Last weekend, by some strange collision of events, I bought a used 2013 Honda PCX 150 scooter. It was both fun and frustrating.
First, I was goofing around on Reddit. I landed on a post discussing periodic requests for credit limit increases. I thought to myself, why not? So, I went to PayPal Credit and requested a credit limit increase. I got it. Interesting.
So, I then went to the PayPal credit card and requested a credit limit increase there too. I got it. I was on a streak.
So, I went to another of my credit cards and requested a credit limit increase. Boom. I got an extra $3000. Then, I did the same for a second card with the same company. I got more credit there too.
This sets up the ground work.
You see, I am on the cusp of some credit inquiries to drop off of my credit report. This means that I may be able to apply for an American Express or JP Morgan Chase credit card soon. This means that by April I could get a new credit card.
I have been thinking about getting a scooter or motorcycle for some time. But, I did not want to finance it as it would require another hard inquiry on my credit. So, when I got the credit limit increase, it gave me enough room to buy the used PCX 150 using Cash App with a credit card. Yes, it increases my credit card utilization. But, it does not burn a hard inquiry. I could pay off a balance. An inquiry, on the other hand, takes 2 years to fall off.
Of course, it's not just a simple matter to buy a scooter or motorcycle. There are other financial considerations. I have to take a class to get the license endorsement, $235. Helmet, $150. Insurance, $288. Title registration, $250.
WHY A SCOOTER
This all started because Mrs. Mata's car would not start. As a 2-car family, it was an inconvenience to have to share my car for all of us to get to work and school. With a third vehicle, we would be less inconvenienced while we got the car repaired. When I saw the advertisement for the scooter, which has less than 1000 miles, it seemed a great opportunity to remedy this weakness in our transportation options.
I got the scooter because it was a good bargain. My fast action worked in my favor as other people were interested in buying it.
MORE TO COME
I am planning on sending my son to the riding class to get a motorcycle license. If my youngest daughter is interested when she is old enough, she can learn too. I plan on buying a Honda Trail 125 for puttering around with the PCX. And, I am looking at regular motorcycles for longer trips.
I have come to realize how affordable motorbikes are compared to automobiles, even used autos. I could buy several used bikes for the price of one decent used car.
One advantage is the cost of operation. Mileage on scooters is far better than automobiles, even my Prius. However, motorcycles are on par with the Prius. But, the cost of maintenance and parts is lower for bikes.
I have come to understand why people who own one bike tend to own more than one. I've only had this for one week. And, I have only really driven it for one day when I took it to get a safety inspection. But, the ability to pay it off so quickly has convinced me that owning more than one is an advantage that improves our resilience to car trouble.
This is the important part. Having a transportation alternative means that we do not have to upgrade vehicles. As our cars get old and require more maintenance, it would be affordable for some time to pay for repairs rather than upgrade. If the car is in the shop for a few days, we would have the bikes for transport.
Another aspect of owning several motorbikes in addition to our two automobiles is that we would spread the mileage out among several vehicles. In terms of fleet management, it means that I can extend the life of my cars a few more years as we would use each of them less by having more of them. I could not afford to do this with automobiles. The cost of operating, insuring, and maintaining would be prohibitive. With bikes, on the other hand, it is easily done.
I know that most people who buy motorcycles and mopeds are typically more excited about the fun and freedom of riding. I suppose I'm happy about some of that too. But, I'm more excited about the financial advantage.
Obviously, there is the risk of injury, which could be financially costly. For this reason, I am buying all the safety gear. Gloves, jacket, trousers, boots, and helmet. I already suffered a motorcycle accident in my youth that put me in the hospital for 2 weeks. I am fully aware and wary for my safety. This is partly why a scooter is a better option than a motorcycle, lower speed.
However, we can't live our whole lives in fear. There are clear advantages to having multiple modes of transportation for the family. This is something that was not obvious until now.