For those of you who have been around my blog for a few years, you might remember how I almost lost my frugal card in May 2012 by purchasing a used car and taking on a car payment. Up until that point, I had been driving paid for cars since 2005. It was crazy hard to take that leap to give up a paid for car, and trade it in for a payment.
That being said, you might remember my previous car, a 2002 Subaru Outback (a lemon indeed) was the albatross around my neck. Between the extreme price of gas (it got 20 mpg, and I drive 300 miles a week), and the fact that it was in the shop more than it was out, my current car payment is net neutral. My 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid (Honda Solo as Jack promptly named it on the day I brought it home), has been great to me. The only money I have put in to it is about $20-25 in gas per week, a 75k and 90k mile service. February 11th will find me with new front brakes, but hey, it's a seven year old car with 95k miles on it.
It is SO much smaller than my Outback, and I haven't really had to test it in the snow, but overall, I've been pleased with the purchase. Ironically enough, in 2016, I'd like to purchase a 2014 Subaru Outback. I am convinced my 2002 was a lemon, as every mechanic I took it to insisted that Subarus are never this problematic. The 2014 Outbacks have much better gas mileage than their previous brethren, and I would like to return to a car that doesn't involve a game of trunk Tetris if I have to go to both Target and Costco. At some point in our lives, I'd love another kid, and the Civic Hybrid trunk is half the size of the regular Civic, as the hybrid batteries are stored behind the backseats.
So, why I am rambling about this? Because, I'm about to tell you my big plan for 2014.
I'm going to do my damnedest to pay off my car this year.
After years of not having a car payment, it really sucks to pay that monthly note. I'd love to be done with it and move on. How am I convincing myself I can accomplish this goal?
1) All extra money I make from this blog, writing articles, etc., is going right towards that payment. Did you know that if you click any Amazon link in any of my blog posts, or using the "Things I Dig" Amazon badge towards the bottom right of my blog, and buy something, even if it isn't the thing I linked, I get a tiny kick back? Oh yes I do!
2) Garage sale in spring. With the house remodel scheduled to take place in spring, and my parents hopefully moving in this fall, we're going to have less room for our stuff. Which is fine, cause we don't need so much dang stuff! Purging our junk, and making money will be beneficial for helping to get this car owned free and clear.
3) I'm going to try and thin my grocery budget even more in the next few months. I'm going to keep the same budget, but any money left at the end of the month will be applied to the car.
4) In July or August, we'll finally pay of Jack's tonsil surgery (March 2013) and sleep study (Nov 2012). The combined bill for those two things was well over $6k, because of our huge health insurance deductible. Currently, our health savings account pays $116 per month, and we pay $184 per month out of pocket to pay that sucker off. For those of you who need a recap, Jack had a sleep study done in November 2012 because of his aggressive snoring. It was found that he had 16 apnea incidents in just seven hours during the study! Homeboy's tonsils were so big, that they forced him to stop breathing during the night. I'll gladly pay every penny of that surgery to have a healthy and rested boy.
5) In September, Jack will start Kindergarten. I am still trying to figure out before and after school care, but it will only be for a combined few hours per day. Not having our current daycare and preschool monthly payments will be HUGE for us. We'll almost feel rich not writing those checks each month!
6) Swagbucks! I already use Swagbucks as my search engine to earn bucks and then I trade them in for Amazon giftcards. I'll use those as much as possible for birthday presents, and other necessary home items. That should free up some budget to apply towards Honda Solo.
Now that you know my plans, I'd love to hear your suggestions and what has worked for you to pay off a big debt in the past!