As I suspected, I didn’t make it twenty years and 200,000 miles. Sold the 1993 Camry wagon last week. Kelly’s Blue Book and Edmunds had it valued at around $1k which is sad considering I’m considering buying a bike frame for $2k. I sold it for $2,500 because of the $1,500 “The Positive Momentum blogger used to drive this” premium. Annual car insurance premium dropped $500. I was spending $1k/year on repairs. In 12 months we’ll have an extra $4,000. Past that point, we’ll pocket at minimum an extra $1,500/year in savings. At minimum because the three or four of us will drive slightly fewer total number of miles in cars that get better mileage (and as bonus, are on average, more safe).
Maybe one of the most vexing questions of 2010 is how does one meet daily expenses, save for children’s college education, and save for retirement when wages are flat? Economists report that it costs just over $200k to raise a child for eighteen years. Social security will be delayed and reduced. Medicare will cost more. Taxes will increase. The few people with pensions will see companies renege on promises and reduce benefits. Today, $100,000 in savings might generate $4,000 in investment income.
It’s easy to gain weight and fall into debt fast, but it takes decades to get physically and financially fit. A frustrating paradox. The question is whether you earn more dollars each week, month, or year than you spend on average.
I’ve written before about how financial journalists and pundits focus far too narrowly on the perfect investment strategy and not nearly enough on defense or reducing overhead. One of the best ways to reduce overhead and one of the quickest ways to balance a personal financial budget, is to figure out how to live with one less car.
Tammy Strobel, is a Portland, Oregon based blogger who has published an electronic book on how to live completely car-free. I’m not there, but appreciate the challenge. Note that one of her chapters is titled “Saving $8,000 a Year”.