The price of a car

Ah, yes, I forgot I had one of these.  A blog, that is.  I have some updates!  I passed my driving test since my last entry.  That’s right – I’m allowed on the roads.  Yeah!  So now I can drive.  Haha..ha..  Sort of.

You know when I said that this blog is about my journey to Japan?  Well, it’s not exactly the cheapest thing I’ve ever done, and the same can be said about getting a car.  I started to run some numbers.

Getting the train to work costs me about £1.2k a year.  Getting a car and using that for my commutes works out slightly cheaper, thinking about just the fuel costs.  But of course then comes the car itself, the tax, insurance, the MOT, servicing, yada yada.  When I really ran the numbers, for the car I test drove last weekend, I was looking at a difference of about £3k over continuing to just use the train.

Well that was a punch to the groin.  I knew cars were expensive, but did they have to be that expensive?  Just using one for a year suddenly didn’t seem so worth it.  I asked my friends in the pub.  They were supposed to dissuade my nagging doubts and encourage me to trust that part of my brain that doesn’t understand numbers or facts, just the feeling of being a free man, out on the open roads.  They weren’t very good at that though so they told me not to get one.

But what about my emotions?  I took lessons and spent many an afternoon daydreaming about saying no to one more cider and of driving home marginally under the limit.  I was so excited to get one.  I went to test drive one and it was a good deal, too!  It looked so pretty and handled as if the road were a ski slope except flat and made of butter.

This is it though – this is the path I’ve chosen.  I’m going to Japan.  That means saving money.  And that means not buying things I don’t strictly need, even if those things are ‘freedom’ and ‘satisfaction’.  Besides, there’ll be plenty of time to drive when I’m 70.  You know, if everyone hasn’t already sold their cars and simply gets ported from point to point by a fleet of vehicular robots.  Yeah, I guess that’s more likely.

So it looks like I won’t be getting a car.  That sucks.  Maybe I could get an old banger, but I don’t really feel like it.  I just want to make sure I have enough money this time next year to fund my trip.  That’s what I need to do!  Keep your eye on the prize, Matt.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Unless you’re racing a car.

Matt Bowen

Matt is a blogger, budoka and software developer. He sold his things, quit his job and moved to Japan to study Japanese and martial arts. Sometimes he writes about it.

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