Nothing says freedom more than the open road. There is just something about a long black stretch of highway, peppered with yellow lines and no other sign of life in sight that just calls to the young souls in this world. It invokes a longing and a need to just get up and go.
Every teenager is drawn by this infectious longing to be free, and with it, the longing to be behind the wheel. I was no different than everybody else in this instance. I wanted to be spending afternoons with my favorite pair of sunglasses on, a sweet tea from Sonic in the center console, a good friend in the passenger seat, and nothing but open road ahead of us. Unfortunately, I lacked one very important thing: an actual car.
So it's right before my sophomore year of high school, and most of my friends already have vehicles. My parents weren't particularly wealthy, and they had made it clear to me that they couldn't afford to make a payment on another car or pay for the extra insurance that my teenaged-self would bring with the vehicle. Me being a patient child, I understood those setbacks and figured that a time would come when they would be able to. As more and more time passed, and our finances remained the same, I began to grasp that they would not be able to get me a car anytime soon.
During that summer between freshman and sophomore year, I made a choice. My schedule was getting gradually busier and busier, since I played tennis and softball. Not only was I involved in sports, but so were my brother and sister. Our parents were always rushing us places, which left no time for me to do anything for fun. How was I supposed to get there if my parents were always carting my siblings and I around? The choice I made was to begin saving. The only way to solve this problem would be to take it into my own hands.
From that summer on, I started to put back chunks of my paychecks from my job as a tennis instructor in my savings account. That following spring, I got a job with the Rec Center in my hometown as a concession attendant at the softball and baseball complex. Chunks of those checks were going to what I had dubbed "the car fund" also. So as summer hit, it got harder because I was older and I wanted to do more with friends. I felt that longing to be free more than ever, but I was trapped by my finances.
The summer dragged. As it came to a close, I was left disappointed by the fact that I still hadn't been able to purchase a car. Out of the disappointment, a light appeared. A small hope that maybe, just maybe, my last checks would have been enough to put me at my goal amount, which had been $3,000.
The last couple paychecks I received gave me the boost I needed to have enough. So, in October of my junior year, I purchased a 1999 Ford Taurus for $2800. My first car, then named "the Ghost" was a product of the work I had put in and the restraint I had placed on myself with my spending. It is, to this date, my most successful savings venture.
Finally, I was able to hit that open road.