How Soda & A Pack of Cigs Kept Me from Buying My Dream Truck

soda and cigarettesOk, I admit it. I have a serious addiction. Two of them in fact. Everyday, I allow myself one soda and a pack of cigarettes. On Saturday, I have two sodas. My elixir of choice is Diet Mountain Dew. I’ve been downing them daily for over 20 years.

My other addiction, smoking, I know I shouldn’t, but knowing and quitting is two different things. Anyway, the purpose of this article isn’t to debate whether I should or should not smoke.

I’ve driven second hand vehicles all my life and that’s a long 47 years. At the beginning of this year, I started wanting a brand new truck. Not just wanting it, I was aching for one. Not just any new truck either. I wanted a classic made new. I wanted a shiny new 2008 Ford F150 with a 4.6 liter V-8 and 4 doors. I wanted all the whistles, beeps, bells and geegaws. And it had to be Pearly White.

We’ve all been there at one time or another. Sometimes a love affair with a vehicle is so strong that you just gotta go out and buy it. You want it so bad that you would do just about anything to park it in your driveway. Well, I’m ashamed to say, I would have sold my Granny and her ancient arrowhead collection for a shiny, new 2008 Ford F150 in Pearly White. But Granny wouldn’t go for it and I had to find another way to finance my dream.

At this point I should probably tell you that I don’t believe in financing things (but I used to). I like to pay cash for all of my purchases. Yes, even the big ones like fancy new trucks. That said, I should have started saving a few years back for my new truck, but then again, I didn’t know I would want one so bad.

So I sat down and started figuring out how to save enough money to buy my dream truck. I have all ready cut back on all my expenses. I’m in the process of paying off all of my debts and still have $13,000 to go. (that’s why I don’t want to finance anything else)

I’ve budgeted everything to the last penny. I eat macaroni and beans for supper and generic cheerios for breakfast. Where can I find a few extra bucks to set aside? Then it hit me. The only indulgences I have are my pack of smokes and my good old diet Dew.

A 20 ounce Diet Mountain Dew costs $1.50. A pack of smokes cost roughly $3.50, even if you buy them by the carton. That’s $5.00 a day. Let’s see, 5 x 7 days is $35. 35 x 4 weeks is $140. 140 x 12 months is $1680. Wow. What a chunk of change.

A new Ford F150 costs around $20,000. So if I quit smoking and drinking soda, in 12 years I can save up enough to buy one. Right? Right.

While I was doing all this figuring and all this thinking, I decided to test drive a pretty new truck. Oh, I really loved it. I loved how it drove and how I felt driving it. But mostly, I loved how it smelled and how it looked. Remember, I have never had a brand new car before. I decided that if I got a brand new truck, I couldn’t smoke in it. That would ruin the wonderful new car smell. And I certainly couldn’t drink or eat in it. I might spill something on the gorgeous new upholstery.

Well, if I couldn’t smoke or drink in my new truck, did I still want one? Was I willing to make a lifestyle change? The answer is no. I reluctantly decided to forgo the Pearly White wonder and stick with my good old 1984, tomato soup red, Chevy Ram. It’s paid for and I’m comfortable in it.

But I learned something. I never realized the monetary cost of my addictions. Now I’m wondering what that $1680 could do in a high yield money market account if I put it in for 12 years?

Image courtesy of fling93

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14 Responses to How Soda & A Pack of Cigs Kept Me from Buying My Dream Truck

  1. David Mitchell says:

    They say that recognizing the problem is the first step to correcting it. There is no reason that you cannot start saving money your money now. Work yourself off of your cigarettes (with or without professional assistance) and watch your savings increase and your health improve. Stop buying the $1.50 bottle of single serving soda and buy two liter bottles when they are on sale. Enjoy your soda at home with your macaroni and beans. That should save you another $4 or $5 per week without sacrificing the pleasure of your soda fix!

    Good luck! (And good article!)

  2. fern says:

    well, it sounds like you’re on the road to enlightenment.

    I was going to suggest, before you said you ruled out the purchase, to just rent that truck for 1 week and get it out of your system. Becus i think for most people, the excitement about a brand new vehicle tends to wear off after a few weeks and it becomes, after all, just basic transpotation which i believe your Chevy Ram can provide just as well.

  3. Pete says:

    Try smoking roll-ups, only about $2 to $3 and gets you about 30 – 40 smokes.

  4. Lauren says:

    Nice post. I have my own junk food vices (not to mention laziness) and this is the first day in a long time that I have brought coffee to work and am packing my lunch (opps, no snacks – an added challenge). Here’s to sticking with it!

  5. IVSPORT says:

    That’s smart of you to recognize that smoking/drinking in a new car is the quickest way to make your new car feel like your old car. I had a friend who smoked all the time driving and the car smelled, there was ash everywhere and the door panels had burns all over from when she wasn’t paying attention.

  6. Marie says:

    This is actually the most interesting article I’ve read in a long time. We’re saving up for a minivan because its more comfortable with 3 carseats than a car is. But the longer it takes to save and the more things I find we will hve to give up to have it the more dealing with three carseats in a camry looks appealing. Afterall my kids are going to throw food around in a new minivan 🙂 and I’m too fearful of lemons to buy used. The third will be here in March and I won’t have even a decent downpayment by then. I refuse to get a loan although our excellent credit could qualify us for 0%.

  7. Steven says:

    It’s comforting to know someone else is hooked on Diet Mountain Dew besides me. I don’t, and never have, smoked, but I have been downing the Dew for years. I only buy it on sale and I have tried to stop. No luck. I finally ended up buying shares of Pepsi so some of the money I spend I get returned in the form of their quarterly dividend. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em.

  8. Jay Gatsby says:

    Bad habits aside, the bottom line is that the author kept him/her self from buying the truck.

  9. Texas Girl says:

    Now I

  10. Matt says:

    Its probably a good thing you didn’t get the truck especially since you’re trying to pay down your debt. I too smoke and doing the numbers is just scary. Just remember you can’t take away all of your indulgences and fun – you have to have something to look forward to. I guess on that note having all of your debts paid off could work.

    Good Luck keeping the truck off your mind and the idea of quitting smoking on it. Just be happy you’re paying 3.50 a pack – I’m paying closer to $9

  11. Provi Hernandez says:

    Very nice article. I always learn so much from the articles here. You made an economic decision, that went beyond money. You really thought about your new item, and how it would affect you and be affected.

    Soometimes, I think to myself, I want a simple life as well. Just an apartment, my cars paid off as well, and maybe I’ll just figure I’ll work in a flowershop.

    You know what I mean?

  12. crazyliblady says:

    I too have an addiction I am still working on getting rid of. I found it easier to give that up by using something else that is cheaper and healthier. For example, my vice is Pepsi. I have been drinking it fairly steadily since I was a teenager. Due to health reasons, I have had to cut back, and I will eventually quit altogether. I do need to find other ways to deal with my stress, though, as that is the primary reason I drink it. I have found it easier to eliminate the temptation and substitute drinking hot or iced tea. It still gives me a caffeine boost, but it does not have the unhealthy phosphoric acid and sugar. Perhaps you could do something simple like taking a thermos of coffee or tea with you to work. As for the cigarettes, I don’t know, as I have never smoked. My husband buys pipe tobacco and cigarette rolling papers, which are together way cheaper than regular cigarettes. So whether or not you buy a truck with the money you save is another issue, but quitting smoking and drinking pop is healthier for you.

  13. minny says:

    I had to laugh when I read this. I love the book ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ and the writers have something interesting to say about how money spent of cigarettes can add up over the years.

    The spin off is also you will have improved health. It will take a time, but as you watch those $3.50s add up you will know your health is improving.

    People often believe that those small sums don’t matter – HA – wrong! We did a money makeover as per the UK money guy Martin Lewis – and by cutting back and saving a few pounds here and there we ended up about $4,000 a year better off and we didn’t even notice the join.

    We then got our teeth into real money saving and what a difference that’s made. Got a load of tips from ‘The Tightwad Gazette’ – boy is that one great book!

    Good luck with whichever way you go.

  14. Don says:

    A couple of corrections…

    A month is NOT four weeks. It’s 4.3 weeks. In this case, it’s simpler to just multiply $5 a day by 365 days a year, which comes to $1825 per year.

    As for putting the money in a high yield money market account for 12 years, it wouldn’t grow to anywhere near half a million dollars as Texas Girl responded. Perhaps she was thinking about what it would be worth at your retirement, assuming that’s thirty years from now.

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