Author Topic: Do I need a car? Yuck.  (Read 2060 times)

rocklebock

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Do I need a car? Yuck.
« on: March 31, 2014, 08:07:29 PM »
I've been blissfully car-free since 2010. I decided I'd buy a car when NOT owning one became more of a pain in the ass than owning one. Since then I've used a combination of walking, public transportation, Zipcar/Car2go/rentals, and borrowed cars. Recently my career started heading in a direction that makes me think it might make sense - if not now, then soon. Here is my situation:

- Driving to my 9-to-5 job is not in the picture. There's a years-long waiting list for a spot, which you then have the privilege of paying $100+/month for, and they provide generous incentives to use transit or bike.

- I recently started a consulting business which has me traveling up to about 10 miles from home once or twice a week. The trip I do most often is a 15-minute drive if I borrow my boyfriend's fuel-inefficient truck, or a full hour on two buses. I could conceivably bike this sometimes. I do not want to miss future opportunities because I don't have transportation.

- I'm in the stage of my career where I often need to attend far-flung professional meetings, conferences, and shindigs. In April, I have a conference about 75 miles from home, a fancy cocktail-hour reception in town, and an evening meeting in the suburbs about 15 miles away.

- Aside from work, I'd only end up using the car once or twice a week for errands/shopping.

- No kids. Maybe later. No debt aside from mortgage on a rental property.

If travel is directly related to my 9-to-5 job, they will cover the cost of a rental car or mileage. The bureaucracy involved with that is a medium-level hassle. If travel is related to my business, my understanding is that I can expense the rental car, or mileage if it's my own car (e.g. not my boyfriend's truck that I'm borrowing).

In this scenario, would you buy a car or keep toughing it out? My priorities are fuel economy, reliability, and a bit of cargo space, so I'm interested in paying cash for something like a 2010-ish Prius or Honda Fit.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 08:11:01 PM by rocklebock »

CarDude

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Re: Do I need a car? Yuck.
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 08:23:34 PM »
I'd buy a car simply to reclaim some of the time that you're spending on the bus. I'm a homebody, so if I can get home more quickly from work, it's worth paying a bit extra. However, there's a big wide chasm between no car at all and a 2010 Prius. For example, I'd probably go with a 2007 Prius or 2008 Accord or 2007 Camry.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Do I need a car? Yuck.
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2014, 03:54:43 PM »
It would probably be worth it, but it really depends on how many shindigs you have to go to. "Up to 10 miles" is easily bikeable, unless you have to lug around a lot of equipment for this consulting business.

Look at how much you spend in rentals versus the cost of the car + insurance for it. I'd want to see the car pay for itself in just a few years.

rocklebock

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Re: Do I need a car? Yuck.
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2014, 04:29:48 PM »
Good thoughts so far, thank you. I could definitely bike more. And two hours round-trip on the bus for an afternoon of consulting work is pretty counter-productive, I'm recognizing.

CarDude

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Re: Do I need a car? Yuck.
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 04:35:24 PM »
Yeah, I think the bus is awesome if it takes you directly where you want to go, and if you don't need to travel far to get to it. But if you've got folks waiting for you at home, things change.