Take it on Tuesday: Saving Money by Buying a Scooter

So we sold the truck, and bought a scooter.

Here’s the story:
We had this great 2006 Ford Ranger that my husband owned before we married. This July (with a little assistance from my parents) we paid it off.

We had the question, though, of what to do next. We don’t have a family yet, but are not waiting forever to start either. My husband, Matt, still has a semester left of college, potential masters program to follow. We still need two vehicles now and then, but wanted to get rid of one so as to save gas, insurance, property taxes, etc. So even to buy a cheaper used car would not be as penny pinching as we want. We really only need one vehicle that can travel long distances and we still have my 2005 Hyundai that is running fine and gets great gas mileage… so… in comes the scooter.
I won’t lie, my husband brought up the idea and has been excited about it, but I am so thankful that he is level headed as well and has listened to the insight that his and my parents have provided. In the end, however, we have still decided to move forward.
We set a purchase price, no more than $1000 dollars and a goal of 150cc’s. (We learned quickly that on the average more cc’s = more speed and power.) We wanted something that would make highway speeds in case of an emergency. Really, we only needed something that would last a few years since we were putting money away towards a true family vehicle, so a used moped was the route we went.
First we hit craigslist.
But were overwhelmed! Who knew that there could be so many different brands, makes, models, etc. of mopeds!? Do we need insurance, tags, a motorcycle license? How fast do we want it to go? Not knowing a thing about them Matt decided to ask a friend.
A friend of Matt’s did the research and bought a moped a few years back. Matt contacted him and the first thing his friend said was “There is a locally-owned small dealership in town, go ask them. I really wish I had done that first when I bought mine.”
So we did.
Right off the bat we knew this guy knew his stuff. Most of the stuff he said flew over my head. My husband wasn’t fairing that well either, but one thing we did hear several times was KYMCO. This guy said that he personally can’t stand working on Chinese made scooters (cheap parts = fall apart = replaced by cheap parts).
Sadly, most of the prices he shot us were way above our price point. We thanked him for the information, feeling a little better now that we knew of a solid brand to watch out for (even if it was just because we had a local dealer that could work on them = bonus!).
Once again we hit up Craigslist.
We did see KYMCO scooters… but again, even used, $1600 seemed to be the minimum. Then Matt found something. A garage sale in Waverly listed a 125cc scooter. The sale had gone on last weekend but it was worth a shot.
Matt gave them a call and they still had it. She said it was a KYMCO Agility 125cc and that her son was selling it. He was asking $1000. He had ridden it once after buying it and had a pretty big spill and wouldn’t ride it again, so it has sat in storage.
We said that we could offer $800 and she said that she felt he was firm on the price but we could come take a look. So we did. An hour drive later (taking the Ranger for transport, of course) we arrive. She goes out to the barn where it has been stored for the last two years since it was purchased and we dust it off.
It doesn’t start. Battery dead? Other problems? We hook the battery up to the Ranger and after an hour of trying the electric and the kick start we got it to a point of running for about five seconds… and then puttering out.
The lady gets her son on the line.
“This nice couple drove all the way from Lawrence to see this today and you mean to tell me that you didn’t even take the time to know whether or not it ran? How about this, since it clearly needs some work, if I offer them $750 would you sell it? They already said they could really only afford $800 but with it being in this condition… $750? Ok. Bye.”
So we bought it for $750. (She tacked on $30 more for her son’s unused helmet.)
I had to run to work so it was up to Matt to move forward. He called up our insurance and got it insured, figured out the taxes for the title and called up our local dealer about maintenance. The dealer said they were open and to just bring it on down so Matt drove it over and right off the bat the dealer said that we had a heck of a find.
Then Matt told him the price.
“$750?! Stolen! You stole this scooter! I am impressed!” He did some more fiddling and said that it might come to around $200 max and take a few days but it wouldn’t be much trouble getting it up to speed and running like new again. (He also slipped in ‘what a steal!’ several more times.)
Matt looked it up later. The MSRP for this scooter was $1999 online…
Story is over. Now for the math: (feel free to skip if you really don’t care)
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So, the end result:
$750 – 2007 KYMXO Agility 125 scooter, 1500 miles, 70 miles per gallon, top speed of 75.
$30 – helmet
$195 – 12 months (twelve, not six!) of insurance
$136.29 – property tax & tagging
$146.94 – maintenance to get it running like new (+ 4 hours of education as it was getting put together and a driving lesson!!)
$20.50 – motorcycle test/license
$1278.73 – GRAND TOTAL for a scooter that will save us tons of money on gas and provide easy transportation around town.

How much we are saving because we no longer own the truck:
$228.63 – insurance (every 6 months)

$183.55 – property tax & tagging
$140 – regular oil change

Truck costs $780.81 total for a year (This total is just 81 cents more than the cost of the Scooter + helmet.)
We broke even! Then, consider the gas savings:

Truck = $125/mo. on average for gas = $1500/year
Scooter = likely $20/mo. on gas (that number is a little high) = $240/year

So, we are saving $1260 in gas this next year!!

(The truck sold just a few days later which is money not even factored in!)

——————————————————————————-

So, gross savings (subtracting the other costs) in a year from now will be $761.27!!

Needless to say, we are very happy with our purchase!! Now let the savings begin!

© 2011 – 2012, Betsy Pool. All rights reserved.

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4 comments to Take it on Tuesday: Saving Money by Buying a Scooter

  • Rachel Hambleton

    I really enjoyed reading this! I love finding good deals and it sounds like you two found a GREAT one! Congrats on the new scooter & selling the truck. Did it take you a while to learn to drive it? I drove one before and always had difficulty around corners… but what a great way to save money!!!

  • Dee

    OMG! Great deal…and the math! LOL…made my head hurt…lol.

    Seriously though, I admire anyone who can do all that legwork and be so dedicated about their savings plan.

  • Betsy @ Romance on a Dime

    Rachel – I have not yet tried to drive the scooter too much. Since it's replacing the truck, it's mostly my husbands transportation. And he learned and passed the motorcycle test the next day!!

    Since then, he has been constantly asking if there is an errand he can run for me!! Haha.

  • Betsy @ Romance on a Dime

    Dee, thanks for stopping by! I visited your site too! I learned something about Technorati. Well, I had heard the phrase before, but never knew what it meant. Thanks!

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