The Beginning of a Car-Free Life
I could have called this post, How I lost 3000 pounds and saved $7000 dollars. I sold my car last week. It was the last big purchase I made in 2006, and the last debt we paid in 2010. For a long time, I loved my car. I thought I deserved a nice, comfortable car.
It was comfortable because ….
- It was paid for
- It was nice to be able to “run to the store” anytime
- I’ve had a car of my own since I was 16
- It had heated seats
- Most everyone I know has a car
When I quit my job last year to do work I love, I anticipated working locally, but my business took a completely different direction and now my clients are world-wide. I work by Skype, email, phone and occasional in person meetings. I didn’t really need a car for work anymore, but I kept it just in case.
My husband drives the car I drove before I bought the comfortable car. His car is almost 14 years old. My parents gave my daughter their older, paid for car when they moved to Italy earlier this year.
I still kept my very comfortable car just in case, but my very comfortable car started to become uncomfortable when I thought about the true cost of driving the car.
Between gas, maintenance, insurance, registration, inspection and the other special things comfortable cars need, I was spending between $5000 and $7000 a year without a car payment. That is uncomfortable.
I know you might be thinking one of 3 things right now.
- Woo Hoo! You did it! So happy for you.
- It’s no big deal because your husband and daughter have a car.
- I could never do that.
Maybe you are thinking some combination of the 3, or something completely different.
To attempt to address your reactions
WooHoo! You did it! So happy for you.
Thank you. Your support means so much and knowing that you show up to read my work and implement positive change in your own life, inspires me to continue to move away from comfortable and into wonderful.
It’s no big deal because your husband and daughter have a car.
While having 2 other cars in the family makes things easier in terms of eliminating the “just in case” excuses, I don’t plan on using their cars often. My husband needs his car for work and my daughter is often gone from 7am – 9pm between school and dance. There will be days when I have a medical appointment or the weather is really bad where I drive one of them around so I can have a set of wheels. I consider this a great opportunity to live with less and look forward to the challenge.
I could never do that.
I thought the same thing! In fact, in 2010, I wrote about driving less. I wasn’t ready to go car-free then, but the seed had been planted. I had every reason to keep my car. I needed a car for work, the grocery store, meeting friends, driving my daughter places, for my own freedom. Now some of those reasons don’t exist and some of them don’t matter. It took a while to get here, but I’m a firm believer in slow and steady progress over radical change.
My Car-Free Plan
I don’t plan on relying on the other cars in my family for transportation on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis. Instead, I am mapping out my local grocery store, library, coffee shop, and other places I can visit on my bike. Normally, I would drive to “my favorite” places downtown or in other areas, but there are great resources within a 5 mile radius of my home that I plan to check out.
I’m going to re-read Simply Car-Free written by Tammy Strobel (and then I am going to convince her to make it available for sale again!) I’ll also be exploring public transportation and car sharing services.
Each step I take to simplify my life inspires another. Next week we are visiting with a realtor to see about selling our home. Renting something smaller and less expensive in a city will mean even less need for our own transportation. Within the next year, I imagine we will move to a one car family and then who knows. I used to think I deserved a nice, comfortable car, but now I know I deserve more than that.
I am so excited to burn more calories, reduce my footprint and save thousands of dollars.
My car was comfortable and our house is comfortable too, but I have a feeling that our family will continue to embrace moving from comfortable to wonderful.
Are you car-free? Do you want to be?
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