Surviving as a Cash-Strapped Car Enthusiast
Being a petrolhead with no money is like being a gardener living in an apartment block.
But whilst they can make do with some nice potted plants, the reality for a cash strapped car enthusiast is often more clapped out basket case, than pretty window baskets.
I’d like to begin with a quick trip down memory lane. It wasn't that long ago that I enjoyed a bit more financial freedom, I had just finished my apprenticeship and was living at home.
This meant that in the three years prior to deciding I was going to university, I’d owned 4 cars.
I’ll caveat this by saying that none of them were massively expensive, but still, being able to save up a bit of cash to buy something else because I was bored and fancied a change, was a luxury.
Its certainly a luxury that I can no longer afford, and I wasn’t exactly earning a fortune, it just seems like it when compared to my student loan.
To justify my yearly car swapping, I’d always spend plenty of time researching what to get next. I’d compare dozens of options to see what was the fastest/cheapest to insure car I could get.
Insurance is the killer. Even at 23 with 5 years no claims, my Clio costs me far too much to insure.
In order to not feel guilty about such a massive outgoing, I remind myself that my car is my hobby and what keeps my passion alive. Equally, whilst some people spend hundreds of pounds on trainers and designer clothes, I don’t.
Now that I don’t have a monthly salary, the biggest problem I face is un expected maintenance bills. Just before christmas I had to fork out for two new tyres.
I couldn’t really afford them, but as a petrol head I’d rather have a safe working car than eat.
It’s not just the unexpected bills that hurt. As I drive an old hot hatch, out goings such as road tax and petrol add up, too.
I find myself going for less random drives these days and I think that’s because I can’t be as wasteful with fuel as I used to be.
I blame the engines appetite for revs for my poor fuel consumption. No matter how hard I try, I always end up heading for the red line at least once a journey.
Finally, there is the frustration of knowing that I’m likely to be stuck with my faithful Renault Sport until I graduate in 2021. So, with all that in mind, why don’t I just get rid and live a slightly more comfortable life?
It comes down to priorities. Arguably prioritising a car isn’t the best way to live, but as somebody who has loved them all my life, it’s a financial sacrifice I’m willing to make.