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Finances & Money

What happened to our $22,000!?! Oh, that’s where it went…

We own 3 cars. That’s right. Two people, 3 cars.

Honda Ridgeline RTS1. 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS
Chevy Malibu2. 2005 Chevrolet Malibu
Pontiac Grand Am3. 1997 Pontiac Grand Am

(Why do all advertisements for vehicles show silver ones?)

The breakdown for car costs in 2006
As I write this, it’s actually the first time I’m seeing these numbers.
I’ll explain each in the next section. I’ll let your jaw drop first:

1. Loan Payments: $16,432.00
2. Insurance: $2,121.57
3. Fuel: $3,095.74
4. Parts, Service & Oil: $312.69
5. Registration: $128.00
6. AAA Membership: $96.00

Total Cost of our 3 Cars in 2006: $22,186.00

Whoah!

What the heck happened???
1. Loan Payments: We bought the Ridgeline last year and put down $5,000. We also put $2,000 extra towards the Malibu. The rest was just regular car payments. Oh, the Grand Am has been paid off for a few years now.

2. Insurance: Part of the high cost is living in Maryland. There’s something called a “No Fault Law” here that was supposed to lower rates, but it’s done the opposite. Also, being in the D.C. area, there’s more chance that our lovely cars will be stolen or involved in an accident. Oh, there might be some other incidents involved in the higher rates.

3. Fuel: We drive pretty far for our jobs. Also, we like to drive for our vacations rather than fly. Lastly, our families are 3-4 hours away, and we visit them every couple of months. With the cost of gas, lots of miles and lower gas mileage in our main long-distance vehicle (Ridgeline), we spent LOTS on gas last year.

4. Parts, Service & Oil: Most of the parts were for the Grand Am. The service was for the Malibu’s tires and alignment, and I change my own oil.

5. Registration: For my old Acura, which I traded in for the Ridgeline soon after I renewed the registration. Since I got a truck, I couldn’t re-use the Acura registration since it was for a car.

6. AAA Membership: This is a hangover from when the Grand Am was my wife’s primary car. It has 125,000 miles on it and we wanted the better coverage. However, at the next renewal, we’ll either drop the plan or cancel it entirely.

What do we do about this mess?
Check back tomorrow to find out!

About the author

Clever Dude

6 Comments

  • fuel: are you using the cashback card to lower the fuel costs since ya’ll drive alot?

    insurance: have you considered listing one or two of the vehices as “leisure” cars to lower insurance? At the very least, one of them should be considering that you are only two people and can only drive two cars.

    “…other incidents involved in the higher rates”: have you looked into taking a driver safety course to lower your insurance rates? did you look into taking driver safety course to void the infractions?

  • We do use the Chase Freedom card for fuel cashback

    I’ll look into asking our insurance agent about the leisure rates. We do have the Grand Am listed with only comprehensive and liability insurance (not collision).

    I’m posting Part 2 to this today to highlight some of our options.

  • Ah, here’s where working in the marketing side of the automobile industry helps answer car trivia type questions. 🙂

    The simple answer is – silver is the most popular colour. But that’s only one part of the answer to your question. The second is that silver vehicles are almost always what’s shot for those flashy studio photos, because silver is the easiest to mask in Photoshop so that the designer may “color” the vehicle in all the other colors in which it is available.

    I hope that makes sense!

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