There have been many things that I evaluated in my life as to whether or not it is a need or a necessity. Some of those things that I have determined are a necessity is one, internet and two, Netflix - with an occasional Domino's order. One of the things that I tried to do without was my car - more specifically, reducing to a 1 car household.
Why did I try to get rid of my car?
I had bigger goals. I want to have extra money to save and to put towards the things that will help my life the life I want to live - this blog and future endeavors. I decided that sacrificing my vehicle, along with convenience, would help me get there. I know that saving for the things that are part of my dream is what will really make me happy in life.
It's no secret that society is moving towards eco-friendly solutions. This has allowed alternative transportation businesses to thrive. Car sharing programs are bigger than ever and government funding has allowed public transportation to expand and become cheaper - both of these trends are on the rise.
Having two cars is excessive. I can understand that in some situations it is almost a necessity, especially with kids. But if you are able to, try and get rid of it!
Think about how much you spend in a year.
1. Car Payment: If you don't already own it, this would be about $300/month on a decently affordable vehicle. $3600/year. Noting that paying for a car with cash also has costs. If you spend $20K from your savings to buy a car you're losing out on the interest that the $20K can be generating for you.
2. Gas: $40/week with normal travel to work and home (generous), $2080/year.
3. Maintenance: I looked up the costs of maintaining a vehicle over 10 years organized by brand; the average was about $10K. $1k/year
4. Insurance and fees: In Ontario, Canada, the average is about $2K/year. For fees you're looking at: License plate sticker, ($120/year), possibly an emissions test ($40/year - this will be removed soon in Ontario, Canada - but I believe the cost of your license will be going up so I will include this still).
5. Any repairs that happen to your car, those dreaded mechanic costs. This can be anywhere from $0 to $5K depending on how bad the repair is.
Without taking into consideration any repairs, you're looking at costs of over $8K/year.
Taking into consideration the costs of using buses, car sharing programs, trains, subway, Uber etc. to get around since you have no vehicle, you're looking at savings of around $4k a year (about $350/month on other forms of transportation). I only spent about $200/month.
Depending on what your goals are, that $4k can be better used, like on your dreams - travel, business, a house, anything you want and that will truly make you happy.
I have always looked at a vehicle as my freedom. With a car I can go anywhere, whenever I wanted. But I did give it a fair shot. It was going well, I was taking the bus to work and commuting everywhere when I didn’t have access to the car. Eventually, I was forced to get my car back when my ex and I had broke up - my car was only in the garage, I didn’t sell it. If I ever am in a position to only have one car, I would definitely jump on that opportunity! Luckily my car is paid off and it’s not costing me too much at the moment but seeing the amount that I could be saving is very attractive!
If you can, try not to drive your car for a couple weeks and see how it goes!