm going to try my best to feel okay about it, which I think is the best anybody can do.

My point was rather that it's not the best anybody can do, but if by "okay" you mean some sort of affectionate indifference, that seems like a good outcome given where you started. I actually didn't mean to pile on, but I genuinely think that if there really is resentment going on here - and I remind you that was your word, not mine - that merits much, much closer examination. If you have issues around money and values imbalance in your relationship, this car may simply be surfacing them for you guys in ways you hadn't noticed before.

Good luck. Try to enjoy the Boxster - it's really, really fun modern day classic.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:14 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

To me, it seems that the issue is much larger than the actual car, and that the purchase or non-purchase of the car will not impact that.

Still, I hope that whatever outcome results, you will both be happy. Ten years of seeing eye-to-eye on most things is nothing to sneeze at.
posted by sm1tten at 10:25 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think its a little unfair to say that wanting Dad to be an equal parent is "baggage". I think its reasonable to not want to be the boring one but you're going to be whether or not he has a cool car. You're going to be a stay at home mum, its going to be your job to make sure they do their homework and get dressed for school and pick up their socks and all the other day-to-day debbie downer stuff, you're probably going to see them way more than he does so time with dad is automatically going to have a certain specialness. But instead of resenting him for having a cool toy, put that energy into finding something unique and cool/fun that you can offer your children - I don't know what your creative talent is but maybe its something you can share with them that will last far longer than the simple rush of a car that accelerates really fast ;)
posted by missmagenta at 10:44 AM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

$12k for a Porche Boxter. Hell ya. I'm sort of a Porche-hater and I would be all over that. Unless it is wounded in some way that is a good deal.
posted by dgran at 10:50 AM on June 6, 2012

Another way to look at it: "Cool, a high-quality car that not only is a good deal but that is also fun to drive! Teach me to drive it!"

And then when husband takes the boring hybrid to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, take the kid to playdates in the Porsche. Show that you're proud to drive a used, quality car and create your own life instead of focusing on what others might mistakenly think.

Obsessing about appearances is what drives mindless consumerism. You don't need to do it, too.
posted by ceiba at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

Also, since the car is already several thousand below its FMV, he can sell it and potentially come out even or ahead. Win-win.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:00 AM on June 6, 2012

A good friend of mine is married to a man who drives a Porsche Boxster. While pregnant she drove the rag top Jeep and when the baby came she switched to a Murano.

What the Porsche gave her was....not quite bargaining power. When she wanted a (specific brand) stroller and he said $800 was a ridiculous amount to invest in a stroller, she could reply with a straight face, "darling, you drive a Porsche. You don't get to comment on ridiculous investments."

They both laughed. She got the stroller, he still has the Porsche.

Your mileage may vary, but I say, let him have the car and remember this as a lesson in judgin the morals, priorities, finanaces, etc of people you don't know who are driving 'irresponsible' cars or whatever you're against.

We're all here making the best decisions we are capable of with the information and resources we have.
posted by bilabial at 11:08 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think this has a lot to do with snobbery, which believe me, I have plenty of experience struggling with and is not a moral failing or anything, but definitely a true obstacle to happiness and contentment.

Fundamentally your disagreement comes from there being two kinds of people in your mind - the douchebag "cheesy repub exec types" who are slick and flashy and proud young executives who make a lot of money by moving piles of it from one place to another, and the creative types who go through the real imaginative agony to create and bring beautiful unique things into the world and have their values and tastes in the right place.

Maybe you think that, through your loving relationship and ideal-driven presence and noble values in his life, you've saved your husband from being a douchebag. Whew, bullet dodged, right? But what if it's not enough? What if other people think he's a douchebag? What if you can't unthink that YOU think he's a douchebag? What if he's a douchebag at heart? There, but for the grace of you, goes your husband the non-douchebag... for now... until he falls in love with a goddam yacht...

Sticking to this business creep / creative dichotomy can only hurt you - not just in respect to this car, but in a wider way of seeing people for what they are and how you and your husband fit into all of that. It's really not a dichotomy. People with some noble values can have some craven tastes. People with slick jobs can have depth and quirk. People who previously valued one thing come to value another over time.

Maybe you don't mind that you are "being judgy," but it sounds like it's ultimately your judginess - of your husband and his latent tastes, of his friends who have money and what they do with it, and the broader, vastly overgeneralized group of "that kind of people" who are so opposite to "your kind of people" - that is causing you pain and resentment.

The way to get "feel ok with this" is to recognize that the resentment was created by your framework of belief that not only are there two kinds of people in the world, but that one kind is inherently better than the other. You're afraid to be in the wrong camp, but you're doing the categorizing. Be gentler on the rest of the world, and to yourself.
posted by sestaaak at 11:16 AM on June 6, 2012 [49 favorites]

Him buying a used car is a hell of a lot more environmentally friendly than your purchase of a hybrid. Do you know the environmental costs of producing one?

You can afford it, the sports car will improve his gas mileage. Buy the car.
posted by freshwater at 11:19 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

So what's really bothering you is that there's absolutely no reason to buy the car other than that your husband likes it, and buying a 10-year-old Porsche by choice marks him out as the kind of person you don't want to be and (by extension) you don't want him to be.

There's another reason: he's buying the car of a close family friend with a terminal illness. Since it sounds like they clearly want him to have the car (e.g. he's not exploiting a cancer patient who needs $5k by Friday or they'll cut off the chemo) and it has sentimental value to him, that's a pretty decent reason to buy it. Dealing with the car of an ill or deceased relative can be a pain, and it could well be a big help to the owners in a trying time to have the problem solved quickly and know the car is going to a good home.

If your friends are really so disgusted by the presence of your husband's $15K used car in the driveway, they aren't your friends.
posted by zachlipton at 11:30 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's not a selfish act on his part if you can both afford it and have your needs met. It's a reasonable sentimental purchase under those conditions and it makes him happy, so try to be happy for him and supportive. Think of it as perhaps an heirloom piece of jewelry or furniture you have the opportunity to have from your family member that brings back a special memory. Changing your paradigm on the thoughts others have of you will help you a great deal. I;m sure if you share the story of how he acquired it, their hearts would be warmed.
posted by i_wear_boots at 11:43 AM on June 6, 2012

I think you worry too much about what other people think of you.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:43 AM on June 6, 2012 [23 favorites]

Generally agree with the trend here, other people have done a good breakdown on the economic aspects, so I just have a few things to add...

A lot of families only use one car for the kid because they only have one car seat and it's a huge pain to move them (especially making sure it's safely installed). Some families only have one car to begin with. Your husband is who he is, if he's going to be an involved dad who picks up his share of the work then he will even if he has a non-kid-friendly car. If he was going to slack, he would find a way even without the car. Hopefully you think he's one of the former type, since you married him and are planning a kid!

I think the absolute best thing you can do is stop thinking of it as your husband's car and start thinking of it as your car that belongs to both of you. Learn to drive a manual in the old truck, and drive the new car around on weekends sometimes (if your husband drinks he'll probably welcome you acting as designated driver). It's actually a really good deal for you, too, since you get to play with the fun car when it's fun and use the mundane car when it's more practical.

Lastly, I disagree with explaining how cheap it was or how it's sentimental if anyone asks. Support your husband fully (remember this is your-together car). If anyone gets judgey about it, tell them where to shove it.
posted by anaelith at 11:59 AM on June 6, 2012

First: if this were a car with a back seat, a boring name, and no luxury pretensions, would you be for it? I assume you would, because...

1. An improvement in gas mileage, even a small one, is better than none at all from an environmental perspective;

2. Buying a car for thousands less than it is worth trade-in, from a known and trusted source, is a great and rare opportunity that is worth taking advantage of if it makes sense otherwise;

3. He really wants it, it would make him happy, and you love him and want him to be happy;

4. You can afford it.

So, unless you disagree with the above, this is really only about two things: the back seat, and your differing opinions about the image that the car projects.

I don't think the back seat is a real issue, either, and here's why: you're planning to start having a family soon, but you're not pregnant yet, and so you have (let's say) a year minimum before you have to worry about having two cars with back seats (if you need to worry abou that at all.) If the car is really worth $3,000 more trade-in than he's paying, and the cost is $12,000, then he should be able to trade it in a year from now without losing money, and in the meantime he gets to drive around a car he loves. So let's call that moot. Heck, you could consider it a last "fling" with a car he's always wanted, before he settles down into driving a dad-mobile. Better that, than have him always resenting and pining for the thing he always wanted, had the chance to get, but couldn't.

You are left with the emotional conflict at the core, then: he really wants it, and it would make him happy, and you really don't want it, and it would make you unhappy. You don't want him to be "that guy", but he gets to decide who he is and what he does, whereas you get to decide how you view him. Both positions are valid, but let's boil it down to something less testosterone-loaded than a car: imagine you go into a store and see a jacket, and you want it because it reminds you of your childhood, but he hates it because it is trendy. Should you buy the jacket? Now ask yourself again, but it is a jacket that reminds him of his dad, but you hate it because it is just plain ugly. Should he buy the jacket?

My point, I guess, is that you really should only be negotiating your emotions on this, since the practical stuff actually lines up quite nicely for making the purchase.
posted by davejay at 12:04 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

If you are worried that you are not properly contributing to the world, come up with a plan to spend some money on charitable causes, political action, etc. Sounds like you have enough money to do that and purchase the car.
posted by zipadee at 12:55 PM on June 6, 2012

At the end of the day if you guys can afford the car, and you already have another "family" car that can comfortably seat little ones in the back, then I really think you should let him get the car. Guys like cool cars. Plain and simple. You may hate them, see no point in them, think it's all a way of compensating for low self esteem, a small package, or you may just hate flashy cars and show boating money....But guys see cool cars as fun toys that make them feel good. I can't explain why, but we just like toys. You don't have to agree on everything you own especially if money isn't the issue. And I hate to say this...but since he's making more money then you are...I firmly believe it's his call. It's one thing if you're the bread winner, but clearly that's not the case. Also, I don't think 12K is a lot for a cool sports car. He could be asking to buy a 50k or 60K car...maybe higher. Let him have the car. He'll be happier which in the end will make you happier. This isn't a big deal. Don't push your "tastes" on him. You guys can still have an amazing relationship, and an amazing family even in if you don't like his car.
posted by ljs30 at 1:56 PM on June 6, 2012

I just wanted to put in some positive points here amongst the negatives.

I'm glad you and your husband have the kind of relationship that you could have him edit this post for you. That tells me that you guys are pretty good communicators and this is just a blip on the radar.

I'm also glad that there are people like you out there who do worry about consumption. In this case, I agree with the crowd here that you should let him get the car, but I think it is always a Good Thing to discuss the environmental impact of your purchases and your lifestyle. The more people practicing this type of awareness, the better world for us all to live in. It's easy to fall down a slippery slope into consumerism, to forget what it was like when you were in an African village with people who were unendingly happy and cheerful despite having few possessions and no electricity, to succumb to lifestyle inflation. Keep fighting the good fight (but find that happy medium).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:03 PM on June 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

As far as the conspicuous consumption angle... he is getting the car used.

I don't want to sound like a dick, but owning two houses is conspicuous consumption in my book. I'm sure there are reasons there which are nobody's business, but for many property is as much of a status symbol as a flashy car. Also, I live in the UK, where many people living in cities don't have a car, even those with families - sure, the US is a different culture and all that, but you already own two vehicles! I wonder if this in particular is making you uncomfortable because it's an obvious sign of your relative wealth? If spending on consumerist goods is what's making you uncomfortable, then I'm afraid you're already onto a loser there, so it's probably best to separate the two issues. You know you are better off than most people your age in America right now, never mind the developing world. Let go of this idea that not buying a car will make a difference to this.

You're doing pretty well financially and it doesn't sound like the purchase of the car will make a difference to that. So I say go for it. If it were the only vehicle your family would have, or if the purchase of it would mean you couldn;t make your mortgage, then that's different, but it sounds like this is far from the case.
posted by mippy at 3:07 PM on June 6, 2012

that there is a part of us with different values, and if he weren't with me, he'd happily be the cliche repub exec with the fancy toys, like a lot of his coworkers.

And yet, out of love for you, he has embraced your values. And now, ten years down the line, you are judgmental about a damned sports car?

I want him to be happy and drive a car that makes him happy. However, I feel that buying this car would be extremely selfish on his part

Look, I'm speaking as someone whose husband just recently bought a sports car, and it wasn't even a sentimental purchase from a terminally-ill friend. It was, quite simply, a fun car.

And he agonized over it. Not because we couldn't afford it, since we both drive our cars into the ground and the car he was replacing was already 11 years old (and then in an accident). But because it was a fun car, and not the most practical, staid and steady conservative eco-friendly car he could buy, and he is a hard-working, conscientious man, and somehow felt it was wrong of him to want it.

Well, I dismissed all that and encouraged him to get that sports car, because I knew he would love it. Way back when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth and the two of us were teenagers, he drove a little MGB convertible, and we'd head out to the beach with the top down, young and in love. Life was good.

Now we have a house and our kids are teenagers and we aren't technically all that young any more, but damn! I wanted him to have his little sports car back. Because it made him happy! So we went on test drives and I helped him find just the right the car, and he bought it and we didn't worry about the price tag.

And he is so happy it's just--well, it's taken ten years off of him, I think. The old commute with the traffic used to make him grumpy and stressed out, but now he comes home bubbly and happy. It's delightful.

It's infectious, too. I feel like we're both young again when we go out in that sports car and go zipping around town.

I can't imagine being so selfish that I'd want to deprive him of that happiness.

You want to try for kids soon, and worry that the car is not perfect for the Father of Children you picture your husband to be. Have you ever thought that one of the reasons he wants that car is because he knows he is moving into a more conservative, settled-down life as a Dad? Maybe, much as he is looking forward to it, realizing he has reached that point in life has him yearning a bit for the carefree days before he had a mortgage and a job and all the rest to worry about. This purchase is a nod to the "fun" part of him, even as he is preparing to take on more responsibilities in life.

Honestly, it sounds like you could stand to lighten up and have your own small rebellion! You already talk about having to take on more of the burden of child-raising as if it is something you dread. If you are already worried about that, already keeping score, that's a really bad sign. You can't divide parenting up easily. I can tell you right now, you should take it as a given that there will always be one of you giving more than 50% to that endeavor. It will just switch from day to day as you lean on and support each other.

Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, figure out where all this misplaced resentment is coming from and why it makes you want to deny your husband this car, and maybe adjust your attitude and recognize that you are almost always better off facing Life's challenges as a team.
posted by misha at 3:20 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, I do get your feelings about coming from a more modest background. I earn more than my father did after years in the same professional field - given where I live it's not a high wage, certainly not enough to facilitate the purchase of property, but I don't need to worry about money. When I return to my working-class home town and see younger relatives, I see that there is a lot of stock put in brands and how much things cost, which was anathema to me growing up and I still dislike that kind of something-to-prove flashiness now. (Even if some of my non-obviously-branded things cost more that the stuff with logos splashed all over it, go figure). My boyfriend still tells me off for picking up things that are reduced at the supermarket, or trying to save money when I really don't need to, because that kind of economising mindset is a difficult one to leave behind.

However. If I could drive, which I can't and probably won't be able to, I would want to get myself a Beetle, a 2CV, or a Mini. All of these options would probably cost less than this car (I don't know how much these cars cost here) and it would be as much a lifestyle statement as you perceive this to be - to others, me using a brand to tell the world I'm a non-conformist or a hippie, when actually I like the shape of the first two and was obsessed with Minis as a kid. i think it's the same with the Porsche. To you, 'Porsche' brings to mind a bunch of negative stereotypes. To him, it's a chance to get a fun car whilst helping out a friend who needs the sale.
posted by mippy at 3:21 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

(sorry, meant *he* was in the same professional field - I certainly didn't have the maths skills to do his job!)
posted by mippy at 3:23 PM on June 6, 2012

I'm not gonna lie, I had to start skimming because the overwhelming pile-on has made me cry on and off all day (including right now) -- especially since I've already backed off & said it's going to be his decision. I've been a member a very long time and I should have suspected something potentially contentious might turn out this way. But it's been really, really rough, you guys.

Because I'm sure you're all curious, my husband and I have spoken, and he's going to look into the insurance spike and that sort of thing. And if he decides to buy it -- which he's still not certain about, anyway -- he feels similarly about trading it for something else once we have a child, and is going to make that clear to our family friend.
posted by sox! at 4:20 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Hey sox!, you and your husband seem to have a really, really wonderful relationship of equals. I veer towards the letting him buy it but I TOTALLY understand your rationale, I would have the same issues. Mostly, practical, unsentimental me would find a sports car infuriating.

Sorry this has made you cry! I'm sure the decision will be made for the best, and if you guys get the car I reckon you'd enjoy the drives you have in it before baby time. Coastal getaway, anyone?
posted by mooza at 4:47 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Folks, if you need to talk about pile-ons and your feelings towards same, go to MetaTalk, thanks. Also, quit with the tough love starting now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:13 PM on June 6, 2012

Hey there, OP, I know how it can feel going through the wringer when you post an anon question - it can be very hard. Because there's no "name" attached to the question, I think mefites don't necessarily bring the good faith and fellowship they may associate with a name. Additionally, the forces that drive us to post anon questions in the first place, can often mean that we are already sensitive or feel shame about those questions, so in some respects, they are the worst questions to ask anon because they need kid gloves from the get go. Chin up, OP. We are just people on the internet with limited information and are all deeply flawed ourselves. Your relationship with your husband sounds rock-solid and very healthy, trust your relationship and your good intentions over upsetting things here.

That all said, I think - as you've already called out - this isn't really about the car, and in a lot of ways, isn't really about your husband wanting to buy the car, or being the kind of person who wants to buy the car, either. I think this might be more about you.

Would you consider that perhaps this purchase has brought to a head a large number of conflicting emotions, perceptions, and perhaps shame that you've had about your lifestyle in general?

I know what it's like when you've come up from being very broke - there have been times in my life where I've had to choose between buying medicine and bus tickets, etc; I am a million miles away from that now. This can be especially stressful when you still have many friends and family from your "old" life. It can feel awkward, you can feel like you are inviting resentment; that your values and value system is changing, that you need to prove you empathy and cred over and over again.

Reading your question, I kind of feel like perhaps you've had a bit of cognitive dissonance going on for some time, where you were able to successfully believe that, despite the fact you own two houses and a hybrid and an upper middle class lifestyle that you are not upper middle class. You're still just "regular" people. And perhaps this car is the final straw, you can no longer pretend that someone who buys a Porsche is working class. You are now officially "one of those people". And that makes you feel uncomfortable, guilty, ashamed, etc. The fact it is your husband's purchase, not your own, makes it easier for this dissonance to reveal itself for you, compared to other "upper middle class" decisions you've made that you had a stronger emotional stake in.

I guess I would say there's a few things you can take from this. Firstly, there's no getting around it; you are upper middle class, whether you have a porsche or a Datsun 120Y. You are upper middle class and that's totally okay. When you've been poor for a significant period of time, I think it's easy to Other people who have a lot of money. It feels like they live in a different country; a different world. But we all live on the same world.

You're upper middle class, and you're still okay. You can still think about and make choices about your consumption and place in the world - lots of upper middle class people do this every day (they are not all rich, selfish fucks!); they are just like you - and they can do it whilst owning Porsches. A Porsche is neither here nor there.

Secondly, you don't need to feel ashamed about your lifestyle, and good friends and family may envy your resources but they will not judge you for them. I lost a close friend, when I became a mortgaged, superannuated bastard, because he and his wife were unable to divorce my lifestyle accessories from my personality, and they felt the existence of my stability was a judgment on their lives. It was horseshit, of course, and none of my other broke, working class, middle class and rich friends give a flying fuck about what I earn and how I spend my money, and nor will your true friends and family.

But thirdly: You shouldn't care if they do. Much like the people in this thread who you felt have been uncharitable, harsh, or mean, you can disregard those people. They don't know you, your husband, your thoughts and your life - and your life is not about or for them. Their judgment is meaningless in the wide and varied context of your life.

I think your real source of anxiety is one of self-image. You cannot be the person you thought you were, if you own a Porsche. No wonder you are fighting it! OP, you can be that person. Look at yourself and take confidence that your values will not be eroded by a car, a house, a mere thing. Embrace your good fortune and your husband's position that enables you to have a lifestyle that lets you concentrate on both things that you enjoy, and things that you value. They are not mutually incompatible. Rethink your assumptions about what salaries and lifestyles imply about a person's morality, values, and politics - it is far more diverse than you realise, and you are part of that rich (harhar) diversity.

Hugs, OP. It is always a challenging process when you're rethinking self-images but you can change your self-image and still retain the things you love. XO.
posted by smoke at 5:21 PM on June 6, 2012 [23 favorites]

I love him and I'm going to let him make the decision himself, and try my best not to resent it.

I can't believe I am quoting Yoda, but: "do or do not. There is no try."

I don't want riding in dad's sports car to be the fun thing to do with dad, woo! I want him to be an equal parent, or at least semi-equal.

My dad had sports cars (and weird old vintage pickups, and all sorts of other vehicles) when I was a kid, and some of the happiest memories of my entire life are those of days spent riding around with him, woo! He was also very much an equal parent when I was growing up. Those things most certainly can coexist.

In fact, I would suggest that one of the most important things that might help you is to consider allowing many things to coexist, rather than to assume that they are necessarily mutually exclusive, as you seem to indicate in your post and follow-up. (This is not a criticism, just an observation.) Your husband contains multitudes, you contain multitudes, your (future hypothetical) children will contain multitudes. This is to be celebrated, not squashed.
posted by scody at 6:23 PM on June 6, 2012 [8 favorites]

I "married up" and I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about class issues. Recently, I realized that it's okay. It's okay for me to appreciate and enjoy what I have. I don't flaunt, and I try to use my privilege for good, but I stopped feeling guilty for being one of the "haves" when so many of my friends are "have nots." My mental well-being has benefited so much from this revelation. I bring this up only because I could have written your post a few months ago. That's totally how I felt. It's such an uncomfortable and awkward feeling.

It's a good opportunity for your husband. If my husband could get a Porsche for 12k, I'd privately grouse about the impracticality, but in the end, it's half as much as we paid for our Accords, and it would make him incredibly happy.
posted by Ruki at 6:26 PM on June 6, 2012

Owned objects may signify. But they do not define. Please reflect on this.

I hope you say yes to the car, yes in a way that means "I love you and want you to be happy" rather than "*Sigh*...if you must..."

Because it's going to be OK. It's just a car. Not a judgment on your qualities (or your husband's qualities) as a human being. Not a thumb in the eye to those who suffer or have less. Not a knock on your values. It's a car; it's fun; it would be a grace in your husband's life to have your blessing on this choice. Good luck.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:31 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I may have missed this in other comments, but I feel that a big part of the issue is the fear of unequal parenting. Yes, it will be uneven, but as you said, it shouldn't be too uneven.

If your car is the only car that can take the baby and another adult (besides the driver), it will make things uneven. Potentially too uneven.

(An aside: And how does her learning to drive stick change this?! Now she can drive the baby around and do errands with baby in two cars!)

I think you need to talk with your husband and have a discussion where you figure out how this fear wil NOT manifest in reality.

All of the other stuff can rationalized away (its flashiness, money, etc, etc) but what should absolutely not be rationalized away is why it is okay for you to do way way more of the parenting. You will probably do more just because of the nature of your careers, and for the most part, that can't be helped.

But what can be helped is this situation with the car which will have a regular impact on your daily lives. If all three of you are going somewhere, it seems that you will be taking your car. If you learn stick, you could take baby in your husband's car, but that's not really the point, is it?
posted by DeltaForce at 7:13 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

My brother-in-law had a two-seater sports car, and it did become a thing where he "couldn't" take the kids anywhere. He works outside the home and she doesn't, but there are plenty of things that happen outside those hours, especially if you end up having multiple children. Eventually he sold it and bought a used sedan, and he started dropping the kids off at school on rainy/snowy/super-cold days, when walking isn't a good option, which has been hugely helpful, and they start so early he can do it before work. So I don't think it's just an excuse that you're concerned about how the car configuration could make you the default child-courier for all reasons, all seasons. Sometimes things like that help to entrench assumptions without either party really noticing. I'm surprised more answerers here don't see it as problematic when "Mom has the family things, Dad has the guy things."

And whoa, I would not say that putting an infant in the front seat and turning off the airbag is "safe," whether or not it's legal. The mere fact that it's not legal as long as there is a backseat option is an indication that it's not as safe as the backseat. Car safety is a highly rational area in which to invest parental attention to safety, given the frequency of injury and death in car accidents.

But anyway, it sounds like you've both decided that if you have a child, he'll trade in the sports car for a car that he can safely tote the baby in. I think that's a great idea.

Chin up, sox!
posted by palliser at 7:45 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

> It's a stick, which I can't drive (but lord knows I need to learn already)

You do! That way you can have a car that the kid (or kid-elect at this stage, I suppose) rides in, and a car that the person without the kid drives. That's how we do it. I usually have the minivan because I usually have the kids, while Mr Corpse drives the compact. On the occasions when I do have the compact I feel lighter than air but it's just a Scion xB btu whatever.

And more unsolicited advice: go to a driver's school to learn how to drive a stick. Don't let friends or family attempt to teach you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:50 PM on June 6, 2012

You could just let it all go and think, "Well, it makes my husband happy. That's all there is to it. End of story."

Then you could go do something happy all day.

Think of the relief that would give you. Just let it go. It's small potatoes.

Afterwards, you are free to go work on your own issues. I have the same issues as well, but I make a conscious decision not to project them onto my SO, as he is not me and has totally different wants and needs.
posted by Vaike at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2012

Please insist that your husband buy the car. Let him have his toy. My car is the one thing I insist on having my way (fortunately my way is closer to 10 year old$15K Boxter than 2012 $90K Panamera). I gives me a little joy. All my wife cares about regarding her vehicle is that it's dependable and the seats aren't too low. I don't think she can really comprehend how I feel about cars or why I feel the way I do but she never begrudges me my one indulgence. I can't see the value in things like having a shower curtain in addition to the plastic liner but she seems to take some delight in those kinds of things so we have them too. If we didn't indulge one and other in these small ways there would be resentment.
posted by Carbolic at 9:10 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

So I have a bit of the opposite but in broader terms the same problem as you -- rather than a douchey business exec type husband I have one that wears his blue-collarness very much out there for the world to see -- his jeans are constantly stained and ripped because he is often times fixing plumbing, or renovating the den, or otherwise doing manual labor. He wears a billed cap to keep his hair out of his eyes, and underneath the hair is often sweaty or greasy. There is mud on his boots.

I admit that I have on occasion suggested that he take a shower, or put on a pair of jeans that looks a little more presentable. These suggestions usually are not taken well.

He told me last night that he's afraid of being himself when we're in social situations because he doesn't want to embarrass me. I was upset to hear this, but I can understand why he feels this way, and I want to work on making him not feel this way.

The thing is, he is an adult. He makes choices about how he presents himself to the world. He is not me. I married him warts and all, and I need to get over myself and realize that a) I can't change him, and b) I need to stop worrying so much about what other people think.

On the other hand, I do want to teach our son that it's important to present yourself to the world in a way that makes them more likely to receive you well. I think it's something we're going to be negotiating for a while.

I feel for you. Good luck, and I hope you find peace with this.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:47 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry you're being piled on. I wanted to speak to the practicalities of having two cars, only one of which can take kids places. We have a Toyota Camry and a Ford Ranger; the truck is a POS, and it can only take one of our children at a time, and that only after they can be in a forward-facing carseat. It is occasionally somewhat inconvenient, but mostly it works out just fine. I am a SAHM and I get the Camry 99% of the time, but sometimes I drive the truck (if my husband has the kids). And sometimes, he puts the carseat in the truck and takes our daughter out for the day, which she LOVES because she gets to sit in the front seat.

there are other elements to your dilemma besides these, but speaking strictly to the practicalities, it's not so bad for us.
posted by KathrynT at 10:56 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go to carmax, see what they'll give you for it, and if it is more, let him buy it and see if he really wants to keep it.
posted by joshfeingold at 6:18 PM on June 7, 2012

I think your decision to be open to the car is the right one, and I think it's a good idea to let go of your antipathy towards the Porsche as best you can.

On the other hand, I find it weird how obvious most of the people in the thread find this decision. I don't think it's obvious at all. Here's what I'd consider, in your place.

1. You say "He considers his money our money," which makes me think you're like me and my wife, and most couples -- joint checking account, all money in common. If that's the case, than your husband isn't buying the car -- you both are. So it's right and proper that you both have a say, and this is not a matter of keeping him from buying something he wants. I assume you wouldn't consider making a big-ticket purchase of something that was just for you without his approval, either. I make more money than my wife does, but (at least for us) it would seem crazy to think I should therefore have more of a right to decide how my family spends its money. (On the other hand, other things you say -- like that "he pays" for the car -- makes me feel like your finances aren't fully separate, in which case this item may not apply.)

2. This question reminded me a lot about the woman whose husband was gaming all weekend. There, too, he was spending a precious resource that belonged to both partners -- in this case it was time rather than money. MeFi responders (including me) were pretty unsympathetic to that guy, even though I'm sure he got a lot out of enjoyment and fulfilment out of his gaming. I think people here, for whatever reason, think wanting a really nice car is a basic human quality, while wanting a weekly eight-hour gaming spree is just selfish.

3. Of course, the gaming guy was really asking for a lot of time, and people in that thread were mostly not "never let this guy game," but rather "I think this guy could compromise and game for four hours at a time instead of eight." My sense of the thread is that people feel your husband is already the compromising guy in this scenario, because the car only costs $12,000. The question is: is $12,000 a lot of money? This is a great unanswerable and everyone acts as if their own way of answering is obviously correct. Certainly if your husband were contemplating a $50,000 car people would respond in a different way. I would never want to spend $12,000 on an optional purchase, but I was raised in a frugal household where you just didn't do that sort of thing. My guess is that you were, too. It's not right or wrong to be frugal. But if you are, and your husband isn't, that's going to be a source of friction, and you're going to have to approach it from the point of view that neither of you is right or wrong (given that it seems clear your husband is not SO unfrugal as to threaten your family financially.) It seems clear that for lots of people on the thread, the fact that your family makes (I'm guessing) $200K / year means that a $12K outlay is something you can afford. That seems pretty non-obvious to me, especially given that you're underwater on a rental property, which could stop generating income and become a massive money sink at any time.

4. Related: many people seem to feel that your husband is being frugal, because the car is being sold at less than market value. This is the same mistake people make when they walk into a store, see something they weren't planning to buy that's on sale, and feel like it's a chance to save money. If you were going to buy a new car now anyway, the argument that he'll save money by purchasing this car is a really good one. But it sounds like your husband's truck is only 12 years old or so, which presumably means there's a lot of life left in it. Frugal people don't tend to buy a new car every 12 years. Again, it's not wrong not to be frugal! But if this is a difference between you and your husband, then what feels like a need for him may feel like a luxury for you.

5. I think the two-seater issue is a real one. It is indeed legal (in the states I'm familiar with) for a baby to ride in the front seat when the car has no back seats. On the other hand, here's what carseat.org has to say about pickup trucks:

"If you must install a safety seat in the front seat of a pickup truck, make sure the air bag is turned off, either with an on/off switch or with an automatic sensor (check indicator light). Some passenger air bags will expand to cover the center seating position, so installing a safety seat in that location may be dangerous to your child. Check the vehicle owner’s manual to find out where child safety seats may be installed. Installing a safety seat in the front seat of any vehicle increases the risk of death to your child by more than 30%, so a pickup truck without a back seat is not the safest choice for transporting a child."

Most people don't get in car crashes and most car crashes don't kill kids and it's up to you how much weight to place on this risk, but you might as well know that it's there. What's more, with a two-seater, one of your cars literally can't carry both of you and the baby. So what happens when your car's in the shop? When it's just him and the baby, he can take the baby -- but can he take the stroller? Can he take the stroller and the groceries? These are not huge issues, but they're issues. They're not issues at all if he's serious about trading in the car after the kid arrives.

6. I think the main thing that's missing from your view of this, and which is very plain from many of the answers, is that some people really care what car they drive. It's part of their identity, part of what gives them real, deep-seated meaning and pleasure in life. I'm not like this and I'll bet you're not either. But it's not a particularly unusual way to be and it's not wrong. The question is: is your husband? If so, I think it's pretty obvious you guys should buy this car.
posted by escabeche at 10:03 PM on June 7, 2012

Mod note: Folks, this question is in MetaTalk. If you're not answering the OPs question and want to talk about meta levels of nuance in the question, please take conversation there. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:25 AM on June 8, 2012

The only piece of advice I haven't seen in here yet that I'd like to (gently) add is: don't start planning for babies until you're pregnant. Seriously. You don't know how long the "trying" process will take and you're not even there yet! Don't get ahead of yourself in that regard. Enjoy your life *now.* If you start putting pressure on yourselves as a couple to have a baby and make all of your decisions for the near future as "potentially involving a baby" when you're not even trying yet...

... from everything I've seen from friends/family, you will make yourselves very very tense and if you don't get pregnant right away, this process of "planning for baby" and living your lives *in case* you have a baby some day could take a year or more and will wear you down.

Do things you enjoy NOW and just enjoy them. You'll have plenty of time to prepare/adjust for baby once you get pregnant.

(Also: my husband and I have two cars and only one carseat and it's never, ever been an issue that my car is the "baby" car.)
posted by sonika at 2:35 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Coming in late, and not trying to add to the pile-on, so I'm just addressing the sick friend angle, not the money angle.

Years & years ago, my family dealt with a terminally ill family member, and part of helping this person involved moving them across the country, into a much smaller house, to be closer to relatives who could provide them with daily care. To do this required selling their (large) house and most of their (many) possessions, ASAP and with little time to sort through/appraise/consider items--the sick person did need money, and we ended up selling the house and many possessions at a great loss. But mostly we just needed to cut anchors so we could spend our family time and energy caring for our relative NOW instead of dragging things out for however-long trying to get the best deals.

Years later, my family still discusses this situation with sadness, though not resentment. There really wasn't a better choice for us at the time, our sick relative got the care they needed, and nobody went bankrupt. But during their illness afterward we all had ample opportunity to regret the necessary hurry: there were so many possessions that held sentimental family value, or that the sick relative realized too late they would have liked to leave for specific people, that were now gone forever to strangers.

Your husband may regret his $12,000 car purchase someday. But if he can afford the $12,000, I think he would regret a lot more passing over a car that his dying friend thought about and wanted him to take because they both loved it.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:24 PM on June 12, 2012

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