My Manifesto

I recent­ly had the plea­sure of meet­ing up with Sam Lust­garten, the author of the blog Frugaling.org. (Check out his site- he’s got real­ly great ideas on how to live fru­gal­ly!) We had a great con­ver­sa­tion that spanned many top­ics, from cur­rent read­ing choic­es to the strug­gles of start­ing a blog. One of the things he asked me … Read more

Rant n Rave: Moving, Identity Theft, and Minimalism

Rants: I was check­ing over my accounts in Mint when I noticed some­thing strange. Appar­ent­ly, I had appa­rat­ed to the East Coast and gone on a wild $10 shop­ping spree at Build a Bear. No joke. Some­one stole my cred­it card infor­ma­tion and bought $10 worth of mer­chan­dise from Build a Bear. It was painful­ly obvi­ous I hadn’t done any­thing of the … Read more

Monthly Spending Report: May 2015

The month of May has come and gone at light­ning speed. From start­ing out the month cel­e­brat­ing my best friend’s wed­ding to clos­ing it out by cram­ming all my stuff in a U-Haul, it’s been quite the month. The wed­ding went won­der­ful­ly, the dress­es were beau­ti­ful and the smiles abound­ed. I’m not sure I can talk so … Read more

Small Steps to Saving

I’ll be the first to tell you I have a prob­lem with doing the dish­es.  “uh, Gwen…? How are dish­es relat­ed to sav­ing for retire­ment?” I’m get­ting there. Go with the anal­o­gy flow for a sec­ond. Dish­es. I hate doing them right after cook­ing. It’s bad enough I have to make my own food, but then to do the dish­es … Read more

Rant and Rave 2: Freaking Food

Rant: Hi my name is Gwen and I have a prob­lem with food. Not like the tra­di­tion­al prob­lems of eat­ing too much or too lit­tle, or even the prob­lem of eat­ing bad stuff. (Although I could prob­a­bly stand to eat less sug­ar.) No, my prob­lem is not mak­ing my own. I ate out WAY too much last week, and … Read more

How to Find Housing

I just decid­ed to spend $20,000. I wish I could say I was excit­ed about it. I wish I could show you the cool thing I bought, or the cool place I’m going to go vis­it. Nope. Instead, we get to talk about the lease I just signed. Yes, you read that cor­rect­ly. Just to have a roof over my head and a warm … Read more

Self-Controlling Your Finances

For me, the best part about being an adult is the free­dom of choice to do what­ev­er we want. Do I want to fly to Ecuador for a week’s vaca­tion? Do I want to retire ear­ly? Do I want ice cream and donuts for din­ner? While some of these may be good deci­sions (Yes, I’m going to Ecuador this … Read more

Monthly Spending Report: April 2015

Wow. Where did April go? It seems like just yes­ter­day I was post­ing March’s report. April went by super fast due to a num­ber of activ­i­ties I par­tic­i­pat­ed in, which lead to a LOT of expens­es. This month was basi­cal­ly shot in only 2 weeks. How­ev­er, I tight­ened my belt and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. List­ed … Read more

I Don’t Want a New Car

Con­ver­sa­tion with my gear head friend:

Him: You make HOW much mon­ey per year??
Me: this much (hint: $$$).
Him: OMG! I could have the sweet­est car ever if I made that much! Why don’t you get rid of your old car and get a new one??

The sim­ple answer is, I don’t need a new car. But, it real­ly goes much deep­er than that. My met­al char­i­ot is a 2005 Pon­ti­ac Vibe. His name is Levi (yes, I name pret­ty much every­thing. His name is Levi because he’s the col­or of blue jeans. Get it. Blue jeans. Levi Strauss. Ok, you get it. I have a lame sense of humor. Yes, I’m aware of this).

1. Levi is paid off. I had to get Levi in col­lege when a deer utter­ly destroyed my first car, a 2002 Dodge Neon. At the time, I had just got­ten a bonus from the mil­i­tary. Com­bine that with the insur­ance check, some sav­ings, and some kick ass hag­gling and I end­ed up hand­ing the deal­er­ship a per­son­al check. No car pay­ments for me and I LOVE IT. It’s also use­ful when mon­ey gets a bit tight (like, say, if your com­pa­ny is tardy in pro­vid­ing relo­ca­tion ben­e­fits and you have to pay 2 months rent before your first pay­check. Hypo­thet­i­cal­ly.) I know I’m going to have to tight­en my wal­let when I move and not hav­ing a car pay­ment is one less wor­ry on my plate.

2. Speak­ing of mov­ing, my new state of res­i­dence has a funky way of cal­cu­lat­ing the pay­ment for plates and renew­al stick­ers. My cur­rent state charges a flat fee for your stick­er depend­ing on the kind of plate you have (mine is cur­rent­ly $100 due to mil­i­tary plates. Woot woot!). My new state takes the year of your car and how much it weighs into con­sid­er­a­tion. Since my car is 10 years old, I’ll pay the low­est rate at .50% of the list price plus $.40 per lb. Levi is also incred­i­bly light, so that shouldn’t be too high. (Good for fees, ter­ri­ble for dri­ving on windy days next to semi trucks). Com­pare that with the fees for a new­er Hon­da Accord and it adds up over the years.

No more padiddle!
No more padid­dle!

3. Great gas mileage. Levi gets rough­ly 2930 mpg. It depends on if I’m dri­ving Ms. Daisy down the inter­state, or aggres­sive­ly maneu­ver­ing around idiots in town. I say one thing, my dri­ving record says anoth­er. But lets not talk about that. In com­bi­na­tion with the incred­i­ble amount of car­go space, Levi makes Mr. Mon­ey Mustache’s list of Top 10 Cars For Smart Peo­ple! I don’t know where he’s get­ting his num­ber of 37 mpg though. I wish.…

4. He’s easy to repair. So easy a cave­man can do it! And by cave­man, I mean me. For all intents and pur­pos­es, I might as well be a cave­man. (cave­woman??) 18 months ago, I could bare­ly tell you how to change the oil. Now, I can not only tell you how to change it, I can also repair all kinds of oth­er parts! I’ve replaced the intake man­i­fold gas­ket, most of the sen­sors, the air fil­ter and one of the head­lights. This has cost me rough­ly $200 and a growler of beer to the friend help­ing me learn. Google is a won­der­ful resource. With­out it, I nev­er would’ve attempt­ed the fix by myself. Although I will enlist my friend’s dad to help me replace the speak­ers in the front doors. One of them went out last week and it looks more com­pli­cat­ed than I want to deal with. (He’s seri­ous­ly the best!)

5. Did I men­tion I’m mov­ing? I’m relo­cat­ing to a new loca­tion for work. I picked out a place only 1.5 miles from the office. I will be walk­ing or rid­ing my bike to work every day. This means poor Levi will be sit­ting out­side in the park­ing lot of my apart­ment com­plex just about 247. I feel bad enough leav­ing him out­side all the time. Imag­ine the guilt I’d have if I bought a brand new car and then let it sit the whole time. What a waste! Plus, liv­ing in the Mid­west means I have to con­tend with small, incon­se­quen­tial things like tor­na­does, heavy winds and hail. If I got a new car, I’d be tempt­ed to rent a garage and I do not have a spare $70 per month for that. This is def­i­nite­ly the case of “if you give a mouse a muf­fin” log­ic and I’m mak­ing the con­science deci­sion to say NO to it all.

Now, all of these are sound rea­sons to keep my car. Do I think a new car would be the bee’s knees? Absolute­ly. Who wouldn’t want a brand new car? But unless some­one would like to gift me a new Hon­da Accord (I’d like it in red with the Blue­tooth option, in case you’re will­ing), I’m not pay­ing for a new car right now. It just doesn’t make sense (or cents! haha) for me to get rid of my prac­ti­cal, effi­cient, zip­py lit­tle car.

How long are you keep­ing your car?