Author Topic: Car situation  (Read 4640 times)

southernhippie

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Car situation
« on: August 07, 2014, 10:00:39 AM »
I am new to the mustache community and have slowly been trying to incorporate all the principles to my lifestyle.  I do need some advice on my current vehicle situation.

My wife and I both have two vehicles.  My wife has a 2011 Chevy Malibu (paid off).  I have a 2012 Nissan Titan 4wd (still owe $14,000, I am paying this off using the debt emergency principle).  Both of our jobs are less than 10 minute commute due to stop lights.  My wife loves her car and it can get 36 mpg hwy if driven right, but in the city about 25 mpg.  My truck averages ...........wait for it.......... 14 mpg in the city and about 18 mpg hwy. (Yes this does deserve a huge punch in the face).  Both of us maybe put 7500 miles on each vehicle a year and that is being generous.

 I garden a lot and usually have to haul a lot of stuff seasonally for the garden in my truck bed.  It isn't often but it does occur.  I also really like my truck.  My question is this.  Would I be better off to sell the truck now even though I have payments still? Which I could get at least 20,000 trade in value.  Private property will be of course more.  After selling get a hatchback/wagon/etc with better mileage?  Even though I drive very little.  I do like the capability of hauling things around and I would like for my son's car seat to fit well in whatever I have.

My wife doesn't want me to sell the truck because she thinks I wont be satisfied with anything else since I like my truck so much.  I know there will probably be a suggestion about biking to work.  But the road I take to work is not biking friendly with lots of blind curves and lots of accidents occur on it.  Including the one last year where a drunk driver hit me head on, on my way home from work.  So I am little weary about taking that road on a bike.

I appreciate any answers or advice given.

southernhippie

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 10:18:18 AM »
Also i have to have 4wd.  I work as a nurse in an icu.  In healthcare you can't  not show up for work due to inability to get there because of the roads from snow storms

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 12:57:50 PM »
Also i have to have 4wd.  I work as a nurse in an icu.  In healthcare you can't  not show up for work due to inability to get there because of the roads from snow storms
My wife used to work in an ICU and when we got hit with a blizzard, she drove my '94 nissan sentra with snow tires.  The actual type of tires is way more important than how many of them are driven.

okashira

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 01:19:55 PM »
Also i have to have 4wd.  I work as a nurse in an icu.  In healthcare you can't  not show up for work due to inability to get there because of the roads from snow storms

I think we need a sticky for 4x4 and snow tires.

aclarridge

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 01:27:35 PM »
Subaru Imprezas are fairly reasonable used, are very reliable, have 4 wheel drive and with snow tires, handle snow extremely well.

Ybserp

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 01:36:39 PM »
In my town you can rent a pickup truck from U-Haul for $19.99+tax&gas for a day. You may also be able to easily rent a hauling vehicle when needed. I'd optimize a car purchase on total value. A commuting vehicle does not need to be the same vehicle as the one used for hauling once per season.

Are you and your wife on the same page about reducing your expenses and paying off debt?

Because if you are, she could drop you off and pick you up. It sounds like a second car is an enjoyable luxury, but not something you really need to have. Being a one car family could become a permanent thing, or you could do it only long enough to save up to buy your replacement vehicle with cash.

Sblak

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 01:56:15 PM »
You haven't supplied any information about your income and your debt/savings so there isn't much context to give good advice. 

How much money do you and your wife make together? 

How much of that are you saving?  How much do you have already saved?

Do you have any debt?  Are you bleeding money to interest on any debt hole that you could plug if you got rid of your truck and put the money to something more important?  If so then owing on your truck is a bad idea.

While a new truck is something I would never buy, if you like it and use it, it may not make sense to get rid of it.  I say keep it if you have your other spending under control, are already saving a big part of your income, maxing 401k, investing in something else, and not wasting your money paying interest on other student loan or other credit card debt.

The point is to be saving seriously for retirement.  Copying someone else's path to get there will not make you happy.  Know what you want and be sure that you are moving swiftly along your own path.

If you really love the truck, pay it off quickly and enjoy it for years, especially if it helps you to follow your true love, which is gardening.  Next time don't buy a truck by taking out a loan, or anything else, really.

unpolloloco

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 03:02:49 PM »
Many small cars can tow a small trailer (~1500 lb or so).  For <$1k, you should be able to buy a trailer + hitch/wiring.  Probably will do for most/all gardening jobs!  Also, given how little you drive your cars, gas mileage probably shouldn't be as much of a concern for your financial stability compared to the amount of cash/debt tied up in the vehicle.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 03:10:18 PM »
Because if you are, she could drop you off and pick you up. It sounds like a second car is an enjoyable luxury, but not something you really need to have. Being a one car family could become a permanent thing, or you could do it only long enough to save up to buy your replacement vehicle with cash.

I always like this idea, but I'm wondering if maybe he has a weird schedule based on being a nurse and the comment about the drunk driver.

like others have said, I bet you can find a car that is great in snow (whether 4WD or just snow tires) and gets a heck of a lot better than 14mpg... and is cheaper to buy and insure than your truck, too. IMO it's definitely not worth keeping around for hauling a few times a year... I think a lot of people convince themselves that they "need" the hauling capacity of their truck regularly when that is really not the case. also unpolloloco's trailer idea is awesome.

4alpacas

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 04:29:43 PM »
Also i have to have 4wd.  I work as a nurse in an icu.  In healthcare you can't  not show up for work due to inability to get there because of the roads from snow storms

I think we need a sticky for 4x4 and snow tires.
+1

If you want a truck, spend less than $20k on a truck.  Get rid of the payments. 

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 04:47:15 PM »
So you owe $14K on the truck, and could get $20K+ on it? Could you get a decent truck for $6000?

southernhippie

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 04:55:32 PM »


How much money do you and your wife make together? 

How much of that are you saving?  How much do you have already saved?

  We make roughly 70-80k a year combined.
We have a policy that we pay 20% of our income to debt(truck for now).  I contribute 7% pre tax income to my 401 k.  Employer matches up to 6%.  Wife contributes minimal to her 401k, which we are working on.

Savings.  13000 in savings accounts right now. Not including checking.  These are accounts we don't touch unless emergency.


The only debts we have is the truck, mortgage, and medical bills that are coming from my  son's heart condition.  Don't know the amount of the medical bills yet.  But I am sure we hit our out of pocket max.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 04:57:08 PM by southernhippie »

greaper007

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 05:30:53 PM »
I had a job with similar constraints (pilot) and I've lived in Cleveland, Rochester, Hartford....and now Denver.

I'll echo what other people on this thread have said, you don't need 4wd.   I've lived in heavy snow areas for most of my life and I've never had 4wd, and I've never been stuck.    I just got snow tires 3 years ago for my 03 golf (manual, I think that helps) and they literally blew my mind.    I regularly drive by full sized trucks stuck in the ditch while I boogie on home without any wheel slippage.

The truck rental is a good idea.   But, if you're emotionally attached to having a truck I'll throw another idea in.    Why not sell the truck and buy 2 vehicles?    Something older, frugal and reliable.    Say a 2000 Civic with about 140,000 miles (2 sets of tires, run winter tires from thanksgiving to easter).    AND say a full sized American truck that's about 20 years old.    Barebones with a stick and 4wd if you really want it.    That should be a super reliable combination for about $7000.    It also gives you two options for getting to work if something breaks down.

enigmaT120

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2014, 10:51:38 AM »
If you have a long driveway (mine is probably a couple hundred yards) then a small, fuel efficient 2WD car may not go no matter how many studded tires you have on it.  My '89 CRX used to do OK that way on a little snow, but we started getting over a foot at a time and it had no chance.  It just high centered. 

The Guru

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2014, 11:11:58 AM »
I've also lived forever in the snow belt and never had 4WD. A few years ago I considered it: I was in  the market for a new car and had just moved into my wife's house which sits at the top of a good-sized hill. It took some of the worst driving conditions I've ever experienced to convince me I didn't need 4WD. Not just making it home safely (albeit by a circuitous route) but the fact that every vehicle I saw stuck off- road, in a ditch etc...was a 4WD truck. Granted, one needs discretion driving in winetr conditions, but if it's discreyion and not 4WD that saves the day, why not just forgo the 4WD? My subsequent vehicle choice ('11 Hyundai Elantra Touring w/ traction control and new Bridgestone Blizzacks got me thru winter unscathed. (FWIW my hometown won the dubious distinction of Snowiest City in the US last year. WooHoo! We're Number One! We're Number One..!!)

I'm also big into gardening. Plants and bagged goods go in the back; if you're hauling a lot of bulk mulch, etc. you should find it cheaper to just pay the delivery fee to your garden supplier than to haul around a full-size pickup just for those occasions.

RWD

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2014, 12:00:58 PM »
There are certainly cheaper pickups to choose from. For instance, a 2004-2006 Ford Ranger/Mazda B2300 with the 2.3L 4-cylinder and 2WD is rated at 21/27 mpg. Not too bad if you aren't driving it very often.

I like the idea of getting an efficient car and towing a small trailer when you need it better though. Depends on your typical needs.

Sblak

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2014, 02:21:27 PM »
Thanks for the additional information. From what you said, it sounds like you are are doing OK financially.  You are probably on a path to retirement in 40 years. 

The real problem is not the truck.  It is that you are not saving enough because you bought the truck.  You need to realize that the truck is costing you more money than you probably realize.  You should also admit that you need to be saving more.  But if you like it, use it, and your SO wants you to keep it, and you can limit your long distance driving in the truck, I would say keep it and use it for the next 15 years. 

Selling it and getting a cheaper car might save you money or you may be the unlucky person who gets a used lemon and loses money.  A paid off new car is about the same financially than a paid off older car, because the new car typically will last for more years - the insurance is higher, even though repairs should be lower, and all that.  However, if you had to start commuting very far in it,  I would trade it in immediately for something more efficient.

What you really need to do is plan your retirement.  If you keep the truck, you should pay it off as soon as possible with the 20% (or even more of your income) toward debt you are using.  What you really need to do is to get to the point as soon as possible, where you are putting the 20% that was going toward debt, instead toward retirement.  Max out your retirement accounts.  Figure out how much you can put away each year.  If you max both max your 401Ks you will significantly lower your taxes, and actually do something about moving up the date of your retirement.

Read this. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/ .  Figure out how long you want to work.  10 years, 20 years, 50 years?  Then start saving up as much as you will need.  Selling the truck won't make you retire.  But learning from it and saving will.  Finally, the best advice is not just to save, but to realize you can earn more and more and put your increased earnings toward savings.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 03:40:35 PM by Sblak »

Forcus

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2014, 03:13:24 PM »
Reading your comments and others, and your info on income, it sounds like you are doing OK and that's part of the "problem". When I am doing ok I feel no great need to create perceived pain for myself. In your case you aren't upside down on your loan, you have some (some!) savings, and no credit card debt.

But what I frequently have to do is go, where can / should I be? Taking a step back I'd look at it objectively. You don't have a lot of savings. The truck represents fixed (payment, insurance) and variable costs (fuel, etc.) that are much larger than just the truck payment, and much more than a reasonable alternative. You aren't saving a whole lot for retirement (though I will concede, probably more than the average person). And you have a child with medical conditions. Based on the info you provided I'd look at the truck as a waste of money and more importantly holding you back from where you could be.

I love trucks and used to daily drive them but after really looking at it, it's a waste of resources and generally much more expensive than a reasonable alternative. It sounds like you definitely have some borders you can't cross, like having something that isn't reliable (not an option with certain jobs) and can't make it in a snowstorm (though your username suggests that you don't have to deal with intense winter weather?). But there is a world of stuff you can downsize to and have little to no true pain.

My last truck was great but got 12 MPG. I downsized to a small car and a utility trailer. I am saving about $200/mo with this move, and probably more because of my intense desire to modify / restore / rebuild everything I own (the truck needed work).

For times I need a truck, I'll rent a U-Haul truck or van. $19.99/day and $.60/mile if I recall correctly. I have this mentality that I hate to rent, borrow, beg, but I'll be honest, paying $100 bucks to rent a brand new van was kind of nice. Cheaper options exist too. Menards (hardware box store), Lowes, Home Depot, at least in this area, all rent trucks for around $19.99 for the first 60 or 90 minutes.

Just some ideas.


okashira

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Re: Car situation
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2014, 05:38:02 PM »
This is one benefit of living near Houston. Many of my friends, coworkers, and family drive massive Clown Trucks that they have no use for, except to commute 60 miles a day and go to the grocery store. Oh, and haul that load of lumber from Home Depot Once a Year Which Could Have Probably Fit in My Small Hatchback Anyways.
They are generally quite happy to let me use them for real truck work; I suspect it helps justify their purchase. And I am grateful for their purchase. :-D