What Price “Freedom”?
No, I’m not talking about getting a second car, but wondering about the whole concept of a car at all.
Here’s the problem. It’s time for us to part company with our current car. It’s a 2001 Renault Lagune (yes, I know) that’s done 108,000 miles or so, and is getting to an age where things will probably start going wrong, at the most inconvenient times. Like when half-way to visit in-laws in Wales.
But when it comes down to it, I really don’t want another car either. There are two reasons for this - the costing the Earth one, and the costing a packet one. It’s time to move on from a car-driven way of life, and to stop tipping cash by the bucket-load into owning a car.
Actually there’s a third reason - I just don’t like cars.
So, using this car-cost-calculation-page, handily signposted by the Sexify blog (”Bicycles are becoming sexy again. Shouldn’t you?”), I’ve found out that even for my current modest mileage of 12,000 miles a year, and for a cheap second-hand car (£6,000) replaced after four years, the site says that annual cost is just over £5,000.
That’s a scary number, so I did some playing around with the site, and think I’ve spotted an error in how it works things out. Look, I’m an engineer - how else do you expect me to pass these long winter evenings with just my Foxy Wife for company?
Anyway - the error is that the site double-counts loan repayments and depreciation. I’m sure that someone with a qualification in accounting can tell me that this is perfectly correct, but for the world of how-much-cash-do-I-have-in-the-bank-today that most of us inhabit, it doesn’t make sense.
So working around this problem, I’ve come up with a new version of the car cost calculator in Excel. This says that my total cost is somewhere around £4,200 a year or around £350 a month. Still a pretty scary number.
So given that I really don’t want a car, is this all the amunition I need for the forthcoming discussion with my Foxy Wife? I’ve a feeling it’s not, and I’m going to have to come up with a plan that says, “And this is what we’ll do when X happens, and when we want to do Y, this is how we’ll cope, and under Z circumstances, well then we’ll . . . etc”.
Any help on exactly what those circumstances are, and what the actions to take will be very much appreciated!