The No Car Experiment

The No Car Experiment

Yes, we are crazy. Yes, we are desperate.

Within the past 18 months, my salary was cut in half or worse when I switched jobs. When I was on bed rest while I was pregnant, I only was able to work part time and so that salary was also cut. Also within the past year or two, my husband’s salary was cut in order to save jobs. Add to that our majorly HUGE medical bills and the additional cost for adding Lulu on to our insurance. Oh yeah, AND there isn’t the overtime available that there was a year ago. So, I would say that we have been living on about a third or less of what we had two years ago.

It has come to our attention that we haven’t been living as if we were cut. So, it’s time for some REALLY deep cuts. The biggest one is my car. Jay suggested this about a year ago but I threw a fit and refused. Yesterday I got to the point that when I looked at the bills and I thought I’d rather die than figure out a way to pay them. Then I decided that we should be irresponsible and file for bankruptcy. Then I decided that we HAD to get rid of my car. So instead of dying or filing for bankruptcy I’ve decided to sell my car to pay it off.

Being rid of my car would eliminate my car payment, gas, maintenance, taxes, registration and insurance. I know that other transportation costs will surface now but this is the best plan I can come up with. With this we will recoup almost one entire paycheck each month.

How is this going to work? Not easily. But I’m committing to going without a car for three months. And hopefully at that time I will be able to pay cash for a smaller, older, used car. Until then, we will pay off as many bills as possible and I will rely on friends, family and taxis. This won’t start until February or March but we’re working out all of the logistics now.

So, can you give me ride? I’ll pay for gas…

One Response »

  1. I don’t have a car either. It’s not as bad as you think, it just takes some getting used to. It IS hard to get used to after being able to just jump in your car and go wherever and do whatever you want…but you CAN get used to it. There are a lot of added benefits as well–not just money wise.

    For one, Rich and I spend more time together because he drives me places. He drives me to work 4-5x a week, dropping me off on his way to his job. This is an extra 30 minutes a day we get to spend with each other!

    If we’re running a bit late (we have to leave early enough to get me to work and still leave time for him to get to work, making me really early to work, usually), he lets me off a bit further than usual and I walk the rest of the way so he can get to work on time. (even if it’s raining or snowing or winding or whatever). I actually like it, because it gives me a nice 10 minute walk in the mornings. That’s an extra 10 minutes of exercise that I get when that happens! It’s a bonus, trust me!

    It has been a joy rediscovering my feet! God gave me these feet, and they get me places. Sure it’s not as cool as having a car…but it saves money, the environment and I don’t pay for a gym!

    I take the bus home from work (and in to work on 1 day a week as well). I thought it would suck, but sometimes, because of bus lanes where cars can’t go–the bus actually gets me home quicker than if Rich picks me up! I know you said something about not having a bus near you…but, I bet there is! You might have to walk a bit…but, it makes your life a bit more planned, actually. You HAVE to get up because you have a real schedule to keep. You can’t be even 5 minutes late.

    If you remember, a LOT of people take public transport here in England. The transport is a lot more expensive I’d say (£3.20 for an all day pass, or £1.70 for a one way journey–there are also bus passes, but b/c rich drops me off on the way, usually only buy the 1 way journeys)…but SO many people use it. A LOT of people don’t have cars or even licenses! I work with 2 women who are going to be 30 next year and one of them shares a car with her husband and the other doesn’t have her license or a car or anything AND she has a little boy. She uses the bus with her buggy to take him to day care EVERY DAY.

    If she can do it, TRUST me, YOU can do it.

    Of course…driving a car here is more expensive as well. Petrol is more expensive here–at an average of £1.15/litre (or £4.60/gal or about $7/ gallon) and we also have to pay for insurance, MOT (which is like a smog check you have to get every year but more expensive), road tax and any parking permits you might need (we don’t need one, luckily) and any other maintenance on the car….People still talk about small things to save petrol–keeping your windows rolled up. Bringing blankets in the car rather than turning on your heater…I wish that it wasn’t so easy, actually to have a car in America, I think people would be more in tune with how much oil they actually consume every year compared to their European counterparts…

    I DO miss having my own car, it does make me feel more independent. But there ARE other alternatives. Is there a way J could drive you to work sometimes? Pick you up? Drop you off at the bus station/a bus stop? The first few times are the hardest. But, once you work out the bus system, it’s easy, probably cheaper for you (than for me, certainly!) In the spring/autumn and possibly summer you could get a lot of walking in which is like free gym time!

    AND you’re helping the environment!

    To wrap up, I think you can do it, it will just take a bit of planning!

    Good luck. Let me know how it goes!

    <3 B

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