Childfreelife’s Weblog

I have a radical notion: your car is not an asset it is a bill. The worth of your car is not its sale value, but whether it gets you to work and play and looks nice enough to help your career along if need be.

So lets say in my career having a nice car is unnecessary. And my (piece of s**t) pos car breaks down and needs a $500 repair. Should I finance a newer car since my old car isn’t worth more than a thousand dollars? No, because its a pretty good bet that the $500 repair will keep my car going for 2-6 more months without needing new repairs, and monthly payments on a financed car will equal or exceed that amount over that time. I am saving money on new car payments by repairing the car I own outright.

However, if part of the value of my car is to look swank, then buying a car for its “asset” value might not even be wise. A car is a bill, and if what I am purchasing with this bill is swankness and transportation, then leasing a car for 2 years and then upgrading to a new car is a better deal for me than buying a swank car and paying it off over 5 years, but trading it in after two and running the loan into the next car (minus the reduced value of my trade in which is less than I paid into it). If I buy a new car every two years and trade it in, the loans on the next cars just keep getting bigger. Also if the car I bought was say a (ahem) hummer and the value went way down in the last two years, trading it in sucks! But if I leased it for two years, the dealership just takes it back, they get stuck with its crappy value not me. Then I can lease a Prius or a Mini next and look swank and smart this time around! And isn’t it nice that I can switch down to a smaller car and not worry if the kids’ car seats will fit in it? Or if my kids will destroy the inside of my car costing me cleaning fees on my lease? I don’t have kids, sweet!

Financing new cars is a debt, leasing a new car is a bill. If you are trying to avoid debt, a lease or repairing your pos car might be more your style.


{August 6, 2008}   Childfree stay at home partner

My husband has been unemployed since April, and like the husbands in this article, I have some perks.  no kids, no jobs wives. Yesterday, I had a hard day at work. I reported some unethical conduct in my department. Immediately after work I called my husband and ranted about it. He listened to me attentively and cared about every word I was saying. I had to go to class right after work, and I forgot to eat a snack since I was upset at the end of day at work. I was in such a daze that I gave my change to a homeless man; not realizing I would be hungry later. I got through class, and came home to do my last minute homework. When I walked in the door, my roommate and my husband had pizza ready for me to eat! And they both were happy to listen to my work issues and say, “you go woman, you did what is right and it will pay off!”

I have several cf couple friends, that live on one income and the other partner goes to school, pursues an interest like writing, or just plain keeps house. Some couples switch off, one works and supports the other, and then later they switch. These people seem happy to me. Sure money might be a little tight, but the house is clean, a home cooked meal is often ready when the worker gets home, and there is less stress. Sure one partner is working hard and might take on stress, but the other partner is more able to absorb it and listen and help out since they don’t have their own stress plate full.

Though this story is about stay at home childfree wives, I have seen the lifestyle be quite successful both ways round. The linch pin, is that the stay at home partner does pursues his or her goals with the extra time and also keeps the household together. The stay at home partner needs to take frugal actions: cooking, bike riding for transport instead of driving, clipping coupons, and so on. The stay at home partner needs to be doing something to make the working partner feel like they are giving something to their partner, time to pursue an education, to write or make art. Without these standards being met, the system would not be worth it, and has not been worth it for me in the past when my partner stayed home, made more of a mess, and seemed to be getting nowhere with his personal goals.

I never even thought to use services like u-promise.  It is all about getting money from advertisers to save money for a child’s college education right?  Wrong!  An adult who has already gone to college, or plans to go to college can set up a u-promise account for themselves.  A favorite past-time of the childfree, going out to eat is one of the better ways to accumulate donations into your u-promise account.  Another past-time of some child-free, is buying things used on e-bay, also earns you points on u-promise.  One thing that sucks about u-promise is most merchants only contribute for online purchases–however, my idea for that is to go to your local store try things on, and then later if you still really want it when you get home and still are going to buy it, buy it online and get the 1-3% contribution.

Though the details aren’t always the easiest to find, you can use the u-promise money you earn to pay off your student loans or put yourself into school.  You have to send a notarized form to get your money mailed to you, and you can withdraw each quarter, and put that money into your bank account to start earning interest.

Find a friend or coworker who does free notarizing, or check to see if your bank will guarantee your signature.  It shouldn’t cost money to get money (okay the stamp doesn’t count).

The way I understand it, the majority of college savings plans that are tax deferred or even tax free, are made only to give to a child under a certain age.  Since those plans don’t apply to us, I would take my u-promise withdrawals and put the money into an IRA, then I can take art classes at the senior centers of the future!

Of course, the real way to save money is to not spend it.  If you are paying down student loans, going back to school, or saving for fun learning experiences in retirement–don’t just spend money on crap just because it gets you a small contribution from a vendor–put the money you decide not to spend right into savings towards those goals.

et cetera