Bye bye Honda Ridgeline; will I miss you?

Published August 19, 2015   Posted in How to Save

I’ve written in some detail about the mistakes that I’ve made in my past.  Cars, unfortunately, are included in that list (and perhaps the biggest part), and cars also happen to be one of the more significant drains on people’s pocketbooks.

It sure as hell was for me.  The cash that I’ve dropped over the years for automobiles has me literally cringe every time that I think about it.  I now realize that, had I been more sensible with my automotive purchases throughout my years living and breathing on this earth, I’d probably be another hundred thousand up in the ol’ net worth by now.

But hell, I can’t dwell on it now.  Mistakes were made.  I’m not perfect.  Life goes on.

One of the more recent automotive course corrections that we made was selling the Honda Ridgeline that I bought from my father-in-law about a year and a half ago.  I made myself believe that trucks are convenient to have (you know, cause they haul stuff).  Around that time, my father-in-law was looking to sell the truck and upgrade to a new one (I know, an even worse decision).

Our [former] 2009 Honda Ridgeline

And lookie there – he wanted to sell his truck.  I wanted to buy a truck.  A beautiful match made in heaven, right?

But wait, I thought matches were supposed to be positive developments, not cash draining money pits (queue girlfriend jokes…now!).  I very quickly realized that, well, I did it again.  I made the same mistake of buying a vehicle that I did not need.  An 18 MPG vehicle.  A vehicle that I used to actually haul things maybe 3 or 4 times in a span of nearly 2 years.  Maybe.

Sometimes I’m a hard learner.

Cars are automotive train wrecks (brain twister!) and notoriously horrible investments, especially expensive ones.  Most vehicles begin their steep depreciation dance the minute they are driven off the lot, and wind up costing people hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

Even after I realized my mistake, I kept that truck around for months, paying insurance on it and performing routine maintenance.  I rarely drove it due to its gas mileage.  In the end, I paid for a truck to sit in my driveway for a while, occasionally seeing the roads when I just didn’t feel like taking my motorcycle out during the day.

Shesh!  Enough of this crap.  I’m looking to retire by the end of 2016.  I should know better than to stubbornly keep this truck around.  I’m done, let’s sell the truck.

And so I did.  The truck is gone.

And so is my insurance payment, and all the gas fill ups.  And the excuses as to why I was keeping that bad boy around.

It’s a Festivus miracle! (Seinfeld reference)

But we still have another vehicle to contend with – our 2010 Cadillac CTS that, yes, I bought brand new back in 2010.

We completely paid off the vehicle so we do own it outright.  Now, the question is whether or not we trade that sucker in for something that gets better gas mileage or not.  Is it worth it?

Keep in mind that we will be selling ALL of our vehicles in 2016 in order to buy the truck that will pull our Airstream.  So whatever we do, we’ll only have the car for about a year and a half.  Maybe selling the car is worth it.  Then again, maybe it’s not.

I don’t know, but make no mistake about it…one of my boneheaded automotive decisions has, finally, been corrected!

Are you driving around in a vehicle that you don’t truly need?  If so, what’s stopping you from selling it?

We track our net worth using Personal Capital


21 responses to “Bye bye Honda Ridgeline; will I miss you?”

  1. Good for you guys, going down to one car only. We have one car parked at the airport so much of the time that we can’t get down to one car just yet. (It doesn’t help that we live outside the range of taxis that could transport us instead!) We can’t WAIT to get down to one once we quit traveling nonstop for work.

    As for those financial “mistakes” — I feel like I know you well enough to guess that you are the type (like we are) who needs to learn lessons experientially. 🙂 What a better way to learn the value of a dollar and the value of freedom than by making some mistakes and deliberately deciding to change course. In our case, our past indiscretions weren’t automotive, but more of the travel and dining variety. We sometimes cringe thinking about what we used to spend, but we choose to see it as a fun time that taught us a LOT, and helped us get on the straight and narrow. People who never make mistakes never have anything to learn from! And in the scheme of things, it could be far worse. You could have overleveraged yourselves to buy a mcmansion, and be bankrupt now!

    Thanks for featuring us on the home page — nice! 🙂

    • Steve says:

      You’re welcome, ONL! You took the challenge of continuing the series and totally nailed it! 🙂

      One of my vices of the past was restaurants too, in fact. I’d grab lunch and dinner with my roommate every day of the year. We’d never cook in our apartment. And I do mean NEVER. Every meal, out somewhere. We weren’t necessarily dropping $30 or $40 per meal, but the money we spent on food destroyed my bank account and swelled my waistline.

      Like you, all fixed now, though. I will probably never buy a brand new car again for the rest of my life. 🙂

  2. Stockbeard says:

    I was never big on cars, but I’m with you on the “past mistakes”. It’s the horrifying “in your face” truth of being on a path to Financial Independence: you realize everything has a price tag attached to it, and you realize all the stupid purchases you’ve made over the past 10, 20, or 30 years.

    Restaurant lunches had been my personal financial mistake for a decade, I fixed it last year.

    • Steve says:

      Yup, cars are generally horrible investments, and I also had a spending problem when it came to restaurants. Lunches and dinners everyday for about 3 years. Every. Day.

      Good on you for fixing that problem. 🙂

      • Roger Geyer says:

        It’s interesting how people vary on their spending weaknesses and life/expense balance choices.

        I was a REALLY frugal guy my entire career until I retired at 48 (OK, I’m more of a coward than you aggressive types, and I wanted to be COMPLETELY retired and comfortable — so I worked a few extra years to be SURE before I left).

        However, with a job that required a TON of hours and being a single bachelor, meals out were my ONE luxury that I allowed myself. I saved time prepping and cleaning (I would read/relax/think while I ate, depending on my mood), and enjoyed a variety of not horribly unhealthy (on average) food. I only allowed myself one kind of expensive meal a week. So lunch was like Subway or a Thai special or something at $5 or $6 or so. Dinner I generally kept well under $10 on average.

        So I know this will likely sound galactically stupid to many, because that’s already “frugal”, right? Well, not compared to a guy who’d keep a car for nearly 15 years (and they didn’t used to be as good as they are now re reliability and durability). Or lived in a small apartment in a poor part of town to save a TON of money. (I was usually working, or so tired I’d just watch TV or read. Why did I need an expensive fancy apartment (and the trip across town to get to it) for that? Bought all my clothes at Walmart – buying cheap even at Walmart. Wore my clothes until they basically fell apart (much to the chagrin of my girlfriend).

        Now, I was really lucky. Born to two depression era parents who (even compared to me) were models of frugality, saving, and investing. Was apparently born without a”status gene” or had that concept worked/talked out of me by the time I was a teenager. Having the right values makes one well armed to be frugal.

        So it’s not (fairly cheap) meals out that are bad — it’s lots of meals out AND lots of expensive Starbucks drinks AND designer clothes AND an expensive abode AND new and expensive cars on a frequent basis AND expensive furnishings AND lots of expensive travel, etc. etc.

        It all adds up massively. And I never had a large salary — too much stress for me. I made a decent upper middle class income, but nothing that would remotely get someone to presume I was “wealthy” in any way.

        So it can be done. You just have to carefully decide on your treats, and how much you should spend on your treats. And never let those treats interfere with your core saving/investing plan over the course of any given month.

        Once I knew what I spent on stuff, I never formally budgeted. I just kept a back-of-the-envelope list/control of my “extra” spending, and ruthlessly cut if off at the knees if it got to my mental limit in any given year.

        So enjoy your treats. Just don’t let them own you or your savings.


        • Steve says:

          Thanks Roger! Truth be told, going out to eat is definitely one of my treats. I love the environment. Everybody tends to be happy and having a good time. No prep or clean up. It’s a nice time. And I agree with you completely – enjoy your treats, just don’t let them completely consume your budget. Smart!

  3. Jason says:

    All I have to say is WOO HOO! In terms of buying a new car. What can you get for the Cadillac? If you can get a few bucks buying a compact sedan or mid-size (e.g. Mazda 6 or Nissan Altima) with good gas mileage would be great. You would save money, probably get a little newer car, and maybe even has a little left over. Of course it depends on how much you can get for the Cadillac?

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Jason! I bet that I’d get around $10…maybe $11k if I’m lucky for the Cadillac. So initially, I probably would make at least some money off of this deal. Then, we’d be looking for an older, probably higher mileage car to keep our costs down, and that introduces mileage risks too with a car that we don’t know, and in less than 1.5 years, we’re gonna be selling that sucker anyway.

      We were seriously all geared up to sell the CTS, but then we started thinking about whether it’s worth the hassle. We might come out with an extra grand or so, but that also entails a risk of a cheaper car that we don’t entirely know.

  4. Doan Duong says:

    It’s definitely worth it to sell the car, very recently I sit down add up all the cost with spending on cars I had (a used 2007 audi a 4 i bought in 2009, and a 2012 toyota prius which I bought new) and was able to figure out the monthly cost for the car while I had it fluctuate between 1k for the audi and 800 for the prius (insurance, gas, maintenance, misc cost). Guess what, as soon as I lost my job; I paid off the sucker and sold it. Just did so with the prius, and I pick up a used bimmer from the 90s for less than 1k. It’s a win win i think, but I am definitely a sucker for new and luxury car too (their marketing get to everyone!) Between those two car mistakes, i would have an extra 50k in the bank if I wasnt so ‘lame’ as thinking that a car will make me a better person.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks for dropping in, Doan. Yup, I know the “sucker for new and luxury cars” as well – but hey, that is a mistake that’ll definitely never happen again! 🙂

  5. You hit on two weaknesses for me: cars and restaurants!

    It just shows that we are human and make some emotional and boneheaded decisions sometimes. The fact that we at least recognize this should help from repeating history. At least you would think…..

    BTW – I think I need to read up on your Airstream plans a bit. 🙂

    • Steve says:

      Hey Bryan! Totally – the ability to recognize and admit to our mistakes is the only way that we’ll get to move past them.

      I have an article series coming up in the next couple weeks that’ll explain our Airstream plans in a little more detail. 🙂

  6. Tough decision. I’ve had my 4runner since it was brand new in 2008 (bad call). While I wouldn’t buy one now, I’m attached and not ready to give it up for a better gas mileage car.

    • Steve says:

      It really is easy to grow attached to your car, especially if you’ve had it for such a long time. I did a quick Google search on the mileage of a 2008 4Runner, and it looks like we’re at 16 city, 21 highway.

      Could you save money? Yes. But yeah, the attachment. 🙂

  7. Mr. SSC says:

    man I hear you with cars. Out of school my 8 yr old explorer needed about $6k of work after we just put $2k in it… I got a new 2010 Camaro, it was pre kids, and it was awesome! Even with the one kid it was still great! When we moved to H-town and were commuting together we decided to get a comfier commuter car and upgraded to a Hyundai Genesis. This was still pre-fire mindset, but hey it got better gas mileage had more horsepower, and was more comfy. And then I switched jobs about 9 months later. Bwah, bwah, bwah, bwah…. I miss the Camaro and while I like the genesis, man, I’d rather be solo commuting in Jessica. Yep, I named the Camaro after the Allman Brothers Song, cause yeah, that’s how I felt when ever I drove her around. 🙂

    • Steve says:

      Ha, nice! Sounds like you’ve been through plenty of cars, just like me. I’ve always liked the look of the Genesis, in fact.

      I named my Corvette Mighty Whitey because, you know…white car, supercharged and screaming fast. I didn’t name the Ridgeline, unless you consider “Ridge” a pet name. I don’t! 🙂

      Thanks – I feel your pain.

  8. My current ride is my feet 🙂 I sold my CTS when I moved to the city last year. Great decision financially, but makes weekend trips more difficult. Congrats on the sale, definitely going to be hard getting rid of the Caddy.

    Whose lifted monster in the back is that??? Looks like a beast. Will your neighbor let you borrow that puppy?

    • Steve says:

      Your feet is ultimately the cheapest ride that there is! 🙂

      Our neighbor we think either owns or works at a used car dealership, and he is bringing home different cars almost every week. He works on some of them in the garage. Not sure what’s going on exactly with that situation, but the variety of cars that we see sure is interesting!

  9. This is my story exactly. I had a 300zx, two Miatas, and a gas guzzler truck that I wasted money on before realizing I could just ride my motorcycle pretty much everywhere. I still feel guilty about all that wasted money but you’re right, we all make mistakes.

    • Steve says:

      Hey Bryan,

      Yup, you definitely feel my pain. I feel just as guilty, trust me. But hey, mistakes were made, and more importantly, CORRECTIONS followed. 🙂

  10. […] also drove two cars – one of which was a gas-guzzling Honda Ridgeline.  I commuted into an office every day instead of working from home. We paid for expensive cable […]

Leave a Reply