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Thread: I'm going to try going car free

  1. #1
    Senior Member awakenedsoul's Avatar
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    I'm going to try going car free

    My car just died. I bought it in 2005 for $6,000. It was a used 2004 Kia Rio from Enterprise. My brother is a district manager there, so I got a discount. Last year I put a new engine in it. The mechanic recommended it, but I see now it was a mistake. They're not built to last. Anyway, I've decided to try going car free. I have a bus pass and bicycle. I use them most of the time, anyway. I figure I can rent a car if I need to go to an audition, stock up at Costco, or take a trip. If it doesn't work out, I'll buy another used car. It's a weird feeling to have an empty driveway...I've had a car since I was 17.

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    You may be surprised at how much money you save without a car but if you are travelling by bike and transit, you may already know.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    Good Luck. Going "no car" certainly keeps some major expense down, but there are diminishing returns at a certain point- like harsh weather conditions, if you are temporarily disabled, nighttime travel, etc. The place where I see it being totally practical is in an urban setting, where you can live, work, and have recreational/social opportunities. That the local culture is "bicycle friendly" would be very helpful. Again, hope it works out for you!

  4. #4
    Member miradoblackwarrior's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of pedestrians--even those with two wheels!

    I went car-free two years ago, unless you count zipcar (which I don't!). Now I've even gone zipcar-free, just because I crunched the numbers and decided it was cheaper to go via bus, or even call a cab! Seriously, look around you--you might find resources out there that you've never looked at before. I gave up zipcar because I can plan around Enterprise (which comes out cheaper). Where I live, there is an extensive transit system. When I take a trip to BJ's (similar to Costco), I have a ginormous backpack that I can sling on my back. I also use the subscribe and save option through Amazon to get staples at a good price.

    Now that you're into shoe leather, look around! You might find you actually enjoy not having a car even more!

    If you want tips, just ask! Good luck--
    Susan

  5. #5
    Senior Member awakenedsoul's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. I've been saying to myself for the past two years, "I don't really need a car. The amount I was spending on maintenance has been going up each year. I'm going to see how it goes for a month and reevaluate.
    razz, Yes, I've been running the numbers. My car is one of my biggest expenses. A monthly bus pas is only $32.00. I bought one after I joined the gym. It's been totally worth it, and I use it almost every day.
    Packy, Thanks. I live in a very temperate climate. (Southern CA.) I don't need to travel at night anymore. The bus stop is just a block from my house. I can get anywhere I want to by bicycle. We have 100 miles of car free bike paths in our city.
    miradoblackwarrior, I was looking into zipcar, but I'd have to travel about 30 miles to get one. It sounds like a car rental would be cheaper for me, too. I might buy a bike trailer to haul the 40 lb. bags of dog food from Costco. I can grocery shop more often and take the bus. It stops right by Sprouts, and they have excellent specials. I'll check out the subscribe and save option through Amazon. Thanks for the tip! I would love to hear any more of your advice.

  6. #6
    rodeosweetheart
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    Gosh, Awakened, I loved it when we went down from 2 cars to one, and when I lived in SC, a week would go by where I only walked or rode bike. Sounds like you can pull it off. And why not take a cab for those trips to buy 40 lbs of dog food?

    You will save so much money!!

    Packy, I once was so disabled I couldn't drive my car--it was a stick shift and I was paralyzed, left leg did not work. So sometimes, the bus and the taxi is a necessity. But yeah, it can make you nervous to go too far and know you have to get back--but sounds like Awakened has been working up to this for quite some time, and this is just the push she needed.

    Lots of places have dial a ride, too, now...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dhiana's Avatar
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    We lived car free in SoCal and it was such a relief not to worry about future repairs, insurance or the stress an accident may cause.

    The bus took us most places we needed, we rented a car 3 times that year. Took a taxi about 6 - 8 times that year.

    Rented a $20/day +miles U-Haul van to transport a large art installation which was larger than I needed but cheaper than an SUV.

    Paid Delivery charges of $50 to Ikea for a double sized bed, sofa bed and a couple other things.

    I specifically budgeted for these kinds of misc transportation costs and found it was much easier, less expensive, and less stressful to look at all the options available. I didn't feel like I HAD to make a vehicle we may have already owned work for every situation.

    We have one vehicle now that we paid $2k for and I've used it TWICE in the past year. Both times, I would have simply rented a car for the special occasion if we didn't have one. I am so used to living car free that I literally forget we own one! My husband uses the car for going to/from work.

    Just keep your Drs Lic valid and you'll be surprised at how easy it is to live without owning a car. So many different options for different situations.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    DW and I have said for a while now that if something "terminal" happened to one of our cars, we'd see if we could get by with one. Between the two of us I don't think we're putting 12,000 miles a year on both cars. But they're both paid for and fairly economical to run and it certainly is convenient to have separate vehicles. So we'll see. I have another 10-15 years to not worry about mine unless some #*@& who's not paying attention totals it for me. And DW's is only four years old. Living on a bus line helps; so does being able to walk to necessities.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  9. #9
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    I have been without a car for years in Phoenix, Arizona, a city known for it's urban sprawl. It helps that I live in the center, in walking distance to grocery stores and major bus lines. It's so nice not to have to deal with gas prices, insurance, repairs, etc - really, though it does add convenience to your life a car is also on big fat bill, and high enough that it can really cut into the quality of your life. With a car I definitely need an employer more - would have to play the game more and kiss ass more and have more wear and tear on my soul. To me it's just not worth it, though once again I live in the middle of a huge city so that makes it doable to do without one.

    Best wishes on car free life Awakened Soul and please do update us on how it's going, both the good and the not so good. Rob

  10. #10
    Senior Member awakenedsoul's Avatar
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    rodeosweetheart, Thanks for the encouragement. A cab for the dog food is a good idea. I also live a few blocks from a feed store. I could buy dog food there and pay for delivery. (or use a bike trailer.) We have dial a ride here, too. I have neighbors who use it. I also have a neighbor who would probably let me ride in her car with her to Costco. She and her husband have one beater car to save money. I could pay her...she's really nice.
    Dhiana, Thanks for your story. I think it's going to work fine. I have a lot of friends I see regularly on the bus. They don't have cars, and they prefer it.
    Steve, I thought I was going to have this one for another ten years. I took such good care of it and did all the maintenance. But, Kia Rios have major engine problems and overheating problems after 100,000 miles. I still got a good run for my money. I hope your cars last a long long time!
    Rob, I know what you mean. I think I can do it. I was really only driving the car one day a week to keep it running. For the past three years I've been "car light". The more I paid the Auto Club, insurance, smog fees, registration, etc...the more I felt like I wasn't really getting my money's worth. But, I liked the savings on gas.
    Oddball, That's fantastic. I have an excellent backpack, too. I'm just thinking of the trailer for an emergency. (We do have wildfires here. One time I had to flee in five mins.) Thanks for the tip on the umbrella policy. I do own my CA home outright. It's in a trust, but I didn't think of that.
    These are great tips, everyone. Thank you so much. I used my bike today to run errands. It feels totally different when it's your means of transportation. It reminded me of when I was a kid. I rode my bike everywhere: to school, to friends' houses, to gymnastics...Today I went to Walgreens, Food For Less, and the post office. Did about 7 miles, RT. I could have taken the bus, but I didn't want to wait in this 90 degree heat.

    The weirdest thing is, I'm a little concerned about what the neighbors will think. Everybody here has lots of cars. I'd say each home has an average of five or six vehicles. I shouldn't care, but I wonder if people will think that I don't have the money to fix my car or to replace it. I just don't want to spend my savings on something I don't really need. I like having a stash of cash...

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