Author Topic: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles  (Read 3911 times)

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« on: June 10, 2015, 05:13:19 AM »
After two years of trying, my husband got a job offer in the county we live in! 

This isn't exactly badassity as it required no sacrifice on our part, but I am very proud of him for addressing his fear of change (shitty job situation made this a little easier!) and proud of us both for continuing to look for ways to optimize our lives together.

His new job is 6 miles from home and 3 miles from my office, which he drives directly by on his route.  I currently bike commute most of the time, and DH would like to start, although I am nervous about traffic on his route.  Either way, it seems it is time to determine how serious we are about downsizing to one shared car.  The question is do we sell my car now for ~4-5K and risk regretting it (what if he is moved to a different school?), or do we hang on to mine until it dies and then make the switch? 

Anyway, we are both thrilled.  I do expect a small salary cut out of it (teachers can't really negotiate this), but it will be offset by decreased transportation costs and the quality of life increase.  Plus I'm going to use this qualifying life event to switch us out of a traditional health plan into a consumer-driven one, with lower premiums and shared cost risk that will likely result in savings. 

MrsPfennig

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
  • Location: Bavaria, Germany
  • If it were easy, everyone would do it
    • Auf Heller und Pfennig
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 05:30:10 AM »
Congrats on the new job! My DH would like to cycle to work but Im afraid for his life to be honest since it is a major city.

G-dog

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14778
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 06:20:47 AM »
Sweet! Congratulations. I hope a better commuting solution becomes apparent soon. But even if he drives each day, there are still savings.

StockBeard

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 643
  • Age: 38
    • How To Retire Early?
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 11:28:46 AM »
You situation sounds like you could easily do with one car. It's not only the money of selling it, but everything you'll save by not owning it (gas, insurance,...)
DO IT! :)

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 440
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 03:46:15 PM »
If it is paid off, I would wait until you've both tried the new system for at least 2-3 months and tried in any bad weather(eg winter) and see if its sustainable and the job stays as is. Then decide

If you did have a loan against it i'd wait for at least a couple months as a test then sell if all is good and that's what you decide to do.

It would also depend on what state your other car is in.  If the other car is needing lots of repairs and maybe near end of life, i would hang on to a paid off reliable car as the replacement.  It wouldn't be getting much wear and tear and would last quite a long time.  you don't say what mileage/age/state both cars are in

Some insurance places also allow you to put your car on lay away insurance which could cut costs, while you decide, or have it idle for 6 months in summer, drive for 6 months in winter


fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 08:10:37 AM »
I'd actually love input on the car situation, as I'm going to need a kick in the pants on that one.  Everyone I know IRL is telling us to hold on to both cars until one dies, and then just try not replacing it.

Having my car currently costs us very little -- maybe $500/year.  It hasn't required any major maintenance in quite a while and the insurance is very low on it.  Gas costs are more or less irrelevant because I already *usually* choose to bike when I can, and when I do opt for the car over the bike it's like a 6 mile roundtrip.  Takes a while for that to all add up. Of course who knows when an expensive fix will pop up out of nowhere and then we'll lose the value in it!

My car (the one we'd sell) is a 2005 Toyota Corolla with ~108,000 miles on it.  My husband's car (the one we would keep, as we often need the size) is a 2009 Toyota Matrix, with ~110,000 miles on it.  No loan on either.

Unfortunately I kind of expect them to both die around the same time, so keeping one to replace the other would be a very temporary situation, especially because my husband is a musician and often needs to put the seats down on the Matrix to transport equipment - not possible on the Corolla.

I can't really imagine a situation in which the one car thing wouldn't work, as long as he is at this school, although it would sometimes be annoying.  For instance, I'm currently in PT 2x/week.  I'd have to drop him off at school on those days so I could have the car, and he would have to stay at school a bit late for me to pick him up -- not that that's a huge problem (and if he really can bike it it's not a problem at all).  Weather isn't really much of a problem either as long as he stays at that school, since we can always just carpool.  It's just so extremely rare that we both need our cars except outside of working, and with our current work locations sharing is doable. 

But when I tell people they always raise concerns like -- what about if your dog needs to get to the vet ASAP and DH is far away with the car??  what if you get hurt and can't bike at all??  That's thinking driven by fear, of course, which isn't very mustachian but it is very effective in scaring me!

The only real unknown is whether he will get to stay at this school.  I think probably, unless he absolutely hates it in which case he might ask for a transfer within the county.  I don't think he would agree to a long commute unless things were REALLY bad.  It's also possible they might move him around without consulting him first - something I think it also unlikely?

Anyway I am torn on this one!  It is doable but risky, and $500/yr isn't much, although of course there is the opportunity cost of what we could get for the car now if we sold it while it has no major problems.



alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2136
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2015, 08:18:06 AM »
The cars will both probably last another hundred thousand miles each...at least.

I figure hang onto it for a while, and see if you need it. If the Corolla doesn't see use after three or six months (including winter), then look at selling it.

KCM5

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 880
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2015, 08:26:48 AM »
I'd take the risk and sell the car. But I don't think keeping it is a terrible idea.

Park it for a month and see how it goes. Do you currently bike in the winter? If you do, it's probably not going to be a problem. We went down to one car, I work 3.5 miles in one direction, spouse 6 miles in the other, and we have a 2 year old to get to day care every day. It's worked out fine and we've gone through out first winter (in the upper midwest).

expectopatronum

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 225
  • Location: Texas
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2015, 08:48:38 AM »
I'd actually love input on the car situation, as I'm going to need a kick in the pants on that one.  Everyone I know IRL is telling us to hold on to both cars until one dies, and then just try not replacing it.

Having my car currently costs us very little -- maybe $500/year.  It hasn't required any major maintenance in quite a while and the insurance is very low on it.  Gas costs are more or less irrelevant because I already *usually* choose to bike when I can, and when I do opt for the car over the bike it's like a 6 mile roundtrip.  Takes a while for that to all add up. Of course who knows when an expensive fix will pop up out of nowhere and then we'll lose the value in it!

My car (the one we'd sell) is a 2005 Toyota Corolla with ~108,000 miles on it.  My husband's car (the one we would keep, as we often need the size) is a 2009 Toyota Matrix, with ~110,000 miles on it.  No loan on either.

Unfortunately I kind of expect them to both die around the same time, so keeping one to replace the other would be a very temporary situation, especially because my husband is a musician and often needs to put the seats down on the Matrix to transport equipment - not possible on the Corolla.

I can't really imagine a situation in which the one car thing wouldn't work, as long as he is at this school, although it would sometimes be annoying.  For instance, I'm currently in PT 2x/week.  I'd have to drop him off at school on those days so I could have the car, and he would have to stay at school a bit late for me to pick him up -- not that that's a huge problem (and if he really can bike it it's not a problem at all).  Weather isn't really much of a problem either as long as he stays at that school, since we can always just carpool.  It's just so extremely rare that we both need our cars except outside of working, and with our current work locations sharing is doable. 

But when I tell people they always raise concerns like -- what about if your dog needs to get to the vet ASAP and DH is far away with the car??  what if you get hurt and can't bike at all??  That's thinking driven by fear, of course, which isn't very mustachian but it is very effective in scaring me!

The only real unknown is whether he will get to stay at this school.  I think probably, unless he absolutely hates it in which case he might ask for a transfer within the county.  I don't think he would agree to a long commute unless things were REALLY bad.  It's also possible they might move him around without consulting him first - something I think it also unlikely?

Anyway I am torn on this one!  It is doable but risky, and $500/yr isn't much, although of course there is the opportunity cost of what we could get for the car now if we sold it while it has no major problems.

I agree with waiting it out for ~2 months - just long enough to see if he hates this job too. But seeing as how it took him 2 years to move to this area, do you really think they'd move him again so imminently? You'd probably have more than enough time to search for a second used reliable car in that case. Pretend like you don't have the older car! We trick ourselves into blurring the lines between necessity and mere convenience because we're SO used to having transportation at the drop of a hat.

It sounds like you live in a reasonably populated area, so here are my rebuttals to my own objections:
  • What if I need to run an errand in town? It can wait until the weekend. I need to plan ahead (MMM style) and consolidate my errands that can't be done on bike...and also reevaluate what can be done on bike! Plus, I've reduced my spending, so leisure shopping and random errands are likely to occur less often.
  • What if there's an emergency? Historically this has happened to me exactly zero times in the last, um, 8 years? If I needed to take the cat or myself to the vet/dr ASAP, I would call an Uber or call my husband who would only be a short way away.
  • What if I need to meet a friend at (unbikeable place) and he has the car? Aside from taking Uber or public transport, if I didn't own a car, my friends would probably be willing to meet nearby and/or pick me up, and I could comp for gas.

I get a secret rush out of doing things the way others don't, though, so the idea of one car really appeals to me. I have coworkers that do it out of necessity, and you just adapt to it. Don't let fear of change hold you back, and remember that "only" $500 for a car you're not using isn't optimized spending at all. :)

KCM5

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 880
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2015, 09:03:24 AM »
I get a secret rush out of doing things the way others don't, though, so the idea of one car really appeals to me. I have coworkers that do it out of necessity, and you just adapt to it. Don't let fear of change hold you back, and remember that "only" $500 for a car you're not using isn't optimized spending at all. :)

This - doing things the way you want rather than the way that is expected is seriously liberating. If you really want to get rid of the car, it will feel so, so good.

The other day my mother asked me if we needed money - she said she'd give us money to buy a car. But it's really not about the money. It's about the freedom not having that extra car affords us.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 440
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2015, 11:37:34 AM »
My car (the one we'd sell) is a 2005 Toyota Corolla with ~108,000 miles on it.  My husband's car (the one we would keep, as we often need the size) is a 2009 Toyota Matrix, with ~110,000 miles on it.  No loan on either.

Unfortunately I kind of expect them to both die around the same time, so keeping one to replace the other would be a very temporary situation, especially because my husband is a musician and often needs to put the seats down on the Matrix to transport equipment - not possible on the Corolla.

But when I tell people they always raise concerns like -- what about if your dog needs to get to the vet ASAP and DH is far away with the car??  what if you get hurt and can't bike at all??  That's thinking driven by fear, of course, which isn't very mustachian but it is very effective in scaring me!

The only real unknown is whether he will get to stay at this school.  I think probably, unless he absolutely hates it in which case he might ask for a transfer within the county.  I don't think he would agree to a long commute unless things were REALLY bad.  It's also possible they might move him around without consulting him first - something I think it also unlikely?

You need to wait for 2 or 4 or 6 months, and see how this job pans out first.  Make sure everything is okay, and he's happy there, and the commute works out well.  You might hit some bumps or see that his commute is not as easy as he thought (you mentioned it was a bit more hazardous than yours)
THEN
You also need to consider how much you actually will get for a 10yr old corolla.  It may not be a lot.  If you're only going to get a few thousand out of it, is it worth selling it?  This is where i would say keep it, if its only costing you $500 a year.  You're looking at selling a car most MMM people would drool over. Reliable, fuel efficent, and low mileage.  and despite being 10 years old, corollas are known for being reliable little cars which is why they're often desirable.  What would happen if your matrix got in an accident tomorrow?  At least you'd have something available while you looked for a replacement

There is no loan against it
Its not a ferrari, or a porsche, or god forbid a gas guzzling half ton truck
You're not driving an hour each way to work and back with it
You're already biking and reducing your commute as much as possible
RELAX......You're already on the right track.  What works for MMM is not the ONLY absolute way to do things either.

This may not be very MMM, but i look at the fact if i sell it and get almost nothing for it, i'm NOT much farther ahead than keeping it, if its not costing me much in insurance and maintenance (and barely driving it, it won't wear out tires, oil, etc etc near as fast as others will)  I currently have a 1998 corolla and its still going strong.  The few repairs i have been doing are still way way less than it would ever cost to actually have a new loan on a car.  I have been hesitant to sell it and upgrade partly for the fact its worth almost nothing now, despite being a little reliable workhorse.

Even in the future, if he decides to drive to work, and you can't bike due to an injury, it sounds like he would be able to drop you off on the way to his work quite easily.  And as for the fear mongering people, tell them that's what a cab is for.  Its going to be so rare its not really you're highest priority right now.

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2015, 11:43:40 AM »
I would like to hear more opinions please, keep them coming!  I am very swayable on this topic, I think.  Approach it as an opportunity to practice your persuasive skills :)

Re: the Matrix accident -- well we do have insurance that would cover this, no?  Also we'll probably add rental car coverage when we sell my car (it's pretty cheap to carry). 

It probably does make sense to see how he likes this job first.  However the only time he can make a change is during the summer.  (The flip side of this is if the county relocates him, we may actually only get a couple of weeks warning.)

Re: the car's value, I'm pretty certain I can get 4K for it.  It's probably worth a bit more.

expectopatronum

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 225
  • Location: Texas
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2015, 12:04:57 PM »
I would like to hear more opinions please, keep them coming!  I am very swayable on this topic, I think.  Approach it as an opportunity to practice your persuasive skills :)

Re: the Matrix accident -- well we do have insurance that would cover this, no?  Also we'll probably add rental car coverage when we sell my car (it's pretty cheap to carry). 

It probably does make sense to see how he likes this job first.  However the only time he can make a change is during the summer.  (The flip side of this is if the county relocates him, we may actually only get a couple of weeks warning.)

Re: the car's value, I'm pretty certain I can get 4K for it.  It's probably worth a bit more.

I had another idea. Couldn't you just suspend the liability insurance/inspections/registrations on it until the other one dies? You lose out on the opportunity cost of selling the car and investing the money, but you keep the old reliable car.

Then again, I kind of think that it shouldn't be that hard to find another reliable car when his dies (which may be awhile, since you won't be driving much...and the opportunity cost on not selling a $4K car over 10 years could be a lot). It seems like the world is brimming with Corollas, Accords, and the like.

Also, even if he was moved, wouldn't you still be able to bike and remain a one-car family (assuming he takes the car every day, and drops you off in terrible inclement weather)? Still advocating the probationary period just in case.

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 12:13:36 PM »
Also, even if he was moved, wouldn't you still be able to bike and remain a one-car family (assuming he takes the car every day, and drops you off in terrible inclement weather)? Still advocating the probationary period just in case.

Right -- that's the question.  We were thinking about going down to one car before he got this job, because he could just drop me off/pick me up when weather was problematic -- BUT then I can't have access to a car when I have PT. (PT is unfortunately unbikeable.)  Plus it was 3 miles in the wrong direction, I'd get there WAY early, etc.

Now that he works in our home county, everything's a little bit easier.  They do typically try to place teachers reasonably close to their homes, so it's super unlikely he's ever going to have anything as long as 30 miles again.  (Previously he was in another county.)

I think I'm gonna take this over to the 'Ask a Mustachian' board since this is firmly out of badassity territory  :)

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 01:15:45 PM »
Congrats to DH. I remember from reading your now defunct journal that you both really wanted this. His last position was definitely not ideal from a commuting perspective!

As to your actual question, I could really see both sides of the argument. I'd personally drop to a single car, especially if he gets into bike commuting and you both get to stay home.

If you do keep the car, make sure to run it (ideally at least a 10-15 minute trip) once a month minimum. And in winter, you might need a trickle charger. MD isn't as cold as WI but our seldom-used car would lose battery charge within a week of cold weather when sitting unused. Cars, in general, don't like to sit unused for long periods of time.

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: Husband just slashed his commute by 25 miles
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 01:20:12 PM »
Thanks Chief.  Yeah we are both thrilled that he finally got into our county.  It was a long time coming! 

The other awesomeness is he is now just at two schools, versus four.  He is a bit nervous about the increased responsibility but I think he is going to like this so much better.

It's definitely a win regardless of the car question! 

I moved that over here, since it was advice not badassity:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/is-it-time-to-sell-the-car/new/?topicseen#new