Responsibility, frugality, and saying no

February 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm (Being Frugal, mr. maven, truck) (, )

Being the responsible one in the relationship has the potential to cost me money. I’ll give you a prime example. I have a ’98 Nissan Frontier truck, which I got to transport art (most artists I know own a truck or vanagon-type vehicle for that very same reason), or to go camping/sleep in on long trips. It’s also my primary commuting vehicle. Not the most fabulous gas mileage, I think it gets between 19-22 average. But it’s the only vehicle I’ve got, so I have to use it. I can’t afford to own two vehicles, nor would I want to.

J has a very inexpensive, very old Honda. The thing is perpetually on the edge of falling apart/needing to be retired. The latest issue is the battery – it has outlived its usefulness and needs the occasional jump. But it’s a great frugal gas-sipping machine. And until it actually does break, J can’t afford to buy a new vehicle (nor is he beginning to save up for one, though I have repeatedly recommended he do so).

This weekend J wants to go to Portland (2.5-3 hr drive) for an event. We’re going to keep it to 1 day, and avoid a hotel (and having to bring our cats, which for the record, you should consider them as dogs – they cannot be left alone, they need daily walks, yes I am serious, and they are major attention hogs. Their feelings will be hurt if we leave them beyond 7 pm alone and bereft without company or heat until we return; an overnighter is simply out of the question). With my gas mileage, that’s a tank and a half of gas, about $60. That’s almost double what J’s car would cost. But since my vehicle is much more reliable, in good working order, and is up to date on any repair issues, we’re taking the truck. I mean, who wants to get stranded hours from home??

J knows that I make more money, and while I can afford it, that I am being very frugal in my spending habits (outside of food, liquor, and restaurants that is). This is something that he wants to do, with me accompanying him. So he has offered to pay for it. I’ll probably pay some of it of course, since I am attending.

I get asked all the time if I want to do certain activities. My answer is always “how much does it cost?” or “if it costs money, no.” I’m not always the most fun, but those activities (a day at the firing range, taking a boat ride, gas to Portland for a quick jaunt) can really add up. I’d rather save up and do something unusual every few months, like rent a cheap cabin on a deserted Oregon beach for 3-4 days or splurge on a big underground dinner at $125 a pop (our splurge kitty is at $120 and still unused!), or buy a high-end ice cream maker just before summer ($240, I’ve priced them out!).

I want to buy some household items for our new rental house, and now that the xmas recovery period has ended (ie, all of January), and now that the new rental deposits are done hemorrhaging my checking account, I can get back to spending limited amounts on necessities that I’ve been putting off (IKEA curtains here I come!)

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