Our car situation is interesting, to say the least. I drive a 2003 Toyota Camry with 216k miles on it. My husband drives a bright blue 2000 Suzuki SV650 – it has a dent in the gas tank, and when he picked it up from the guy on Craigslist, there was an undisclosed picture of a nude woman on the gas tank. That picture is now covered up by old Young Life stickers, naturally.
Yes, I let my husband buy a motorcycle. And it’s not because I’m a cool wife. Why was I fine with it? Because it was financially in our best interest.
Let me explain. When we got married, I forced myself to make a list of all the debt we owed. I brought student loans, my husband brought student loans, we had a credit card, and the dreaded car loan. His car. All of it was staring at me in the face right there on that paper, in black and white. I knew we could deny it’s existence and pay minimum payments until our 10 year anniversary, or we could take this thing head-on and maybe be able to pay for a decent 10 year anniversary.
We used our wedding money to pay off credit card debt. We then figured out we couldn’t sell our student loans. We dreamed of moving toward debt freedom but needed some momentum; those numbers can feel so big and insurmountable. With debt, the “wins” typically aren’t very quick. Debt is acquired quickly and easily and drained so slowly and painfully. We then learned we were within hundreds of being upside down on the car loan and made the decision to sell his 2011 vehicle. We contemplated one car or a $1,000 “beater” car. I wasn’t terribly comfortable with either.
My husband said, quietly at first, “What if I got a motorcycle?” I immediately wrote it off and said, “Absolutely not.” It seemed crazy initially (it was also November), but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense for us.
It cost as much as a “beater” car – and we could pay cash for it. He could get around and not depend on me. The repairs are significantly cheaper. It costs next to nothing to insure. Our gas bill would drop by half.
Suddenly, it didn’t seem so crazy.
We took the plunge, and as of now, we own everything we drive. The most crippling debt in our generation besides student loans are car loans. We are not yet debt-free, but it is truly a breath of fresh air to have no car debt. No debt is ideal- but with cars you are constantly in a race against the clock because this asset only goes down in value. We were sick and tired of being stressed out by the reality that if something were to happen to the car, we would have no vehicle and would have to write a check to the bank.
We can now make a “car payment” to ourselves and will never again be at the mercy of financing. We will eventually be able to purchase a vehicle we know we can afford because it will be paid for. We will not have to make a decision about a vehicle out of desperation. We now can research, know what our options are, and negotiate.
In the meantime, the Camry shows no signs of slowing down. My husband got me a helmet and a jacket for his birthday. I now have a hot biker husband, and we are almost halfway to debt freedom. The motorcycle will only be around for a season, but it will always be a reminder of the crazy time in our lives we looked for creative ways to live more simply.