On the Road to Financial Independence I Traded My Muscle Car in on a Corolla

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I drove a muscle car for a long time because it fed my ego. I liked how people turned to watch as I drove by. I liked people (usually dudes) commenting on it when I was fueling up. I liked feeling powerful stomping on that pedal. So you would think I would regret a decision like this one.

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I didn’t wake up Wednesday morning and think to myself, “Hey, Dave ol’ buddy ol’ pal, you know that hot and totally rad Dodge Challenger you’ve got sitting in your driveway? You know the one with the 392 Hemi and that awesome shaker hood with the blower? Yeah that’s the one! Whadda’ ya’ say we trade that sucker in on the most practical daily driver we can possibly fine. Something like say… A USED TOYOTA COROLLA!”

And yet that’s exactly what I did.

I wouldn’t say it was a total spur of the moment decision. I’ve been knee-deep in financial independence books, blogs and Facebook groups, so I had slowly been coming around to the idea of buying something more practical for what is essentially a shuttle for me to and from work.

Yet when I arrived at work Wednesday of this week, I had no clue that by day’s end I would have traded the face-melting monster machine in on the face-massaging safety wagon.

We are in the midst of refinancing our house, because we could use the extra bit of change it will provide each month. (Don’t bother debating on whether or not that’s a sound decision. It’s already done, short of signing in two weeks.)

Our home loan agent called with closing costs, and I freaked out because they were more than we were originally quoted. Things escalated quickly, and before I knew it, I was chatting with an agent at a reputable Toyota dealer here in my neck of the woods about trading my car in.

I had just reached my breaking point in terms of being stressed about my finances constantly, and yet driving around in a car that costs me $40-$60 bucks a week in gas alone. Plus I didn’t actually go anywhere with it. 99% of my car’s use is driving me to and from work. That’s it. On weekends we mostly drive my wife’s vehicle. So why did I need a gas-guzzling, high insurance, high payment vehicle to do that?

Turns out I didn’t!

It was enough of a spur of the moment decision however that I made two dumb mistakes:

  1. I paid for car tabs two days earlier. That’s 100 wasted bucks.
  2. I filled my old car up with gas. THAT MORNING. 50 wasted bucks.

It’s cool though. The Corolla is certified pre-owned through Toyota, and I got gap protection for it. It’s got just over 22,000 miles on it (the Dodge had 51,000), and I figure I’ve got a minimum of 130k left on it. In fact, I’m hoping it lasts 4 more years until my son turns 16. Then it will be his, and maybe his Dad will buy something stupid again.

I got enough on my trade-in to put some money down, and walked out the door with numbers that look like this:

Monthly Payment Savings: $250
Monthly Gas Savings: $120
Monthly Insurance Savings: $17
TOTAL MONTHLY SAVINGS: $387

Then there are things like tires; a set of performance tires for my old car was around $2,000. The new ones will be about $400 bucks. Oil changes in the Dodge required full synthetic, and were over $100 bucks each. No clue what the new one will cost, but I guarantee it will be less. All said and done, I’m probably looking at an average monthly savings of between $400-$500. That’s crazy!

[Yeah I get it, some of you are getting all turned on by all of this number and car maintenance talk. Rub some ice on the back of your neck and think about hairy warts or something to calm yourself down.]

Here’s the real talk, people:

I drove a muscle car for a long time because it fed my ego. I liked how people turned to watch as I drove by. I liked people (usually dudes) commenting on it being a badass car when I was fueling up. I liked feeling powerful stomping on that pedal. And I f*cking LOVED the sound the pipes made. So you would think I would regret a decision like this one.

And yet I don’t even a little bit. There are more Dodge Challengers out there, and maybe I’ll buy one in a few years. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I can damn sure promise that if I do, I’ll buy it the right way this time: Used, and with at least 20% down.

This is a total departure from my mindset last year. Hell, it’s almost a 180 from 3 months ago. The thought of making a switch like this never crossed my mind, and yet it just happened in the blink of an eye. Things are changing for me, my friends.

As the old saying goes: Sh*t just got real.

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It’s not a sexy car. It’s not a head-turning car. It’s a car. It has four wheels, it has a billion airbags and safety do-dads, and it rolls down the road. That’s all I need.

 

FUN FACT: I was told that my old Challenger would most likely be shipped to China, because they pay a premium for certain models over there. The dealer swore this to be true, and if it is in fact the case, at least I won’t have to see the damn thing fly past my Corolla on the freeway…

Have a great weekend!

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Have you made big changes to become financially independent? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks as always for stopping by!

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