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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