Sometimes the Things You Own…

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Toyota Tundra Save Money

…end up owning you.

Earlier this year, I met with a friend of mine who was looking to sell his 2007 Toyota Tundra. It was a fantastic truck. He had previously let me borrow it a few times in order to move furniture. It had leather seats, a V8, a locking tool box, a six disk CD changer, loud exhaust, and a remote start to top it all off. Although it was a nine year old truck, it was in great shape. Furthermore, I could trust the person selling it to have taken great care of it, simply because he is that kind of person who looks after his stuff. It also got just over 13 miles per gallon, less than half of the Honda Civic.

We bought a truck!

We haggled on the price a bit, and I ended up buying it from him for $13,500. My wife and I drove up to meet him and we exchanged the keys for a cashier’s check. We were both happy with the purchase and sale, but my wife and I believed that we had purchased a vehicle that would last us for the next decade or so.

The first few months were excellent. I was excited each time I was going to get into the vehicle because I could make the engine rumble from inside of the house with the remote start. My kids loved the truck as well, and we even went to sonic a few times and had milkshakes while sitting in the bed of the truck. My wife looked forward to the days when we would be able to take our kids to the remote countryside and watch the stars come out. It seemed like it was going to be a great investment.

We made contact with a family member who owns a car dealership. He agreed to sell our 2008 Honda Civic I talked about in The Five Worst Things I Ever Bought. Even the amount he suggested we could get for it was far higher than I thought, but I deferred to his expertise – confident the vehicle would be sold soon.

Realizing the truck wasn’t worth the cost

Then I “woke up” financially. Reading blogs like jlcollinsnh.com, The Mad Fientist, and Mr. Money Mustache brought me to the point where I no longer desired fancy and shiny things. I wanted to be able to purchase our financial independence by drastically reducing our expenses, increasing our income, and also increasing our savings rate. So we sat down together and came up with our investing priorities. Some of these goals were in direct contradiction with my continued desire to own a truck.

We had some thinking to do. The truck needed new tires, which would be close to a $900 expense. Gas is relatively cheap right not, but it always has the possibility of going up. Even with that being the case, the truck cost us an additional $125 a month in gasoline expenses. Insurance was marginally more expensive, but the truck represented $13,500 that we could use in order to meet the maximum contributions in 2016 for our 401K, 457, and Roth IRAs.

The Honda Civic had yet to sell, and we could get it back. There would be some fees, but after a year they would be paid for in gas charges alone. I felt like it was time to put up or shut up when it came to this early retirement/high savings rate stuff. I’m typically not someone who ever does something half-way. I am either for it or against it, and the previously mentioned blogs brought me to believe that early retirement was not only desirable, it was also attainable.

We made up our mind to sell the truck. We quickly found a buyer and unloaded it. Then we got the Honda Civic back and I started driving it again. For a time, I was biking to work to save an estimated $2.50/day, but I had to put that on pause for awhile due to needed repairs on the bike.

So what’s the point?

This is way late in the blog to get to the point, but here it is. In Fight Club, Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden says “sometimes the things you own end up owning you.” I wasn’t willing for that to be the case for me and my family. The truck tied up a lot of capital into what was essentially amounting to an expensive self-esteem boost for me. Freeing us from that burden has enabled us to meet many of our goals for the year and still have reliable transportation.

Critically examine the things you own to see if they are adding to your enjoyment of life or detracting from it. There are days when we miss having a truck, but the peace of mind and feelings of accomplishment from reaching our goals has made selling the truck far worth it.

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