We're trying to find the money. It seems as though as hard as we are working to not spend and to cut down on silly expenses we keep coming up short. It doesn't feel like enough. While looking at August's damage (I'm looking at you $320 vet visit) two numbers stick out: $294.74 and $170.50. Collectively they are $465.24, and they are just the beginning of the expense of owning our dumb car for a month.
After a fun-filled weekend of biking around town, enjoying the local (free) sights and sounds we woke up refreshed and eager to start a new week. It had been weeks, perhaps even months, since we both had Saturday and Sunday off together. We enjoyed the park and the bike paths around Boston, we soaked up the sun and read books, things were good - NO! They were grand. Then we walked outside Monday morning and saw that dirty, rain soaked orange envelope tucked under the windshield wiper arm, like a mother cradling a baby - only this baby was more like Rosemary's Baby. It was/is a rain slicked $40 ticket for... something? Not entirely sure. It says something about missing plates, although everything seems to be up to date on our car and we do in fact have plates so...
This got us thinking - cars are for suckers, right? Are they? We don't know. We're having difficulty reaching a consensus among the two of us. We're thinking about clipping the car all together and using that money to A) Put toward the debt, duh! OR B) Put toward the debt and use for alternative transportation. Before we launch into some other things let's just look at a portion of the car numbers for the past six months, okay?
- Payments to DCU: $1,768.44
- Payments to Progressive Insurance: $1,023
- Gas: $282.54
- Parking: $60+
- Meineke: $362.64
- Tickets: $40
- Tolls: $40+
- TOTAL: $3,576.62
Now, that may not seem like much to some people. $3,500 is the cost of a brand new 80" Sharp Aquos LED TV, not that we're looking. Reliving the payments of this $3,576.62 is pointless though. It's in the past, already happened, already spent, already gone. What we're looking at now is the future automotive expenses (there's a Back to the Future joke in there somewhere, there's gotta be, something about "outta time").
At this point we still owe about $12,500 on our car. That's three more years of payments, gas, insurance, parking, service, tolls and those dumb orange envelopes. Is it worth it?
Sure, living in Boston would make it easier to not have a car. There are subways and trains and buses and bike paths and Zipcars and Lyft and walking and the old "hey can you give me a ride?". What about grocery shopping our Grandmothers ask? Well, the thought is that we shouldn't be buying more than we can carry anyway. We should be picking up produce the day we need it, there's a market on the way home from work, for both of us. Not having access to a car also decreases Dylan's terrible habit of getting sad then eating Chipotle, the closest one is a cool 30 minute bike ride away. If money weren't an issue (it is) what are some other advantages? We're glad you asked. Walking more, less time spent in traffic, more exercise plus global warming, right?
Most of our reasons for keeping a car are pretty selfish. But then again this whole paying off the debt thing seems selfish too. Cars enable us to take trips to Rhode Island on the weekends, to drive to and from work with ease. But this debt thing isn't supposed to be about ease, it's supposed to be about DOING SOMETHING. Doing all we can to kill this debt and buy a god damned house already! Although having a car would aid us in the inevitable zombie/alien apocalypse that is coming, I can't in good conscience and in good moral standing keep the car. To keep it and use it sends a message that it is okay to pollute the air and throw thousands of dollars away doing so. It says we don't care about saving money and paying off this debt. It says that we're not serious, we're phonies, we like paying for gas.
Now, we come to you today not as experts but as poll takers. What do you think? Should we sell our car? Should we keep it? Does anyone out there want a 2009 Honda Fit with dog hair glued to the seats? Please let us know. Comment or tweet @TMSDOTORG.