Have you ever thought of getting rid of your car? Most Americans can’t fathom surviving without one, yet people do it.
Many eco-conscious citizens just finished celebrating “National Bike to Work Week.” They, along with a steadily rising number of people are finding that there are many tremendous benefits to living life without a car.
The current average spend for owning a car in this country is nearly $10,000 per year (if the car is not paid for), with $4,000 of that is the approximate amount needed to fuel SUVs at the time of this writing.
Imagine what you could do with that $10,000.
It isn’t easy living without a car, and it may be impossible for some people. But don’t dismiss it out of hand, since it is a genuine and rarely considered option for many. Don’t refuse to believe in the possibility simply because you’ve never considered it before.
For some people, the benefits of not having a car will outweigh the advantages of having one – if you’re strong enough to handle the challenges. Not having a car is a great way to bond with your kids and spouse, save money, and one of the best things you can do to help preserve the environment.
If car ownership is essential for you because you don’t have access to buses or live too far from the places you need to go most, co-ownership is a great way to cut that $10,000 expense down to $5,000.
With a trusted neighbor or close-by friend, you could draft an agreement to buy and share a vehicle. Allocating who will use the car, and when, along with what you will do in emergencies, are all a MUST – upfront – before finalizing any agreements.
Your agreement (even if you’re the best of friends) must be legal and taken seriously. Otherwise, co-ownership could ruin your friendship. Know the person well before deciding to own a car together.
Keep Things Close To Home
Get used to going to stores that are close enough to walk with your family. It isn’t necessary to fly across town to your favorite stores, if there are similar stores down the street from where you live. If you’re lucky enough to live close to your children’s school, get in the habit of walking together, rather than driving.
And you don’t have to cut your kids off from after school activities. Let them get together with other kids in the neighborhood to perform their own extracurricular activities and develop their life skills together. Your children don’t need to suffer from isolation if school or city events are too far to make it on foot.
This may seem drastic, but if you’re serious about saving $10,000 a year and making a better life for your family, it’s worth the hassle. If moving is an option, move closer to school and work. Look for a walkable neighborhood because there are many advantages, and if there’s a halfway point between the two, great! If not, don’t forget the bus or public transportation system in your town.
Even if you end up taking public transportation instead relying solely on walking, you’ll save more than half of that $10,000. The bus and other public transportation will cost you only a fraction of owning a car. If you’re riding a lot, a permanent bus pass will further reduce the cost.
Get a Bike
Investing in a family of bikes will still cost you less than a thousand dollars and will be faster than padding the trails. And like walking, it’s super exercise, but with the breeze in your face on warm summer afternoons when you are cycling to your favorite places. Not to mention, your children will love getting out and going on bike rides together.
Living a life without a car isn’t easy, but it is much easier trying to save $10,000 a year in many other ways.
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