Hello. I'm mighty pleased with the new car. It's comfortable to drive, has plenty of space inside, it looks the biz, and it was a good choice. I got a fair deal from the salesman. and saved myself a lot of traipsing around by doing the research on the internet first.
Questions have arisen about my purchase that I would like to address here. Feel free to ask anything you like. Why did I need to change my car, could I have hung onto the one I have and kept it for many more years? Yes, I could have done that, indeed that's what I have done in the past. Run my cars into the ground, then got rid of them when they were only worth scrap value. Doing it that way means you have to save up for a longer period of time while driving around in an old knacker, wondering if it will ever get you to your destination. Not a very enjoyable experience to drive like that. I now like to change every 3 - 4 years. I had the Meriva for four years, it was time for it to go.
This Ford was a former Motability car, it is just coming up to 22,000 miles on the clock. It was used by a disabled person and was taxed as such. Motability cars are generally kept by the same driver for three years, they are maintained throughout that period then exchanged for a new one. Most of them don't do a lot of mileage.
Top of my priority list is paying for my house, non negotiable. That's paid for now, I have accomplished that. I took on the responsibility of pets, I don't insure them with a company, I self insure, I put money aside to pay for anything they need. Me and my animals have to eat, this is a flexible outgoing, I can cut corners here a lot, as you know. I have to pay my house insurance, the bricks and mortar bit. I don't have contents insurance, the money I have saved over the years would have paid for replacements ten times over if I had to fork out for anything that was stolen or damaged. Things that need replacing I will look for second hand first.
My utilities have to be paid for, but I can keep them very low. My projected totals for this year based on last years payments are £97.85 for Gas, and £106.64 for electricity. That's for the YEAR. My water bills are also very low, I'm on a meter and make savings where I can.
I pay the RAC for breakdown recovery every year, I like the peace of mind that they will come and get me if I need it. My annual subscription to the YHA is £15, I get this back many times over in budget accommodation. I look on that as a charitable donation, the YHA is a charity. I send the odd cheque out now and again to the charities I support, as and when I can afford it.
What else is there to pay for? Dentist once a year. I look after my teeth as best I can, and for the last few years it has been a small charge for a check up. Broadband and land line phone is £35 a month, the computer provides me with a lot of entertainment. The one I am using now is around eight years old, and is still going strong with little maintenance. Mobile phone is £5 a month, PAYG. They say specs should be changed every two years, I make mine last a bit longer but still have the eye tests done. I get them checked then walk out of the shop with the prescription and tell them I will come back later to choose frames. I go back when I am ready.
There are loads of ways that I save money, even a few pence here and there add up. I don't eat out, don't go to restaurants, pubs to eat, can't even bring myself to buy a drink in a pub. I don't have takeaways, yuk, horrible food. Don't go in cafe's don't have a coffee. If I think I will need food and drink when I'm out I take it with me from home. I look in cake shop windows and think, 'Good God, how much', and swiftly walk on. My self restraint and determination doesn't very often fail me, apart from the odd Magnum ice cream. And the odd bottle of wine might find itself into my supermarket trolley, ha ha.
See, I am not a miserable old git all of the time, I know how to live it up, and it's not by spending money on frivolities.My purchases are all considered and calculated, do I need it, do I want it, can I afford it. I don't need a television nor want one, so that saves me a chunk every year. I don't eat meat and my food bills are low. I cut and colour my own hair, another saving.
So, my car comes pretty high on my list of priorities, other things are shoved to the bottom, or are flexible. I don't need it, but driving is one of my pleasures, I love driving, that's why I did it for a job. I love being out and about, being able to take off whenever I please. I hate it when I am stuck in one place for too long, I need to move about.
I still haven't answered the question, How can I afford to buy a car on a pension? I use my own money which I have saved up. I don't use anyone else's money in the form of Hire Purchase, or a loan, or borrow it from anywhere else. I have been saving for a car for at least three years. I don't put money aside in separate pots, it's all in one place. I just keep it in my mind that I will need it one day and I know it's there. I don't do spread sheets, don't have to do a spending diary any more, don't download gadgets that are supposed to track your money in and money out, it's all in my head and I check my bank statements.
My annual income from the state pension and a small top up pension is £9,500. I don't need to declare that here, but if it makes things more clear then I am happy to do that, I have nothing to hide. I have stated most of my outgoings above, give or take a few things, but overall I can save quite a lot because I keep my general living expenses quite low. I know I need to save around £2,000 a year towards changing my car. Sometimes I can save more than that, sometimes less, as long as it averages out. In three years I would like £6,000 spare cash to spend, £8,000 if this Ford holds out to four years, which it probably will do.
I don't dwell on the fact that all my plans might go belly up if some major disaster occurs, I will just deal with it. But for now, I will enjoy my car, knowing I saved up for it.
Please don't take this a big brag. I have no other motive in explaining myself except that some of it might strike a chord with you, and it might give you some ideas. You must look after your own financial affairs in the way you feel is best for you. If you cannot do without your takeaways, your pint in the pub, your daily newspaper, your flat screen TV with trillions of channels, then that's your choice. But if you feel you are in a rut always consider that there might be a different way of doing things. I have a little dog here that needs a walk, so I'll sign off. I'm just going to click publish without spell checking, will do that later.