Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why a Car is a 'Need' in Our Life

So, I decided to try to get back into my blogging world.  Mostly because I've been spending so much time on Diaperswappers & diaper related pages that Tim has decided I'm obsessed.  In my opinion, I'm not obsessed that just happens to be what interests me....but I digress.

While I was catching up on the thousands of blogs unread in my Google Reader, I happened across this post by Penniless Parenting.  It talks about Needs vs. Wants and she explains why she & her family decided that a car is a want, not a need.

I can see the logic in her decision making...but I have to disagree.  For us, a car is a need.  

I'll cross examine her logic & explain our thinking:

Penny says: 
Purchasing a car is outrageously expensive, especially where I live. 

New cars are expensive as we know!  We had the truck just under 2 years before deciding to sell it at a small loss.  Fortunately for us, my car, a 2005 Toyota Corolla, which can easily be expected to last until 2015, is paid for.  We have no car payment.  We will have to do maintenance/upkeep on it, but fortunately as well our oil changes are covered for a while longer.

Penny says:
The price of gasoline around here has gone up to $6.65 per gallon. 

That is just ridiculous!  If gas cost that much here we definitely would drive a LOT less.  As it is we already conserve gas as much as we can by carpooling & not making unnecessary trips to Virginia Beach or Suffolk.

Penny says:
Insurance is another $85 per month.

Unfortunately, good insurance does cost, and while I don't know what we pay, it is worth it for the peace of mind to know that if anything happens to our little family we will be taken care of financially.

Penny says:
Emissions tests. Another $250 yearly making that 20 dollars per month.

These are not required here in the good ole USofA.

Penny says:Maintenance. If you spend a lot of anew car you can hope to pay fewer maintenance costs, but if you're looking to save at the used car dealership, you'll most likely be paying hundreds a year in regular maintenance, like oil changes, flat tires, and just general fine tuning, not to mention hit and runs, scratches, or accidents that were deemed your fault.
Extra Expenses. Traffic tickets, parking tickets, and parking fees are just some of these extras.

Ok, now these two are just silly to me!  Our oil changes are included in what I paid for my car, Tim does MOST if not all of our maintenance, my car has never been "in the shop".  Hit & runs and accidents are emergencies not something to plan/budge for.  Fortunately our insurance is awesome and covered all but about $600 of the one accident I've had in my car.  

Traffic & parking tickets are the result of either stupidity or arrogance.  Follow the laws and you won't get tickets.  We haven't had either of those in years.  The only places I can think of that we pay to park are MacArthur Center Mall & Busch Gardens.  We've been to MCM about 5 times in the last year & its been more than a year since we went to Busch Gardens. 

Penny says:
Cars Promote Spending. In addition to all the other money sucking aspects of owning a car, when it is easier to get around, it is easy to go to money wasting venues. 

Our new way of managing our money really helps alleviate this.  We don't do a lot of impulse shopping and plan most of our purchases.  We always grocery shop with a list and eat out only when it really is needed or a special occasion.  We also have an eating out budget, so the fact that we have a car doesn't really play into that, if we didn't have a car, we'd find some other way to get out for food.  

Penny says:Pollution and Oil Reliance. I wrote about these two in more depth over here- "Why bother conserving?"
Congestion. There are too many cars on the road...
Danger. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the world. 
Laziness. I'll be shot for saying this, but I think having a car makes people more lazy. 

Pollution & Oil reliance are really political topics I try not to get into on my blog.  I do my part in recycling & not using paper products to help where I feel I can.  I'll leave it at that even though I do have more of an opinion than that.
Congestion is a matter of where you live.  Head 2 hours west to Buckingham.  There's no congestion there.  So, again I think it's relative.

From the CDC:
Number of deaths for leading causes of death

  • Heart disease: 631,636

  • Cancer: 559,888

  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119

  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583

  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599

  • Diabetes: 72,449

  • Alzheimer's disease: 72,432

  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326

  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344

  • Septicemia: 34,234

ALL kinds of accidents are lumped together ranking FIFTH on the leading causes of death.  I think I have bigger things to worry about.  Mostly my health.  
Finally, laziness, I do not find that my car is an excuse to not exercise, my busy lifestyle maybe, but not my car.  There is literally NOTHING within reasonable walking distance to us.  I could DRIVE all the way to Virginia Beach in the time it would take me to walk one-way to 7-11.  I could probably drive to the grocery store in Virginia Beach, shop and drive home in the time it would take me to walk one-way to the closest Wal-Mart.  

Finally, our biggest reason for NEEDING a car is the time it would take for Tim to otherwise get to work.  Living closer to the base is not possible (we could live closer, but still not within walking distance & Tim can't ride a bike).  The commute time via the HRT system would be 3 hours to work in the morning and 3 hours & 15 minutes on the way home.  Adding 6 hours to the time he'd be away from Luke & I.  That's just silly.  

So, we need a car.  That's my story & I'm sticking to it!


Penniless Parenting said...

I hear ya. Other people have different circumstances in their life, so it makes more sense for them to have a car. I manage quite fine without a car, so for me, it definitely is not a need.

Aiming4Simple said...

You make some valid points. Still, if I could arrange the circumstances in the future, I'd be happier car-less.

Smellyann said...

Just one correction: it depends where you live in the US, as to whether emissions tests are required. Some states require them, where in other states, only certain counties require them.