Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Tag: vespa

The cost of owning a Vespa 125cc

I have now owned and used – intensifily – my Vespa scooter for 2 full years and with all the articles about the cost of owning a car I found it intersting to see how much the Vespa has set me back these last two years.

When adding all the costs a few things became clear. Fuel costs me around 45 euro a month with me filling up about 5 times a month with a 9 euro refill each. I also seem to have a trafic ticket once per year but wiht the fine increasing each year. 2018 was the cheapest at 50 euro, 2019 came and I got a 75 euro ticket and for 2020 I already am at 130 euro.

* gulp *

I bought the Vespa back in 2017 for 2 750 euro and I tought the I made a semi frugal choice. More expensive than continuing to use the electircal bicycle we allready had but definitely a lot cheaper (and more practical) than a second car. This recap was somewhat of an eye opener concerning the semi-frugal part of that statement.

Fun, practical choice or not ?

Let me start by saying I still really, really enjoy using the Vespa to go to work (see also the speeding tickets).

It is fun and it is the fasted most practical way of getting to work. Last May my work moved to very near the Leuven train station. For me this move had zero impact but a lot of my co-workers had to stop using their car and switch to public transport via train.

Nine years of commuting to Brussels has instilled me with an all consuming hate for the Belgian railway company.

With the move of our company, many co-workers made the switch to the train because getting to the building means facing a huge traffic jam and there are only six available parking spaces in the building itself. And those parking spaces are for the management. The rest of us got parking space a10 min walk away from the building.

So using a car is out.

Using the train is also out because, well I hate them! But it would also mean driving to the train station (10 min), waiting for the train (5min on a good day), riding on the train (10 min, also on a good day) and then a 5 min walk to the office. All in all 30 min which is the same time I need now. Except I am completely flexible when I leave and do not get frustrated on an almost daily basis by the Belgian rail company and there frequent delays (did I tell you I hate them?)

No, the best way to get to Leuven is by bicycle or scooter for me. And I really enjoy using the scooter so to answer the question. Yes the Scooter, for me, was a fun, practical choice.

Frugal choice or not?

Now the good part! The numbers.

This is using the Scooter every working day for a total distance of 40 kms per day, and a few more when i go swimming. So around 10,000 km a year. That’s a lot of km’s to do on a Scooter

In 2018 I spend on the Vespa 2 456,40 euro on maintenance and gas. Then I need to add a 95 euro insurance cost and let’s put amortisation at 275 euro a year.

Grand total cost for 2018: 2 826,40 euro

yes that number gave me sticker schock as well. With an annual cost for a car being estimated to be between 3 000 and 4 000 the Vespa was barely cheaper than a car. In that big amount was a 1 000 euro of extra maintenance because of a faulty cylinder head which should not have happend. But it did happen.

But without eh unforseen big maintenance and average year of using a Vespa scooter should cost around 1 800 euro right? Let’s take a look at 2019 wher eno unforseen maintenance costs happened.

In 2019 I spend for maintenance and gas (and the speeding ticket, didn’t forget that one) 1 279,20 euro. Insurance was again 95 euro and let’ keep amortisation at 275 euro for the year.

That brings the grand total cost for 2019 to: 1 649,20 euro

Whoow, I need to say I am reliefed at that number. It makes a scooter about half the price of a modest car. So not that bad after all. Add in the fact that I kinda, maybe negotiated a tax free bicycle remuneration of 160 euro a month and my home – work transport is basically free.

On the other hand: I spend 1 650 euro a year on getting to work!!

An electrical bicycle would cost almost nothing and take only a little bit longer. And I could use the exercise, just ask my wasteline!

So is the Vespa scooter a frugal choice or not? Compared to a second car? Yes it is. But compared to a decent electrical bicycle with roughly the same purchase price? Nope. Even with amortisation and maintenance a decend electrical bicycle would only cost you around 400 euro a year. So I am spending 1,200 euro more a year.

Moving forward

For me, all this made it once more abundantely clear I need to get my ass moving on the electrical bicycle front. The girlfriend has one I can use, I just want it to go a bit faster. So I need to do this ASAP! Even if I only use the bicycle for half of my workweek I should still be able to save around 500 euro a year.

Buying a vespa 125cc

Two weeks ago I bought myself a Vespa GTI 125cc

If I am totally honest about it, I bought it because I wanted one. They’re great looking scooters and even driving it around our block I was immediately transported back to my youth. I had some of the best moments of my life being 16, 17 years old. Totally worry free and just cruising the scooter I had back then (a Honda Camino 50cc that legally only could go 45 km/h but i off course had it souped up to around 75 km/h, yes I was that type of guy …). I still remember one summer where Belgium had one of our rare heat waves of + 30 degrees celcius, cruising down the streets of my home town to meet up with some friends and then go swimming in a fishing pond my parents rented. The fact that a few nice looking girls decided to join us for a swim was a fact that made those days all the more enjoyable for my teenage self …

The frugal part

But was it also a frugal purchase? In some ways it was.

I bought it second hand for 2.750 euro and it was very well taken care of, with less than 11.000 km of use. New they cost around 4.300 to 4.800 euro’s.

It’s a 125cc, which means that I can drive it with the my current driver license. When you have a car driver license for over a year you can drive motorcycles up to 125 cc in Belgium (this apparently does not apply for the Netherlands).

Insurance is very cheap since we can add it to our car insurance: it will only cost 93 euro for one year.

The fuel economy is a lot better than our car (we have a Opel Combo) so I will probably save more than the insurance cost on car fuel.

It will avoid us from needing a second car with all the costs that entails while still giving us a lot more mobility options: I am in the centre of Leuven (20 km distance) in about 30 minutes. Going to the swimming pool only takes 10 minutes and no more worrying about parking space.

A friend of mine has the exact same one, he is a trained mechanic and is part of a Vespa Scooter club: maintenance will be cheap.

The not so frugal part

We already own an excellent electric bicycle. I could use that. I did use that bicycle to go to my temp work for about 9 months (distance also around 20 km). But I did also use the car when the girlfriend did not have to work. Not having to go to work with the bicycle every single day was really, really nice. Having to cycle home, after swimming was really, really annoying. I am just not in good enough shape for that!

Continuing to use the electric bicycle would have saved me all of the money.

I could have bought a cheaper model. You can find nice, good running 125 cc scooters for 1.500 euro or even less. Most other Vespa models are even cheaper than this one. I definitely could have saved 1.000 euro on the purchase price and gotten all the same advantages of owning a 125cc scooter I have now. I went for the nicest model.

Conclusion

I know my most hard core frugal days are behind me. I am getting soft in my old age. And there even is a pattern to detect. I didn’t own a bed until I was 38 years old. But when I bought one, I bought a very nice full oak one. It’s fantastic! In the dilemma between buy cheap or buy once for the rest of your life I usually advocate for buying cheap so you can get more of your money working for you. But one some things I appear to fall in the buy once for the rest of your life. I will probably never buy another scooter in my life. And I know for a fact I will never buy another bed in my life time. And I wanted a nice looking, great scooter for the rest of my life!

It is also only around 1% of my stash, so for the young people reading this and still building their stash: use your bicycle or buy a cheap scooter and use it until it falls apart and build your stash! And then buy a nice scooter!!

Ps. For those of you wondering, yes that is my drive way and no, the building in the back is not my house. It’s a barn (which we don’t really use). And yes, to the right there is an old green house (we don’t use that either).  I’ll do a post or two about our house in the future. Not buying it would have brought me really close to FI right about now, so the house probably added about 5 years of working. Well worth it in my opinion.