Most of you know I’m a car guy – I love everything about cars, from the sleek designs we saw back in the 60s to the thrill of acceleration to the smell of exhaust. Volkswagen has now produced a car that gets more than 260 miles per gallon. The XL1 weighs in at just 1,753 pounds, does not have power steering (the module adds too much weight) but it is in fact the most fuel-efficient car in the world. And it comes in at just $150,000.
Now I can get the idea of setting a big goal and going for it – but some goals have a questionable payoff (like Most Toilet Seats Broken by the Head in One Minute).
I just purchased this 2006 Suzuki Forenza for $2500 to have on hand as a car for friends and kids (yes, this is a picture I just took a few days ago). The mileage rating is 26 city, 35 highway. If I drove an average of 2000 miles a month and gas is currently $3.30/gal it would cost me $220/month. If I drove the VW XL1 the same mileage each month would cost me $25. Nice savings, right? But with the extra $147,500 I saved in buying the Suzuki I can spend that extra $195/month on gas and still be money ahead for the next 63 years.
Obviously, this is an extreme example. But when I see people run out to finance a Smart Car, Prius, or Leaf so they can “save money” on gas I’ll have to admit I often scratch my head, wondering if they took the time to really calculate their “savings.”
There are so many similar examples. We have some friends who just moved from their condo to an apartment where they will save over $300 in rent. Unfortunately they are now 45 minutes from their jobs rather than the previous 5 minutes.
I hear from people every day who are hanging on to the job they have because they still have health insurance provided. Knowing they could likely increase their income by $30,000 they hang onto that job because of a $4,000 “benefit.”
I hear from Moms who need to work to add family income but when we look at the costs of day care, wardrobes, dry cleaning, lunches and car expenses they find they are paying for the option of having that job leading to a negative net income.
Are there things you are doing to “save money” that could be eliminated for a bigger net gain?
Incidentally, the record for Most Toilet Seats Broken by the Head in One Minute is 46. I’m sure the dude has bragging rights but very little in real life value beyond that.