The Folly of Car Ownership

Ah….. there’s nothing like the open road, glamour, sex appeal and all that BS. Our society has been brainwashed to think that owning a car represents freedom, and the brand we drive is a symbol of success.

This article is not for such people.

Mr. Thrifty urges you to take a hard look at the total cost of car ownership.

Why tie up capital in a depreciating asset that sits idle upwards of 90% of the time? Especially now that car-sharing services like Car2Go, Turo and GetAround are gaining traction, along with more established taxi-like services Lyft and Uber.

For urban dwellers, it really makes little sense. It’s also the environmentally responsible way to go.

Look at such icons of business success and wealth as Sam Walton and Warren Buffett. Walton was notorious for sticking with a Ford F-150 pickup truck. And Buffett drives a used Cadillac. Even a new billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, drives an Acura TSX, valued at around US$30,000.

They are all making statements about their values. What does your car say about your values?

If you’re feeling social pressure to own a car (perhaps by Mrs. Thrifty) you should consider turning car ownership into a potential profit-making equation by offering your car on one of the emerging car-sharing platforms like Turo or GetAround.

One of Mr. Thrifty’s newsletter subscribers reported that in a recent month, his car generated revenue of $1200 vs. a cost of $400 (including insurance). An outstanding result. This isn’t typical, but if you want to go this route, we recommend that you choose a used car with some ‘sex’ appeal like a Mercedes convertible, and in an urban area, where people would be more apt to splurge on a short-term car rental.

Read more in our post on How to Make or Save Money with Turo.

If you MUST own a car, might we suggest a Tesla Model 3? In the Canadian landscape as of Spring 2021, Tesla or another electric vehicle makes a great deal of financial sense, especially if you are a business owner and can write off the entire cost of the car in the year of purchase. Mr. Thrifty has written more about the Tesla Model 3 and EVs in general in his Tesla Model 3 buyer FAQs article.