Author Topic: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers  (Read 1646 times)

minority_finance_mo

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Mustachian fam, bring me your face punches.

A few weeks ago, I received a call from a friend who told me about his purchase of a brand new Honda CR-V. While I congratulated him on the purchase, there was a haughty voice inside of my head that said "You bought a car new? What a terrible investment. Don't you know a car loses 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot?"

I smuggly patted myself on the back for knowing better. "Buy a car new? Couldn't be me."



Fast-forward, a few weeks later, I'm sitting on my couch, sipping on a $0.15 hot coffee I made at home, going through my budget, and feeling good about the progress. On a whim, I decide to open up my Mint app and check how much I've spent on the auto category across my car, insurance, and taxi's.

Forum, I nearly lost my mind. In Ubers and taxis alone, I spent more between 2017 and 2020 than this man had spent on his whole butt car.



I spent $25,029 in Ubers from 2017 to 2020. That's enough money to buy a Honda CR-V myself in cash. Add a few more weeks of Ubers, and I could trick it out with some goodies, like spoilers or extra fog lights.




Gosh, that new car is looking real good right now...

PS: This post is a bit tounge-in-cheek, and I've since gotten my budget in check and taught my money to behave, but I couldn't help look back at the debacle that was my spending habits pre-pandemic and share with the forum. Hopefully it can alleviate some of the guilt of others who have done stupid to know there's dimmer-witted folk out there who despite themselves still manage to pull through.

Adventine

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2021, 11:05:28 PM »
Well, you didn't specify if you'd also calculated the cost of gas, maintenance, insurance, the time and energy you saved not driving..... :)

No facepunches here. You do what works best for your situation.

LennStar

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2021, 04:54:16 AM »
First thing to land a rightful rightly aimed punch would be to know why you used Uber that much.
If you are a lawyer driving to clients and reviewing/preparing their cases while being driven - that is likely money well spend because you earn more in that time than you spend.
If you are driving to and from work - it's bullshit to rely on other people's cars for that. Also get a work closer to home if possible.
If it's something else - you need to be punched for that wastefulness.

Malcat

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 05:21:48 AM »
But...why???

How does that even happen without you noticing?

MilesTeg

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2021, 11:12:47 AM »
Well, you didn't specify if you'd also calculated the cost of gas, maintenance, insurance, the time and energy you saved not driving..... :)

No facepunches here. You do what works best for your situation.

No chance he comes out on top financially even after considering all that. Definitely face lunch worthy material here.

Pretty scary considering it works out to about $25 a weekday (though I bet it i clues weekend travel too). Though looks like 2020 was drastically reduced due to corona I would assume. That's not a very long two way Uber trip.

BikeFanatic

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2021, 12:37:17 PM »
People I work with do this all the time, they actually save 40$ a day in parking on site, they also do not have to pay or hunt for a parking spot when they arrive home! No car insurance, then they can car share and take public transit. If you live in the city it can be a win. No face punch from me.
When I was carless I spent  250 on ride share Zip car a month until I learned to real in my car usage.

Villanelle

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2021, 05:41:03 PM »
Fortunately, it is not a binary decision between buying a new CR-V and spending tens of thousands of dollars on an Uber.  (Though of course the purchase price of the car doesn't include gas, insurance, maintenance, parking, registration....) 

If you have that much need for a vehicle, why not by a small, cheap-to-operate used car rather than a new one?  And of course you need to do the math to figure out whether it would be cheaper once you account for all costs, not just purchase price. 

Why not bike on some of those errands, or walk?

Malcat

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2021, 05:55:28 PM »
People I work with do this all the time, they actually save 40$ a day in parking on site, they also do not have to pay or hunt for a parking spot when they arrive home! No car insurance, then they can car share and take public transit. If you live in the city it can be a win. No face punch from me.
When I was carless I spent  250 on ride share Zip car a month until I learned to real in my car usage.

Yeah, I get that the math can make sense, I've run it myself under particular circumstances, but that's kind of the point, I ran the numbers. How does someone end up spending that much on Uber without costing it out compared to a car??

I understand someone making the choice to Uber if the math makes sense, but I can't fathom being unaware of the expense over a number of years.

Adventine

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2021, 06:10:53 PM »
Many of the, ahem, unenlightened don't track expenses closely and thus have no idea how much they spend on transportation. Many don't bother running the numbers to see what's the most efficient mode of transport for their needs.

This behavior is strange to us who can't imagine NOT tracking expenses and thinking long-term.

Which is why I very much appreciated OP's last paragraph:

PS: This post is a bit tounge-in-cheek, and I've since gotten my budget in check and taught my money to behave, but I couldn't help look back at the debacle that was my spending habits pre-pandemic and share with the forum. Hopefully it can alleviate some of the guilt of others who have done stupid to know there's dimmer-witted folk out there who despite themselves still manage to pull through.

Paul der Krake

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2021, 06:25:06 PM »
Many of the, ahem, unenlightened don't track expenses closely and thus have no idea how much they spend on transportation. Many don't bother running the numbers to see what's the most efficient mode of transport for their needs.

This behavior is strange to us who can't imagine NOT tracking expenses and thinking long-term.

Which is why I very much appreciated OP's last paragraph:

PS: This post is a bit tounge-in-cheek, and I've since gotten my budget in check and taught my money to behave, but I couldn't help look back at the debacle that was my spending habits pre-pandemic and share with the forum. Hopefully it can alleviate some of the guilt of others who have done stupid to know there's dimmer-witted folk out there who despite themselves still manage to pull through.
As an enlightened non-tracker, I am pretty confident in my ability to not let $650+ of recurring monthly expenses, in any category, sneak up on me.

Malcat

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2021, 06:28:19 PM »
Many of the, ahem, unenlightened don't track expenses closely and thus have no idea how much they spend on transportation. Many don't bother running the numbers to see what's the most efficient mode of transport for their needs.

This behavior is strange to us who can't imagine NOT tracking expenses and thinking long-term.

Which is why I very much appreciated OP's last paragraph:

PS: This post is a bit tounge-in-cheek, and I've since gotten my budget in check and taught my money to behave, but I couldn't help look back at the debacle that was my spending habits pre-pandemic and share with the forum. Hopefully it can alleviate some of the guilt of others who have done stupid to know there's dimmer-witted folk out there who despite themselves still manage to pull through.

Nono, I get that. This isn't a case of buying lunch every day, or not tracking the cost of a smoking habit, or any number of daily habits that someone doesn't want to ever realize how expensive they are and would rather keep their head in the sand.

How does someone take a bazillion Ubers for several years and not at least once consider just buying a car??

The only thing that makes sense to me is that they might not have a parking spot at their home, so never bothered considering a car instead.

Most people in North America default to buying a car, so I'm finding this fascinating.

Villanelle

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2021, 06:39:30 PM »
Many of the, ahem, unenlightened don't track expenses closely and thus have no idea how much they spend on transportation. Many don't bother running the numbers to see what's the most efficient mode of transport for their needs.

This behavior is strange to us who can't imagine NOT tracking expenses and thinking long-term.

Which is why I very much appreciated OP's last paragraph:

PS: This post is a bit tounge-in-cheek, and I've since gotten my budget in check and taught my money to behave, but I couldn't help look back at the debacle that was my spending habits pre-pandemic and share with the forum. Hopefully it can alleviate some of the guilt of others who have done stupid to know there's dimmer-witted folk out there who despite themselves still manage to pull through.
As an enlightened non-tracker, I am pretty confident in my ability to not let $650+ of recurring monthly expenses, in any category, sneak up on me.

Samsies. 

I don't track. But I'd likely notice that I'd just called my third $20+ Uber this week, and that last week I had called for five, and that this had been a pattern for several weeks, without any signs that this pattern would change.  Id likely reach that conclusion after about a month, if not sooner.   

Adventine

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2021, 07:00:51 PM »
It's interesting, I suppose from my non-Western perspective, living in a megacity that is perpertually choked with stop and go traffic even for short distances, where drivers are on a different level of crazy compared to North America, and where real estate prices for homes with garages are out of reach for many middle class people, I can easily see how a daily Uber makes sense over a car. My perspective is also colored by Uber's aggressive push into my city a few years ago, when they heavily subsidized prices in an effort to win market share.

But yes, I hadn't considered that the default in North America is to buy a car.


RWD

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2021, 07:29:41 PM »
Wow... This month we are at 3 years of Porsche ownership and it hasn't even cost that much (counting everything)... It has cost $19.5k cumulatively for the three years (though last year was barely over $500).

Just Joe

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2021, 09:33:31 PM »
Wow - the cost of owning and operating a car in other parts of the country are sobering. Its a pittance by comparison here.

AMandM

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2021, 10:10:58 PM »
How does someone take a bazillion Ubers for several years and not at least once consider just buying a car??

Because he already owns a car?

I decide to open up my Mint app and check how much I've spent on the auto category across my car, insurance, and taxi's.

Adventine

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2021, 10:22:40 PM »
How does someone take a bazillion Ubers for several years and not at least once consider just buying a car??

Because he already owns a car?

I decide to open up my Mint app and check how much I've spent on the auto category across my car, insurance, and taxi's.

Good catch! I missed that bit.

So, OP... you already have a car AND you spent that much on Uber? Tsk tsk tsk.

LennStar

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2021, 04:36:58 AM »
As an enlightened non-tracker, I am pretty confident in my ability to not let $650+ of recurring monthly expenses, in any category, sneak up on me.
As an enlighted non-tracker I can confidently tell you when the last time was I paid more than 600 on any item.
It was July 2018, when I bought the motor-powered vertically moving desk I sit (or stand!) at every day for many hours, even more now in home office.
If I paid 600 bucks on anything on a monthly basis, I would be panicking, not being oblivious of it. It would mean my savings rate was nearly down to 0!!!

My perspective is also colored by Uber's aggressive push into my city a few years ago, when they heavily subsidized prices in an effort to win market share.
They are still doing that, because their business model cannot work if they demand above cost prices.
That's why they need a billion or more each year until self-driving cars are there. That is what Uber is build on. Grab a monopoly on the market before it forms.
Ironically, in cost-saving efforts just a bit ago they have also closed their self-driving research facility.

The moment Uber doesn't get any fresh money from investors, the company is bankcrupt. What will happen to all those guys driving or using Uber cars?
I don't think "The Uber app is no longer working!" is a valid excuse to not come to work...
 
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 04:41:21 AM by LennStar »

Malcat

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2021, 05:01:13 AM »
How does someone take a bazillion Ubers for several years and not at least once consider just buying a car??

Because he already owns a car?

I decide to open up my Mint app and check how much I've spent on the auto category across my car, insurance, and taxi's.

Yes, understand that as well. My question could have meant a primary car or a secondary car. That's why I thought of potentially not having a parking spot for the car, because I've often lived in places with only one parking spot.

The logic applies to someone with no car or one car. How much spending on Uber does it take to just consider buying a car/another car?

I'm assuming OP has a rational reason why buying a second car was out of the question, because otherwise I really can't wrap my mind around this.

talltexan

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2021, 07:48:21 AM »
A while ago I realized travelling for work can often mean substituting UBER and a more exciting hotel location for renting a car and staying at a quality Inn out in the Styx.

I don't use Mint to track my business card, though.

Malcat

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2021, 07:51:12 AM »
A while ago I realized travelling for work can often mean substituting UBER and a more exciting hotel location for renting a car and staying at a quality Inn out in the Styx.

I don't use Mint to track my business card, though.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that using Uber is a bad thing.

ducky19

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2021, 09:34:55 AM »
OP, if you use Uber that much and don't already have it, get the Uber card from Barclay - will at least help cut down on the expense if you put all your spending on it.

MilesTeg

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2021, 03:36:52 PM »
A while ago I realized travelling for work can often mean substituting UBER and a more exciting hotel location for renting a car and staying at a quality Inn out in the Styx.

I don't use Mint to track my business card, though.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that using Uber is a bad thing.

I would not say it's a bad thing absolutely but it definitely is a horrifically expensive method for regular use. Many times the cost of owning and operating an ecomical vehicle and even more expensive than owning some fancier vehicles. See: OP

Malcat

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2021, 04:13:47 PM »
A while ago I realized travelling for work can often mean substituting UBER and a more exciting hotel location for renting a car and staying at a quality Inn out in the Styx.

I don't use Mint to track my business card, though.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that using Uber is a bad thing.

I would not say it's a bad thing absolutely but it definitely is a horrifically expensive method for regular use. Many times the cost of owning and operating an ecomical vehicle and even more expensive than owning some fancier vehicles. See: OP

Oh no doubt.

I'm just open minded that all sorts of scenarios that can be exceptions. I brought up parking spots because that's our issue. Even if we wanted a second car, we would have to move to a much more expensive house to have a second parking spot.

So I can imagine a universe where frequent Uber would make sense, especially if it was temporary. But yeah, I have to jump through some logical hoops to get there.

minority_finance_mo

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2021, 04:38:48 PM »
Haha, this post really took off. For those who have provided the solicited face-punches, appreciate you; for those who have tried defending my silliness - also appreciate you, but I definitely deserve the criticism.

I've tried to answer some of the questions from this thread below. Honestly, the logic (such that there was) doesn't justify the insane spending, but hopefully provides some context if nothing else.


How does someone take a bazillion Ubers for several years and not at least once consider just buying a car??

I had a few people ask if/whether I own a car.
 
I do indeed own a car, which makes my checks to Dara K even more egregious. (A few astute readers saw I did mention paying for car insurance. Kudos!) I live outside of NYC and commute into the city every morning. Rather than driving to work, I used to take public transportation every morning and evening. Most of these Ubers were taken after a night out drinking (usually $80+ one-way), getting to work early in the morning if the public transport wasn't running/was running behind, or while traveling (which was usually covered by my company. More info below.)

Many of the, ahem, unenlightened don't track expenses closely and thus have no idea how much they spend on transportation. Many don't bother running the numbers to see what's the most efficient mode of transport for their needs.

This behavior is strange to us who can't imagine NOT tracking expenses and thinking long-term.

There were a few questions about how I managed to rack up this much spending without noticing. It was a combination of things for me:
  • A fairly sizable income early in my career (thankfully also made it simpler fix the mess once I opened my eyes)
  • Poor entertainment choices, like drinking out a few times a week and then taking $80+ ubers home
  • A few factors that I'll group into life-sucking job: 1+ hour commute each way, high stress, long hours (frequent 7am starts meant I was hitting the snooze button a lot and paying for it in ubers)
  • Probably most importantly: not tracking my spending outside of a few savings/investment transactions that I had automated monthly

Additionally, a lot of the ride-sharing was done on business trips in other cities, so I'd estimate ~30-40% of that total spending was expensed and paid-for by my employer. (I haven't done the actual math yet, but this would be interesting.) Again, this point isn't to defend my spending here: $18K is just as ludicrous as $25K for this category.

As to how I managed to spend this much without noticing: you'd be surprised how easy it is. If anyone wants to replicate (though I'd recommend against it): step 1) don't track your spending, step 2) work a stressful job with decent earning potential, step 3) cope with the stress with poor decisions in other areas, such as going out for drinks. The spending sort of takes care of itself if you follow that three-step plan to a tee.

Now being intentional with my spending was a bit more difficult.

OP, if you use Uber that much and don't already have it, get the Uber card from Barclay - will at least help cut down on the expense if you put all your spending on it.

Going to classify this as: "Are you still spending this much on Ubers??"

The answer is: no. I'd basically cut Uber expenses to zero unless my work was paying for it, even prior to the lockdowns. The $~1500 spent in 2020 was during Jan/Feb while I was traveling for business, so little by the way of my own spending at that point. My last big month of Ubers was October 2019. Dara's getting no more dinero from me.


(Thanks for the recommendation, by the way Ducky. Going to hold off for now, since I'm trying to avoid any temptation.)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 05:45:40 PM by mm_mo »

Malcat

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Re: I could have bought a brand new Honda CR-V with how much I spent on Ubers
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2021, 05:36:01 PM »
^yeah, if you're out drinking in the city a few nights a week to the point of needing an Uber home, then I don't doubt that the Uber cost just disappeared into the overall cost of that partying, which must have been...uh...nauseating.