Author Topic: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.  (Read 8015 times)

zataks

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I know this isn't a particularly popular subject in the Mustachioed world as I'm one of those people with a red nose and comically large shoes. 
I'm wondering how any other car guys or gals balance being frugal and not spending money with buying auto parts/upgrades/track days etc?

I'm on my second car in my life (first was a gift when I was 19; a Toyota Matrix that I adored.  Did some modding; all the wrenching was done by me.) and I'd like to start modding again, I think.
I drive a '13 WRX.  No mods.  In fact, it's entirely stock.  Short-throw shifter came on it when I purchased it and I debadged.  Other than that I mostly just wash and wax/polish semi-regularly to keep the abuse to the paint down from the road and surf boards dripping salt water on her. 
The turbo'd motor has SO much potential and I would like to let that beast out of it's detuned cage a bit but frugality is (for good reason) fighting me on this!  GF also has some practical input, "It's a new car and runs fine, why spend any money on it?" and "you're saying it will be LESS environmentally friendly?!"   Well, yea, I know, but tuning, modding, wrenching!  Labor of love! 

I will have had her for a year, this month, and have really been wanting to buy a Cobb Accessport.  Not cheap.  $585 on sale, not cheap!  This will allow basic tunes (presets) or professional tunes (electronic or dyno).  Or, I have thought about getting a tactrix cable and opensource tuning it myself.  I don't know much about electronic engine management.  I've read about half of one text book on it because while reading it I found MMM.  That was around the first of the year and now I've got the mod bug again. 

Guess I'm also looking for mustachian support in NOT spending on something like a car!  Or any input in general.

EDIT: I feel pretty confident I can tune it myself.  I've never done EEM but I work tracking and analyzing data in constant-stream situations under pressure, stress and extreme circumstances so I don't think a motor can be much more difficult.  But that's why I lean towards the Cobb AP. $150-$200 for DIY vs $650 (retail) for preset/tested.

EDIT2: Just having written this I feel much less inclined towards the AP/modding in general and feel more directed about where that money could go.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 07:16:14 PM by zataks »

GGNoob

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2014, 08:04:46 PM »
I would not consider myself frugal. But I try to save money on everything I can. For example, my wife just bought some Ralph Lauren sun glasses at Sunglass Hut today. They were $125 ($137 with tax). When we got home, I found them on Amazon for $89 with no tax/shipping. So we will be taking the ones back to Sunglass Hut to save $47. I was also looking at some Ray-Bans while I was there. They were $165 (before tax). Bought them from Amazon for $95!

So my wife and I prefer to have what we want, while trying to save on anything and everything we buy. We also put a lot of money into savings/retirement. We could easily cut our lifestyle and retire in our 30s or early 40s. But we enjoy spending money and enjoy our jobs, so retiring at 50 (or even late 40s) will be just fine.

I am also a car guy. I drive a 2013 VW GTI DSG Autobahn. A little over a year ago I got the APR Stage 1 ECU upgrade for it while it was on sale (believe it was like half off). Then a couple months ago, I got a full turbo back exhaust, cold air intake, and was upgraded to the stage 2 ECU. I bought the exhaust during APR's spring sale to save 10% and the Stage 2 upgrade was free because I had the stage 1 already. So far I've put about $3,500 of upgrades into my car.

As you can see, my wife and I spend a lot of money on things we don't need. But we always stick to budget and save plenty for our future, so I don't see a problem with having a little fun and buying the things we want!

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2014, 09:07:39 PM »
<---had a 2004 aspen white STi before


don't get Cobb access port. it's just a basemap. just get a decent tuner to do a
tune open source on the stock ecu.

but I'm a car guy and I have a hobby car. I don't care how many decades it will cost me
of work. I love it more than life itself.

i would suggest getting a practical daily driver and getting a project car. buy both with cash and budget a reasonable amount each month.

I set aside $250/mo for my project car. even still I maintain a 60% savings rate.


just my two cents.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 09:12:18 PM »
wow. drinking and posting. will edit tomorrow. lol

bikebum

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2014, 10:44:46 PM »
My take on this mustachian stuff is to realize you can only spend each dollar once, and to only spend them on things that are truly important to you. So if you've thought about all the other ways you can use those dollars, including investing them in something, and you still want to spend them on your car, I've got nothing bad to say about that. Sorry if you were looking for a face punch.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2014, 07:33:48 AM »

i would suggest getting a practical daily driver and getting a project car. buy both with cash and budget a reasonable amount each month.

My take on this mustachian stuff is to realize you can only spend each dollar once, and to only spend them on things that are truly important to you. So if you've thought about all the other ways you can use those dollars, including investing them in something, and you still want to spend them on your car, I've got nothing bad to say about that. Sorry if you were looking for a face punch.
Wise advice from both these guys.  One thing I've found helps me a lot is to think "is this purchase worth delaying my retirement by xxx hours/days/months/years?"

zataks

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2014, 08:13:02 AM »
Thanks for the input, everybody!

Right now $250/month sounds like a lot but I think actually creating a line item in the budget for car parts, computer games/components is a good idea.  Something modest like $50/month and $10/month respectively.  At $600/$120 per year, that's a lot of money but I think it's probably fairly realistic for supporting my hobbies.

I was thinking the AP so I could flash S1 and if I eventually buy parts, go S2.  Also heard that some tuners will use the AP to tune?  Seems kind of jenky to me for a shop to use the AP but idk?  Also was thinking the AP because I like the idea of datalogging and monitoring things; I'm nerdy in that regard.

I also like the idea of really being OK with and allowing myself to spend money on things I like/want to do as opposed to the blanket "don't spend money!" 

I think the takeaway is: save.  if I am to spend, do so mindfully and having considered all the possible outcomes of those dollars.  But don't prohibit myself from the things I enjoy doing.

SnackDog

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2014, 08:25:14 AM »
Have you considered that such a new car is still on a steep depreciation curve?  Have a look at Edmunds true cost of ownership.  You are burning about $10K per year on the car.  A more frugal choice (older, cheaper) could probably save you $5,000/yr, which could grow into a huge amount of money in 30 years. If you like wrenching on cars, get a fun used one to wrench on.  Trade your 2013 STI for 2003 STI.

zataks

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2014, 08:47:07 AM »
It's a base WRX.  Edmunds TCO is about $2k high for me given my insurance and driving amount. and I feel their depreciation is off too.  For most cars it's probably accurate but the WRX/STi lines hold value incredibly well.  In fact, the hatches (what I have) sell for near, at or sometimes even more now used than original MSRP as Subaru is no longer making any hot hatches.

I wouldn't mind having a project car.  Problem is space.  We have a 1 car garage and 1 parking spot.  And visitor parking is restricted.  In January GF mother is moving in bringing us to 3 cars for 3 people.  I can't imagine (the most reasonable thing to do) her soon-to-be retired mother giving up her car.  And GF won't either.  So it's either
tune what I've got;
sell and get a different car to tune;
sell and tune a bicycle/skateboard;
do not tune. 

The upside of money saving in the car department is that I live close to the light rail so I can skateboard/walk there to take it to work which I've done a few times and will being doing more when my schedule turns regular starting on the 17th.  So probably about 80-100 commuter miles driven each week.

medinaj2160

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2014, 09:27:58 AM »
Lol I was about to make a thread like this one...

I just sold my 600whp WRX and I have been thinking about getting something else ... Because I really miss the car. I used to love driving the car after a hard day at work and it really help my day get better. I have tons of happy memories and enjoy driving it.

I put all the money that I got from the car towards my mortgage that should be completely paid off at the end of this year. I will be completely debt free after paying the mortgage and I been considering if I should buy a fun car after. I work hard for that money and I had the car before I got married. I feel like that money should be reclaim and spend on a car but I feel that it goes against my mustache way of life. ..... But again I feel like a fun car makes my life happier....but retiring at 36-37 would be awesome too. Idk...

Anyways.... Don't mod your car too much because it will become a money pit if you get crazy. Buy an used Cobb AP instead of a new one. Try to use some cash back credit cards to get some bonus points or something; or get a new credit car with signing bonus of a 100 dollars to help with the purchase.

I had both a Cobb ap and tactrix cable but I like the Cobb ap because when you flash it back to stock is not really traceable but the dealership tools unless they have a ecu engineering looking at it. I would just run a OST map instead of risking blowing the engine with protuners tune.

Good luck

zataks

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2014, 10:25:37 AM »
....but retiring at 36-37 would be awesome too. Idk...

Anyways.... Don't mod your car too much because it will become a money pit if you get crazy. Buy an used Cobb AP instead of a new one. Try to use some cash back credit cards to get some bonus points or something; or get a new credit car with signing bonus of a 100 dollars to help with the purchase.

I had both a Cobb ap and tactrix cable but I like the Cobb ap because when you flash it back to stock is not really traceable but the dealership tools unless they have a ecu engineering looking at it. I would just run a OST map instead of risking blowing the engine with protuners tune.

Good luck

At 28, I think I'm on track to retire @ about 42.  I'm cool with that.  Especially if the last couple months were the outlier (as they were supposed to have been) and, as planned, I go back to working 4 days/week starting when I return from vacation in 2 weeks. 

Don't plan on modding too much; would like to go S1 for a while to increase throttle response and even out power/tq curve across the RPM spectrum.

My concern about an OTS map is that while all '13 WRXs were made to the same specification, tolerances built into every component and aspect.  OTS is a rough blanket mapping for all cars of a certain specification.  The protune, while potentially less reliable, will be absolutely car specific.  As I saw on another forum when a driver asked his shop if they could improve on his opensource tune, they responded, "We spent $90k on our AWD dyno... $90k for a measuring tool... if we could do that even close to as well with free software, don't you think we would have?" 
I have to believe the AP is better than 'free software' but can't compare to a dyno tune.  My concern with just a pro tune and no AP though is that I can't log info and monitor for issues/concerns.  And I don't know how I'd return to stock if I need to bring it in to the dealer.  =\  I am leaning toward the AP though.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 09:32:25 AM »
Not a car guy anymore. Without being too negative, I think my two points would be the future value of any dollars you spend on the tuning would come to, and any environmental impact from a changed emissions signature.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2014, 10:12:45 AM »
Recovering car guy here.

If its your passion, think through the ROI, or what else you could be spending that money on, and then choose accordingly.

I had to give up cars for about 5 years now, but we're in a financial position that we may get a hobby car soon.

Best,
Mr. PoP

Joel

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2014, 11:01:53 AM »
I'm a car guy as well, but I'm biased towards muscle cars and 4x4 pickups. Needless to say, I have an old pickup that I've put over 20k into that I will have forever, and without that experience I may not be where I am today. But I'm hard pressed to begin another project. At some point, a car is a car, and you just want to get from point a to point b as cheap as possible.

PeachFuzzInVA

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2014, 02:37:34 PM »
Another car guy here as well. It's a hard itch to avoid scratching. What keeps me from going crazy into racing again is thinking back at all the money I spent in my late teens/early 20's on go-fast-parts and realizing that no matter how fast I went, I was never satisfied and always wanted to go faster. When I think about how much money I would have in the bank right now if I had invested it instead, I want to kick myself, hard, repeatedly.

Sparkie

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2014, 06:31:41 PM »
If you will be FI at 42, and are spending some of the time between now and then doing something you love, why even question it?

I'd guess you could save your money and be FI at 41 instead, and have 13 not so happy years. No brainer in my book

(Disclaimer: daily drive is stg 2 bugeye.)

WiseGuy

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2014, 08:25:10 PM »
One idea is if you really want to mod your car is to create a monthly/yearly budget for it and try to do som extra work or business on the side to pay for it.  Who know, maybe the side business can grow to supplement your income as well.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 10:29:18 AM by WiseGuy »

Gimesalot

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2014, 10:04:49 AM »
As someone else mentioned earlier, can you satisfy a lot of your craving by working on other people's cars?

An in-law of mine LOVES fast cars... He became a driving instructor and now gets flown around the Northeast teaching rich people how to drive their toys.

He makes some real money for it since it is a very niche market catered to very rich people.  You might be able to tap into a similar market.

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2014, 02:38:58 PM »
I'm also a recovering subaru owner.  I got a little carried away prepping a WRX for autocross, that it was no longer suitable to be a daily driver.  When I started dreaming about buying a house, I realized how much of a financial handicap that car was and sold it.

I went through a few cheap fun cars, older SE-R and MR2, that were just as much fun, but vastly cheaper.  I've been thinking about a project car for a while, but I will likely wait until it is a very small amount of my net worth.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2014, 04:47:17 PM »
Another car guy here as well. It's a hard itch to avoid scratching. What keeps me from going crazy into racing again is thinking back at all the money I spent in my late teens/early 20's on go-fast-parts and realizing that no matter how fast I went, I was never satisfied and always wanted to go faster. When I think about how much money I would have in the bank right now if I had invested it instead, I want to kick myself, hard, repeatedly.

I've heard it said that racing makes a heroine addiction look like a vague wish for something salty (Egan, I think).

Mr. PoP

greaper007

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2014, 10:55:47 PM »
Why not just mod something cheaper?    Sell the WRX and get an old car with some potential and just put a little bit of money into it here and there.   There's lots of options out there once you go into the 15-30 year old category from miatas to mustangs and you'd still come out ahead money wise.   Then ride your bike to the light rail the rest of the time.

 I love working on cars, but I'm an odd bird because my favorite car is the family minivan.    Putting an overhead dvd player in for a long trip last month was far more satisfying than any performance enhancement I've ever put on a car.    600hp isn't nearly as exciting as 2 hours of quiet on a long trip.    I was even able to finish an audio book!

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2014, 10:35:36 AM »
Why not just mod something cheaper?    Sell the WRX and get an old car with some potential and just put a little bit of money into it here and there.   There's lots of options out there once you go into the 15-30 year old category from miatas to mustangs and you'd still come out ahead money wise.   Then ride your bike to the light rail the rest of the time.

That's what I think makes the most sense but it doesn't sound like he has the space to do that.

Also - I think you're gonna loose a lot of loot with your taste for expensive mods on this WRX man. If you really need mostly stock but something quality than I honestly suggest you just trade the WRX for an older STi. May balance out payment wise, but at least you'll have a lot more power and it will be "modded" compared to the WRX. And when the bug bites, small mods will make a big difference.


v10viperbox

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2014, 01:57:11 PM »
As long as it's not eating into your FIRE fund by more then a few years and it is something you really love its not the end of the world. I would rather have my hobbies and work a little bit harder for them, they keep me sane which has its own value. I am past FIRE at this point at 33 so the hobby has very little chance of screwing something up and I am still working because it is enjoyable for the time so I spend a bit more then a should but the CBA says that its fine for the time being.

 

zataks

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Re: Balancing Frugality/MMM with wanting to spend as a car enthusiast.
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2014, 06:14:59 PM »
Thanks for all the input, everybody!

Basically the plan is that I have created a budget for WRX mods @$50/month, rolling forward.  Getting some Hella Supertones (seem a little idk what, but maybe silly or ridic to me but really look forward to letting people know I'm there when they float into my lane on the mountain highways.) for now and will do tint as budget allows.  I think $50/month is high for MMM budgeting but low for the modding community.  That $50 will still allow me to do mods occasionally but I think will help force me put more thought into what they are as the time required to pay for them will be pretty significant.

Great quote Mr. PoP

I'm not so much interested in really making the car that much more powerful.  My primary motivation/desire is increase handling.  The AWD allows for a lot of slop in the suspension tuning so I'd love to tighten some things up there.  The AP/tuning idea is just to adjust throttle response and even out the torque curve. 

I've not considered working on anyone else's car for money (or even free, really) except that I have offered to help buds learn little bits about their cars and offered to help.  Honestly, I think I'm learning that it isn't necessarily cars I want to tune; I just like tinkering with stuff!  My car, computer, skateboard, bike etcetcetc.