Recently I sat down with a young couple at their request. They wanted to speak about their finances. Things were feeling tight and the uncertainty of their job situations was increasing their stress. You could easily see it in their eyes. As well, you could see it in their serious, quiet demeanor.
After laying out their expenses, placing the numbers in an Excel Spreadsheet and then evaluating their numbers the truth was told. This energetic, fun couple who we dearly love, were spending over 29% of their take-home income on their two cars. This included two lease payments, insurance payments, gas consumption and maintenance and repairs. It was easy to see what they needed to do. They needed to reduce this money eating area of their home budget. Failure to reduce their transportation expenses would only add to their stress and leave little for the emergencies of life.
I've shared before that I hate debt. I commute when possible by bicycle. I push myself to walk where I can and I've started using public transportation. My wife and I have only owned one car at a time and have learned to make it work. As a result, we've been able to move quickly towards our dream of a paid off home mortgage.
Are you a first-time home buyer looking to scrape together a downpayment? Is your car killing that dream? It may be time to make a readjustment.