Ask Bark: Keep FiSTing, Ride The Pony, Or Let’s Do Both?

Sean writes:

Hey Mark,

As a current owner of a 2016 Fiesta ST, I absolutely love the car as I learned to drive stick on it! It is incredibly fun, a perfect daily and I get 30 mpg city driving in it. However, I always had a love for Mustangs. I have been eyeing the a ’17 Race Red GT Premium with the Performance Pack. I recently bought a townhouse in suburban Chicago with a two car garage. I figured I would keep the ST since it is paid off and use the GT as my weekend/fun 3 season car even though the Fiesta is paid off and I would have to finance the GT. I was debating trading in the ST, but I am afraid I would miss it too much and not to mention take the depreciation hit. I did love the GT after the test drive!

I can swing the payments on the GT to keep both cars, but here is the catch….I hate my job.

I work 10-11 hours a day (12-13 including commute) in banking operations (don’t ask) and some days I just want to get up an quit. However, some days it is tolerable and I did finally hit 6 figures in salary this year; so this makes me want to buy new things. I am recently single and just turned 32. If I get the GT, I could still save money, but it would cost me 800/month between the car payment (635), insurance (100) and gas (65). As an slightly older, wiser man who has a love for cars, what would you do in my shoes?

-Screw it and get the GT. Life is too short not to enjoy it!

-Trade in the Fiesta to save on the purchase price of GT and get snow/winter tires

-Keep the ST and just wait it out another 6 months or so

Or any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks Mark!

I might be the very best person in the world to answer this question, as I did own a Boss 302 and a Fiesta ST concurrently for about eight months. You may not know or remember this, but I got rid of my Boss because I never, ever drove it. Nearly every time that I walked out to my garage, I chose the FiST for that day’s dirty work.

The FiST is just a better daily driver—it’s more comfortable, it’s easier on your wallet from a gas perspective, it’s easier to park (especially since it sounds like you work in the city), and you won’t cry as much when somebody opens a door into it or bangs into it while street parking.

If you have track aspirations, I’m still going to lean toward the FiST. It’s tough on brake pads, but will otherwise be significantly cheaper to track than a Mustang.

Normally I am the “life is too short not to enjoy it!” guy, but not in this case. I’m going to recommend that you keep the FiST, save your cash, and keep that second garage space open for the occasional female overnight visitor (or male, no judgment here). Then, take that loot and buy something super cool/crazy in the future that makes a little more sense as a Sunday driver. Maybe a GT350R. Yes, that sounds like a good plan.

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26 Replies to “Ask Bark: Keep FiSTing, Ride The Pony, Or Let’s Do Both?”

  1. Ryan

    Keep the FiST and buy a used Mustang or a new one. I’m in the life is too short camp.

    Another note, when are you going to give us an update on your RS?

  2. mdm08033

    Mustang GTs are common on the used market. “Track Pack” and “Performance Package” are usually overlooked by the used car department’s team. You should learn the visual cues for them and keep trolling the usual used car search engines for an example that lights your fire.

    I used my own advice to buy an 2009 S197 GT with the scarce glass roof. I really wanted a 2010 with the track pack, easily identified by the strut brace in the engine bay, but the way the glass roof opens up the car and low price on the 09 was to good to ignore .

    Happy Hunting, Michael

  3. phr3dly

    As a fellow recently single. relatively young car enthusiast, I’ve also entered the “life is too short” camp. My garage contains four cars including a Focus RS and a BMW 4-series Gran Coupe. And despite that, from what you’ve written, you should absolutely not not not get another car.

    Here’s the thing about “life is too short”. That’s not an excuse to blow money on shit you can’t afford. It’s a recognition that you need to seek balance in life. If you are working 60 hour weeks at a job you hate, then save every single fricking penny you can until you can get out of that hellhole.

    Here’s what I did with the realization that life is too short:
    1. Spent a year screwing every good looking gal I came across. I encourage this, but be safe and honest.
    2. Started selling all the toys I’ve collected over the years on Craigslist. Craigslist is my ATM. I’ll probably even sell at least one of the vehicles. Want to buy a used BMW?
    3. Stopped giving a shit about work. Which isn’t to say that I’m now bad at my job, but it means that when I go home I don’t log in. I don’t check email. I don’t take phone calls. Oddly I got promoted after I did this. Weird.
    4. Worked with my manager to switch to an 80% schedule. Now every weekend is a three-day weekend. I realize that at some jobs this isn’t an option. If it is, though, that extra day every week is worth far more than having a mustang GT in the garage.

    What I /did not/ do is take on a huge depreciating financial liability. If you can’t afford to pay cash for a car, without thinking twice, then it *detracts* from your goal of living life to its fullest. I can’t emphasize this enough. You think life feels too short now? Wait until you’re drowning under debt service that you can’t get out of.

    • Ken

      This – totally this. I was going to write something similar, I started to and it just sounded condescending. Your comment strikes the balance between enjoying life and not doing something stupid financially.

      I can really relate to the OP – similar age, income, and car appetite. I also was “newly single” several years ago (now happily married w/a couple little ones). That brand new mustang won’t fill the hole (in my case it was a brand new G37S 6MT Coupe). It’ll just make a bigger hole in your finances.

      The key phrases in the OPs question were “recently single” and “I hate my job”. What the OP needs is more fun, meeting girls, and free time.

      In the end I sold my expensive car after I realized I was Car & Townhouse poor. Got my rocks off instead on a cheap motorcycle and now a used sports car that I tinker with as a 2nd car / project.

      If you can afford it – totally go for it. But I know what barely making 6 figures gets you in your late 20s / early 30s. Two new car payments, plus a townhouse outside of Chicago has gotta be tight. Don’t get me wrong, a good salary should be enjoyed, but don’t end up beholden or trying to fulfill something with money pits.

      • everybodyhatesscott

        Got my rocks off instead on a cheap motorcycle

        I was going to suggest buying a motorcycle but realized that’s pretty much my answer to all ‘which car should I buy?’ submissions. I love cars but I realized I loved cars a lot less when I wasn’t 16 anymore and had to buy them with money. You can buy an awesome bike for Under 15k (new) or a very good bike for under 5k (used) where a mustang gt is 40k?

  4. Economist

    Great title! The rest of the article is good, too, but that title makes me chuckle AND start singing Ginuwine.

  5. SkookumZac

    Forget the mustang and that $800/mo payment. You already have a daily. Now it’s time to get a bike.

  6. Yamahog

    Call me crazy but a threshold 6 figure salary in Chiraq with a mortgage liability seems like a challenged financial situation.

    A lot of people say “you should love what you do” and maybe they have a point but they’re the same people who encourage children to take on debt to study bologna like hanging potatoes from the ceiling at liberal arts colleges. These people are idiots.

    You should like the lifestyle your job affords you.

    If you’re interested in freedom, torque, and a good deal. Strongly consider a motorcycle, if you can drive a stick you’re already a step ahead! There are classes on Saturday mornings through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and upon completing the class you should have a permit / licence to ride a motorcycle.

    You can point your front wheel away from the city and get away from it all. There’s nothing like riding a nice cruiser through the midwest. But don’t take my word for it, ask anyone who rides a motorcycle whether they’d chose a commute with a V8 stang or a sunny afternoon on the bike.

    At the very least, a motorcycle has a lower liklihood of turning into a white elephant than many other things you can spend your money on.

    Good luck figuring it out!

  7. Frank Galvin

    Keep the FiSt, sell the house, have a giant yard sale, pocket cash. Throw what remains in a storage locker, take a long road trip. Get a headhunter and look at opportunities elsewhere – leave suburban Chicago before you’re taxed to death.

  8. jz78817

    I (mostly) liked my Mustang GT except for the seats. I’ve only driven one FiST a long time ago.

    if you spend two hours commuting every day, don’t underestimate the increase in fuel costs with the GT. My 2012 averaged 21, the FiST would be a lot better depending on how you drive it.

    at any rate, space constraints have meant I’ve had to step back from the performance car world. I can, however, fit two or three bikes in the garage (which is why an FZ-09 now resides there alongside my Switchback.)

  9. Aoletsgo

    It’s bloody June already! Three more months and winter will be closing in again.
    Keep the FiST until next year, the 2018 GT will be better than the 17 and you will have some time to sort things out. Spend the next 12 months traveling and trying new things, then if your okay with where your at now, buy the GT.

  10. -Nate

    Jesus .
    I read ” Keep FiSTing, Ride The Pony, Or Let’s Do Both?” and instantly flashed back to a Mechanic ‘Nigel’ I hired back in the 1970’s, his lurid tales of Gay Life in Silverlake used this very same phrase all the time…..
    At least he was a decent mechanic, reliable and honest plus punctual .
    Anyway, congrats on the $, sorry you hate it, I hated my job once and took a $1,000.00 / month pay cut to get out of it and never regretted it a moment although my PIA ex Wife wasn’t happy about it .
    Follow your heart .

  11. Mike

    How about having one car that combines both the speed/driving dynamics wanted along with the comfort and luxury needed for the commute – something like an A4? Or something similar.

      • viper32cm

        The maintenance on an E9x 335i (really any E9x) is going to be expensive. Finding one with the N55 motor and a stick would mitigate maintenance costs a bit, but, still, it won’t be cheap.

      • Mike

        I had meant to type S4. Or something similar for around $50k so a little cheaper than a Fiesta ST and Mustang GT.

  12. viper32cm

    If you hate your job that much, save your money, develop an exit strategy, and move on. While I’ve been known to indulge in cars to my detriment from time to time, the simple fact is this, the best car is a paid off car, especially when your paid off car is something like a FiST. Buying a new car now will just make it that much harder to move on. Also, the wonderful thing about Mustangs is that they plentiful and cheap on the secondhand market. Once you find a more enjoyable job, maybe then buy the Mustang.


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