Automotive Finances & Money General

Of Gyms, Running, Cars and Anniversaries

Wow, it’s been SIX YEARS since I launched this blog and I’m still going. If you go check out my archives, you’ll see I used to write 40-60 articles a month, but that was when I was in a job going nowhere and with nothing to do. Also, once we got out of debt, it became tough to figure out what to write about…and it still is! But I’ve still found enough to chat with you about, and I hope to keep going for as long as this blogging thing sticks around! I’m still not bound to just financial articles, although I do get flack sometimes if I write something absolutely nothing to do with money. You know what? Deal with it! It’s my site and I write what I feel like 🙂

But I also want to take this opportunity to update you all on a few topics I’ve brought up recently:

What did we decide about a new gym?

Just a couple weeks ago, we showed up at our gym and found out it was closing. It’s a chain gym, and there are others in the area, but we had to decide whether to try the next closest one (tacks on about 10-20 minutes roundtrip), switch to a gym across the street, drop the gym entirely and use the outdoors, etc. So what did we do?

Well, since we currently spend less combined than one of our memberships would cost at another gym, we haven’t even looked at a new gym. And since it’s summer in DC, I realized I need air-conditioning for my training (see below), so we’re traveling a little bit farther 3x a week to a different gym in our chain. We’ve actually found it to be much cleaner, brighter and better laid out than our old gym, and I think we’ll stick around at this one for a while.

God, I hate/love running!

The “training” I referred to above is training for another marathon. It’s been 6 years since I ran my last, and only, marathon, and I’ve run a few races since then. I’ve been running 3x a week in preparation for this one, and I hope to knock 60-90 minutes off my prior time. I’m feeling excellent through training now that I’m forcing myself to a specific pace, but I still find pacing my toughest challenge if I’m off the treadmill.

So I have a love-hate relationship with running. I hate the beginning, love the end, and battle throughout the actual run to push myself to keep going. I’ve generally been a lazy person throughout my life, but when I have a goal and I commit to it, I feel a sense of duty to complete it. That’s how I’m able to complete a run; I set myself both a realistic goal and a stretch goal. I force myself to meet the realistic goal, and if I think I can make the “stretch goal”, I’ll go for that too. That’s why I have 2 goal times for the marathon. I’d like to finish an hour faster or, as a stretch, 90 minutes faster.

So if you asked in the comments why I run if I hate it, hopefully you understand why now. And thanks to the supporters who already understand from your own experience 🙂

All the haters! More about our car situation

I love cars, but apparently not all my readers appreciate the same cars as I do. Some don’t even understand why someone would want to buy more than a piece of plywood with 4 wheels, an engine and a rudder, much less a European fun-mobil like a MINI Cooper, even with some of its warts. But I found out how many haters there are out there of fun cars when I post that we were close to getting a new car, but opted to shell out for maintenance and repairs to our current car and just keep it.

Here’s the thing you need to know about me and cars. While I’m interested in all cars, I personally like to own cars that others find odd, eccentric or “non-beige”. It’s why we’ve bought 2 MINIs (which are becoming more “normal” here in the DC area, but not outside of large cities) and a Honda Ridgeline truck (in its first model year). I don’t buy just to be weird; I do my research and find out if it’s the right car for me or my wife. In the case of other past cars, like our Acura, Chevy Malibu or Passat, they were all the right car for us at the time, with some caveats…

As for the Acura, I was a kid out of college with a big new income (disregarding my bills) and my Saturn wasn’t good enough. The Acura TL-S was shiny and in its first year on the market. No one else had one, it was 2 steps up in luxury and speed, so I got one. I kept it for almost 100k miles until I decided we needed a truck for our new home (and I was right).

Now, the Passat and Malibu were different stories. We felt my wife’s “old” Pontiac Grand Am was dying and I still had my Acura. We thought we needed a family sedan as we were planning for a family, so we bought the Passat. It turned out to be a gas guzzler and too expensive, so we (stupidly again) traded it in for a cheaper (and I mean CHEAP) Malibu. We lost our shirts, but learned some valuable lessons in the process.

That family never came, and that’s why now my wife has a MINI Cooper and loves it. I have a 4 door truck for all our other travel and my own rare commuting and our situation works great for us. As an aside, the Grand Am (we called it “Greenie”) is still running, even after being owned by a friend’s daughter during college. We sold it for $2k and they sold it for $1k four years later. They’ve had to put a chunk of money into that 14-year old car, including after some minor accidents, but it’s still chugging along.

But I’ll leave you with this question: If you were one of the haters in the comments, tell me what kind of car you have, why you have it, why you’re keeping it, and what you think the BEST car is. Take note of how I asked those questions, especially the last one as no one would respond to that in the comments. If you think my current or past vehicle selections are idiotic or crap, I REALLY want to know why you think the best car is. If you know of one good for everyone, perfect. Or if you would rather focus on either me or your own situations, then do so, but I really want to know! Would it be a van, a truck, a sedan, a wagon, a hatch? And what SPECIFIC MAKE and MODEL?

I challenge you that, and provide your reasons 🙂

And thank you for hanging around for the last 6 years!

About the author

Clever Dude


  • I’m still driving my chev s-10 that I bought new in 1999. At the time I was a student and was required by school to move every four months so I bought a truck. It turned out to be the best car decision I’ve ever made. It now has 290k on it. It’s been to both oceans twice and has left the ground once (momentarily). As its a truck it’s built to take more punishment than a uniframe car. The engine is a 350 block with two cylinders lobbed off so it is old “tried and true” technology. Lastly the whole system if very simple with few thing to go wrong (ie single injector where the old carb used to be). I can easily afford a new vehicle but quite frankly I want to see how long my current one will last as a challenge. Eventually if I get bored of waiting in the next few years I will probably give it a Viking funeral during an open track day at a local oval track

  • Wow, 6 years already?? I remember meeting you 4.5 years ago when I first started. Congrats man!! I pray I can last till 6 too, it’s getting harder 😉

  • @Dan, I agree trucks (especially light duty ones) will last forever, although every vehicle will have its bugs after time. Some more than others. Congrats on holding out! I’m holding out for a midsize truck that’s more flexible and spacious than a Tacoma with better gas mileage than the norm (they’re all 15-21 roughly). I still love my Ridgeline, but wish it had more luxury.

    @J, thanks! And you better keep going, especially with one income and a kid weeks away!

  • My first car was a nissan 200sx which was perfect for me. I needed a commuter car. I drove from work to school and back home. I have had that used car for over 4 years and after 100K (by me alone) it is still coming along. Now that I am done with school I am hoping to get a Mini Cooper or Scion tc.

  • @clever dude
    You may want to try a large block high ratio differential combienation. They aren’t good for towing due to the differential loss of torque. But the trade off is higher mileage. I saw a 2011 chev 4×4 crew cab with the 5.8L for $32k new. It was in the mid 25mpg range on reg gas. It’s more truck than I need but it got better mileage than my s-10

  • 7 year old Kia mini-van, ok mileage for its class, big enough for the family trips, and runs to hard ware store. 5 year old Honda Accord, reliable, commuter car. Both of which may be driven until we can’t drive them anymore. We may go for a station wagon when the kids are older, and a mini for the commuter car, down the road.

  • I don’t believe I’m one of the haters you were talking about because it is my first time here, but I would like to answer the questions. I have a 1997 Acura SLX, which my dad bought 2nd hand back in 2003. In 2005, my dad bought a new car and so he gave me the Acura. I’m keeping it because it’s still in good working condition. Some of the people who get to ride it are actually surprised with its performance despite being an old car. The best car, I’m not sure which, but my dream car is a BMW X5. I love SUVs.

  • I am not one of the haters, as far as cars go I enjoy a good article or story about cars. I have a 1999 Camry and it is still working fine, I think it can use a tune up though. As far as the best car for me I would have to say it should be reliable, fuel efficient and fun to drive. So far the car that has had all these specs is the Mazda 3 with Skyactiv.

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