The Frugalmobile

My econobox!

Well, I did it. I bought a car. After more than two years of living car-free and carefree the time has come.

As I recently explained, my employer is building a new facility and moving across town. This new location makes it impossible for me to continue riding the bus to work based on where I live and the bus routes available here in Sarasota, and it’s not easy to get there by scooter, either. Although this transition is likely not going to be completed until mid-2014, I preemptively changed my method of travel. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it might be nice to spend a beautiful winter here in Florida with more flexible transportation. For instance, it’s terribly difficult for us to get the beach by bus, as due to transfers it ends up taking well over an hour to travel about 15 miles. I’m still a bit mixed on it though, as I really, really enjoyed my time without a car. They’re money pits no matter how you slice it.

I’m calling my new (to me) econobox the “Frugalmobile”.

I think that title is fairly accurate and descriptive. I picked up a 1997 Ford Escort this past Tuesday. It’s in very nice condition, and appears to be mechanically sound. It has just under 90,000 miles, with a recent tune-up, timing belt and water pump replacement. It also has a clean Carfax report. You can never really tell for sure with a vehicle this old, but it seems to be in fairly nice condition and is a low mileage specimen.

After factoring in the purchase price, taxes, title transfer fees, registration, etc., I paid $2,030 for my new ride. Not too bad. Even better, after factoring in the likely proceeds from the sale of my lovely 49cc scooter I’ll probably see less than $1,000 actually leaving my pocket. And I’ll have a car. I guess that’s not too bad of a trade-off?

Initially I was planning to spend $5,000-$6,000 on a car. However, after further thought spending more money does not necessarily equate to a better or more reliable car. Working at a car dealership, I can personally attest to seeing fairly new vehicles requiring extensive (and sometimes expensive) repairs. In fact, I decided quite the opposite – that the cheaper the car the less risk I’m actually exposing myself to. If this car completely clunks out on me, I’m only out about two grand. If I spend $6,000 on a car and a catastrophic failure occurs, I’m in a bad spot.

I was actually chasing an older Toyota Corolla. There’s plenty around, and picking a 10-12 year-old Corolla with a manual transmission is pretty bulletproof. However, it seems that, at least in my area, there appears to be some kind of premium on these cars. This premium is probably well deserved, as they’re just fantastic cars. However, I had a very hard time finding a Corolla that was not completely destroyed below $2,500. I only found one in my entire month long search, but it was too far out of my area to purchase. I was limited by the bus and scooter, but I was willing to take a taxi for the right opportunity. However, it was not meant to be. The Frugalmobile was located less than five miles away!

According to the EPA, this vehicle was rated at 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, for a combined value of 26 mpg. Not overly impressive, but certainly not too bad either. It’s definitely not the 100 mpg my Honda Metropolitan gets! I’ll likely not see these exact figures as this car is 16 years old and has 90,000 miles under the hood. I’ll be gauging it over the next few weeks to see where I stand.

I’m no longer car-free, and I’m emotionally fractured. On one hand, I loved my time without a car. On the other, I’m looking forward to accessing parts of the city difficult or impossible to get to without a car. I’m also looking forward to more time, as I’ll be able to leave home later in the morning and get back from work earlier. While at first it was difficult to get by without a car and adjust myself, once I got used to the bus and riding my cheap little Honda I absolutely loved the savings. No car means no 12-gallon tank to fill, no tires or brakes to replace, no repairs to pay for and no liability or responsibility. However, it also means less flexibility and less time. We’ll see how this trade-off works.

How about you? Approve of the Frugalmobile?

Thanks for reading.

Comments

  1. says

    It looks like you made a good decision Jason. Some people would have figured they were “in for the penny, in for the pound”, and gotten an expensive new car. You went with something simple, basic, and hopefully sound….with your end goal in mind. I was at a Toyota dealer yesterday, long story, but I took a look at the new cars while I was killing time. Wow, new cars are expensive. I think the next thing I buy will be a early 90s F150 with a straight 6. Never should have sold my old one.

    Keep us up to date on changes in your habits as a result of your new car. I’m guessing the convenience will factor into more frequent and spontaneous errands. Have a great night
    -Bryan

    • says

      Bryan,

      Cars are definitely expensive. I see that first-hand every day at work. I’m hoping that this car lives up to its reputation as being economical and easy/cheap to fix. We’ll see how she goes. I wanted a Toyota, but the math just didn’t work out for me.

      This car is definitely basic. It doesn’t even have electric windows. Good old-fashioned hand cranks! :)

      I’ll keep you updated for sure. I hope to keep my other expenses down to compensate for the additional expenses related to car ownership.

      Best regards!

    • says

      Pursuits,

      It’s not too bad for being 16 years old. The interior is actually in really nice shape. I’m surprised. It’s held up very well.

      I’m hoping it will be reliable. It seems like I have terrible luck with cars sometimes, so I hope my luck is changing.

      Take care.

  2. Anonymous says

    The escort is a better car than it gets credit for because it shares its technology with Mazda 3′s. I owned a Madza they are good cars.

    One more tip: geo prizms or chevy prizms of the past are corollas in disguise, simply just re badging the same car. These can be bought at a lower price in the used car market.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Great point there! They did share a lot of components and tech with the Mazda 3 back then. Although I’m not sure if that carried into 1997 or not. I know for sure that was the case on earlier Escorts.

      I knew about the trick with Prizms, but I ran into the same problem: finding a good deal. It seems the secret is out on those things (cheap and reliable), and so you see that premium there. The Escort of the late 90′s actually wasn’t too bad as far as reliability goes, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. They’re cheap to fix, and even cheaper for me since I’m in the industry.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing the info. Much appreciated!

      Cheers!

  3. says

    Good find. It looks clean for how old it is. The owner look like they took good care of it. How many past owners did the car have? Also try not to fill the car up with stuff so that it can help you with the gas and keep the tire pressure on point. best of luck with your new car. :)

    • says

      FFDividend,

      Carfax showed it had two prior owners, so that makes me #3. Not bad for being so old. It looks like the last owner had it for quite a while!

      I’ll make sure to take your tips seriously. I’m all about maximizing my mpg! :)

      Thanks for the well wishes. I hope it works out. I’ll make sure to keep you all updated.

      Best regards.

  4. Spoonman says

    The “Frugalmobile”, hehe, I love it! That’s an awesome name. My wife’s beater is an ancient Toyota Corolla that has been serving us well for over 5 years. We are likely to retire it soon because we are moving to another part of town and won’t need two cars.

    I can see why you are emotionally fractured, these are not easy decisions to make. But I must say it’s an interesting problem to have: you are not happy with getting something that people in other parts of the world would kill to have! Your resolve to achieve FI is so powerful that you curse fate for making you get a car. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it =).

    I wish you good luck with your new ride!

    • says

      Spoonman,

      Nice! An ancient Corolla is exactly what I was looking for. Maybe my next car. A guy can dream, right? :)

      You make a great point there! I guess I’ve come a long way. A few years ago I couldn’t imagine life without a car; now I don’t even want one. I guess chasing FI with such passion can do that to you. :)

      May our resolve continue to remain strong!

      Best wishes.

  5. Tyler in Thailand says

    LOL, this is EXACTLY the post I was hoping to eventually see from you. I approve. Originally, when I saw you mention $5-6,000 in a previous post, I though “on no, he’s getting caught up in the car buying ‘experience’ and he’s going to buy way more care than he needs.” I’m pleased you stuck to your frugal values. The last car I bought in the States a couple of years ago was a high mileage, somewhat beat up 1998 Lexus. Despite being a ‘luxury’ brand, it wasn’t fancy and I paid $1800 in cash for it. It needed a couple hundred dollars worth of repairs, but I still feel like I came out way ahead of my peers, who were paying $20,000-$30,000 for brand new cars offering them the SAME commuting service that I was getting for less than 2k. Anyways, all this is to say congrats on sticking to your frugal roots. The $3,000 to $4,000 you saved will go nicely into some high quality dividend stocks, which, instead of sucking money from you, will provide you with a lifelong passive income stream.

    • says

      Tyler in Thailand,

      Thanks for the kind comment. I’m glad I didn’t disappoint. :)

      The more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of spending one penny more than I had to on a car. In fact, I took it as a bit as a challenge to find the cheapest, nicest car I possibly could. This is what I came up with after a little over a month of searching. I think I did a fair job.

      Great job maximizing your value out of that Lexus. Lexus actually stands for “Luxury Export U.S.”. Anywhere else and it’s just a Toyota. However, like a Toyota you’re getting a very reliable car. And that’s huge. Ford doesn’t have that kind of reputation, but my research shows these late 90′s Escorts are fairly decent in the reliability department, and they’re cheap to fix when they do break.

      And you’re absolutely right on that last point! I actually meant to include something to that effect (the money I didn’t spend on a more expensive car can be instead invested, which will go towards paying the bills on the Escort), but totally forgot. I’m glad you mentioned that. Excellent point. :)

      Hopefully Thailand is treating you well! By the way, where in Thailand are you located! That country really intrigues me.

      Cheers!

  6. says

    I am digging the new ride, Jason. You have to love the low mileage, low price tag, and 30+mpg.
    I too am rocking the hand crank windows and manual locks on my econobox and everyone looks at me like I am crazy when they see that. Oh well, at least we are barreling towards FI!

    • says

      Net Worth Snowball,

      I WISH I had an Echo like you. That’s a great car for the money. The best I could find after about five weeks of searching was a 2003 model with 155,000 miles that was selling for $2,700. And that was at a dealer, so you have to factor in dealer fees. I might have been able to get it for $2,600 or so, but the mileage was awfully high even for a Toyota. I went back and forth on that one.

      I hear you on rocking the manual locks and windows. Nothing like getting in and doing the ol’ reach over to unlock the passenger side door! Pretty classy stuff. :)

      Keep up the great work!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      ZaVodou,

      Wow. We have a lot in common, don’t we? I really enjoyed riding the little scooter around. Not the safest mode of travel, but cars aren’t quite as safe as they’re made out to be either.

      How’s your new Frugalmobile working out? I’ve never driven a Smart before. I see them very occasionally in my area, but they’re not quite as common as you might think. I hope you love it!

      Best wishes.

    • ZaVodou says

      Hi Jason,
      yes, we have a lot in common. I think we are brothers in spirit. That is what I always think when I am reading your blog.
      I loved to ride my Vespa too. But I decided myself for a little car now. The wheather in Germany is not like in Florida it’s more like in New York and driving a Scooter while it’s raining or snowing isn’t really funny. But in summer it’s great driving a Vespa.
      I like my Smart. Insurance and tax are cheap and petrol consumtion is low. And when it’s raining I’m sitting in the dry. The most important thing for me is that I can find a parking lot easily because of the size of my car.
      I don’t know about Sarasota but in my hometown it is normaly very difficult to find a parking lot. A Smart is the solution.

      Regards
      ZaVodou

  7. Anonymous says

    Nice choice on the car! Your logic used to make your purchase makes a lot of sense, however I still see this as unfortunate that you had to purchase a vehicle and will have to use it regularly for commuting.

    While you got the right car and price, there is still insurance and incremental gas costs that you are going to have to factor into your budget (which I am sure you will do!). This will reduce your hard earned monthly savings and minimize your future capital available to make your investments, which may be hard for you to let slide. Also, I think the biggest concern is that everytime you get on the road you expose yourself to both physical and financial risk. Getting in an accident where you are liable could significantly set you back from attaining your goals (drive safe bud).

    After reading your blog and finding a way to better track my spending (thanks!), it was a wake up call when I saw just how much I was losing to fuel costs. My work has brought me to a small rural town in Alberta, Canada for a few years, where driving a truck is almost necessary for the weather, road conditions and the amount of time you spend on it. My truck definately does not get 31 mpg highway, and my social circle is often 1-3 hrs away. As a young guy bored in a small town on Friday night, I was easily justifying driving far distances on the weekends. One of my highest priority goals is to show some discipline and reduce the frequency I leave town, and/or finding creative ways to see my friends.

    I cannot wait for the day (8 months or so to go) that my commute consists of a 15-30 min walk downtown, and my truck gets to sit in the parkade. While living close to work can be expensive, I would rather put gas money into rent or equity into a place and kill the commute!

    Congrats on your new car!

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I agree. I would have been fine continuing on car-free. I didn’t have a desire to go out and get a car, but I don’t have much of a choice with my employment moving to a new location.

      I agree with you. The biggest financial aspect of the car isn’t the purchase price, but rather the constant monthly drain. Figuring on just a $200/mo tab for gas and insurance means I need $60,000 invested at 4% to pay for that expense. That’s quite unfortunate, because this car didn’t cost me $2,000, but actually costs me $60,000 on an ongoing basis. And that estimate might be a little light.

      I’m really glad to hear that you’ve made some positive lifestyle changes. It only takes a few key changes to make a dramatic difference. Keep it up! :)

      Best wishes.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I meant to add that my physical/financial risk is actually probably lessened with the car. While riding the bus is extremely safe, my little Honda scooter was not. The odds of physical injury or major financial harm was no doubt much greater with the scooter than it will be with the car.

      Best wishes.

  8. says

    Great choice for a cheap beater! I bet your MPG will be better than 26 combined if you drive it with hypermiling in mind. We sold our 11 year old Corolla with 135,000 miles on it for over $4,000 so they definitely hold their value. I think the car you got will get you around just fine with a lot more money left over for investments. Do you know how to work on cars? Or maybe you have access to discounted service where you work? If not, it would definitely help to learn a bit about car repairs with a 16 year old car! I wrote a couple of posts about it too: http://insourcelife.com/car-repair-and-maintenance/

    • says

      insourcelife,

      I hope you’re right as far as the mpg goes. I’d honestly be happy with 26, but the higher the better!

      I do get access to cheap repairs via the dealership I work at. However, even that has limits. If this car turns into a hunk of junk it’ll be expensive no matter what. I hope it doesn’t come to that and only the occasional repair is necessary. We’ll see how it goes.

      Take care!

  9. says

    Hi Jason,
    I should have seen your blog 3 month back.
    I just ended up buying a 2008 lexus RX350 for 18,000 with 86000 miles – used.
    I had a Honda accord van for 8 years with 135000 miles and had to spent 2000 every year for some or other repairs. Now after seeing your post I am thinking I should have got some used car for less than 6000 and invested the rest of the 12000 in dividedn income. I was suggested Lexus as I need some comfortable car for my back pain and I travel long ways.

    • says

      Dividend Mom,

      I like your new blog! I wish you the best with it. Great looking portfolio as well. :)

      I think a 2008 Lexus RX350 is an absolutely beautiful crossover SUV. But it’s also incredibly expensive and wasteful. I’m just being totally honest with you. Frankly speaking, I would get rid of it immediately and get a cheaper ride that offers similar seat comfort (for your back pain). I can’t imagine that the RX350 has some proprietary seat technology that is easier on your back than any other car out there. I would then invest the difference so that the investments can help pay for the cheaper car. That’s just me.

      Either way, great job on the portfolio. Keep it up.

      Best regards.

    • says

      Jason thanks for taking a look at my blog, I started it after seeing yours. I am very glad I came across your blog, the portfolio is 1 year old when I first bought my Facebook stock out of curiosity and rush. I am a newbie to investing and expert finance but after reading many blogs as yours I am very happy I made the right decision to move forward with dividend stocks. On your suggestions for selling the lexus and getting another car, I have given serious thought, thanks very much and wish me luck in my journey.

    • Anonymous says

      Lexuses are as reliable as Toyotas are, by virtue of being made by them. My doctor has a 2000 Lexus LS400 that is impeccably maintained and looks beautiful even after 13 years.

      Furthermore, if you’re a mom, safety has to be taken into account moreso than you probably would if it was just you driving. I wouldn’t cart my kids around in a ’90s era subcompact unless I absolutely could not afford anything better; you don’t want to get in a highway accident in one. RXs are very safe.

      As for your back pain, yes, there is a big different between a 5 year old luxury car with lumbar support and power seats and a 16 year old economy car that likely doesn’t have those things. A car that is hell on your back is simply going to mean more trips to the doctor or the chiropractor, more bottles of Advil, more of those Icy-Hot things you stick on your back, potentially needing surgery.

  10. says

    I imagine many people (outside of the readers of this blog) might think it was silly for you to buy the car you did because “it’s so old” and “what about all the potential repair costs” and “you could have obviously afforded to spend more.” But with your goals in mind, your purchase makes perfect sense. I wonder what your plans with respect to transportation are once you retire? Will you continue to own older, cheaper, and (hopefully) more reliable cars to take advantage of your new freedom, or might you relocate to an area where it is once again not necessary? I wonder how the purchase of this car will change your thoughts on that.

    • says

      Mark,

      Great question there.

      I hope to be car-free again one day. Long-term slow travel is something I think about. That kind of lifestyle begs one to live without a car. If I didn’t have my job as it stands I wouldn’t need a car at all. Life can change, and maybe my future will demand I have a car, however I do hope to one day again be able to live without a car and the liabilities it comes with. Cars just have a habit of sucking the money right out of you. And that’s money that could be spent on experiences or things that bring much more enjoyment. I’m a car guy at heart, but logic dictates that I spend as little on a car as possible.

      We’ll see how the future turns out. The great thing is that this blog is really a journal, so my decisions (for better or worse) will be laid out for the world to see.

      Best regards.

  11. says

    That doesn’t look like a BMW? :)

    Kidding aside I hope it works out for you. Since you work at the dealership you have the inside-scoop, and probably know your way around cars and repairs as well.

    I’m not sure I would sell the scooter. You’ll never get back what you paid for it, and it will be a great Summer ride. Maybe the GF will use it?

    Cheers
    Avrom

    • says

      Avrom,

      If you squint hard enough it kinda sorta looks like a Bimmer…or maybe not. :)

      I thought about keeping the scooter for a little while. But I think I can get pretty close to what I paid for it. I’m going to put it up for sale on craigslist and see what kind of interest it generates. If I can’t get a decent sum for it I’ll just keep it for a while. I have nothing to lose.

      I hope you have a great weekend!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      Wall Street Beer Money,

      Glad you like the site! Thanks. :)

      I don’t know if I’d call the car nice, but it’ll do the job. I just hope I can get a few years out of it.

      Stay in touch.

      Cheers!

  12. Debbie M says

    You hardly need our approval!

    On the one hand, a Ford Escort (my first car) is the reason that today I buy only super-reliable models. I did much better with a ten-year-old Nissan Sentra than a two-year-old Ford Escort. On the other hand, your car probably did not used to be a rental car (what an amazingly bad call I made there!) and there have been a lot of improvements made in the 14 years between when my old Escort was made and when your new one was made. Plus it’s so popular that it’s easy to find parts, mechanics who know how to deal with it, and online helps.

    I went without a car for four years once before going back to car ownership. Unlike you, I had wanted a car during this period, so I didn’t have those growing pains. However, I was afraid that I might start driving everywhere like so many other people do. I did end up driving more than I needed to, but not very much more. I mostly walk or take a bus everywhere.

    Congratulations on your Frugalmobile!

    • says

      Debbie M,

      Thanks!

      Wow. You had a much older Escort, huh? They were around for quite some time there. From the research I did, the one I bought was one of the most reliable versions. However, I still would have preferred a Corolla. It just didn’t work out.

      You sound like the type of person who wouldn’t drive around more than necessary. I’m going to try and do as you do – walk and still take the bus as applicable. It’ll cut down on the wear & tear as well as gas costs. :)

      Best wishes!

    • Debbie M says

      Yep, I had a 1983. My ’84 Sentra was my favorite car ever, but they don’t make them like that anymore. Too bad someone slammed into the back of it. I now kind of wish I would have just fixed it. Oh, well.

      I’ve heard you are supposed to drive at least once every week or two, and not just around the block, either, to keep everything in good working condition. Once your job moves that will be no problem, but meanwhile…

      (Heh–today I’m driving everywhere. One trip for brunch and two fancy grocery stores way south. then we came back to put up groceries and will be going back south for a memorial service. Then way far north to make a return. Oh well, at least we’re doing it my car with less pollution/better mileage rather than my boyfriend’s.)

  13. says

    Great job, and very much consistent with your philosophy and persona. I am happy for you and your purchase resonates. Since I tend to drive around more, I think my next car will be a cheap one, but higher MPG. It’s all a tool in the toolbox to be used appropriately, and it seems like for driving to work and an occasional nice excursion with your significant other, this will do just fine.
    Congrats, and thanks for sharing your journey.

    • says

      RO,

      You’re definitely right. Every decision is a tool in the toolbox. I like to think of financial independence as a collection of great decisions. The more great decisions you make, the quicker you’ll see FI. :)

      This will definitely do for getting to work and back, and the occasional day trip. It’s really all I need, so I just hope I didn’t buy a piece of junk.

      Best regards.

  14. says

    I definitely understand the emotionally fractured part. I was so glad to get rid of my last car and much more glad that Carmax (disclosure long KMX) gave me an excellent price and service for the turnaround. If I had to have another car now I would feel fractured as well. Best regards.

    • says

      Katz,

      Glad to hear you got a great deal! Just like getting a good deal on stocks, I love getting a good deal on a car. I don’t think I stole this Escort, but I think a decent margin of safety exists. :)

      Cheers!

  15. says

    I love the way you did it ! Makes me think of a beatle car as to its shape. Am really astonished how expensive 2nd hand cars are in the US, as here in Europe /Spain) such cars are not even sold as second hand. I guess they are too proud. For instance my car a Renault Clio is 14 years old and they do not want it even for 1000 €uros. Moreover I rarely see cars that old in the region (Alicante) where I live. Go figue with a 26% rate of unemployment ! One tip that you surely must already know: add a good oil additive (usually kind oi very thick and sticky thing) if your engine is noisy. Am also very happy that your jounreys to the beach will be shortened. Enjoy your new fugalitymobilebox.

    • says

      Aspenhawk,

      Yeah, it’s unfortunate that these old econoboxes still go for a pretty penny. It’s crazy. For a while, used cars were actually appreciating because people were keeping their cars longer and used cars were becoming less and less commonplace on the market. This was during the Great Recession here in the U.S., and thereafter. Things have changed a bit since then.

      I’m surprised that you guys don’t see a similar situation with such a high unemployment rate. If unemployment were that high here I’d be saving every penny I possibly could, and transportation would be an easy budget category to target.

      Thanks for the kind words. Definitely looking forward to shorter trips to the beach. :)

      Take care.

  16. says

    Nice work Jason! Love that you went the frugal route and still bought something that should last you a few years without *hopefully* too many repair issues. Doesn’t hurt to get the in-house repair price should something go wrong. Definitely something I missed from when I worked at a used car dealership.

    As an aside, I love the process of researching cars because there are so many inefficiencies in the car market. It is really amazing to me that two different people can buy the same car for such different prices. Whether it is a beater or a brand new car, that still holds true. Some brands are trying to get away from that but there really aren’t too many markets out there still operate in that manner.

    • says

      w2r,

      Hey! You’re alive. :)

      Glad to see you’re doing well.

      I’m lucky to have the advantage of cheap(er) repairs, and so that should lessen the pain when a repair is inevitably necessary.

      I agree with you in regards to the used car market. It’s hugely inefficient. I wouldn’t say I got a “steal” on my car, but I would argue that it’s tough to find something much better for less money.

      Best wishes!

  17. says

    So cheap but rich :( haha just kidding. Good pick :)
    As someone said to me when I had yet a car “we can see that you don’t put all your money in a car”
    I was tempted to answer only in divi stocks and gold/silver but I kept my mouth shut and just smile.
    Keep it on.

    • says

      JF Baconnet,

      It’s funny. I do wonder how many other people out there who drive cars like this do it because they want to, rather than being in the position that they have to. Based on a lot of research it seems the former is more common that you might think. There are plenty of millionaires out there driving really mundane cars.

      I’m a car guy at heart so it does pain me a bit driving around something that I don’t really enjoy driving. But spending a ton of money on a depreciating asset pains me even more!

      Take care.

  18. John Q says

    Like you I do not like driving an asset that rapidly depreciates, but I do enjoy performance vehicles. I picked up a 1999 Corvette Coupe with 57,000 miles 4 years ago for $15,500. The car is well built and other than $1000 for tires I have not spent any major money on repairs. It has been a great second car since I think I could sell it today for what I paid for it. Like stocks, performance vehicles 4 years were a bargain.

    • says

      John Q,

      Nice car! I had a 1997 Torch Red Corvette many moons ago. Unfortunately, I had no idea about how to manage money back then and my ownership experience didn’t last very long. I did love that car, though. I’d love to have another ‘Vette, but it’s just not in the cards (at least right now).

      By the way, what’s your thoughts on the new Corvette Stingray? I seen pictures and thought it was awfully ugly, but I seen a couple in person this weekend and I must say it’s a pretty sharp car.

      Best regards.

  19. Freeyourchains says

    Here’s a small tip: Put a “Owned by Dividend Mantra Decal or paint job onto the 49cc Scooter, with your DM signature of some kind.” with 1.49 Million pageviews, it’s sure to sell at a higher value.

  20. says

    How much are expences for a car in USA in a year? Here in Finland I pay 130€ car taxes and 600€ for cheapest insurance in a year. Gas is 1.7€ per liter. How much is it in your city?

    • says

      Säästäjä,

      Well, my insurance is running right about $77 per month, but I hope to reduce that fairly quickly once I get a record with the insurance company going once again. The yearly registration fees are generally under $100 if I remember correctly, but it has been a while since I’ve owned a car. Gas here is about $3.15 per gallon (for 87 octane), and I anticipate spending somewhere around $100/mo in gas. Overall, it seems cheaper to own and operate a car here in the U.S., so we are either blessed or cursed in that regard depending on your viewpoint.

      Best wishes.

    • Anonymous says

      Proud owner of a ’97 Escort as well. Insurance runs me $13.75/month. Love it.

      It has definiltey not been repair-free, but it is a good car, overall. Hope you enjoy it. Agree that it must be a bit disappointing to have to give up the car-free lifestyle.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Wow! How did you get such cheap insurance? That’s amazing!

      Glad to hear you’ve had relatively good luck with your Escort as well. The great thing is that even when these things break they’re fairly cheap to repair.

      Cheers!

  21. Anonymous says

    I’m on my second used Escort, both 1999s. Drove the first one from 120k miles to 212k miles and handed it over to my son starting college. Still running fine. Bought my second, one year ago, at 68k miles and now have 105k with many more to go. These are great cars. They will last a long time with routine maintenance. I get around 36 mpg on the highway. I have a low 6 figure income & zero debt, including house. If a person’s not to proud, one can save a lot of $$ using cheap transportation.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Great stuff! Sounds like you’ve made some excellent life choices. You’re in the driver’s seat (literally and figuratively)!

      I’m with you. Ego aside, there is a lot of money to be saved on transportation. I’m a car guy at heart and it is a bit tough to drive an older Escort, but seeing my wealth rise day after day heals up my bruised ego pretty quickly!

      Keep up the great work.

      Take care.

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