Today is March 4th and as good a time as any to talk about our focus for the month. It’s an exciting one. March is all about decluttering for cash! And boy could it not have come at a better time. When I originally drafted our monthly outline, I thought we’d cash in on some odds and ends leftover from our RV days and use that money to pay for a spring trip to Washington, DC. While we may still get to DC in time to see the cherry blossoms, we have a more pressing issue. I think the alternator is going out on our car. In order for this expense not to put a dent in our savings plan, we’ll have to use our proceeds from eBay and Craigslist to pay for an alternator. I guess we should change this month to “decluttering for the car”.
Every time something goes wrong with our 13 year old Xterra, folks always ask why we don’t just sell it and get a new one. Are you freakin’ kidding me?? That’s what I’m thinking in my head but what actually comes out of my mouth sounds a little more like, “Um, well, you know, because….”
I never really get a chance to finish the sentence before the other person launches into a list of reasons why I should buy the same kind of car they are currently driving. But if I did finish my thought, I might like to say:
Because buying a new car or even a used car with a payment is the single fastest way to ruin any chance we have of living on 50% of our income.
The average new car payment in America is now $471 per month and the average used car payment is $352. Holy smokes! The only bank I want to send that much money to each month is the Bank of Melody and Angie. And then there’s the increased insurance. Just ask my mom. She tried shopping her car insurance this week for a better full coverage rate and found out that $484 (for 6 months) was the best rate for her car.
As a Dave Ramsey fan, any time the question of debt comes up, I’m always reminded of Proverbs 22:7 – The borrower is slave to the lender. I’m just not ready to be a slave again. No scratch that because there’s never going to be a time when I’ll be ready to be a slave.
If it were possible, we’d be car-free. Right now we are in a good location, with lots of stores, restaurants, parks, a theater, museum and a library within walking distance (our WalkScore is 66), but we moved here specifically to help care for my mom. She only lives 4 miles away but the car makes it possible to get to her quickly in case of emergency. In the past six months, we’ve had two such emergencies.
We’re firm (really firm) in our stance on buying another car. We’re just not going to do it unless we absolutely have to and if it comes to that point, we’ll buy used for cash. And it won’t be a $10,000 car either. I’m talking $2,000 or less. The last car I bought cost $400. It was a one-owner Toyota Celica. Two years later, I sold it for $800. My sister just bought a nice mini van for her family of 7 for $1,900. It can be done.
So here’s the plan…we are going to march forth into the repair shop and conquer this (hopefully minor) setback and then we will march right back out and get to work on clearing out some clutter to pay for it.