Buying a Third Car – Savings After Six Months

I thought now would be a good time to follow up on my post about buying a third car, since it’s been 6 months since I made that purchase.  I have done most of the things I needed to do when I bought the car, but I still have a couple little things left to do once I get to them.  So far, I’ve spent money in the following areas:

  • Replaced spark plugs, two oil changes, fuel injection cleaner, and leak preventative: $153.48
  • Muffler: $63.44
  • Parts for new radio (old radio volume quit working properly): $50.32
  • New air filter: $13.15
  • Haynes manual: $13.98
  • New manual (car did not come with one): $6.94
  • Sun visors (got from junkyard.  Old one on driver side was destroyed): $6

I still have a few other things to fix:

  • Driver’s side window gets off track.  This could be as simple as adjusting something, or replacing a part that could cost up to $80.  I’ll find out once I take it all apart.
  • Worn gasket.  In order to get to the gasket, I need to take apart half the engine.  Since I’ll have it all apart anyway, I’ll replace the timing belt, along with the other belts.  I looked through the service records, and didn’t see anything about the belts being replaced, so I figure I might as well do it while I’ve got it all apart.  This could easily cost me $500+ to pay to get it fixed, but it’ll end up costing me around $50 to do it myself.
  • Bad strut.  I haven’t looked into this, but it sounds like there might be a bad strut.  The previous owner mentioned it, but it doesn’t sound too bad right now.  I might just leave it the way it is for now.
  • SRS light on.  The previous owner said it’s been on as long as he’s had it, and it passes all inspections.  I like to have everything fixed, but this is my lowest priority.  It’s just for me to drive back and forth to work, so I might not fix it.

Now on to the savings.  I am actually saving more than I figured.  I originally thought I’d save $29.77/mo, but so far I’ve averaged $39.39/mo savings.  I did end up underestimating the monthly maintenance, but that’s because I’m getting the car in better shape than the previous owner had it.  I originally thought I’d spend $28.33/mo, but I’ve actually averaged $51.22/mo, based on the bullet points above.  The good news is that the car is actually worth $77 more than I paid for it 6 months ago, and the insurance is a little cheaper.  I’ve gone 8471 miles in the past 6 months, and my savings in gas is pretty much spot on with gas averaging $3.20/gallon during those 6 months.  Gas was cheaper, but I’ve averaged a higher mpg to balance it out.

Obviously I don’t expect the value of the car to increase over time, but the monthly maintenance should drop off once I finish the above items, which should pretty much balance out the depreciation changes.  Here’s how the actual costs have broken down for the first 6 months of owning the car:

truck civic
mpg 20 37.5
added insurance/mo 19.39
added maintenance/mo 51.22
added license plates/mo 8.25
depreciation costs/mo -12.83
gas cost/mo 225.89 120.48
savings in gas 105.42
total cost/mo 225.89 186.51
total savings/mo 39.39

Here’s the original estimate I made when I purchased the vehicle 6 months ago, just so you can compare both of them side by side:

truck civic
mpg 20 35
added insurance/mo 20.83
added maintenance/mo 28.33
added license plates/mo 8.25
depreciation costs/mo 16.67
gas cost/mo 242.33 138.47
savings in gas 103.85
total cost/mo 242.33 212.55
total savings/mo 29.77

So I have come out better than I planned, which I thought might happen.  Doing all the work myself on the car makes it pay off.  Otherwise, I would have paid more to get some items fixed with it.  Run the numbers yourself before deciding to buy a third car, but it might just save you some money if you have a similar situation as me.

2011 New Year’s Goals – Final Update

With my revised New Year’s Goals, we are trying to reduce our non-house debt by 33.33%.  Due to our refinance, we didn’t hit this goal either.  We ended up eliminating 30.47% of our non-house debt.  That means I didn’t hit any of my 2011 New Year’s Goals.

I think I might have made them a little aggressive.  This year, I’m going to try to work on something more realistic.  That being said, we still got rid of a good chunk of debt.

How did you do on your 2011 New Year goals?  Did you reach them, or fall short like I did?  What information did you gain from your goals and how you ended up?  Leave a comment to discuss it.