The Green Truck

The Green Truck
We had a couple of agreements with our kids when they began buying cars/trucks. One big one was, they could not buy them over time. In other words, no borrowing and no payments. They had to pay cash for their vehicles. Cheryl and I did not want them experiencing debilitating debt at such a young age.

Proverbs 22:7 was a key verse in my mind for my kids to understand and avoid: "The borower is servant to the lender."

Our son bought this 1976 pick up his freshman or sophomore year of high school for $600. Cash. He drove it until he graduated then bought a much nicer truck to take to college. It was a cash transaction using money he saved while working through high school.
He sold the green pick up to his sister for $400 when she was a sophomore from money she had earned. (Both kids are pictured in the picture at the left). After graduation she sold the pick up to a friend for $500 and bought a nice car. Cash.

For six years my two oldest kids drove this old vehicle around town: to school, sporting events, jobs. They stood out in this old vehicle!
When it was finally sold outside of the family it was a major event, as you can tell from the crew of friends that turned out for the sale (see the pictures below).

Teens do not have to go into a world of debt to have "wheels," and parents don't need to shoulder a heavy debt burden so they can have them, either. (I'm working on an article, "Enslaved to a Car" which I'll post soon, hopefully).

If parents buy their kids a beautiful new car when they turn 15 or 16, what expectations are they setting for future vehicles and purchases? When they get out on their own and have to buy their own car, will they be able to adjust down to one they can afford? Or, will they be enslaved to the idea that they must have something newer and nicer, even if they can't afford it and have to go deeper in debt, becoming a slave to the lender?

Driving an old vehicle THEY have paid for will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment, even if it isn't as snazy as some of the other vehicles in the school parking lot. They will learn discipline, self-control and money management. They will also learn that they can stand on their own, even if it means learning to be satisfied with less (which the Bible says we all need to learn, anyway).

With the strain in the national economy and family budgets, driving an old green pick up might be a good option for many of us, not just the kids!



Angel said...

Great post. We haven't allowed our kids to go in debt for a first car. Three down, two to go. One has chosen to borrow on a car now that he is 23 but he will have it paid off in a year instead of 4 or 5. I also think paying cash for their cars has made them more responsible with them compared to other kids we know.

Debt is a bad habit and unfortunately the world promotes it and makes it look glorious.

Thanks for the insight, will look forward to your article.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I drove an ugggglllllyyy brown Nissan Stanza. But it did its job.

That truck is awesome and what a lesson!
~ Wendy

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh this is great! I love that they just kept turning it into more money! I think this is one of the best lessons we can teach our children--to stay debt free and pay your debts.

Faith Imagined said...

I totally agree! I think we take care of and appreciate things when we work hard to earn them. BTW, I love the green truck! It must have been sad to see it go!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Good solid advice.

Sadly in the UK many youngsters get into debt to pay for their University tuition and living expenses whilst studying. They graduate after 3 years with debts of £20,000 or £30,000. And now jobs are hard to find ... even for graduates.

God bless.

Bizee Mama said...

What a beautiful picture! Thanks for stopping by my blog Bizee Mama's Secrets
I appreciate your kind comments. I look forward to reading some of your future posts as well! I'm sure I could learn a few things!

aka Bizee Mama

Karin said...

Absolutely wise advice and a great post! Thanks Warren.

Gorges Smythe said...

I went in debt for my first car in 1974 or '5, but the payments were only $35 a month! I paid cash for the second one. The third one (new), I got on time,but the payments were only about $140 a month. I drove it for 28 years. This last one (new)I bought on time, but the payments were a whopping $600+ a month, so I sold some stuff and paid it off after two years. I figure if I get 28 years out of it, I'll have gotten my money's worth! Debt isn't too bad in small amounts, but it's a killer if you're not careful.

Lisa said...

Great advice! Every parent should read this. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog today. My son loves Civil Air Patrol, but isn't really interested in the military. He just likes learning about aviation and is hoping to get a scholarship through CAP.

Warren Baldwin said...

Angel - This was a great statement: "Debt is a bad habit and unfortunately the world promotes it and makes it look glorious." Thanks for sharing your insight and experienc on this subject.

Wendy - Thanks. I drove an ugly blue Datsun 510 that I bought when I was 18. Paid $850 and it lasted a couple of years.

Terri - "stay debt free and pay your debts." Amen! Well stated.

Alisa - It was sad to see the green truck go! Jenny sold it to a friend who still lives in town. I see it several times a week. I thought of buying it from her and keeping it for myself, but we would have had to many vehicles hanging around. Process of life, what M. Scott Peck calls "stripping away the things of lesser value."

Victor - We certainly have the same problem here! Kids graduate college owing $20,000 to $30,000, and it is difficult to find a job that will allow them to make significant payments on that.

Thanks for the comments! wb

Warren Baldwin said...

Kimberly - Thanks for the comments and follow.

Karin - Thank you.

Gorges - you are right about small amounts of debt. Sometimes it can't be avoided. But, once we grow comfortable with debt, we are in trouble. We can stay in it for years and years.

Lisa - Thanks. I hope a number of parents do read it. I hope your son does well in CAP.

Thanks for visiting and reading. wb

Maria I. Morgan said...

Love the truth of this post, Warren! Our daughter will be going to college sans vehicle. She decided a car wasn't what she wanted to spend her money on, and my husband and I were a bit relieved! Thanks for sharing these good financial principles. God bless!

Erin MacPherson said...

Hi Warren! Thank you for your great advice on my blog! As far as the truck, I LOVE IT. My dad had a blue Mercury Topaz boat when I was in high school. He let me buy it for $400 and I was SO grateful. Sure, it wasn't the hottest car around, but I had a CAR! I love your pictures!

LisaShaw said...

Hey Warren,

Practical, applicable and full of wisdom is this message!!! I remember when our daughter (in her twenties now) turned 18 and a bunch of credit card apps came in the mail. We had her discard every one of them. We had already taught her as we've now taught our youngest who is preparing to graduate HS; that DEBT is not the answer! It's also not GOD's plan for us. It took us YEARS to get out debt from choices we made early on in our youth so we didn't want that for our kids.

Thanks for being a blessing Warren. Your kids have a great Dad and Mom!

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I love the green truck too. That would be easy to find in the parking lot!

I absolutely agree about not getting a teen a nice car. I also like the idea of the teen earning her own money. I do have some qualms about teens working during the school year. I did that my sophomore year of high school, and in hindsight, it was too distracting. I needed to focus on putting all my energy into my academics (training and preparation for work) rather than work itself. But I see no reason why working during the summer couldn't finance a green truck, or something almost as good. :-)

Karen Lange said...

Very good advice, the very same we gave our kids. Our middle son, at age 26, still drives his Jeep Cherokee, purchased when he got his license at 17. When our kids were in their late teens/early twenties the got a joint credit card w/us, with the stipulation that they had to pay the balance each month. They used this for college expenses and other necessary purchases. They all continue this practice (two out of the house now) paying as they go. Building good financial habits pays off!
Have a great weekend,

Bernadine said...

Love this post. I smiled as I realized your daughter made a little profit when she sold the truck. Smart girl.


Amen! No one should ever go into debt even if the economy is good.



What a great post. When our children first started driving we have (as a graduation present) bought their first vehicle. Not anything new as we are not able to do that, but a good used vehicle. They are so appreciative that we have given them the chance to drive, they have taken great care of their vehicles.

I enjoyed your post and all your pics, Thank You for sharing.

I also wanted to Thank You for taking your time to leave me a comment. Your prayer means more to me than you will ever know. I am a strong believer in the Power Of Prayer. I have been so worried with my pg, Again Thank You. Have a great weekend, Blessings,

Beautiful pear tree lane said...

OH! how i wish every parent could read this post! What wonderful lessons you and your wife have taught your children. I enjoyed reading about this green truck, (green is one of my favorite colors) and can imagine how attached your kids and their friends were to it, (lots of memories, I am sure) I was impressed with how your son bought it for 600 drove it for so long and sold it for 400 and how your daughter sold it for 500. WOW!!
Thank you for coming by both my blogs and for taking the time to leave me such sweet and encouraging words. You asked which blog was my main one, I actually don't know as I enjoy both, but "Where memories are made was the first one, so I guess you might say that is my main one.
I so enjoyed my visit here today as well.

D.J. Hughes said...

Great post! What a timely truth these days! Buying their own car gives teens an opportunity to experience hard work and saving and responsibility. All are such important lessons for young adults.

I love the green truck. I can understand the sentiment involved in finally selling it outside the family. What great memories your kids will always have of the green truck! Good stuff.

DJ :)

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Warren! Thanks for the prayers for Elaine! And, I love your advice and the green truck! Our oldest(17) just bought his first car--we paid half, and he paid the other half. He knows that a car payment would not be possible for him at this time. So, a 1999 accura from Craig's list was just right!

septembermom said...

That's a great green truck. It's a fun color. Teens need to learn responsibility and practicality. Good post Warren.

Steph T. said...

I love that green truck! How fun! So proud of your kids for making wise choices. Thank you for your example as Godly parents to those of us who are about to enter this season of life before we know it.

Warren Baldwin said...

Maria - Thanks. Thousands of freshmen have started their collee without a vehicle and survived. It is actually better for studying since the temptation to drive around isn't there. Hope your daughter does well.

Erin - I think a kid who has an old car first can better appreciate a nicer one later. Thanks for the visit.

Lisa - Some of us are still working to get out of debt :). It is a curse. No wonder the OT warns so much about getting in debt. Thanks for your words of wisdom shared here. (And this might be a good post for you - "How we Got out of Debt.")

Rosslyn - Working during the school yera is certinaly something parents need to help the youth balance. They can miss a lot, including attending services and church youth functions. Good corrective balance in your advice; thanks.

Karen - Good for your son! He has certainly learned some wise financial principles from you. The truck may be old, but the money he is saving will take him a long way.

Bernadine - Thanks. It was a good business experience for her.

Teresa said...

A post filled with wisdom!!! I love that the truck was even celebrated amongst the friends when sold to a new owner...the vehicle was looked at it just as that...a vehicle to get them where they needed to go. It wasn't about driving an 'extension' of many times we allow the material possessions to try to label our status in this world. William..a great post and I also wanted to say, "Thank you" for stopping by my blog...I enjoy yours...I'm going to visit your other blogs as well! Our God is CONTINUALLY AWESOME!

Warren Baldwin said...

Teresa - I've never seen the sale of a vehicle attract so many people. When the new owners came by (a classmate of my daughter) and I stepped outside, I couldn't believe everyone that was there. It was fun. And good point about a lot of times we view a vehicle as an extension of ourselves. Not so; we are an extension of God's image, not some vehicle. Thanks for the visit and follow.

*~Christine~* said...

Came across this post and absolutely love it! I am 22 and still drive the 1987 Dodge Aries I got when I was 15 years old. It's still in great shape for its age and I figure if it's not broke, don't fix it! I do have student loan debt for college sadly, but if my car keeps holding up a few more years, God-willing I will buy a newer, nicer car in a few more years, with cash. That green truck is awesome, I'm pretty sure I would drive that right now haha. Great post!

Warren Baldwin said...

Christine - You are wise! When you get that new car you will mean so much more to you.

*~Christine~* said...

Thanks! Yeah, my litle Dodge is older than I am, but I am quite grateful for it. 95% of the time I've had it it has gotten me from point A to point B, and after all, that's what a car is meant to do! It's not shiny and new, but that's what gives it character, and I know I'm really going to miss it someday.