When Frugal Buys a Classic Car

Small things can be leveraged into bigger things. At least that’s what I told Mr. Mt when we were first married. We were trying to pay off our debt and start building wealth. We didn’t have huge incomes, so we had to find ways to reduce our expenses. No lunches out. No movie dates. No fancy dinners. No big vacations. “But don’t worry” I would say, “just look at this chart! If we can do this for 10 more years, see how much progress we will have made!” He was only slightly impressed.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that “being rich” was never the goal. We wanted more financial freedom. We wanted to be able to live the life we felt called to live. We wanted adventure.

If you saw our 2016 Net Worth Update, you know we aren’t exactly “rich” but we do have exactly what we were after: Freedom, Purpose and Adventure. In our personal definition of success: we have kind of nailed it.

During this year long sabbatical we decided we wouldn’t invest any money. Honestly this is driving me nuts. So a few weeks ago, we had this conversation: (I’m letting Mr. Mt chime in a bit, his words are in italics.)

Ms. Mt: I feel like maybe we have too much cash. Maybe we could put some of that into our retirement accounts. What do you think? I’m not sure exactly what she said, but I definitely heard her open a door of opportunity. It sounded something like, “Too much money….blah blah blah….what do you think?”

Mr. Mt: We could by a classic car.

Ms. Mt: What?!? NO! That is not what I said at all. She said, “What do you think?” Well, at any given moment I am usually “thinking” about one of three things: food, cars, and….how pretty and wonderful Ms. Mt is.

Mr. Mt: I heard we have too much cash. So that means it’s time for me to buy my classic car, right?

Ms. Mt: (walking away, pretending this conversation never happened).

Mr. Mt: (finding his way to the computer to look up classic cars)

Of course, he found the PERFECT car for sale online about 2 hours later. Imagine that?

Negotiations ensued in our living room. Conversations happened. And we went out to look at this car the next morning.

So here is the thing. For the first years we were married, we did LOTS of little frugal things like never order drinks when we went out. I’m not just talking beer, not even soda. If we did a big splurge, we would split one. Split a soda, people. Saving like $1.79. Of course we did bigger things too. We had a roommate for 3 years. That saved us $700+ a month.

Little things can be leveraged into bigger things. We gave up little things that we didn’t care that much about. In exchange we have been able to travel through 27 countries. Get to the point where we are Work Optional. Take 6 week adventures with our kids.

And apparently… buy a classic car.

Mr. Mt drives this thing everywhere. To the gym, dropping off kids at school, picking up groceries. It’s like he has become a mid-level celebrity. Everywhere he takes the car, folks talk to him. They holler across parking lots. Chat him up. Two (almost) homeless guys even waved him down the other day, and talked shop for 10 minutes with him. Me, being the rather introverted one in the pair, finds no joy in this. Mr. Mt on the other hand loves it!

So what if we split a soda? Or rarely eat out? Always pack a lunch? Installed stock cabinets and laminate counters in our kitchen?

Frugal living isn’t about never having or never doing. It is quite the opposite.

Frugal living is intentionally finding the things that matter the very most, then cutting out or paring down the things that matter less.

Behind every, “Wow, how did you do THAT?” are a 1000, “We didn’t do these other things.”


How about you? Have you found the few things that you REALLY want? How are you cutting out the other less important things to make room? You can go ahead and compliment his car if you want. Just like in public, I’m going to make him respond to all questions and comments. =)  See how happy he looks?


And in case you are a hard core number cruncher, we did our net worth AFTER the car was bought. So really the net worth went up $50k, plus a classic car and pop up camper. =) Even now, Mr. Mt is only really impressed with the last two.

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17 thoughts on “When Frugal Buys a Classic Car

  1. To be fair, that is a really sweet car. 🙂

    I’m completely on board with the idea of cutting spending ruthlessly where you don’t get much value and spending more freely where you do. I have cut spending in a lot of areas and much of that has gone to investing, but a significant portion has gone to increasing my vacation budget by quite a bit.

    • Thanks! She is fun to drive too!

      We are very similar to you in where we re-budget our cuts. We greatly prioritize vacationing (obviously with our 6 week trip this summer), and investing. Of course, Ms. Montana thought the money that went towards the car was going to go towards retirement savings. Either way, it was an investment, just with a very different type of yield.

  2. What a car! Good for you guys. That’s what the frugal life is all about for me too, sacrificing thinks that don’t matter as much and aren’t considered needs in order to enjoy your certain passions and spending priorities.

    • Yeah. I have been wanting another classic for a very long time. It was hard for me to go without one. All the other sacrifices, like not eating out or having cable or driving the same old Honda Civic for a decade, have finally paid off.

  3. Such a great story to read. Life is indeed for living.
    Focus on things that matter, go after those and see what else can be skipped.

    For us, a classic car would be in the far future… For now, I would like to travel more outside of Belgium. We just booked a ski holiday and I am dreaming of a road trip next summer.

    Mr Mt really looks happy in his car.

    • Have you taken the kids to the big open air museum (in the corner of the Netherlands, by Germany and Belgium)? I ended up going a few times, I loved it so much! It’s great for kids, but I also took my dad there and he really loved it. You guys are lucky because there are so many great things, all so close by. The nearest decent sized town from our town is 2 hours. =)

  4. We’ve always been in the camp of cutting things that have little value and spending on the the things that matter most to us (vacations come to mind).

    And wow! Mr. Mt really looks happy with his car! Great car!

    So, I can’t let Mr. Centsibly Rich read this ’cause he’s been looking at boats on Craigslist for a solid month now. I’m not completely sold, but he’s very persistent and is definitely doing his homework. His reasoning is it’ll be great family time with teenagers…who can argue with that? As long as it’s used and it’s a great deal we can pay cash for, I may go along with it 🙂

    • One of the things I love about buying something like that used is 1. It barely deprecates. 2. If you can find a decent deal, you can sell it for about the same price. 3. It ties up less potential investment income than a new, more expensive option. That is how we feel about the pop up camper, we will use it for a few years and it we want to change it up or don’t like it, we can just resell it. I can totally see teenagers LOVING a boat. And their friends. =) Might be a good bribe to get them excited about hanging out with the parents. =)

  5. I’m not even a car person in the slightest and I think its a sweet car. Sometimes impractical things can add joy to your day. As long as it doesn’t put you in debt or seriously sidetrack your goals, then be selective and enjoy them. When you stop appreciating them its time to sell.