Last night while washing my 2015 Subaru I was having moments of regret. Those have been coming in droves as I have to defend my car to potential sellers, fielding questions that feel like suspicions of why I am selling my car. Being outside of the crowd can be hard at times, especially when being pushed to explain yourself and you know you are not mainstream to someone who wants your fancy to you car for their fifteen year old. Wow...I can't even imagine. My kids drive cars as old as they are.
As a single mom I purchased this car brand new...I know... I know... possible "Stupid Tax" as Dave Ramsey calls it. At the time though it made sense to me. It was partially logical and a ton emotional. I was travelling country backroads for hundreds of miles without cell service or a safe place to stop at times. When you are driving through fields of crops in Mississippi and your GPS often takes you down country dirt roads you really want a reliable car that can get through anything, so I got an all wheel drive Subaru, and it has served me well.
At the time I had a 2006 Toyota Highlander and it was needing about $2000 in work and the gas was eating me alive at $4.00 a gallon. I sold it for $10,000 paid a $5000 debt off and put $5000 down on a $25,000 Subaru. Today I have 126,000 miles on the car and it's running strong. I recently retired from the traveling work and have decided to sell it because we have two other cars through a series of events. Selling the Subaru will help me buy my son a car and I will be able to apply $7500 to our mortgage.
The stupid tax. I look at what it cost me to have this car and I do feel stupid but at the same time as I wash the car and clean it up for a new owner I also am having some sadness at letting it go. The car has cost me around $11,000 plus interest for four years and and three months. I'm not counting all the maintenance (I dropped $540 on it yesterday for a tune up and brakes). So why am I getting rid of the car, why not sell the other one? I'm not sure this is great blog post material but maybe it will help someone else make a hard choice. We have had the blessing of buying two ten year old cars with very low milage at a great price. These cars have 1/2 the miles on them of the ones we are replacing. I'll be taking over the 2009 Toyota Camry that has only 69,000 miles. It is a logical decision, the car is far more comfortable than my Subaru and honestly wouldn't matter if I was 28 and not 48. Camrys are notorious for getting over 300,000 miles and needing nearly no repairs. This has been our experience with Lexus and Toyota (The same manufacturer).
I will net about $14,000, pay $7500 on our principal, buy my son a car for under $4000 and and put the rest in our emergency fund. My son will be getting a Honda or a Toyota as well, it will likely be 15 years old. By the way if you look at the research a ten to fifteen year old Honda Civic or Accord or a Toyota Camry, Avalon or Corolla is the best bet for reliability and the safest on bet on low upkeep cost.
Stupid Tax and the 72 Hour Rule
The 72 Hour rule is that you wait 72 hours to make a big purchase. Also don't go to the store and look without doing your homework. We thought about it for days and decided to buy a zero turn mower. We live on a huge farm and my 61 year old husband (who is fit as a fiddle) was push mowing the yard. You can't really give an amount on the size of the yard because it sits in the middle of 40 acres. If you did you would say the front yard it about 6 acres. However we can bush hog most of it. (People if you think owning a farm is the simple life make sure you like farm work and are ready to buy all the things you need to keep it running). After going to Lowes and coming home with a $4400 mower my husband was like "Meh". We had some moments of buyers remorse and then I said "Honey is this zero turn mower thing a new thing? Like I don't remember having these when we were kids, did we?" and he said "Nope, maybe you are right". So we had a discussion about do we need a zero turn? If so "WHY"? That is the golden word y'all, "WHY?" We talked about it and decided that we could buy a really nice lawn mower for $2000 tax and all (Yes we have that saved, no debt required), so we took back the fancy mower and waited with intentions to buy a basic riding lawn mower.
My husband was at the tractor store buying a battery for the bush hog and the 80 plus your old man who runs it had a very nice zero turn mower that someone traded in on a tractor. Long story short my husband got a much nicer (about $8000 new) and bigger mower for $2000 all in. We saved $2400. But we were stupid to go to Lowes in the first place without spending more time researching and thinking it through. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn, and then sometimes you win again from learning!
There is a lovely saying "All that clutter used to be money". Clutter, cars, mowers, clothes, it all adds up. We all pay "Stupid tax" and that is the lesson. The point is do we learn from it? If we do we can mark it as an education and go on.
On the car I am going to have it detailed, and have the few car dings and scratches removed, put a backup camera in it because that is the only thing I feel like I'll be missing, except all wheel drive but that's okay for now. I will enjoy it knowing we will have no mortgage in a few short years. For me and my husband the emotional toll that debt puts on you simply is far worse than having the fancy car or mower.
As a side note at our age I did the calculations and even with compound interest it's a far better choice to pay off your mortgage than to put that money in a brokerage account. If you put that money in a brokerage account (IRA or 401K) at the 4% rule of withdraw your monthly income would be far less than your house payment. I'd rather not have a $1250 house payment versus having $400 in income for thirty years. That is simple math to me.
Love to all of you frugal friends out there! Happy frugaling!
I was born into frugality, simple living and I love it. It is fun for me, challenging and gratifying to feel that I can care for myself and my family because of my resourcefulness. For most of my life I've been on the simple living path. Here I share with you tips, ideas and musings from my life in hopes that it will encourage you.