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).
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?
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.