Monday, May 13, 2013

Believe the Numbers

Sometimes, we all need a good "punch in the face." I like this terminology especially when it comes to debt and finances. Hence, why I follow blogs such as Punch Debt in the Face and Mr. Money Mustache, the former advocating punching down the debt, the latter advocating giving yourself a good face-punch when you make dumb financial decisions.

Today's punch in the face is an exercise on how much your car is really costing you. Today I'd like to draw your attention to a great calculator that can tell you how much your vehicle is really costing you, how you are paying way too much interest on your loans than you should, your real hourly wage (factoring in commuting and buying lunch at work), as well as how long it will take you to reach financial independence.

It is the Mustache Calc - A Mathematical Punch in the Face.

Now, as a rule, I hate math. I have ever since the 6th grade. But math cannot tell a lie (unless you, the human, screw up the computation). So let's do a little experiment. I'm going to use this online calculator to show me how much it cost me to own a car when I used to have one.

  • Vehicle cost: $6,000 (bought it salvaged)
  • Estimated sale price: $3,000 (estimated Kelly Blue Book)
  • Lifetime miles: 50,000
  • Yearly miles: 20,000
  • MPG: 27
  • Cost of gas: $4/gallon
  • Yearly maintenance: $500
  • Yearly insurance: $1,100

Results:
Cost per year: $5,762.96
Cost per mile: $0.29

As you can see, gas ads up, maintenance ads up, insurance ads up, and finally, the price slashes in half once you purchase the thing.

Let's compare this to my current transportation costs:

Metro/Bus pass: $600 ($50/month)
Car2Go/Zipcar: $240 ($20/month average)
Cost per year: $840 - No insurance, no maintenance, no gas. 

Let's look at that one more time:

How I feel about paying for a car.
OWN CAR = PAY $5,762.96 A YEAR
NO CAR = PAY $840 A YEAR

Yeah, I'll take the "no car" option, please!

I realize not everyone can go without a car. I couldn't when I lived in the rural Midwest. But if you live in a big city like DC, NYC, or Chicago? You don't need a car! Use public transportation, your feet, your bike, or heck, even the services like Zipcar or Car2Go. None of these cost you as much as owning your own car does.

At any rate, enjoy playing around with the calculators, and perhaps they'll give you a good punch in the face, financially speaking!

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