Trains, planes and automobiles. A fabulous movie, if you like John Candy and Steve Martin and I do. But for Poor Farm blog purposes we'll just be talking about automobiles.
Our budget for 2017 in this area was $400/month or $4800/yr. Actual spent was $535.33 per month average for a total of $6432.91/year. Over budget by $135.33 per month.
What happened? Old vehicles happened. Keith's truck, an F-150 2002 Ford has 228,000 miles on it. My little 2000 Dodge Neon has 229,000 miles. As stated on Auto Blog , American cars are aging almost as fast as we baby boomers are. The average age of a car on the road is now 11.5 years. In 2009, this number was lower, at 9.4 years.
Our vehicles are 16 and 18 years old, as elderly as our oldest grandchild. This past year they both required some repairs. Of the total $6432.91, $2028.96 was spent on repairs alone such as new brakes and radiator for my car, new wheel bearings, manifold, spark plugs and other engine issues on the truck. This equates to $84.54 per vehicle per month for repairs.
Thus the remaining $4403.95 was gas, license and registration expenses** for both vehicles or about $183 per month per vehicle. Since it costs so much more for Keith to fill his truck, about $50, vs my car at around $25 and because the mileage is not so great on the truck, Keith does drive the car to work ( 24 miles round trip) whenever weather allows. My little car does not do so well in snow drifts.
Even with our expenses being over budget, when compared to the cost of newer vehicles, we feel we're doing ok nursing along the two geriatric modes of transportation. In the US today the average car payment is $503 a month, the average car loan is 68 months and the average auto loan is $30,000. When compared to our repair costs of $84/month/vehicle, it appears having a new or newer vehicle is not yet validated.
But, we are realists, and we understand more repairs are likely, so here is our plan for 2018. We've increased our auto monthly budget to $550/month which includes all fuel, registrations and repairs. In addition we are planning for life with just one vehicle. If the truck breaks down to the point that it makes more sense to purchase a newer used one, we'll purchase one and we'll hang on to the car until it does the same. But, if the car crashes first, we'll get by with just one vehicle, the truck.
A truck is truly essential here, for transporting hay and grain, for hauling home barn building materials, and for taking animals to the locker for butchering.
How about you? Car or truck? New or old? Tips on how we can save even more in this area?
** Car insurance is not covered in these numbers as we budget and account for it along with home, and life insurance. This is a separate category for our budgeting purposes. I'll blog about it soon in this series.