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.
It’s cooling off here. We didn’t get the snow & cold that the Northeast did over the weekend – just one day of rain and brisk winds. Still enough, though, for me to go ahead and put up the shrinkwrap on the windows. I have plastic sheeting for the huge window to the balcony – we can’t block it since we need access to the storage and plants out there, so the sheeting works to insulate it while retaining access. It’s affordable, too; only about $15 and the sheeting can be reused for several years. I think the last one lasted 5 years or more, and could have been used for tarp after that.
Just those things – shrinkwrap & sheeting – are enough to hold in heat. The heat isn’t on, and it’s 65 in the house. Today’s high was 59, and we face east, so it’s not solar heat gain! We’re trying to wait until at least Thanksgiving to turn the heat on. We’ll see how it goes!
Independence Days, one day at a time – greater awareness of life and how we live it.
1. Gardening: Nothing, just keeping things watered. Still. Last check, no new sweet potatoes.The decorative flowers are still happy, though.
2. Waste not (preparations): Donations to thrift; not much else.
3. Want not (manage your stores): Usual maintenance.
4. Build community: Sold local chickens to co-workers for a farmer-friend..
5. Eat the food: Lo mein with local chicken, a new 4-bean soup recipe; starting to bake cookies every week or so instead of buying them. Cheaper & healthier.
6. Crafting: Not much here, really; working on kitten toys for my niece.
I’m starting this blog because I have not seen much, if any, information about homesteading in an apartment – there are a lot of great sites out there, but everyone seems to have yards or livestock. I have a shady balcony – great for catching breezes, not so much for catching sun with tomato plants.
I do a lot of crafting as well as cooking from scratch and using natural cleaners. My guidelines are “what would I do without electric?” or “what would I do if I couldn’t drive to X?” It does lead to creativity!
This blog was previously at minihomestead.blogspot.com, but is now in the process of being moved to WordPress.
Thanks for stopping by!
The past week or two I’ve been focusing on getting the house neatened up – back to where ‘clean’ is easy to maintain & piles don’t breed when I blink. Yule is coming, school has started, and the days are getting shorter. Everyone is enjoying the fall & winter recipes I’ve started making again. Next up, getting warmer clothes out. All I have right now is shorts!
1. Gardening: Nothing, just keeping things watered.
2. Waste not (preparations): nothing.
3. Want not (manage your stores): Refreshing my stash in Ravelry, so that I can use it as a reminder of what I have & where. Applying a bit more logic to storage locations as I go, and frogging projects I know I’ll never finish.
4. Build community: Met a new neighbor.
5. Eat the food: I’m actually planning meals lately – always a challenge for me. I found a recipe for the ground elk so one day soon we’ll have elk meatball sandwiches. Part of the focus has been to eat out the fridge/freezer – both are extremely full. I want to make pumpkin pie, and can’t, because there’s no room in the fridge for it! Three people can’t eat the entire pie in one sitting, after all.
6. Crafting: Did a few stash-busting projects, and will restart another hibernating project here shortly.