Back in December, I wrote about how I was going to drive my car into the ground. From that point on, I have barely spent any money on the vehicle outside of oil changes and a minor (~$200) brake repair, making this year one of the cheapest, ownership-wise, that I have had (so far) with this car. It was my intention to get another 3 to 5 years out of this vehicle and basically roll it into the dealership or wrecking yard and get a bit of money for it (my last car barely made it to the used car dealership and they gave me $100). So, what changed?
Over the summer, my 27-year old wife decided she wanted to learn how to drive. The only hitch to this plan was that she did not want to learn how to drive my manual transmission, which is the reason why over the next 8 months (the time period that she will hold her G1 driver’s license in Ontario) we will be looking for a new car. Realistically, she could probably learn to drive the 5-speed that we currently have (and is already paid for), but the thought of it stresses her out and I would prefer her to be comfortable driving. One of the main reasons she has decided to get a driver’s license is there is a job she is interested in that is outside of any public transit route that will begin in late spring of 2011 and I am unwilling to drive her the 15-20 minutes to and from the location.
In response to this expense, over the past few months we have accelerated our car-savings plan, putting aside the rest of our savings goals. We are still maintaining an accelerated payment schedule on our mortgage, and think (as long as there are no major expenses that come up) we should have the necessary amount of money to get a new (or new to us) car in April or May of next year.
In addition to the monetary side of the car purchase, I have intensified the research side of buying a car. When I bought my last car, I was not that well-equipped at all. I basically found a vehicle that I liked and paid what the used-car dealer asked me to, with very little research other than a quick test drive around the block. This time, there will be significantly more examination of the purchase and more thought put into the care rather than buying the sportiest car I could find to match the amount of money I had in my bank account (I was 23 and slightly less mature at the time).
So, the bottom line is that I’m car-shopping over the fall and winter, which is both fun and expensive. I was hoping to not have to do this for a few years, but the payback is that I don’t have to do all the driving for our household, which offers something positive for this large expense.
Have you had any significant changes in your spending plans lately? How did you react?