Six hundred and fifty dollars. That's how much it's costing me to fuel my Land Cruiser this month. I get about 15 MPG, so I try to keep my miles low just driving in the local area to take the kids to school and run my normal errands. When I have longer drives to make, I switch cars with the ex. That car gets 30 MPG. I'd love to keep the car, but it's only a two-seater. Even trading cars at least once a week, I've managed to rack up 350 miles a week, on average.
The benefit of the Land Cruiser used to be that it was paid off. Getting to the place where you have no car payments is like getting your kids out of the house. All of the sudden, there's ALL THIS MONEY!! But now, with gas prices nearing $4.00 a gallon in my neck of the woods, it's almost like the kids are back and they brought all their hungry friends with them to raid the fridge. I keep thinking that I need to just bite the bullet and get back into monthly payments on a leaner car.
This is where Dave Ramsey comes in.
I've been taking the Financial Peace University classes at my church every Sunday night. There are many things that I've already adopted from the last few years of downsizing my lifestyle. I rent a small cottage at the beach that costs less than most apartments. I drive a used car that's paid off. I only pay cash for everything, no credit cards. And I get most of my leisure activities paid for in exchange for work. (That last one isn't part of the Dave Ramsey plan. That's just a little Sugar sprinkled on for fun!) The one big thing Dave Ramsey talks about is getting a car cash; no loans. The rub right now is that with the cost of fuel, I don't have any extra money to save to buy that used car with cash. The truck can't be used as a trade in because it's legally my ex's (he paid me my half of the value of it, so really, it's just on loan to me until I get my own car. It's complicated.)
So now I'm narrowing down my options.
I could just keep driving the Land Cruiser. The Land Cruiser that needs new tires ($1,000). The Land Cruiser that is at 201,000 miles and needs the 200k tune up (which should be well over another $1,000). OR... I could get into a new car loan.
Or I could sell a kidney.
If I do get a new car, I know it will be a Ford, mainly because of the company's values: not borrowing from the government, sustainable material usage, and global green initiatives. I know it has to be used because I never buy something that loses value just driving off the lot, something Dave Ramsey didn't have to teach me. I know it has to get good gas mileage. It doesn't have to seat eight anymore now that the older kids and all their friends have grown up and gone away, so that's a big help in the fuel economy.
The one thing that is throwing this whole thing off is that the car has to have personality. I don't like driving cars that blend. I'm not a "blendy" kind of girl. I love driving my ex's two seater. It's an old yellow Porsche 914. That little roadster does not blend. But it will do 90 up the hill to our old house. Not that I know this from personal experience.
So what about you? Are rising fuel costs causing you to rethink your vehicle of choice? Or possibly driving you to drink? Are you in a rock-and-a-hard-place sitch like me? What would you do?
PS: if anyone recommends the Volt, I will come find you and pinch you. No me gusta el Volt.