By: Revanche

The Big Car Question Answered

March 30, 2010

My experience with Peninsula life, and canvassing people who live in the specific area that I’ve moved to, all said: get your own car. While I could have borrowed a car for most simple runs, that car is a manual transmission and I’m not comfortable enough in it yet to drive without a whole lot of adrenaline-nervosity.  (I don’t know about y’all, but the fear of hurting someone else‘s car is nerve-wracking.)

On bad joint days, I would never be able to handle a manual. They don’t happen as frequently as before but when they do, I’m out of commission.  

Stacked with the managerial duties that will call for unpredictable early mornings and late nights, I don’t fancy relying exclusively on the three-five transfer public transportation option.  There will be times that it works out, but not always.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the lower overall costs of commuting via public transportation and did it for nearly five years in a region that isn’t known for good pub trans.  But after creating a whole spreadsheet comparison, I’d either have to add 20-30 minutes of bus time ($) or drive half the round-trip commuting distance just to get to a transit station and add the cost of parking ($$). All told, I’d be spending just as much on transit as my driving commute would cost, and would not be reducing my driving footprint (that’s a terrible mix of terminologies).

Outside of the work commute, there are very few things that are within walking distance (less than 2 miles) and even when it is, the skies have been known to open up unexpectedly halfway through. And the wind blows the rain sideways.  I’m a SoCal girl! I’m intrepid but you understand that I don’t have the luxury of changing multiple times a day to stay dry. We have to be a bit more life-practical than that.

As for the money…..

The car purchase will cost me $6800 out of pocket and another $900 for registration and sales tax.  The insurance costs $550 per 6 months.

The total cash cost: $8250.

After using the tax money I’d saved and the tax refund ($5575), I owe my emergency fund $2675 and must add $550 every 6 months to my insurance fund.

It’s not the most frugal auto choice I could have made but it was a 6-year-old car in as close to mint condition as I’ve ever seen.  That kind of quality is very hard to find in a used car in my designated age range.

I have a plan in place to recoup my Debt to Self through freelance work. If all goes well, I plan to do so in four months.

5 Responses to “The Big Car Question Answered”

  1. Abigail says:

    I think you made the right choice. Two transfers, maybe. But three or even five?! Uh-uh.

    You probably would have ended up realizing it was unrealistic, then you’d have scrambled to get something quickly. And that would probably have created a very unfrugal situation.

  2. Sometimes time is money and it sounds like that commute would be hellish. I think it’s the right choice.

  3. 3-5 transfers are a lot to deal with. Especially if you have to wait at every stop! Being a manager definitely requires more time and dedication. Good choice for your situation.

  4. Carolyn says:

    I agree – right choice!!!

  5. Revanche says:

    @abigail: I will keep researching the commute options and testing them, but the car has already been a lifesaver in many other ways.

    @me in millions: Exactly, I’ve discovered that getting home at 7 pm every night (so far) = exhaustion and if I had to bus or walk to do one more thing I’d just not do it. Which means I wouldn’t eat or have money in the bank or something else until the weekend.

    @Jersey Mom, Carolyn: Thanks!

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