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Monday, August 26, 2013

Free car

Ever get a free car? A free boat? Anything like that?

One of the local dealerships has a raffle for a Jeep Cherokee. It's free to enter so I signed up. Then I got to thinking: what would I actually do with it if I won? It's a heck of a lot newer than anything else I own. It's even big enough to tow my sailboat. Even so, the first thing that I'd do is put a for sale sign on it.

In the United States, you don't just win anything free and clear. The taxman takes a sizable bite. Keeping the vehicle would mean paying the tax. Then there's registration and insurance -all much more expensive than on my older vehicles. Vehicles steadily lose value, even if they never leave the driveway. One reason is that they actually lose value just sitting there. Engines gum up, brakes rust, exhaust systems corrode away. Mice move in. Hornets build nests. Long term safe storage of a vehicle is an involved and expensive procedure.

The Jeep is a gas burner. My old diesel van runs on free waste vegetable oil 95% of the time. It's hard to give up a vehicle that can burn free fuel.

In short, I can't afford a free Jeep. That doesn't mean I won't mind winning it. Someone would get a very good deal on a quick sale.

When I was a kid my dad bought an old cottage. A motor boat was thrown it with the deal. I was excited. The boat was in great shape, had a powerful outboard, and was equipped for water skiing. My 12 year old self was picturing some serious power boating in my future.

Dad sold that boat so fast it made my head spin. At the time, I discounted the costs associated with owning a boat. All I could see was that it was “free.” My dad figured I had access to canoes, kayaks and rowboats, and the lake isn't all that big. He was right, but my younger self didn't like it. Now I guess I've become my dad, as his thinking makes perfect sense.



  1. Yep. Our perspective certainly changes with time.

  2. There's no such thing as a free lunch, sorry,
    I mean jeep...

  3. Reminds me of all those happy people on game shows who one all kinds of stuff but even back in the 60s the they couldn't afford to take the stuff home after taxes. The tax is based on the full price, no dealing even though they called it let's make a deal.

    1. I never cared for those game shows in the first place. It's funny how people got all excited about winning things they had no use for.

  4. My Jeep is 13 years old. Couldn't afford to pay tax AND insurance on a new one - the one I have is just fine.

    1. Some of us just aren't holding up the consumer society. :)

  5. I actually won something of substance only I never ever got it had to go to an attorney only to sue for the win, it was a bunch of crap I did get something and the taxman got the first you know what of the value, I never enter anything I don't think I could ever use which is primarily can decide what one wants to do with cash, other things are mostly tiny tiny..the taxman always gets the majority of the win..I know, now all I do is volunteer for the hungry and nearly homeless which is huge here, winter is near and the 200 plus days it rains, snows and ice makes for very unconfortable living in a car or on the streets, I feel much better about the time I have left on this terrestrial..!