My last car blew its engine back in June. We did some research, and when we got done laughing at the prices, we decided to live without a car until we could afford one. Afford, according to my version – I pay the payment, I sign the loan, and I refuse to pay more than $300 a month on a car. The prices we saw were around $5000 for a car with 130,000 miles or so. I read that as “pay $5k for 20k mileage.” You know, until now, I’ve paid about $1k for those cars. They’re still not worth $5k to me.
Once we decided to wait on a car purchase, we tried to shoot holes in our logic. Here are the results:
– Groceries/shopping: One grocery store is 1 mile away, the other one is 3 miles away. The health food store is one bus ride away, as is the mall, and both are still distances we’ll walk if needed. We keep bus fare on hand, and purchased a sturdy grocery cart. So far, so good. We just need stronger wheels on the cart.
– Commute: He walks to work anyway, by his preference. I now ride my bike, and would keep doing it even if given a car.
– Weekends: I like to stay home, except for required shopping. So far we’re looking at about 6 days a month I’d use a car. Not need — use.
– Doctor Appointments: All but one doctor are within 3 miles of home – not quite planned, but very helpful. For the one, I can rent a car for a day and also do errands that are less convenient via bus or foot.
– School events: We use a taxi. About $20 round trip, including tip.
Actual cost of car: Payment + insurance + taxes + gas + tags.
Therefore: $300 + $75 + $60 + $80 + $5 = $520.
Cost of bike: $100 bike + $300 upgrades (saddlebags, better saddle, safety items).
I’m ahead $120 the first month, and $520 a month after that. We’re using the money to pay off the rest of our debts, and then save up for the car.
This must be difficult for some to accept. I have a few people that are convinced I will “need a car” and can’t be convinced otherwise. Um, no. I like my bike, and I don’t melt in the rain.