This Is Getting Old

Day 70 | $35,083 paid | $55,634 till freedom

So the date last night went well and we had a lot of fun, but I spent a lot more than I wanted to. Despite the free concert tix, food and drinks, I had to pay $20 for parking, and then we met up with some friends at The Park in the Domain afterwards where I paid $20 for drinks. Here I was expecting to have what I thought would basically be a free date, and it ended up costing about $40 more than I would have liked. She’s a really cool girl and I’d like to go on a second date, but I honestly don’t know if I can–with a $6k gap to my goal in June and no bridge in sight, I just can’t do $40 dates. Full stop. Can’t do ’em.

And I don’t think this girl is very high-maintenance, but she does seem to enjoy the finer things in life. She’s a nurse, so she has some disposable income to throw around. She’s a pretty big traveler and she likes to eat out and do stuff. (Hey, me too! …But not now!)  I got the sense last night that she doesn’t data a lot of guys who bristle at the thought of having to pay for a couple of drinks and have to rely on supplier freebies for dates.   

So, she’s probably out of my financial league at this point. And say what you will about finding a girl who doesn’t need to be wined and dined, but I’m just not convinced that there are a lot of smart, attractive girls that fit that description. I just don’t.

Another Sacrifice, Another Deferred Expense
In other news, my S2000 just died.

It’s nothing serious, but the master cylinder for the clutch on my 2000 S2000 with 63k miles has officially kicked the bucket. I went to go run some errands on Saturday before my date, and the weather was absolutely perfect for dropping the top. So I cast a haughty glance at the Murano and hopped into the roadster, fired it up, went to shift into reverse to back out of my garage–and I couldn’t actually get into gear. The clutch pedal has almost no resistance and only an inch or two of travel compared to the usual six or so.

After spending some time in online forums and talking to my friend who experienced the same problem with his S2000, it looks like the master cylinder has failed and will cost about $300 to $400 repair. My car is in excellent condition (except for this) and Honda S2000s are fairly bulletproof, but it turns out that this problem is actually pretty common.

I’m going to call the shop on Monday to ask them how much it will cost to fix. Since the car is also due for an oil change and an inspection, I could be looking at a $400 + $50 + $30 = $480 bill.

Alternatively, I could just disconnect the battery, put some fuel stabilizer in the tank, and store it.

If I store the car, I would avoid the $480 in repairs and maintenance, as well as whatever I’m paying now in insurance. Between the S2000 and Murano, I pay $170/month for coverage. If I can chop $50 or $100 off that for the next 8 months, I’d save $400 to $800.  

But here’s the thing: I love driving this car. The weather was way, way too hot for a convertible during the summer. Riding around when it’s 105 degrees and humid out is miserable–even with the wind blowing. Stopping at a light and sitting in a car with an all-black interior is intolerable. So I’ve been looking forward to driving the car with the top down now that we’re finally hitting some cooler temperatures.

And now I can’t. Just like the holidays in 2011, here’s another thing I’m probably going to have to sacrifice. Since my car is not a “once-in-a-lifetime event,” I really will have to suck it up and store the car. I’m so  bummed. If I weren’t on this stupid debt mission, I could easily drop $480 to get the car moving again. Now, thanks to NMHD, I won’t get the  car fixed until July if I pay off all of my debt by the end of June, and that’s when Austin will be at its hottest and won’t cool down again until November. So I’m basically going to have to wait an entire year to drive this thing.  

Pic of the rides below. All are paid off, but as of this weekend, only two are operational.

When I’m not riding my bike, I’ll have to drive that brown thing…ugh. This sucks.

So let’s tally up the awesomeness that is my life: no dates, no holiday travel, no roadster, and I’m spending money on stuff like soaker hoses to water my house’s foundation. So, so incredibly lame.

Is it July yet?


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27 responses to “This Is Getting Old

  1. I’m feeling for ya dude. But I’m sensing some slight attitude changes from when I first started reading your stuff a month or so ago.

    If you look at it like “all this bad stuff is happening to me and it doesn’t have to” you’re going to make this a lot harder on yourself.

    The mindset you want (need?) to get into is one of opportunity and entrepreneurialism.

    I definitely think your decision to store the Honda is a good one, you’re bridging that gap dude. Good work. Instead of a shortfall of over $600 a month you’re down another $100 a month with a quick win.

    Ask yourself, do you have any other quick wins that could add an income stream?

    Some of the most well respected entrepreneurs can be found hocking shit on ebay and craigslist when they’re trying to make ends meet in a slow month. Is there anything else that can be sold right now?

    If you can get rid of that 6K shortfall, you’re back on easy street and back to being able to spend $480 on things like this and perhaps even getting back into the occasional date/drinking splurge.

    Do you have any other skills you can leverage? An entrepreneur is something who shifts resources from an area of low yield into an area of high yield. You sound like a smart fella, I’m sure you have other skills you can leverage for quick gains. The entrepreneurial mindset is a powerful place to have your head in.

  2. anon

    you know what brown thing i was driving last year? a thirty year old bike.

    • anon, I’ve had some time to digest your very enthusiastic comment and I want to offer an elaboration on my initial reply. Now, I really do think that your situation last year was truly sucky, and I hope that you’ve experienced better fortune in 2011. However, your format (capital letters) and tone (hostility and sarcasm) were inappropriate. I’m wondering what kind of a response you were trying to elicit from me, or what point of view you were trying to express when you commented. If you wanted to communicate another perspective that I could potentially use to come to the realization that I’m not living through end-times, then I think you could have achieved that goal in a more effective manner (i.e., sans caps and negative tone). If, on the other hand, you were sharing your anecdote to belittle my own personal situation, then I would challenge you to consider the context of and what brought you to this blog in the first place. This blog does not contain the musings of somebody who is struggling to make ends meet, and I will not lament the same things that that kind of a person would. And that’s what differentiates me and my blog from people who truly are down on their luck in these difficult economic times. If it makes you feel better, take this blog with a grain of salt and read it as if everything is tongue-in-cheek. All other readers can rest assured that it’s not–it’s my challenge to myself and I take it very seriously, but it might help you personally to differentiate it from people who really are living hard knock lives–which I am most definitely not. When I complained, I did not complain about my life in general; I complained about my life within the context of the NMHD challenge.

      I approve 99% of comments that are posted on my blog, and I instinctively approved yours when I first read it. After having written the above response, I’m glad I let your comment through because it serves well to scope or define this blog–it allowed me to clarify what this blog is, and what it is not. Thank you.

      • anon

        I’m the original anon here…I wanted to apologize for my really rude comment. On the internet it’s almost never a good idea to post the first thing that comes to your mind. I do actually enjoy your blog most of the time and I admire your willpower and drive. I think it can get a little too first world problems up in here, but that’s where you are, and it’s your own blog detailing your personal goal, so I shouldn’t fault you for that. Anyway, sorry for my nastiness. I promise not to do it again!

  3. yup, i find myself thinking similar thoughts on a regular basis. my debt repayment goal isn’t on as tight a timeline (i was a jd/mba and have substantially more debt) but it’s still an intense effort. and while i’m not missing out on opportunities to impress the ladies, i am a girl living in LA foregoing gym memberships, pilates classes, hair/nail appointments, new trendy clothes, etc., that dudes seem to expect, so it seems like we’re in pretty similar boats. every fourth month, i seem to let my focus slip and spend on something like wedding travel, a donation (we get hit up at work events all the time), or a meal out. but when i close out my books at the end of the month, i get so frustrated by the slip that i find the motivation to get back on track. this process has a helluva lot of ups and downs. and lately, like you, i’ve been feeling like it really sucks.

    i’m having to dig deeper than i ever have to find motivation. it sounds cheesy, but i’ve done things like print a picture of a dream home (home ownership has been a major goal since before grad school) and tape it to the back of my door. i have a little post it note with my current student loan balance stuck to my credit card. i think all the time about how much i want to have these loans paid off before i get married (assuming that ever happens!)… increasing my freedom to stay home with any baby i might have a little longer than the standard maternity leave. these things motivate me a lot more than a relatively arbitrary deadline.

    And I still maintain that there are cute chicks out there who will be impressed by this project 🙂

    anyway, keep it up dude. and don’t give up on the landscaping!

  4. Anon

    I’ll be honest, I havent read a great deal of your blog and you may have a perfectly good reason for not doing this, but you have two very expensive looking cars AND a motorcycle. Couldn’t you just sell one? That would knock off a huge chunk. Seems like the obvious route to me.

    • There are two reasons: 1) I want to grow my net worth and pay down the debt by making more money and saving money, not by just doing an asset-liability swap, and 2) I’m an auto enthusiast, it’s one of my hobbies, and I have a lot of fun riding the bike and driving the S2000. I get no pleasure from driving the Murano, which I bought for times when a two-seater won’t work (e.g., household projects, DD for my friends, etc.). And even if I were to sell something, there’s not a whole lot of value to be extracted here, anyway. I could get about $3,500 for the bike, $9k for the Murano, and $11k for the S2000. If I get desperate, I’ll sell one off, but that’s not a decision I’m going to make within the first three months of this ten-month challenge when there are still some rocks left to turn over. (PS: glad you think they look expensive–I’ll chalk it up to all of the detailing work I did in my driveway…hey, there’s a potential start-up…)

      • Nick

        Hey… Nick here, thanks for the explanation, I was wondering the same thing myself. It makes sense that the best outcome would be pay off the debt AND keep the cars..

  5. No real words of wisdom to offer — just… stick with it! You are in the middle of a marathon, and that’s never fun. (I know, I’ve run 5 of them!). You have your endpoint in sight, you know you are not going to quit or stop, so you just have to keep slogging it out through the tough parts.

    It sucks. No doubt about it, no sugar-coating it.

    But the good news is, its relatively short. Feels like forever when you are in the moment, but when you get this done and are debt free, you’ll look back on this and think “Wow, that’s all it took? Those months just FLEW by!”

    And it helps to keep in mind — you have control. You could stop this whole thing, at any time, if you really, really wanted to. You don’t, so you won’t — but you could. That power is in your hands. Your power.

    Best of luck 🙂

  6. Sacrifice is hard, but its good for you

  7. Lucas

    I’m not trying to troll here but jeez man, “first world problems”.

    I’ve been reading your blog from Day 1 and you were committed to do this no matter what. You knew there would be challenges along the way (if not the entire time). Making significant lifestyle changes is not easy at all.

    However, if you look at this from a different perspective, you are extremely fortunate. Nearly 1/2 of the people on this earth live on less than $2/day. You have a job that pays well, you have a place to live, you can afford to eat…and you have 3 vehicles. I’m sure any of those 3.5ish billion people would gladly swap shoes at a moment’s notice.

    Consider yourself lucky. Fight the urge to get down on yourself if little (or big) problems present themselves.

    Good luck!

    • I completely recognize that I am basically lucky to have the problem I have, and that’s what I was trying to tell anon who expressed an opinion similiar to yours in his comment.

      • Lucas

        Ah yes, my apologies, I did not read the other comments before posting mine. Hopefully my format and tone were better received.

        Regardless of the scope of your blog and the context of your situation you intend readers to keep in mind, I figured it to be a worthwhile reminder of how others have overcome much greater challenges. I intended my message to be more of a motivational perspective rather than a belittling one.

  8. Barbara

    What is one of my favorite phrases? Here it is: “This too shall pass!” I’ll add another one…….”It could be worse!” Saying that, I do sympathize with you on the situation with the cars, however, you just need one vehicle to really get around in. Maybe it’s time to sell one of them. You would save on insurance, gas and that would help your debt to be decreased.

  9. AnaD

    You’ve already gotten some great motivational comments…I don’t know how much I can add to them! 🙂
    I DO want to say a couple things: 1. Bummer about your car! :-/ (but it sounds like you have a decent solution for it, which will even save you some $ here & now -so I’m happy for you for that) 2. Things’ll get better. I don’t necessarily mean you’ll happen to find the winning lottery ticket on the ground. 😉 You’re very good at seeing “small wins” in your life (eg different attitude about work = diminished stress & better performance) and it sounds like you’re kinda bummed out right now…but you’ll feel better soon –your determination will return/be renewed! 3. I really like what you said to ‘anon’ here: “This blog does not contain the musings of somebody who is struggling to make ends meet, and I will not lament the same things that that kind of a person would.” I think that’s a really important…or true. Idk- it just touched me I guess. As someone(along w/my husband) who is hopefully on her way out of struggling to make ends meet while paying off debt, I appreciate that you noted how your situation IS different. At the same time, you’re trying to adopt the attitude/spending habits of “making ends meet” when you’re not used to living that way AND when you don’t even ‘have to’ so of course it’s tough for you (lots of mental hurdles especially -but you already know that)…But I think it’ll get easier for you as time goes on.
    That’s all!
    Oh wait- sorry 😛 -one more thing: I think it was wise of you to invest in the chair floor cover & especially in the irrigation system.
    NOW that’s all… 🙂

  10. Just want to throw another idea out there in the world of compromises as opposed to extremes. Being a college student and an auto enthusiast, I’ve saved hundred by working on my car myself. If it’s a common problem then there’s probably a how-to for it, complete with pictures or even videos. The S2000 being as popular as it is (LOVE THAT CAR) definitely has a couple forums where owners who love their cars talk about living with them.

    Worst thing that could happen is that it doesn’t make it out of the driveway, in which case you’re probably going to leave it there anyways and you can deal with it next year and that little cost saving experience is a lesson. The more frequent result is a winter convertible (oxymoron up here in MN) and you saved a ton of cash.

    I’d give it a shot:
    -lower prices on OEM parts via online retailers
    -save $70-100 an hour in labor
    -take that emotional attachment to another level

  11. PM

    Sell the S2K. I understand your willingness to wait until the absolute need arises, but the S2K has the highest value of the vehicles you own and will only depreciate sitting in your garage. Mine as well be sold to someone who will use it. You are a motor sports enthusiast, so I am sure there are cars out there that you would rather own than your current coupe. Once your debt is paid off in June (or earlier), as it should be within your grasp with your car off the balance sheet, you can use your new thrifty skills to save up for a better car. From the time your debt is paid off in June until the cooler temperatures arrive making topless driving (shirt optional) a pleasure, you can be saving for the next great convertible.

    If you look hard enough I am sure you’ll be able to find something better than the S2K. Possibly a low mileage ’09-’10 Infiniti G37S, Mercedes SLK or Jaguar XK for $30-40k because you won’t want to finance a 2013 car and add on more debt, especially since the resale value drops once driven off the lot. Just because it is not brand spanking new doesn’t make the car drive any slower or the enjoyment any less with the wind blowing through your hair.

    • The S2k will depreciate less than you think. They don’t make them more, and they original 2000 S2000 is especially rare but had the firmest suspension and is arguably the most sought after of all model years of S2K. Selling the bike and the Murano instead.

  12. Brandy

    10 months is nothing!! If she can’t wait it out, then she probably isn’t worth it. Plus you live in Austin. Home of the free concerts and other hippie stuff. 🙂 There are lots of free events to go to…just make sure you don’t go the bar afterward. Here is a website with free things to do in Austin: Maybe start at the top and try to go to everything. It could be a fun adventure!! Also, I am totally against watching a lot of television, but maybe you guys could find a common tv show you like and have a tv night? or a movie night and rent a $1 movie. You say there aren’t a lot of girls who don’t want to be wined and dined but what more girls want is romance. And people can be so romantic without spending any money or very little.

    In regards to the car, I have a convertible and live in Texas, and yes you sweat when you are driving around with your top down in the summer, but it is still fun!

  13. volus

    Just ran across your blog. My S2000 (daily driver) also had the clutch master cylinder die around 55k miles. Tons of fun though! Especially on the track.

    Very inspiring stuff.

    • I am in love with this car. I have the original API, first year it came out, when the suspension was the stiffest. I love it. I think my passengers hate it, though, especially when I slightly tap the brakes for turns and accelerate hard out of them 🙂

  14. Hey
    There are girls out there who do not need to be wined and dined and not only admire what you are doing but have already been there and done that.
    I left school with almost $20,000 in loans and with a much much lower salary than yours and living in a much more expensive city, I have managed to cut my loans in half in a year. All by making a plan and sticking to it.
    I recently tried to forgo more student loan payments and buy a condo, but still can’t bring myself to spend the money.
    Congrats on your financial freedom. I hope to be there someday soon 🙂

  15. S

    Very inspired by your blog … made the decision to get rid of my credit card debt this year (school loans are next 😦 ) and thanks to your blog, I already have a few more ideas of things I could do to get there.

    BTW, I am a nurse … just wanted to say, not all nurses have disposable income! (If I could do it all over again I would have gone the cheaper two year community college route rather than the expensive one year private university route!) Perhaps it’s more so our flexible schedule (three 12 hour shifts per week) that makes us act like we all have disposable income 🙂 I hope you’re able to find a smart, attractive girl who thinks it’s smart and attractive that you’re trying to get out of debt.

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