Not Storing the Whip

Day 75 | $35,083 paid | $55,634 till freedom

I spent an hour researching how to safely properly store a car, and every article and every forum said that the oil should be changed beforehand. I decided to drive the S2000 to the shop to get the oil changed. I also decided to have them just fix the clutch while I was there since I didn’t even know if they would be okay with changing the oil on a car that doesn’t have functioning gears, and I didn’t want to have to explain to them that I couldn’t afford to get the clutch fixed while the car was in for an oil change.

I still don’t know why I didn’t just buy some jack stands and change the oil myself. For some reason, it just seemed like a good idea to have the shop do it…and to fix the car while it was there. Even now, as I sit here scratching my head and trying to figure out how I justified the expenditure to myself, I realize that there is really no good reason for it. I just did it. I justified it in my head by arguing that the $400 to change the oil, get the inspection, and fix the car would be offset by the $50 or so I expected to save on insurance each month for the next eight months by storing the car. I also justified the repair by saying that having a ton of deferred expenses at the end of NMHD wasn’t a great situation–just like doing an asset-liability swap to pay off the debt isn’t very good, either.

So I took the S2000 into the shop on Tuesday at 7 AM. I had to drive it there in 2nd gear since I couldn’t operate the clutch to change gears. I literally cringed the entire way there as I drove it in second gear at 45 MPH in a 55, the engine spinning at 6,000 RPM. I should have been cruising in 6th gear at about 2,500 RPM. People were speeding by me at 55, but I refused to go past the 6k mark for fear of causing engine damage.

I dropped the car off got a call from the shop a little later. Not only was the clutch master cylinder completely shot, but the clutch slave cylinder was on its way out, too. The shop estimated $700 for repairs. I authorized the job, then called my insurance company to get a storage quote . Storing the car would save me $53/month, or $424 for the remainder of NMHD.

I picked the car up on Wednesday during lunch and drove it back to work with the top down. What a beautiful day! I was sad that this would be my next-to-last drive in the car for almost three quarters of a year.

When I got back to the office, all I could think of was how to live a life where I offset the $700 repair bill and could still drive the S2000. I wracked my brains, thinking about crap at my house that I could sell. Nothing came to mind. I thought about storing the Murano instead of the S2000m, but decided that that car is too useful and that I need it to transport tools for landscaping jobs (if we ever get any) anyway.

I decided to see what reducing insurance coverage on the cars would do, so I called up my insurance company and walked through about six different scenarios, storing this, storing that, removing this coverage, removing that coverage.  I was on the phone with the representative for about 20 minutes when she signed and told me I could build out various scenarios online. I thanked her, hung up, and spent about 30 minutes online until I locked in a new policy.

I went from having full coverage on both vehicles–liability/comprehensive/collision–to just liability coverage, and I even brought that down to a lower limit. My 6-month policy went from $1,026 to $482 for a monthly savings of $91, or a NMHD savings over eight months of $725. I’ve effectively offset the $700 repair bill and even found $25 more in cash.

I then ran a scenario to see what storing the S2000 could save, and I was underwhelmed to the point of inaction. The incremental savings would be only $26 a month, or $208 for the remainder of the NMHD challenge. I’m refusing that sacrifice. There has to be another option.

Of course, if I had refused to fix the car and just stored it, I would have saved $725 for reduced insurance coverage, plus the $700 for deferred repairs, plus $208 for storage, so I’d be $1,633 ahead, instead of $25 ahead like I am now. And I do need to be ahead by the thousands, as I currently have a $6k delta to my June goal.

(I’m sure I’ll get some heat in the comments. Bring it on. I have no excuses. It was an emotional, spineless decision, and I’ll take full responsibility for it. Don’t you know it’s not good for a car to sit for eight months? Seriously…it’s not!)

Now, clearly, I’ve opened myself up to some risk. If I get into an accident, if a car gets stolen or hailed on, I’m in big trouble. But hey, NMHD is all about taking myself out of my comfort zone  (well, ahem, somewhat outside of it, anyway). I’ve wiped out my entire savings in the name of paying off my debt, so I’m clearly not being very risk-averse these days.

This weekend will be beautiful, and I’ll be out soaking up the rays. There are definitely operating costs to be concerned about, but in the 11 months I’ve owned the car, I’ve put only 4,400 miles on it, so at that rate, over the next eight months, I’ll put 3,200 on it. Hopefully there’s not a lot that  can go wrong in that short time. The guy at the shop did say it shouldn’t have passed the inspection considering the amount of wear on the rear tires, which I already knew about, but I don’t plan on driving the car in the rain that hasn’t fallen in months, so I should be fine.

Awkward Moment, Disaster Averted
So my roommate John might not  be leaving at the end of the month as he predicted. He was originally planning to stay in the house until June, but he found a house in town and has been trying to buy it. However,  he’s having a hard time getting approval for a mortgage, and even if he does get approval, it won’t be until January. I was bummed for him to hear the news, but happy at the same time because he’s such a great roommate and I wasn’t looking forward to finding his backfill.

He asked me last night if his wife and kids could stay at the house for a couple of nights over Thanksgiving. He said that the hotels around here are either $50 or $100 a night, but the $50 places are apparently pretty dumpy, and he can’t really afford the $100 places. I told him sure, not a problem, but when this came up in conversation with my mom, she said I should charge them for staying at the house–somewhere on the order of $35 to $50 per night.

I’m torn on this one. I want to help a brother out, but at the same time, I was hoping both roommates would be gone for the weekend and I’d be able to enjoy myself alone for the first time in two months.

Cue funny story–I got home on Tuesday at around 9 after working 11 hours and lifting at the gym. No roommates were home–a sweet rarity. I wanted to take a shower, but Tuesday is my laundry day, so after I stripped down but before I got in the shower, I decided to start the laundry. I thought about putting on clothes to walk to the laundry room, knowing it would be hella embarrassing if a roommate came home and caught me in the buff, but I decided to risk it. This is my house, dammit, and I’m sick of having to be decent all the time!

I took took the basket to the laundry room and started filling up the washing machine. I had just closed the lid and started the washer when I heard a key in the lock and the front door open. CRAP! I sprinted into the garage, which is right next to the laundry room, and slammed the door, pulling on it so the roommate wouldn’t be able to open it if they curious. I could hear the roommate shuffling around outside the door, then the shuffling stopped. Were they in the kitchen? In their room?

And then I had a what-the-hell feeling, the same out-of-body feeling I had when I wrote the cover letter for the delivery job that kicked off this entire blog. There I was, a prisoner in my own garage, buck-naked, getting cold, waiting for the coast to clear, my ear mashed against the door, hands cupped around it, trying to estimate the whereabouts of my roommate. It was a feeling like, man…I have fallen on rough, rough times. 

And then I just started laughing like a crazy man. Seriously, what else can you do at a time like that?

Anyway, I eventually said enough’s enough, let’s do this, and peeked my head out. The coast appeared to be clear. I sprinted to my bedroom, praying to God the roommate didn’t walk around the corner. I got lucky.

The point of that story is that I’m getting sick of living with people, I want to blast my music, and I don’t want to worry about what I’m wearing–or if I’m wearing anything at all, for that matter. I want some alone time. I don’t want a man-cave in my house where nobody else can go. I want my entire house to be a man-cave. I miss my bachelor pad.

And yet come this Thanksgiving, I’ll be getting the opposite. There will be four adults and two kids living in this 2,000 square foot house. And it would be one thing if I were working 12-hour days during this time, but I’m not–all of my friends will likely be out of town visiting their families, so I’ll just be bumming around the house.

I know this complaint is similar to the one about having to store my sports car, but quite frankly, I don’t care.

Those little brats better hope and pray it’s not laundry day when they’re here.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Not Storing the Whip

  1. Cassie Olson

    I wouldn’t charge for the kids. That seems to be really low to me. I have been in many roommate situations and if you’re paying rent you can have people come over. I had a roommate that would get pissed whenever I would have a friend over to watch a movie and it’s not fun. At least he asked. He didn’t just say hey, my kids will be in town and they’re going to stay here. And having a family around even if it’s not yours may turn out to be a good thing. But charging, not a good idea.

  2. Barbara

    I would tell your roommate you’ve rethought your decision, since you will be here (at your house) as well and do charge for his wife and kids or tell him, sorry, I just need some space. You gave him an answer too quickly in my opinion anyway. Next time or even now….tell him, I didn’t give myself enough time to really think this through….yada yada.

    Keep thinking: this too shall pass!!

  3. Brandy

    LOL…this is funny! You are doing a great job. Only 10 more months to go! You can do it!

  4. Mike

    For a couple of nights? As in two? Don’t charge them. But you may want to spell this out in your rental contract for the future.

    Re: Collision/comprehensive coverage. My general rule of thumb is to drop the coverage if the value of the vehicle is less than 10x the six-month added comp/collis insurance premium; otherwise I keep the coverage. That said, I’m very leery of exposing myself to vehicle risks over $5K or so.

    Some (but not all) insurance companies offer $2000 deductibles or $2500 deductibles.

    -mike

  5. Jim B

    Create good karma – don’t be the grinch to a roommate over the holiday, as long as the family stuff does not become routine. See Ryan’s post on doing good – http://www.ryanholiday.net/

  6. Frankly if you already agreed, I think it’s pretty crappy to change what you’re going to do, especially for things that involve money. Chalk it up to experience and don’t answer so quickly the next time. And time to think about it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d answer any differently, just that you will have felt like you thought through the pros and cons of each situation more thoroughly.

    Even if I thought through it, I doubt I’d charge for this situation. In business, if you don’t want to do something often or at all, you charge a high price. Even though having a roommate is technically business if the money is going into your pocket, it’s a lot more touchy-feely and gray area than cold hard business situations. I consider this situation to be a yes or no thing, not a “Yes, with monetary conditions” thing.

    Also, if they’re good houseguests, they will probably do something nice for you anyway to thank you. No it won’t be money, but it’ll maybe offset some of the sting.

  7. AnaD

    Haha! Good story! Sorry about your feelings of roommate-induced ‘claustrophobia’ – I can totally relate. Though Car/Driving time = prime “crank up my music” opportunity & I don’t know if there are any laws about being clothed while driving… ha!
    Welcoming this guy’s family over for Thanksgiving is a really neighborly sort of thing for you to do. Also sounds like this is a chance for you to develop an even more personal relationship with John–maybe you’ll be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with him and his family. Could be really nice! 🙂
    And…maybe I’m just not understanding your numbers right, but what I’m seeing is: storing your S2000 (plus your change of ins. policy) would bring your savings up to $933. That’s almost $1,000…1/6th of your delta! Go for it man! It’s true that it doesn’t seem like a lot per month, but you’d also be saving $ on gas (& tires, etc.). (Or could just completely cancel your insurance policy on the S2000 [& store it]? maybe that’d save you even more?) It seems like you started this blog almost with the attitude of “no amount is too small!” toward paying off your debt. That was a good attitude to have.

  8. Nancy

    Nice post! I’m going to be a hypocrite and give you unsolicited advice (sorry!): I don’t think you should go with your Mom’s advice on this one. Roommate situations are about give and take. I think letting his fam stay for a couple of days will be beneficial to your relationship. If you try and charge him after saying yes, he could stop being such a great roommate and not be so considerate when it comes time to leave. I don’t think $70-$100 is worth the risk. Of course, you’ll do what’s right for you! Your laundry story was really funny. I’m glad you can find the humor in your situation. I think once you’re debt-free, these memories will help you hold onto the lessons you’re learning. Thanks again for sharing!

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