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I drove my car so infrequently it died. So as usual, don't be like me!

How to Maintain the Car You’re Barely Driving

During the winter, our powerful, pleasurable, indestructible Patreon donors voted for DIY car maintenance in one of our Patreon exclusive content polls. And I decided to sit on it, because spring is the ideal time for a lot of routine car maintenance. I thought I would be topical.

Well, now it’s become either entirely too topical… or not topical at all? Perhaps both at the same time. On the one hand, I have never driven less than I have over the last month. In the last two weeks, I’ve driven just once: to the local grocery store and back, a round-trip of less than one mile.

On the other hand…

I drove my car so infrequently it broke down.

Yep. My nine-year-old battery finally up and died! So as usual, the moral of the story is don’t be like me!

In retrospect, it’s obvious that trying to be a good girl and go on as few trips as possible would obviously backfire and create the need for more trips! I hadn’t planned on going to an auto supply store during a pandemic, but my new minimalist bike-everywhere lifestyle successfully murdered my geriatric battery. Cause of death: involuntary Mustachianism?

I had to leave my car idling and unlocked in the parking lot of the closest AutoZone because I was afraid it wouldn’t start again, but I refused to let my asthmatic partner join me on any errands while Rona’s out there, causing havoc.

I was able to get a new battery. Between myself, my partner, a set of imperial wrenches that didn’t quite match our metric nuts, and the living catalogue of human knowledge that is YouTube, we were able to replace the battery ourselves. But this got me to thinking about car maintenance for people who rarely drive.

Right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, that basically includes… <checks notes> everyone. But it’s not exactly a niche topic, either. Many frugal people, minimalists, and environmentalists own a car out of necessity, but are interested in driving as little as possible.

So today we’re going to discuss how to take care of your car when you barely drive it at all.

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It is NOT normal for parents to hang the threat of homelessness and poverty over their teenage child's head.

Ask the Bitches: “I Just Turned 18 and My Parents Are Kicking Me Out. How Do I Brace Myself?”

Today’s question is from a Patreon donor I’ll call Star. It will include a lot of discussions about abusive parental relationships, so please be forewarned.

Star is in a Patreon tier that guarantees we will answer one question. We often do so privately, as the circumstances are often quite particular. But sometimes we post them publically as articles if we think they would be helpful to others. That’s the case with today’s letter.

Hello! I just became a Patron. I’m currently in a situation where my family has been threatening to kick me out of the house. I just turned eighteen two weeks ago, so my adult legs are a bit wobbly. I’m trying to save up for a car, as that’s most important to me right now. My question is: Do you queen genius bitches know if there’s any way I could get government assistance? Or any advice as to how I can move out from my abusive home on my own terms, but as soon as possible? Thank you in advance.

We’re so sorry you’re in this situation.

Eighteen has to be the most fraught age for the relationship between children and parents. It’s normal for once-loving family relationships to feel strained as you all struggle to adjust to the transformation from dependent child to independent adult.

But it is not normal for parents to hang the threat of homelessness and poverty over their teenage child’s head. I really wish you weren’t going through this.

Piggy and I are here in your corner with you, Star. And so is every other BGR reader. We have a substantial population of Hip Mom™ readers, and I am hyper-aware of them right now, because I can feel their simmering rage at reading your letter. It’s warming my keyboard. Ow ow ow.

I hope you have a lot of people in your corner besides us, both because you deserve love and support, and because we’re dumbasses who will probably get plenty of this wrong.

But we’re going to do everything we can to help you regardless. Let’s get into it.

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Gird your loins. Don your resting bitch face.

Buying a Car with the Bitches, Part 2: How to Pay for Your Car

Previously, on “Buying a Car with the Bitches”: Part 1.

Before we discuss any part of the car buying process, there is one very important thing you need to remember:

You are a dragon and you breathe fire.

Do not let sellers push you around. Do not let them talk you into anything. Do not feel sorry for them. And do not forgive or excuse them for anything.

If they want your extremely valuable business, they are going to have to earn it by respecting you, your money, and your time. They are going to have to prove themselves with straightforward answers and solid customer service.

Don’t be nice. You can’t afford to be nice. Make those fuckers werk.

While this is good advice for any financial negotiation, it’s especially important for buying a car because the entire car buying industry seems to be predicated on a philosophy of shady sales tactics and manipulation.

And you have too much money at stake to put up with that shit.

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Buying a Car with the Bitches, Part 1: How to Choose Your Car

When I got my first big-kid job, I took most of my savings from over four years of nannying and bought a used car with cash. Seven years of hard commuting later and that car was a thirteen-year-old dinosaur with over 300,000 miles on it begging to be put out of its misery.

When I refused to let the poor thing die with dignity (because I definitely didn’t plan to buy a new car while in the middle of Operation Student Loan Decimation), it made the decision for me and offed itself.

I didn’t have enough cash saved up to buy a new car without a loan because I’d been spending every last shining penny on my student loans at the time. This process had drained all but a minimal emergency fund dry, so buying a new car with cash was out of the question.

And making my forty-mile round trip commute by bus was actually more expensive than driving: four hours and $10 a day, to be exact.

So I needed to buy a new car. Here’s what I learned from the process.

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Hold your lectures, bikevangelists.

The Joys of Getting Around Without a Damn Car

Loyal citizens of Bitch Nation, I have a confession to make.

I fucking hate driving.

It’s tedious and boring. It takes up time I could spend in other ways. It raises my blood pressure because everyone else is a really fucking bad driver but definitely not me I’m perfect. Cars are noisy, dirty, and expensive. And I’m expected to follow the rules of the road when I just wanna be all

So yeah. Me and cars? We don’t get a long.

And I’m not alone. Haunt the halls of lifestyle blogs and personal finance advice long enough and you’ll run into people who have gone to great lengths to go without driving.

Living a carless lifestyle is entirely possible for a lot of us, and the joys and benefits are many. Getting around without a car saves you a trunkload of cash (see what I did there?), it’s better for your health, and it’s better for the environment. It can even save you time, in certain circumstances.

Below I examine the joys and practicalities of carless modes of transportation. It’s by no means a complete list, so I encourage class participation! Tell me all about your car-free mobility in a comment.

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I couldn't pick a Hermes Birkin out of a lineup even if you threatened to spoil Game of Thrones for me.

Status Symbols Are Pointless and Dumb

You guys. I just learned about a thing so utterly ridiculous it defies belief: investment purses.

What is this mysterious and logic-defying item? Well, according to the Interwebz, it’s a grossly overpriced handbag that gets to be grossly overpriced because a famous designer’s name is plastered all over it. And it’s called an “investment purse” because you buy it with all the money you’re not investing in your future financial well-being. I’m assuming. Because what else could possibly be the explanation?

An investment purse, as it is so loftily known, is similar to a luxury car or a gold-plated Rolex watch. In other words: it’s a status symbol, a way of keeping up with the Joneses.

And status symbols, my beautiful, badass, budgeting butterflies, are fucking dumb as shit.

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