- Personal Finance
Car Free? Living Without A Car
Can You Give Up Car Ownership?
After buying the home, for many people the car is the next biggest expense in their lives and this expense is increasing to levels where other options have to be considered. The depreciating value of the vehicle, rising fuel costs, maintenance and other running costs associated with owning a vehicle is putting a real strain on people’s finances. Many people are now considering if it is possible for them to live their every day lives without owning a car. But could you be one of the many who are choosing a new life living without a car? Here are alternatives to getting from A to B without having to rely on ownership of your own vehicle.
Increasing numbers of people are reverting back to using public transport. The lack of convenience and privacy, compared to being in your own car, is being offset by the often cheaper costs of travel and by the freedom from unexpected bills and rising motoring costs. It has to be considered if public transport where you live will fulfil your needs. If you live in a remote area, is there sufficient public transport infrastructure to get you from A to B when you need it? Also, in some places, the cost of public transport is significantly higher than the total costs of running a car. Before jumping into a life of public transport usage, do the sums and if they add up, going car free might well be the best option.
In recent years a new form of car hire has been increasing in popularity. Occurring in increasing numbers of cities and towns, car share clubs are a great way to use a car if you only need one for infrequent use. If your annual mileage is low, it could make sense to ditch ownership of your car and join one of these clubs instead. Most have a small annual fee and then you pay by the hour. Most include insurance and some include a certain amount of miles for free. The great benefit of these car clubs is in the way they operate. The cars are located in parking spaces dotted around the city or town. To book one requires going online or using a phone app and choosing one from the locations available for the time required. You then simply collect the car and using the code provided open and use the car, dropping off at the end of your allotted time. If you use a car for a short trip or two per week, this could save you a small fortune compared to owning a car but if you do a lot of miles on a regular basis, you may end up paying more.
This is becoming an increasingly popular way to reduce the levels of traffic commuting into our towns and cities while saving money for commuters. The idea is to find someone who commutes the same way as you and share the one car. If the other person is happy to be the one providing the car, the usual is for you to help out with the cost of fuel. The result is you get a lift to and from work and the driver gets a reduction in his or her fuel bill. Points to consider are that you will be in a vehicle with the other person for regular periods each week so you need to be able to get on with each other (or respect each others silence at least) and you will have to have an alternative mode of transport available as a back up if the driver is on holiday or goes off sick.
Enjoying a massive boost in popularity in many countries in recent years, purged on by worries about health and the rising cost of other transport options. Cycling is a great way to improve health, being a great toner for the body and helps with cardiovascular improvement. Expending the energy as a part of being more environmentally friendly can give a good sense of well being. Introduced into major towns and cities are designated cycle lanes, fuelled on by lobbying from cycle groups to improve the safety of cyclists. Safety is of major concern to a lot of would-be cyclists, so it is good to consider the routes you would have to take to replace journeys previously done in the car, and consider if you would feel safe to take them. Confidence will grow the more you cycle so don’t be put off by the idea if you are new to cycling, but be sensible about your limitations and don’t neglect to buy decent safety gear. Once the cycle has been purchased, the cost of travel by bike will be minimal, with just the small expenses associated with maintenance.
Living without a car is not an option for everyone but for many the first step is accepting that it is possible to be car free and still get from A to B.
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