A retired person close to me once gave me the advice to: “Never sell your second car. If you do, ‘they’ (your spouse) will go with you everywhere.”
This innocent, half-joking advice was something I thought of often as my wife and I were approaching our recent retirement, and for the first year or so after, I held onto that second car.
Then it occurred to me that this advice might not be as good as it had at first seemed. We reluctantly made the tortured decision to do what we had been admonished not to do. We sold the second car, even though I was somewhat attached to it. That action has had surprisingly positive results.
Gas prices are historically high. You know this already. Having two or more gas burners might not be a smart situation to be in right now. “But” you may say, “getting rid of a car doesn’t mean you will use less gas. You’ll just put all the mileage on your remaining vehicle.” To which I would have to respond, “Yup, you’re probably right.” Still, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (What an odd old saying. Who skins cats?) There is more than one way to cut expenses when everything costs more than a year ago.
In our case, selling the other car was one way to afford the gas we did have to buy. In fact, the savings we made in doing so were immediate and larger than I had ever considered. The car we sold had been paid off for a few years. In some ways that made it feel ‘free’ to me. It was not. No, we may not have reduced our gas usage a lot, but we now have only HALF of the oil changes, brake repairs, and new summer and winter tires to buy, and seasonally mount, and rotate, and you know the drill.
We also only insure one car now, (Insurance was a big expense.) and only pay for one car’s registration, yearly inspections, and even car washes. All these things are what all cars need, and don’t even include unexpected repairs. In our case the savings added up to over $1,000 annually. (Even today $1,000 buys a lot of gas.)
In addition, surprise surprise, the savings even extended to areas other than money. We now spend HALF the time we did getting all those things handled, all those services done.
Admittedly, our situation might not be yours. We have retired and no longer head off in different directions to work each morning. Still, I think many driveways contain one or more unneeded cars. If you sell one you may find that your attachment to it was a one-way relationship. My ‘free’ car doesn’t miss me, and I don’t miss what it used to cost me.
Note: We sold that second car to my daughter and her family at far below book price. This saved them money and we used what we were paid as an additional down payment when we traded our remaining car last summer. Now our new car has a smaller payment than the old one did. Wins all around!
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