I hope readers will indulge me today, because I’m very excited about something. In March 2006, my husband and I were living in northern Virginia. We were BROKE, mainly because I was jobless and he was both paying a lot of child support and recovering from some financial disasters that occurred during his first marriage. Nevertheless, in the three years and four months we had been married, we were making steady progress toward a better financial situation. On a crisp morning in March 2006, we were in the market for a new car.

That Saturday morning, off we went to Koons Toyota, where we had made an appointment with an oily salesman who had advised us to set aside several hours and eat a good breakfast before showing up. I remember that appointment being very hectic and obnoxious. The salesman was good at his job and ended up talking us into a car that was nicer than what we had planned to buy. He did not, however, talk us into buying a pricey extended warranty. When he pitched it to us, I told him that he’d been harping on how reliable Toyotas are for the previous four hours and I was going to take him at his word. I remember my husband had purposely left his checkbook at home so he wouldn’t be pressured into buying before he was ready. In the end, they let us trade in my 1997 Toyota Corolla and agree to bring them a check within a week.

Anyway, though I was sad to say goodbye to my dark blue Corolla, which had served me so well for eight years and was a relic from my days as a single woman, I was excited about our brand new car. And I remember getting into that virginal Toyota and turning on the radio, which happened to be tuned to a Washington, DC area blues station. They were playing a song by Baltimore area bluesman, Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings…

4×4 Woman


I remember looking at my husband and grinning from ear to ear as we listened to this hilarious, appreciative song about a man who loves his “4×4 Woman”, a sweet woman who’s heavy, wears glasses, and keeps his refrigerator stocked with good food… Being a bit on the zaftig side myself (although my dimensions aren’t 4×4… yet), I could relate to it. And my husband, who loves my cooking, could too.

That brand new Toyota RAV4 cost roughly $28,000. We financed most of it and because my husband’s credit was at that time still pretty crummy, we borrowed the money from Toyota Motor Corporation, which was charging 8.5 percent interest. That was almost seven years ago and we’ve come a long way, especially financially, since March 2006. A couple of years after we bought the car, I convinced my husband to let me try to refinance the loan with my credit union. We managed to snag a 2.9 percent interest rate which, though it extended the life of the loan, cut our payments significantly, freeing up more cash for other things. It also saved us some cash, which we’ve been able to use for fun things like foreign travel and my Mini Cooper convertible.

This morning, our most recent car payments went through, bringing our debt for the RAV 4 down to $657. I threw another $125 at it, bringing us down to $532. Before February is finished, that loan will be history– two months ahead of time, I might add! It’s very exciting to go from owing $28,000 to owing $532, even though it took years to get there. Better yet, the Toyota has less than 100,000 miles on it and still looks and runs great.

As for “4×4 Woman”, I liked the song so much that I started trying to find the CD it came from. I didn’t remember who sang the song, so I did what I always do when I get a song in my head that won’t go away. I started searching the Internet, using the few lyrics I remembered from the song. After some time using that method, I finally found the CD for sale at CDBaby.com. At the time, it was the only place selling Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings’ CD, One Night Lover. I bought the CD while my husband was deployed to Iraq and made him a mix CD with our “Toyota song” on it. I sent him music and Peets coffee all the time, in an attempt to boost his morale in the desert.

Being almost done with a big car loan is very exciting. Being able to relate that excitement to a hilarious blues song is practically priceless!