Author Topic: Vehicle situation; looking for advice  (Read 5407 times)

Travis

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Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« on: January 23, 2014, 12:48:01 AM »
I'm in the US Army and live near Tacoma, WA.  We drive a 2003 Ford Focus with 101,000 miles and a 2009 Ford F-150 with 33,000.  The Focus sees 15,000 miles a year and the F-150 about 8000.  90% of the Focus' miles are on monthly trips to California to visit family.  Otherwise it's only used for grocery shopping and other infrequent local trips.  The F-150 is my go-to-work vehicle with a daily commute of 32 miles, which is really two 16 mile round trips since I drive home for a 90 minute lunch.  We take my truck to California for Christmas vacation in case of weather and for some extra cargo space.  We paid cash for both vehicles when we bought them.  I bought the truck in 2009 (my first new vehicle) when we lived in Colorado and 4WD was necessary.  Now it feels like overkill and I pay $100 a month in gas for this simple commute.  Spending $200 on gas just between Christmas and New Years was really painful.  I make $113k a year and invest 30% of my income so I'm not hurting, but I know I can and should be doing better.  Edmunds.com thinks I can only get $15k for my truck locally (just over half what I paid 4 years ago!).  I'm also deploying this spring for the rest of the year.  My truck will sit in the driveway.  I'll save a bunch on my wife not using it, but now I'm also considering selling the truck for whatever I can get for it.  After I get back the Army will probably let me stay in WA for another year before forcing me to move.  I'm trying to figure out if we really need two vehicles, and/or to sell the truck before I deploy or wait until I get back and know whether or not we'll stay or move again.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2014, 12:55:17 AM »
Definitely sell the truck for the best you can get for it as soon as you can (before deployment if at all possible). Your insurance rates should go down considerably as well.

Another suggestion in the meantime: instead of driving home for lunch - pack your lunch. That seems quite wasteful to drive that distance twice a day and you'd save so much gas and time!

Travis

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 01:03:58 AM »
I should have mentioned the trip home for lunch is to spend extra time with my son.  He's about to turn 4, but I've been with him for only about 2 years of his life.  I work 10 hours a day and cherish every moment I have with him.  After discovering the MMM community the last few weeks I'm reevaluating whether my lunch dates are worth $50 a month in fuel.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 01:37:21 AM »
My suggestions:

1) Use the Focus for commuting every day, unless you need the truck's cargo capacity for something that day. This will save a whole bunch of fuel between now and when you deploy. Your wife can use the truck for any trips she needs to take while you're at work. As long as these trips are shorter than your commute, you win by using the Focus to commute.
2) Sell the truck shortly before you deploy. You don't need it sitting in the driveway depreciating while you're away.
3) When you get back, if you decide you really need two vehicles in the family, look to buy a fuel-efficient used car to replace the truck. Maybe a minivan if you take lots of long road trips and need the cargo space. But whatever you do, don't make your largest vehicle your primary commute vehicle! Therein lies madness.

fodder69

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 05:49:13 AM »
I should have mentioned the trip home for lunch is to spend extra time with my son.  He's about to turn 4, but I've been with him for only about 2 years of his life.  I work 10 hours a day and cherish every moment I have with him.  After discovering the MMM community the last few weeks I'm reevaluating whether my lunch dates are worth $50 a month in fuel.

Yes, they are absolutely worth $50 in fuel a month.

But that said, why aren't you driving the focus to work?

And it does seem like you could do one car.

The thing with the truck is that it will be losing money while you are deployed, even if it's not moving. Depreciation and all that. So sell it before you deploy and let that money work for you. If you need a second car when you get back, but something cheap that has already depreciated. There are a lot of great cars out there for cheap these days.


Ashyukun

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2014, 09:11:47 AM »
I'd echo what the others have said- you shouldn't be driving the generally less efficient truck on your commute and driving the Focus unless there's some reason why you need the truck or your wife can't drive it (like it being a stick and her not knowing how- in which case, she should learn ;) ). It does also sound like you only really need one vehicle and would be better served with one that covers all the bases- but said vehicle is likely to be less efficient than the Focus.

I'd say start driving the Focus to work, sell the truck before you leave, and when you get back evaluate whether you need something bigger than the Focus and consider selling it and getting something that will work for you. If your wife needs a car as well, keep the Focus and get something that will cover the role the truck fills now but is more efficient.

Greg

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2014, 09:12:47 AM »
I'll agree that your truck shouldn't be your commuter vehicle unless absolutely necessary.  If you sell the truck, which sounds like a good idea, you'll be surprised how capable the Focus is.  FWD is pretty good in snow.

Travis

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2014, 02:48:45 PM »
Today I took the bike to work. The trip took me 30 minutes (couple small hills, couple traffic lights).  My legs were smoked by the time I got to the office.  I can run as far and fast as the Army needs me to, but I think I discovered a couple underdeveloped "biking" muscles in my legs.  I did the math last night and taking my truck to work can cost me up to $7 a day in fuel depending on traffic and any deviations to my route. 

Eric

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2014, 02:52:02 PM »
Today I took the bike to work.

Even better!  Nice work!

CrochetStache

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2014, 04:57:02 PM »
Having been the spouse that stays home while the other is away on deployment, please sell the truck. One less thing to worry about, one less thing to go wrong while you are away.

Milspecstache

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 05:57:41 PM »
I agree with the others, drive the Focus when possible, sell the truck as soon as possible.

Also, are you using USAA for vehicle insurance?  I canceled my comprehensive and collision on the beater and raised the deductible to $1000 to save money.  Also definitely use Navy Mutual Aid life insurance as it has saved me, a non-smoker, much money over the SGLI alternative (only negative is they take a bit longer, on the order of 1 month to pay compared to the 1 day of SGLI).

Travis

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 06:06:11 PM »
I agree with the others, drive the Focus when possible, sell the truck as soon as possible.

Also, are you using USAA for vehicle insurance?  I canceled my comprehensive and collision on the beater and raised the deductible to $1000 to save money.  Also definitely use Navy Mutual Aid life insurance as it has saved me, a non-smoker, much money over the SGLI alternative (only negative is they take a bit longer, on the order of 1 month to pay compared to the 1 day of SGLI).

I do just about everything with USAA to include insurance. I have to go back and look at my policy. That's one of the things I'm never sure about as far as how much coverage to have.

Travis

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2014, 06:26:47 PM »
I attached my auto policy. Vehicle #1 is the Focus (2003, 101,000 miles), Vehicle #2 is the F-150 (2009, 33,000 miles).

Milspecstache

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2014, 01:43:45 PM »
If you have $1000 in the bank I would immediately raise both deductibles from $500 to $1000.

I also always feel comfortable calling my own towtruck which is generally local or I look it up using googlemaps if I am on the road (far from home).  IE I don't want to pay for it in advance.

Additionally I never want rental reimbursement as I wouldn't want to rent a car anyway and would fall back to a different vehicle (carpool/etc).

What is KBB for the Focus?  If low and if you feel comfortable consider canceling both collision and comprehensive.

Another good thing about USAA is that you can change/adjust each of these and see your savings real time, no phone call required.

Travis

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2014, 07:59:39 PM »
The KBB on the Focus is $3380.  The towing only costs me $1 a month, but I did drop the rental replacement.  If my wife's car is in the shop for a few days it shouldn't matter since they'll drive her home and she doesn't drive much anyways. I increased the deductible to $1000 for now.  Everything will be dropped on the truck in the next month or so after I sell it and I'll keep studying what I need for the Focus.

Travis

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2014, 12:46:48 PM »
I'm riding my bike to work 2-3 days a week and I sold the truck today.  I got $16k for it which is on the low end of KBB's estimate, but that's still money in my pocket on top of cutting my fuel bill by 75% and my insurance by half.

fodder69

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2014, 02:56:45 PM »
Nice, congrats and good job. That will be one less drain on your finances while you are deployed.

Milspecstache

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Re: Vehicle situation; looking for advice
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2014, 05:30:26 PM »
Congrats!

If you call to tell them you are deployed I think it will lower your insurance again as the vehicle will be pleasure only and not used for work.  Plus it will drop your annual mileage.