Abundant Living- $12,800

Generating an extra 13 thousand dollars.  Wow, I never thought I’d be brainstorming at this level before starting this exercise.  To read this through from the beginning, check out my initial post on “Abundant Living” here which explains the challenge in detail.  The basics are that every week or so I double the amount spent last time, figure out how I could raise that money, dream about how I would spend that money, and then express gratitude for 3 things currently in my life.

 

This week’s challenge: $12,800.

 

How I’d raise that sum:

Become a 1 car household.  Eliminate the need for a second car.  Resist the urge to replace the car that is dying/just died with a new car.  Any or all of those options will fit the bill!  DH and I have already done this and we will continue to do so until we find it impossible or become millionaires.  Sure, it’s inconvenient sometimes.  We both need the car at the same time some days.  We don’t always work the same schedule.  In fact, we don’t often work the same schedule.  This means that one or both of us must find another activity near work or be willing to walk home while we wait for the other person to come and pick us up once they’re finished.  We have to live relatively close to work and the things we like to do in order to make this work.  We pay a premium on housing to live in the city but save a bundle on the auto.  Here’s how:

 

 

 

photo courtesy of www.honda.com

 

The median price for a new 2009 Honda CRV (our car of choice after many discussions right now) is $25,000.  With sales tax, tags and title that sum could easily be $28,000.   Financed for 4 years at 9% (typical consumer loan rates for new auto loans with average credit in my area) that is a monthly payment of $700 or $8400 annually towards the loan value.

 

Cost of insurance for a newer car would significantly raise our current insurance rates by approximately $150/month because we would need better insurance and would be insuring a second driver (our current vehicle is 7 years old)   The savings totals $1600 annually.

 

Cost of gas would increase with a second car.  The car we desire for our area gets 10 less miles per gallon.  That’s an increased cost of filling the gas tank another 50% each month.  DH often walks when if he doesn’t have access to a second car now.  We also walk together sometimes because we are used to walking alone.  If we got another car, he would certainly drive more and we might stop taking purposeful walks as well.  Additional gas for this car: $100/month (minimum) or $1200 annually.

 

Oil changes, inspections, monthly cleaning costs and routine maintenance total $600 annually.

 

That’s $11,000.  Typical consumers would probably find an upgrade or two to include such as a warming package (if available in colder regions!), an upgraded cd player or sound system or an upgraded interior for comfort.  These could easily add another $1-2,000 to the cost of the car and increase the costs of maintenance (cleaning, fixing malfunctions, buying more cd’s!) annually!

 

The second car is a HUGE annual expense that we have been able to avoid early on in our marriage.

 

What I’d do with $12,800:

That’s an extra $1100 monthly.  We could certainly afford to upgrade our living status.  A good investment right now might be to seek out a home (which we were doing) and use that money to buy property close to the city to ensure our ability to afford living close to work and play for years to come.  A fun idea would be to begin renting a luxury apartment for $2000/month in our area (current rent plus added money not used for a car) which would allow us to invite friends over to enjoy the downtown amenities, pool, workout room, picnic areas and nightlife!

 

We enjoy renting and have decided we don’t want to live here indefinitely.  We choose to be a bit more boring with that money instead of hassling with a move and spending everything we are saving on present needs.  Instead, we’re investing for our future by opening ROTH IRA accounts at www.scottrade.com.  Maybe it’s a sign but this amount seems to correlate perfectly with the contribution limits for 2009 especially for those age 50 and above:

 

IRA Contribution Limits

Year

AGE 49 & BELOW

AGE 50 & ABOVE

2002-2004

$3,000

$3,500

2005

$4,000

$4,500

2006-2007

$4,000

$5,000

2008

$5,000

$6,000

2009

$5,000

$6,000

2010

Indexed to Inflation

Indexed to Inflation

 

 

Three things I’m thankful for this week:

1)      Two new family members that I was first to meet.  They are such a precious addition and DH and I are looking forward to babysitting them as they grow!

2)      Our shared passion for saving and investing in our future- the security I get from a bountiful bank account blesses my marriage in numerous ways

3)      The abundance of clothing we have.  We have plenty of clothes to stay warm, dress up appropriately, and be comfortable despite getting rid of 3 large hefty bags full of clothes earlier this week in my efforts to downsize.

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