Have You Thought About the True Cost of Having a Vehicle?

vehicle The number one reason most people cannot save money and accumulate wealth is because of their vehicle, plain and simple. Some people say a home is your biggest purchase decision and that is not true – you deciding to buy and maintain a vehicle is your biggest purchase decision. Your vehicle has so many hidden costs associated with ownership that when you add up the numbers, you really should sit back and think about the whole concept of vehicle ownership. Auto Financing Payment. This is the monthly payment you are making every month to have a car. Most people are financing their payments. Some people can pay between $300 to $700 a month on their car payments. Auto Repairs. Now, if you own the car and it is used, this is the truth – you can probably have to do repairs every month that equal or more than the cost of your previous monthly payments. Repairs are frustrating because they are usually unexpected and your car like to break down when you finally have some extra money. You get an extra $600 but then your vehicle mess up and the repair bill is $575 and that's real talk right there. Gasoline. This is the worst because of the change in price that can be $1 to $2 based on current events and then you find yourself putting in $40 in gas here, $40 in gas there and depending on your car, $80 in gas here and there as you making trips going place, sucking money out of your bank account. The lovely part is when they take $1 out then you spend all your money in your bank account where you have only $2.50 and then you see the -$70 balance on your bank account from the $35 gas and $35 overdraft fee. Auto Insurance. This is another $100 to $250 a month depending on your car that you need to think, that’s another set of money coming out of your pocket. And if something happen, you have a deductible of $250 to $5,000 you have to pay upfront. Tag and License. Now the government want to make you pay for a tag and license plate and that is one big lump sum that hits you a certain time of year. You already saving money but now that one month, you have to spend several hundred on your car tag or license plate. Tickets and Fines. The government has so many traps to find a way to ticket you and your car. Parking tickets, speeding tickets, driving and texting, red light cameras and so much more. All of that to make you go to traffic court and waste your time. Now we talking an extra $100 to even $500 you have to cough up. Parking Fees. Want to go downtown? Want to go to an event or concert? Now you have to pay to park your car somewhere and we talking $5 to $40 depending on the event on top of the ticket you purchase. Now the lifestyle of owning a car and we need to be real talk. You live in the suburbs or outlying area and have to use your car as the mode of transportation to your place of business. So now we talking sitting in traffic and delayed because of a traffic accident, bringing frustration and stress in your world. Then you have the urge to go through a drive-thru and order fast food because you don’t have time to cook, adding bad food to your diet on top of being stressed. On the weekends, you have to drive here, drive there, stop by this person over here and then visit someone over there then go take care of your hair and nails up over there somewhere too. Then you drive to the mall and walk around and spend money there. Damn, you look at your account and you just spend $400 already! And the best part is you now going to the grocery store and Wal-Mart and buying $100 to $170 worth of groceries to stuff in your vehicle trunk and that takes one hour or two hours of your weekend away. Ditching the Wheels Earlier this year, I decided to put the car in the garage and keep it maintained at the minimum and guess what started happening? I’m walking and outside waiting on the bus and meeting cute ATL chicks on the train and got phone numbers – I didn’t realize how many chicks be on the MARTA with good jobs and you got to look past all the dirt to see there is quality sistas out there. I also don’t spend $40 here and there on gas anymore, don’t run to the grocery store and spend $170 no more and just buy what I can carry. One weekend, I took a bus route through Atlanta, I never visited Atlanta like this before and it was actually an interesting ride! I’m doing carpooling and public transportation and guess what – I’m on my tablet doing work and writing article topics in traffic because I’m not the one doing the driving. I’m straight saving serious money, very serious money that is coming back to me instead of being sucked up by the cost of owning a car and having people think I’m car-less. I hear people ask me if I have a DUI or my license suspended trying to find a way to look at me in a negative light. While cats looking at me negative, I’m walking with a chick who is conscious also and we talking and walking and we end up going to the food truck festival on the train one weekend. I’m enjoying a real damn life right now like I used to back in Chicago after putting away the car in Atlanta. I really wished when I first moved down to Atlanta, I lived in an area that was accessible to public transportation and would have enjoyed this place a lot better. Think About Your Car Ownership I’m going to be honest and I’m talking about life experience – owning a car is overrated and a detriment when I look back at my life. I met the best sistas on public transportation while brothas be sitting in their car looking at other chicks passing them by in traffic. I limit my spending because I don’t run everywhere anymore and disciplined myself to go only when I need to go somewhere and don’t buy any more than I need. When I do get into my car, I’m turned off by waiting at a stop light for 1 to 2 minutes but when I’m waiting for public transportation, at least I’m sitting there and just chilling and relaxing. Here in Atlanta, cats be acting shameful or acting like they too proud or it is beneath them to take the bus or train. But they drowning in debt and expenses owning a car they have to maintain to get around and do nothing more than spend their money or waste their time around other people. You look at mugshot web sites here in Atlanta and the number one way they ticketing, profiling and arresting and locking up Black folks is they driving in their car. Cops ain't messing with me on the bus or train, btw. I started going jogging and see young sistas my age jogging on paths with me and they run in front of me on purpose so I can see all the jiggling and stuff, making me smile. So real talk, if you own a car and you just driving around all day, from the suburbs and in traffic for 2 hours a day during the work week, think about your life and if the car is worth it and if it helping or hurting your lifestyle. Most cases, you owning a car is probably doing more to hamper your quality of life than enhance your quality of life. And the whole economy is designed on getting you to own a car then pay hidden fees for repairs, insurance, tickets and fine and parking and car washes and all that other stuff. All that money can be used for other things like starting your own business, real talk. So just take some time and think about if the vehicle and the lifestyle of driving is actually something worth the cost.

2 thoughts on “Have You Thought About the True Cost of Having a Vehicle?

  1. Ed,

    Thank you for writing this article. I remembered when you first wrote it and made sure to file it in the back of my head for future reference.

    Well the future has arrived and I sold my car, cancelled the insurance policy, walked to the store and on my way back bought a bike.

    I tried Uber over the weekend to take me to and from work and loved it.

    I live in South Florida and have a Tri Rail stop literally five minutes from my front door, but had never been on it because I always felt that I needed to drive everywhere if I wanted to go to conference or an expo and then of course I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to fight traffic and/or pay for parking.

    Point is, I’m single, no kids and have all of these options that I have not been using all because of a damn car.

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