A little over a year ago we had two vehicles we considered “necessities.” One was my 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan. The other was my husband’s 2002 Chevy truck.
In January 2010 my Honda Odyssey died. The transmission went out. Mark had just transitioned out of his job at the church and we were launching into living on 75% less income than we’d been living on. We determined that we’d need to make one car work for at least a while…which turned into six months. I blogged about that decision HERE.
Then last summer we paid cash for a very old car for me. I love my little bitty 1992 Mitsubishi Mirage that only had 50,000 miles on it! I blogged about that decision in a post titled “Functional Trumps Fancy” HERE.
Last fall Mark and I made the decision to sell his truck. We’re working hard to get out of debt and we still owed several years on the truck. Plus it got terrible gas mileage. Mark loved his truck and this was a really hard decision for him. But eventually he decided to do what financial guru Dave Ramsey says to do to get out of debt…sell the truck!
When we sold the truck, we paid off the loan and still had enough to pay cash for another car for Mark. Now he’s driving a 1998 Honda CRV. It’s functional, but not fancy. And it definitely gets better gas mileage than the truck.
Last weekend, I decided to look at the difference in what we are now spending on gas than we were over a year ago. I couldn’t believe the difference! With our two older vehicles that both get substantially better gas mileage than the “necessary” cars they replaced, we are now spending half of what we used to spend in gas each month! Our auto decisions are not only more affordable because we own them outright, but they are saving us a ton in fuel expense!
Sometimes living with less decisions have a ripple effect in reducing costs. They are not always easy decisions to make, but the financial benefits can be far-reaching.
Sure, we don’t have the biggest and the best. But I’d never exchange our diminished financial stress for something fancy, new, or “in style.” It’s just not worth the trade off.
And now I see that what we considered our vehicle “necessities” were really luxuries in disguise. Adult peer pressure does that to us so easily.
What about you? What living with less decisions have you made where you found a surprising “ripple effect” financial savings? Where have you discovered something you considered to be a “necessity” to really be a luxury?
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We’ve only had one vehicle for 2 1/2 years now. It took some adjusting, but boy, it sure does save us a lot of money. It’s a bit of a challenge when our one vehicle breaks down, but so far God has been really good to us in providing us with loaners when ours have needed repairs.
It helps that we live within walking distance of my husband’s job, that I homeschool, and that the library and a couple of parks are also in walking distance. 🙂
Walking distance is a good thing. We live out in the country so “walking distance” is not something we experience!
Odd as this sounds, I considered daily/multiple times a day trips to Target, Wal-Mart and other stores “nessessity!” I thought I had to lug my daughter and then both her and my son out all the time. This was partly for my sanity and partly, because I think I was addicted to it. Anyway…we bought a 2002 Suburban in January. (My minivan finally started to cost more to keep up then it was worth, and we had been saving up cash for a vehicle purchase for a while). Yes, it is a gas eater, but it is very safe, it was very inexpensive and with my hubby’s job and my daughter in school, we have to have a second car. So, we decided that since it would cost more for gas, I needed to live off less and stay home more often. This was hard at first. But…the ripple effect is that I only go shopping one day a week, maybe two times at the most. I don ‘t wander around trying to find things to buy. And I don’t feel as much pressure to have a TON of cute clothes because I am home most of the time. (I still try to dress nice, wear jewelry, etc., but I just don’t feel so bad wearing jeans and a top that aren’t of ‘going out’ caliber everyday.) Another bonus is that I am learning to cook from what I have. If I have a recipe for Wednesday, but find out I don’t have an item needed for it, I now just either exclude that from the recipe, try to find a substitution or make something else I have. I don’t run out last minute for that one item anymore. 🙂
Stephanie…these are great adjustments! It’s amazing how little changes add up to big savings!
Oh Jill there is so much truth here! My dear husband and I are now sharing one car and have done it successfully for two years. (Three kids in college…I am telling you something had to change!) It is not easy…and there are days I still whine. Loudly. But I am learning to be patient and grateful in all things.
We need so much less than what we think we do.
I keep my grateful list close by…I reread it over and over…and remind myself on days I am struggling with God’s faithfulness to me.
Today I am adding YOU and your amazing insights to that list…your life is a gift poured out.
Your just the best Jill!
Thank you, Tammy! Can’t wait to see you next weekend!
A little over 5 years ago, I was in a car accident that totaled my beloved Toyota Corolla. I really loved that car and it had all the “extras” that seemed important at the time. When we got the check from the insurance company, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to buy so we ended up buying my brother’s older car as a temporary, inexpensive solution. 5 years later I’m still driving it (just hit 160,000 miles!) , and it has allowed us to send our daughter to a Christian school. I’d make that trade a million times over! Her tuition is the same as a car payment, so I gladly and cheerfully drive my 13 year old car. : )
I just recently noticed that it rolled off the assembly line the same month and year she was born. How’s that for irony?
I love it! What a great perspective!
Thank you Miss Jill! This is very timely for me.
We have two vehicles – My husband has a truck (a necessity in his line of work) and I have a car. My car is a lease and will go back to it’s owner in a matter of months.
As I read you post, I found myself asking “could we get by with just one vehicle?” I don’t think so. Our work schedules differ and we often find ourselves missing each other in our comings and goings.
I’ve already found myself talking to the Lord about a replacement vehicle when the time comes. I’ve told him I don’t need much…just dependable and reliable, affordable (inexpensive with great gas mileage) and front wheel drive. He is Jehovah Jireh and I’m believing Him to provide just the right vehicle.
Thank you Miss Jill!
Gave up lots of luxuries in the past but the biggest one would be “food” & “eating out all the time”… (I’m not much of a cook) … so it was quite the adjustment but saves tons from going in the hole further. Also, when the car broke down (with a bill of $2800. if fixed); I gave up the thought of buying another car which saves on gas & insurance & upkeep! In the summer, I ride the bicycle & the winter each yr, well… it takes some getting use to not having a car OR bike again…. but look, it’s almost spring time again! Spring = bicycle! LOL Sure I really miss out going here & there “outta town” since bus system is crappy but I get over it not to mention saving money there too! 🙂
When we paid off our car, we continued to make “car payments” into our savings account. We own both of our vehicles and both of our vehicles are older models (mine is a ’98 while my husband’s is a ’53… its his toy) We will continue to make those payments into our savings account until we can afford to pay cash for our next vehicle. We’re just hoping our car keeps going for a couple more years.
I also started (again) planning meals for two weeks and trying my best to only go to the grocery store once for those two weeks. The more I go to the store, the more I spend. Especially if I go when I’m hungry. Planning ahead & living w/out when I forget something takes time and is a sacrifice, but it saves lots of money & actually reduces stress in my life!
Thank you for mentioning how you are continuing to make car payments into your savings accounts! The best thing to do is pay cash for a car! You will likely be able to do that! Yay!
Jill…My husband and I have two vehicles that we own outright…a 2004 Ford Explorer and 1998 Ford Taurus. I know that the Explorer does not get great gas mileage however, at least we don’t have a payment anymore. The one thing I can do is make my list (grocery, etc) and stick to it. I also find I spend less or only get what I have on the list when I am crunched for time, but I do not like doing this often because I am also 6 months pregnant and it is getting more exhausting to do so…especially when we have something to do or somewhere to go immediately after I get back. I have to start practicing self control and stick to my list and resist those temptations to buy things we do not NEED. My dad told me that when I have a temptation to buy something I think we need, to stop and ask myself if we can live without it for a week and if the answer is “yes”, than it isn’t a need.
Good question to ask!
When we first got married we had no vehicle for the first year. We just used public transport, bikes and organised lifts when we needed to. So going from none to one car even if it was an older model seemed like such a luxury. Its only recently that we made the move to two vehicles with my husband needing one for work and me being at home with kids. This time we decided that the second vehicle would be a motorbike because its a lot cheaper to run than a car. For my husband its also a lot cooler than the type of car we would have been able to afford for the same price.
Now that’s thinking outside the box!