Selling our car is more than just saving money, it’s a change in thinking

photo-1456082902841-3335005c3082.jpgIn the western world we’re pretty used to own a car. Although almost every household owns at least one. A car is probably one of the least interesting investments you can make. A car devaluates over the years, is very high maintenance and is a luxury you don’t always need. Per month a lot of our money is being poured into our car through taxes, insurance, gas and maintenance. Because we own a high end car, changing it for a cheaper one would mean we could save money and allocate more into our investments. We could reduce our years we need to spend working, and be financially independent rather sooner than later. In short, it is the best thing to do.

We made this decision 2 days ago. This decision means more to us than just saving money. And I wanted to share what has led us to making this decision, which will be part 1 of this story.

A few weeks back, we published our goals for 2016. One of them was to have a savings rate of 30%. We are on track of achieving this goal, even by maintaining our current spending. I also stated that we try to increase our savings rate every year. In order to do so, we have to increase our income and/or decrease our spending. It would be nice to go up a few points per year. Where we would look at a 50% rate in about 10 years, if we’re lucky. But wouldn’t it be great if we could lift it up big time? Of course!

In order to raise our savings rate upwards every year we already made some small adjustments in the past few years. But if we really want to step up the game, and get to that 50%, we have to make some major adjustments. Not because we need to or can’t afford, but because we want to achieve the coveted financial independence.
In the personal finance community, selling your car is a common way to save more on money. Instead, one could travel by public transport do you would only pay when used.
It’s a great way to reduce your spending and therefor increase your savings rate.

We are not going to make this step (yet). Instead we’re selling our high end car and we will look for a cheaper car to buy back. Why we do this? Because we still aim for a bit of convenience in our lives. We get on the road almost every week to visit friends or family living in other cities. Doing this by public transport would mean our time of travel would double and sometimes even triple. If we would like to go to my family-in-law, who live in The Hague, by car we will get there in 40 minutes. Going by public transport would mean 2 hours and 30 minutes of travel time. And this is only one way of the trip, ugh.

By selling the car, we immediately get a higher savings rate, because we would have lower cost of living. At least, that’s what we aim for. The thought of selling the car first occurred last year, although we never made the step. It was just to much of a hassle, and Mr. Divnomics and myself could never really agree on which car to buy as alternative. So the easy way out was to hold on to it, despite the cost. Until now. We decided to ditch the car and get back a cheaper one. Which one this will be? We still don’t know, but hopefully we will find one within a few weeks.

Why selling a car is more than just saving money

I feel the need to elaborate on this story a bit. With selling a car, something more is happening than just saving money. Being more involved in the DGI and personal finance community has changed the way we looked at money and property. All the stories from bloggers, and comments from readers inspired us to look beyond growing our portfolio. And to start making bigger changes in how we live now, and want to live in the future.

I already said something about owning a high end car. Currently we own a Audi A5, bought almost 4 years ago for €19.000, in our post-investing era. I’ve read on several blogs to look at your live as a book divided in chapters, and being financial independent is just the start of a new one. Well, I think I can state that for us, the chapter of investing and our journey towards financial independence has only just past it’s intro section.

Back when we bought the car, Mr. Divnomics was aiming for his long time wish. Boys being boys, a nice and expensive car was totally it. And because we could afford it, we bought it. And it felt so good.

And now, we do no longer feel any joy of riding it anymore. Yes it still looks good, but it just feels like a normal car. Is costing us more money every year because of the high maintenance and is rather a downgrade instead of an upgrade to our lives.

The need to actually sell the car is not only because we want to save more money every month. But more importantly because we see no added value in owning such a car. The purpose of a car is that u can use it the way you want, not what color is has or if  the interior is leather or fabric.

It’s not about the car, stupid

A nice expensive car will give your more status, and is something some people can really enjoy. If you’re only looking at sitting comfortable, being able to go fast and if you compare yourself with others around you, just do it.

But think about it carefully. What is the real reason you own or want to buy a car?

Buying or owning a car is not really about the car itself, but rather the experiences you gain from it. Cars itself are not meant to make us happier. But the things you can and will achieve by using them. Like going on a nice holiday, or visiting friends and relatives easier, or even to provide a safe ride to your children. It makes our lives a bit easier, but it shouldn’t be about the car itself.

So who cares what kind of car you drive, as long as it works. You should not try to aim at a luxury car only because you can afford it. Being able to afford something, does not mean you should also do it.

Conclusion and next steps

We were one of those who cared about getting nice stuff and paying the price for it. We still like nice cars, we just don’t want to pay the price for it anymore. After turning towards DGI our mindset started to change. Still we didn’t sell our car, until now.

Life should not depend on what you own or how much it’s worth. Life is about getting joy of the little things, of being with family and friends, to share everything with like-minded and feeling happy. Therefore money is not a goal. Money, for us, is a way of achieving freedom and being able to give something in return.

Before we will be selling our car, we have to pass inspection. Our current ‘APK’ (in Dutch) or inspection is due in October. With this inspection a garage will check if the car is still safe to drive with, or if anything needs to be fixed. In the Netherlands this is mandatory to do every 2 years. Selling a car when no ‘APK’ has been performed or is about to expire is a real no go. When the inspection is done, we will list it through a garage, which will be selling the car for us. And in the meantime we can search for some cheaper cars to buy as alternative.

Part 2 of our mission will get into more detail of the costs of our car ownership and our search for a cheaper alternative.

Have you experienced something similar? Did you sell your car for financial reasons, or maybe you’re only thinking about it. Did you already take it to the next level and don’t even own a car? Any tips or feedback are most welcome. Please let us know in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Selling our car is more than just saving money, it’s a change in thinking

  1. Definitely recommend the car-less life. We’ve lived in 4 different cities now, never owned one, and only recently with kids has it started to even be slightly tempting. The funny thing is if you don’t have one, you find ways to getting around still. Bike, bus, rent, all available, all cheaper. I don’t see a car as a luxury item I need to have, it’s just a thing that gets me from A to B.

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    • Sounds very good! A car is something you are so easily used to, and see it almost as a necessary item in our household.
      For the shorter distances we already use the bikes (commuting) or the public transport. But for the longer ones we still hold on to a car. It costs us just to much time going by train. Although that is perceptive too of course.

      We still look at multiple alternatives before actually buying a car. Additionally a car-less life is made easier by growing companies like Uber. Looking on the long term, car-ownership is possibly more transitioning into car-sharing.

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      • Thanks for the input! We probably use the car once or twice a week for a longer drive. We’re currently looking at all options, so rent on demand is still a possibility. The only downside is that there are not many cars on demand in our neighboorhood. And depending on which car we would buy, the costs will not necessarily be lower. We have to make a good comparison though.

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  2. I also got rid of my car. Started it when I lived in the city, because of the abundance of public transportation. Now I don’t have one just because it’s one less thing to deal with. Walking and biking are better, so it’s worked out for me overall. The only tricky bit is how you get places for groceries and other things if they’re far away, but there are solutions like ride sharing, etc.

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    • Although it was not part of the initial plan, we started thinking seriously about ditching the car completely. We do see all the benefits of not owning a car. But living in a bit of a rural area, and the downside of public transport (time) or cars on demand (limited offers) has helped us to see that for us the only benefit of not owning a car would be money.

      The reason we do want to buy back (a much cheaper) car is because previous experiences has thought us that we want to be able to leave whenever we like. And have the option to be with my family-in-laws in the shortest amount of time, if needed be. Owning a car actually will provide us more freedom than if we didn’t own one. And in the end, it’s that not what’s it all about?

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