Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bye Bye Little Green Car

I decided to sell my car - 30-35 mpg is not enough. I like the little car well enough, but it is really expensive to own a car. I calculated that I have spent almost $40K on all auto related expenses, including lease payments & payoff, tolls, parking, repairs, maintenance, insurance:

2004 - 6,311.26
2005 - 8,535.01
2006 - 7,792.23
2007 - 14,963.13
2008 - 1,561.97

Net total: $39,163.60

This doesn't even take into consideration interest on credit cards where purchases were made on credit cards, transfer fees or anything else.

That's quite a chunk of change. I mean - that's a LOT of money. I could have paid off my $30K of student loans ages ago with what I've put into the car.

Once payment clears, I can pay off most of my credit card debt and cut down annual expenses by about $3K. Easily $300/month -- allowing me to pay off my student loans by the time I am 40 next year in December 2009.

Of course - I'll be without a car. It's a good little car and I have done many useful things with it. This will require me to ride the bicycle 5 miles to James' house and rent a car for camping trips. Even if I rent 5 times over the course of the year, that would cost about $1000, more or less. I'd still be saving money over owning the car.

And, of course, I can always get another car. Probably a hybrid. In a year or two.

I posted on Craigslist and started at $15K and waited a week, then went to $14K and then to $13K. I had a bit of interest at $12K and this evening, took all my will power to not back out of showing the car. I washed the car, emptied it out and waited for the buyer to show. He was really nice, and came with his adorable sister who had a list of questions written on paper. They looked it over, we went for a drive and they asked if I would be flexible in the price. I am pretty sure I could get my asking price for it, so held firm. They gave me a cash deposit and promised to return on Saturday -- we'll go to the bank and get cash and I'll hand over the keys, pink slip and records.

Bye bye, little green car. We had a lot of fun -- camping trips, road trips to LA. I never drove you out of the state of California once in 4 years, but we covered a lot of California. And, honestly, 30-35 MPG isn't going to be enough when we run out of oil.


Chile said...

Wow, Jenn. I'm impressed! Hope the rest of the transaction goes smoothly for you and you enjoy cycling.

Anonymous said...

Why rent a car to camp? Go camping on your bicycle. It is a lot of fun and you can see your local area from a completely different view point.
There is plenty of information on the internet and you get to meet some really nice people.

Jenn said...

Thanks Chile - I have always enjoyed cycling, and that's the reason I have had so little mileage (like 100 miles/month) on the car in the last six months.

Dexy - great recommendation but...I live in Oakland.

And I don't have enough vacation time to do camping trips by bike, as much as I would like to do.

And -- I'm sure as hell NOT going to Yosemite by bicycle. That's a lot of hills, narrow roads and speeding cars!

This morning I was thinking about reasons I would need to use a car in the next year:
- mushroom hunting (not accessible by bike and totally not feasible given what I'm collecting)
- building & gardening supplies purchases (can probably use boyfriend's car)
- visiting friends who live out of the area (driving to LA is still better than flying!)
- going out late in San Francisco (public transportation slows down after 8pm, increasing the trip home from 30 to 90 minutes, with a walk through a sketchy area and stops running around midnight!)

Unknown said...

That is a mighty chunk of change. It's amazing how much cars actually cost. I didn't even think about the cost of tolls, etc.

Jenn said...

It's crazy - but since I have been using Quicken for about 8 years, I have all the data. I went back to the first month I acquired this car and pulled up all the numbers.

Sadly, my current version of quicken won't convert the older files or I would look at that info, too. I didn't even own a car for most of the time I lived in San Francisco, from 1999-2004.

Butch Jamie said...

Hi Jennifer,

It's great that Oakland has a decent amount of public transportation to be able to do this; it would be very difficult here in L.A. I will probably always own a car, but my next one will definitely be a hybrid (or something better if they invent it in time).

It was nice to meet you last weekend and I'm glad you enjoyed the movie! I have two SF posts up and another one on its way.

Hope you had a good 4th!

Anonymous said...

Go, no-car, go! I was considering riding my bike to go camping in Oakland, but chickened out. Zip Car is really great, and you don't have to wait in line and fill out paperwork every time you want a car. I heartily approve!

Jenn said...

You know, just down the street from where we both live is "Rent-A-Relic" - I can get a 2003 Ford Focus for $150 for a week, 700 miles included... that will get me down to Yosemite and back, and up to Middleton and back next week ...