Going car-free is saving me more than $2,000 per year



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It’s now been one year since I ditched my car, and it turns out that I’m happier, healthier and wealthier.

After scrolling through my bank records and credit card statements, I found out that in my final year of car ownership, I spent $2,566 on my Daewoo Kalos. That included everything related to running the vehicle – insurance, registration, maintenance, petrol, tolls, parking and roadside assistance.

That seems like a low figure, right? Well, that was part of the reason why I decided to go car-free. I was barely using my Kalos, which is what happens when you don’t have children to chauffeur around, don’t drive to work, don’t go out much and live close to public transport.

7 running costs for car owners

  • Insurance
  • Registration
  • Maintenance
  • Petrol
  • Tolls
  • Parking
  • Roadside assistance

I now spend less money on transport…

In the year since I sold my car, I’ve spent $1,030 on getting out and about, which covers taxis, Ubers and public transport.

Does that figure also seem low? Well, I have a guilty secret to confess. I live four kilometres from my parents, so sometimes I’ll walk over to their place and borrow their car.

Another reason I’ve spent only $1,030 is because I do a lot of walking. I walk to work. I walk to the supermarket. I sometimes even walk to the city, which is six kilometres away.

7 health benefits of walking

  • Improved fitness
  • Stronger bones
  • Reduced body fat
  • Better circulation
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower risk of heart disease

…and I also make money on transport

These days, I don’t just spend money on transport – I also make money on transport.

Now that I no longer need my secure parking space, I’m able to rent it out, via Parkhound, for $170 per month.

I’ve earned $780 during the past year. I wish it was more, but tenants have come and gone (I’m now on to my third), so the spot has lain empty for about half the year. If the trend continues, I’ll probably reduce the rent.

My hope is to earn more from my parking space than I spend on taxis, Ubers and public transport.

Old cost New cost (expenses minus income) Difference
$2,566 $250 ($1,030 – $780) $2,316

I’m less mobile, but I’m also less stressed

Saving money hasn’t been the only benefit of ditching my car.

I’ve also eliminated the stress that comes with car ownership – taking it to the mechanic, paying for insurance, hoping it doesn’t get damaged or stolen.

Another benefit is that I now walk more, which means I get more exercise and listen to more podcasts.

Of course, there are negatives. I’m less mobile. I can’t do road trips (unless I hire a car). I have to walk to the supermarket even when it’s raining.

The pros, though, outweigh the cons.

Positives of being car-free Negatives of being car-free
Hello savings Goodbye mobility
Hello exercise Goodbye road trips
Goodbye stress Hello rain

Living a car-free life isn’t for everyone

So, does that mean I’d advise other people to go car-free?

No.

It works for me, but it wouldn’t work for most people.

You probably need a car if you:

  • Have children
  • Drive to work
  • Don’t have good public transport options
  • Have friends and family scattered throughout your city
  • Take regular road trips

However, if you’re in the minority who don’t tick any of those five boxes, it makes sense to at least consider selling your car.

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