The number one lesson I’ve learned while hunting for my first set of wheels: things don’t make you happy. And let me tell you, I’ve begrudgingly had to give into this one. It’s a concept that’s true across all the purchases I make, but for some reason it seemed to be particularly hammered home with the car decision.

My rides have varied over the years. My first- a camry, second- taurus, third- newer taurus, fourth- my dad’s BMW with a month left on the lease, fifth- highlander for another month and lastly a BMW all my own while I lived at home and started my first job. It was a great deal on  a used SUV, and I loved that BMW like no other. It was a toy, and ridiculous on gas, but boy was it fun to drive. The only problem is- now I’ve learned how a nice a car like that drives and seen how wonderful a heated steering wheel can be.

Alas, things don’t make you happy. I’d rather spend a hundred dollars less on a car payment every month so that I afford more flights to visit friends in Houston, Gainesville, Baltimore, Tennessee, North Carolina and more. I want to have that money to increase my quality of life (maybe a take a course about blogs) and good things like that. I don’t want to have it sitting under the hood a pricey car. It’s just not worth it.

Here are a few lyrics from Jack Johnson’s “Gone” which run along the same line:

Look at all those fancy clothes,
But these could keep us warm just like those.
And what about your soul? Is it cold?
Is it straight from the mold, and ready to be sold?

And cars and phones and diamond rings,
Bling, bling, because those are only removable things.
And what about your mind? Does it shine?
Are there things that concern you, more than your time?

Ditch the “stuff,” the happiness worth having is totally free.