The gas, the insurance, the maintenance, the parking fees.The traffic, the snow and ice and the other drivers. To top it all off, you may still have car payments to make. You’ve had enough of car ownership, but you’re not sure how you can live without a car. Keep your car for a month-long “trial run” of life without a car. Perhaps you’ll surprise yourself and realize you can make do without one even if you live in a rural area. You won’t know until you try.
Research Your Car Disposal Options
To motivate yourself to committing to going careless for a month, remind yourself why you’re tired of car ownership, and consider all the possibilities for getting rid of your car. It won’t have to sit on your street or in your garage, taking up space. Not only could you try selling the car for some fast cash, you could earn potentially more through a tax deduction if you donate your car.Research how charities benefit from your donation, no matter the condition of the car.
Weigh the Pros and Cons of Public Transit
Find the closest public transportation stop or station. If you live in a metropolitan area, you may have trains, subways and buses from which to choose, so research the closest stops for each and decide which offers the fastest and/or most affordable way of getting to work or school and your other frequent destinations. Try all public transit options during your trial run.
If you live in a rural area, there usually is at least bus service. See if you can feasibly walk or bike to the nearest bus stop, and if the buses there will get you near your destination, even if you have to transfer. Consider what to do in cold or rainy weather, or if the distance is too great to walk or bike. Ask neighbors if they can drop you off at the stop on their way to work each morning, or if they’re willing to carpool all the way to work and back every day if you chip in for gas costs.
The nearest public transportation stop may be too far for you to comfortably walk or bike to, and you haven’t had luck asking neighbors or roommates for a ride. Perhaps you can get to a bus, subway or train, but you find the commute uncomfortably long. During your trial run, look into moving to new places to live even closer to your job. Start by looking at the apartments, condos and homes within walking distance from your job and fan out from there. If you don’t find a place you like within walking distance, look into a place closer to a public transportation stop or station so you’ll have a shorter commute.
Try Transportation Alternatives
If getting to public transportation isn’t an option or you’re not happy with the amount of time it takes, consider taking a bike or moped to work. A moped does consume gas and both a bike and a moped require maintenance, but the cost and effort doesn’t even begin to rival what’s required to own a car. You can also look seriously into organizing a carpool in your neighborhood with people who commute daily within easy distance of your work or school location. Make sure there’s more than one vehicle available or you can get to public transportation if a driver is ill one day.
Do the Math
Every big change requires some getting used to. You may feel uncomfortable doing without a car at first, but it could still be best for you in the long run. During your trial run, find out how much you’re saving by not using the car so you have some compelling evidence for sticking to your plan. Add up the average monthly cost of items such as gas, insurance, maintenance, and parking fees and compare it to the costs of taking public transportation and/or chipping in for a carpool’s gas fees.
According to CNBC, almost one in 10 Americans have opted out of car ownership, more than double the number 20 years ago.Getting rid of your car isn’t a permanent commitment, if you’re afraid of making the leap. Save money for a few months or even years as you do without, and next time you buy one, you’ll be able pay it all off upfront. Your household doesn’t have to be entirely careless to enjoy the benefits of doing without a car. Consider donating one car and sharing a car with a roommate or spouse if feasible, and take turns driving each other to work or school.