How to Shop for a Car

Never buy a new car.

Never buy a car from a dealer.

Buy directly from another owner, and have your own mechanic check it out.

Try to buy for cash, or put at least half down. A car loan is the worst loan to have.

To find your car, comb the paper all week for several weeks.

Don’t rush. 

Seek patterns. 

The people who took out an ad every single day of the week bought the package deal the newspaper offered, and so they know good value. 

They do not cut corners. 

They are pound wise instead of penny wise. 

They probably cared for their car, and probably know how to negotiate.

Never enter into agreements with anyone who does not value what they offer.

Do not begin with a dream in mind. 

Read first, see what’s out there, see which cars have the lowest mileage for the best price, consult the Blue Book, consult Kelly’s. 

Let the dream car find you.

Lisa's dad, J.J. Wormser in 1970, while he was an engineer at Continental Electronics. If this thing had tires, he'd kick them.

Lisa's dad, J.J. Wormser in 1970, while he was an engineer at Continental Electronics. If this thing had tires, he'd kick them.

Low mileage and a clean accident record are the two most important things, followed closely by ownership. Single ownership is best, two at most. Three? Walk away. But stay detached. Don’t lock in on anything. Be ready for the surprising right one.

Look for rust. Don’t buy a car that has rust.

Check the tires. If necessary, ask for a couple hundred dollars off if the tires look anything but wonderful.

When you find the one for you, don’t go in with half measures. 

Make an offer, make it fair, be ready to be rejected. 

If you get the car of your dreams, be proud. Drive safe.

I will do this first one with you. Hand you the keys. Tell you to be proud. Tell you to drive safe.

Someday you will share these lessons with your child.

- Lisa Schamess

Julie Getting Groceries

image by Asha Rajan

image by Asha Rajan

Walk to the grocery store.

Accept a ride from your sister if she offers. Never ask. If she is not available when you plan on going, do not wait for her. Never let her plans dictate yours.


Walk to the good grocery store even though it is two miles away and you are every inch a little old lady. Bypass the overpriced grocery a few blocks from the house. Paying extra for “convenience” is no kind of bargain. Shake your head at the thick men and sallow ladies who speed past you, leaving whirlwinds of hamburger wrappers and soda cups churning in their wake. Never learn to drive a car.


Bring a list, even though the core has been unchanged for two decades at least. Always buy the staples: milk, eggs, butter, bread, bacon, potatoes, grapes, sausage, crackers, ring bologna because Bill likes it, cabbage, cookies, tuna fish, egg noodles. Do not worry that you have most of these things at home already. Staples are staples for a reason, and if expiration dates were as all-fired important as your niece tries to tell you, then why are you nearly 90?

Ignore the pimply Polish boy who asks if he can help carry your bags to your car. Carry the bags yourself, one in each fist. Take a block to acquaint your body with their weight. Relish their gravity as it makes your shoulders burn with that familiar fire that lets you know that you are living, moving, doing. Let the burden become a buoy as you take a deep breath and walk walk walk walk walk walk float


- Ira Brooker is a writer and editor residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota's scenic Midway neighborhood. You can find his writing all over the place, and especially at irabrooker.com and @irabrooker on Twitter.

Five Star Mixtape