Living Without A Car

If I don’t choose to give up my apartment and live in a van, my other choice for greatly reducing my monthly expenditures is going without a car.  My car is paid for but this year I’ve averaged $262.79 a month for transportation expenses.  That includes registration, licensing, gas, maintenance and repairs.  The average is skewed a little high due to having to replace my clutch earlier this year but with my car having 230,000 miles it is likely it will need more major work done before the end of the year.  Although getting rid of my car wouldn’t completely eliminate my transportation expenses I estimate it would save me approximately $200 a month.

Before getting rid of my car I need to determine if it is feasible for me to live without a car.  I live less than two miles from school so I could easily get there by bike.  I have a grocery store right across the street from my apartment and my bank, the post office, a drugstore, and several restaurants are within walking distance.  If you’d like to see what is within walking distance of your neighborhood visit  Just note that the distances are measured as the crow flies and the businesses are pulled from Google Directory and aren’t always accurately described.

The problems with not having a car would be seeing my girlfriend and working.  Looking at the bus schedule it would take about one hour each way to see her which is longer than I’d prefer. It might be workable though.  Another option would be for her to always come see me or for her to come and pick me up.  That isn’t really a reasonable option and I’m not seriously considering it.  I deliver pizzas for a living which would be impossible to do without a car.  That would mean I’d have to find a new job or make all my money online.  I like my job but gas prices are making it less rewarding.  If I were to quit the job I’d probably have to find a new one since I’ve still got quite a way to go before my online income can cover my expenses.  I’d also have to rent a car or ride a bus when I wanted to visit my mom which would eat up some of the money saved by not having a car.

It does look like I could get by without a car.  Most likely I’ll choose to live in a van rather than go without a car though.  This is simply because I like the freedom of being able to get in my vehicle and go. That isn’t a financial reason but sometimes the personal trumps the finance.  I do encourage everyone to consider whether they could live without a car.

8 thoughts on “Living Without A Car”

  1. Car expenses can really add up. Besides the obvious gas prices, oil, tires, registration, insurance, and unknowns. If you can go without a car, you will save a ton of money. Especially if your goal is to pay off debt or save money quickly. Do you have zipcar or another service where you can rent a car cheaply? If you have a friend with a car, you could offer to rent it from them for a day. You could offer to do grocery shopping for a friend in return for using the car. I like your thinking for ways to save money.

  2. Another excellent post with a very important topic: cars.

    I think Scott is right 100%. Not having a car would save you a great deal of money. However, I think I am one of the many people who is still seduced by the idea of having my own car, especially contending with this horrific English weather that I have to deal with. Like you said, “I like the freedom of being able to get in my vehicle and go”.

    Could you get a monthly bus pass that would enable you to see your mum when you wanted to?

    I am stuck in two minds about cars. Financially, it does make sense to live without a car – but would you be happy? I think that is a fair question to ask oneself.

  3. I’m catching up on posts for the roundup, and I just had to comment on this one. You could just ditch the car and get a motorcycle or scooter. The maintenance and registration and gas are all significantly lower, as is the insurance if you have small coverage. And with a scooter that costs only $1000 or so, the insurance will be small.

    Food for thought 😉

  4. I have to agree with Shanti – a scooter or motorcycle is a great choice for replacing a car. It will definitely save you on gas. Now, the hard part will be finding one and at a reasonable price. There has been a huge demand for them and the supply is low. By the way, what does your girlfriend think about you giving up the apartment vs the car?

  5. I loved this posting. I was considering a similar one as I’m second guessing why I even have a car. everything is within about a 3 mile radius of my home, so I’m strongly considering it. Good luck to you and wish me luck, too.


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