Thursday, February 01, 2007

6 Keys to a Car-Free Life & $10K a Year in Savings

Of course, a car-free life is not for everyone. But it's possible to save $5,000 to $10,000 each year by letting go of the car or cutting back to one car in your household.

We have one car in our house. My husband drives it and we save lots of money in a community where many people drive two or three cars per household. But cutting back on auto travel is not for everyone.

Here are Six Keys to living a car-free life according to Chris Balish, author of How To Live Well Without Owning a Car:

1) Can you put the brakes on your ego? Balish makes a valid point: If you don't drive a car, many people think you are a loser. And the car industry has done a lot to make us feel the connection between wheels, financial status and self worth.

And indeed, while I have waited at bus stops, I have received expressions of pity and sympathy. I've learned to bypass the pity factor. I like the freedom to read and write during my commute.

2) Is it possible for you to commute to work without a car? I've used public transportation, cabs and carpools.

3) Is your home in an urban area or a mixed-used development community?

4) Do you have easy access to public transportation?

5) Do you live close to shopping districts, entertainment establishments, banks and other basic life services?

6) How flexible is your schedule?


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Tight Fisted Miser said...

I've gone without a car a couple times in my life. It was really easy to save money when not paying for a car. It isn't really possible for me now.

Anonymous said...

Good points. Although Chicagoans also might want to consider the public transportation problems in our city before dumping their car - scheduled delays doubling commuting times, rate increases, etc. I actually ran the math and I do better financially with my paid off old car with reasonable insurance than I would for a monthly CTA pass plus cabs for those late night trips I wouldn't want to take on the train or bus solo. I have also heard that car sharing services like Igo are a good option as well.