Driving can be very expensive. Everyone knows how much they pay for their vehicles and they know how much they pay for gas and insurance and everything else, but does anyone actually add it all up and see how much does it cost to drive a kilometer in their particular mode of transportation?
For me personally, I drive a 2009 Toyota Rav4. I bought the Rav4 used in 2013 after the 14 year old Grand Am that I inherited had everything break in it. Seriously, the AC broke on my drive from Halifax to Calgary in June of 2011 and the heater broke in January 2013. Needless to say, spending several thousand dollars to get them fixed on a car worth maybe $2000 once everything was fixed wasn’t really a great financial decision.
I bought the vehicle because I thought it was the right thing to do. I do need a vehicle occasionally to get certain places that public transit doesn’t reach. Sometimes it’s nice to do a small road trip to the mountains or wherever I want to go.
The cost of the having the vehicle doesn’t bother me, I personally think it was a great deal. I bought it used in 2013 with 69,231 kilometers (43,018 miles) on the odometer, fully loaded, leather seats, spare winter tires and rims, all of the options. It would have cost me just under $22,000 if I have paid for it outright in cash. Everything comparable was several thousand more and the Rav4 had won best in its class for several years running by consumer reports and many Car and Driver comparisons.
Lately I’ve been wondering how “good” a deal I really got for myself or is it just expensive personal travel? I took a look into my old files from when I bought it to find out what it’s currently costing me (and my girlfriend) to drive each kilometer.
So here’s the break down:
Why don’t we learn about personal finance in school?
I don’t think I’m alone here when I say everything I was taught about money was either self-taught or taught to me by family members. I went into high school knowing almost nothing about money and came out “prepared” for the real life, knowing almost nothing about money. I mean I came out with some really useful life skills like knowing that mitochondria is like a power plant for your cells. Or that calculus sucks. Probably my most useful skill was learning how to break an egg from several floors up while trying to not break the egg…Seriously, did anyone’s egg not break or am I just a terrible engineer?
Upon my graduation, the whole money thing wasn’t a big deal, I was heading to University. I had some money saved up, was working 20 hrs a week and was living at home with my parents help. Sad to say but I wasn’t overly concerned or really even aware of my situation in life and I don’t think I was alone. Then one day some student organization put up some craft paper on a wall with the title “Debt Wall”. Students were encouraged to write how much in debt they were in anonymously. After a few days this thing was filled with insane numbers. There were a lot of $30,000+ numbers, hundreds of them all probably from only student loans and maybe some credit card debt. It astonished me that people had put themselves into this much debt this early in their lives, such a deep hole to climb out of so early in life when soon you should be buying your first car, house and getting married or whatever else we used to think we were supposed to do right after high school or after your post-secondary education.
But that wasn’t me, I had no debt and I thought they were fools; without knowing how much I didn’t know.