Author Topic: Has anyone evaluated just not having a car and riding a bike/Uber/car rental?  (Read 2934 times)

FIRERoad

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When looking at my budget and currently being upset with insurance companies I'm having the thought of just not having a car.  Has anyone that is used to driving a car daily evaluated just not having a car at all and riding a bike and just using Uber/Lyft or renting a car as needed?  Has anyone gone to the trouble of somehow calculating if it would be cheaper to do this rather than pay insurance, fuel, maintenance, car depreciation, registration?

I mean if I just paid cash for my next living arrangement I would still have prop taxes, insurance, maintenance and other associated utilities and such but that would significantly reduce my budget.  Maybe HOAs

Food I am trying to deep dive more but it is not a huge expense and I am trying to figure out my options on providing my own health insurance if not employed or part time employed / self employed.

Car is the other big chunk!  Would it make sense to just sell it, drop insurance, and not pay for gas anymore? If I had a family could this be done?  I know people do it where there is public transportation or by necessity.  I know it would just take what seems like a huge lifestyle adjustment on my part but just curious if anyone else has gone down this thought process rabbit hole?  Or maybe just try it for a while and give the big FU to the auto insurance companies for a while.

Would be pretty tough to take a potential partner on dates and could be seen as an oddball.  How small is the pool of partners that would be okay with this?
Weather could be a factor of inconvenience or cause punctuality issues. 
Would limit range of employment type or distance to potential employers
I guess I should also plan to sell my nice bike rack and adjust to just not mountain biking or doing triathlons or driving to destinations to ride (which sometimes feels stupid and sometimes is nice)
I could sell all my automotive tools, air compressor and other things since I won't be maintaining a car (paid for college as a mechanic) and have less stuff.

I've never taken an Uber and only rode public transportation when I was little with my grandma.  I have rented cars and know some places have short term rentals.  No idea yet if this makes sense or how much.  Like what trips would I really need a vehicle for?  If I had all my needs locally or near home?  Grocery store, doctor, dentist.  I could do a long ride to the beach and not pay for parking!  I guess employment and other activities would be my concern.

What additional risk am I putting myself in riding a bicycle everywhere all the time?  I'm a cyclist and have ridden in traffic and have been lucky.  But people are idiots and more and more distracted and rushed everyday.  It kind of makes me want to move somewhere else where the lifestyle is not well, like here.  But I would miss my family and I still need a job. 

Anyway, enough rambling.  Any thoughts or good discussion threads I have not seen?






BrightFIRE

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Before you make any decisions, you need to know the answers to the questions you are asking. For 1 month, note every time you use the car. If you already track your expenses, those questions about gas, insurance, registration, etc. should be easy to answer by looking at historical trends. If not, dig up those numbers. Try taking Uber once a week when you would have used the car. Try biking instead of driving. See if you like it or find it inconvenient. I'm unclear from your comments whether you have access to transit and your profile doesn't say where you live. If you do, try it out and see how good/bad it is.

18 years ago I moved from central Florida to Philadelphia and gave up my car. It didn't bother me at all. I was carless for 10 years until I met my SO, who already had a car. Mostly it was fine, sometimes it was a pain in the neck - this was before carsharing or Uber or any of that, and the bus didn't always go where I needed, so sometimes I would talk friends into driving me to say, Ikea to pick up a piece of furniture. It's not uncommon for people to be carless in a big city, so I would never consider that to be weird.

My SO used to have a clown commute (1-2 hrs ONE WAY). He got a job in the city and now either takes the subway or walks to work and the car sits mostly unused. And yet, when I ran the numbers, it was still cheaper to own the car than give it up. We have family in places that transit doesn't reach; we like to go hiking/camping in places transit doesn't reach; I sometimes go to UPick fruit places, which transit doesn't reach; that kind of thing. I estimated how many times a year we'd have to rent a car, then I compared that to joining a carshare and their fees, then I compared that to the car. The car was still cheaper. I did the math, though, so I can state that with certainty. You may find the car is more expensive, but you have to do the math.

Have you done all you can to lower your insurance costs? Raise your deductible, let them know if you're driving a lot less, etc.? When my SO went from the clown commute to under 12,000 miles a year (I think that's the number), his insurance dropped like a rock. We use Geico and it even beat out Metromile.

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face because you're mad at some insurance company - it won't hurt them if you leave.

dreadmoose

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I am currently attempting this my DW (no kids). We live downtown in a major center and our vehicle was sitting unused for most of the year. It was a Ford Sport-trac Adrenalin so was also terrible on gas (bought for business purposes as it's rated the same as much larger truck so my rate was higher).

We are tracking extra taxis / ubers and all gas / insurance, car rentals to measure against vehicle ownership.

It has only been one month without a vehicle but the numbers are leaning towards staying without one for as long as possible, that could change with the values run against a cheaper to maintain vehicle so we're doing this as a stop gap until we either get used to the life or can't deal without a vehicle anymore (potentially when little ones arrive).

I'm posting so I remember to follow up with my numbers once they've averaged out a bit more than currently.

diapasoun

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Yes, I have done the math. I work remotely 80% of the time, and drive/take transit in to work the other 20% (more than 140 miles round trip). I use the car almost entirely to get to work -- I maybe use it once or twice a month for non-work-related driving, and at distances that would easily be Lyft-able.

Selling the car and taking only transit would save me money -- I can't remember exactly, but definitely over $1k/year. However, it would also mean that my 20% commute, which is already 5 hours round trip, would edge up to over 6 hours. It would also preclude me applying to any jobs that aren't accessible by public transit, and I don't want to make that impossible. For the moment, I've therefore decided to stick with the car.

Kepler

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I've done this - obviously you have to run the numbers to see if it will work in your situation.  I transitioned into it by signing up to a car share service (where you can book cars by the hour, and pay a flat fee for things like insurance), but after about 18 months just shifted to not having a car at all.  This is obviously heavily reliant on the state of public transport and/or walkability/bikability in your area.  I'm in a walkable neighbourhood, with good public transport into a workplace that I don't have to commute to every day, where I can get a lot of work done on the commute - but being in a neighbourhood that makes this possible, also increases the cost of housing, so it's possibly worth taking that into account in any calculations you make.

Every time I have to rent a car or take a taxi, I wince at the cost and think how much easier it would be to have a car.  Then I revisit my spreadsheets and just... nah... much cheaper this way...  But this might not be the case for you.

FIRERoad

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Before you make any decisions, you need to know the answers to the questions you are asking. For 1 month, note every time you use the car. If you already track your expenses, those questions about gas, insurance, registration, etc. should be easy to answer by looking at historical trends. If not, dig up those numbers. Try taking Uber once a week when you would have used the car. Try biking instead of driving. See if you like it or find it inconvenient. I'm unclear from your comments whether you have access to transit and your profile doesn't say where you live. If you do, try it out and see how good/bad it is.

18 years ago I moved from central Florida to Philadelphia and gave up my car. It didn't bother me at all. I was carless for 10 years until I met my SO, who already had a car. Mostly it was fine, sometimes it was a pain in the neck - this was before carsharing or Uber or any of that, and the bus didn't always go where I needed, so sometimes I would talk friends into driving me to say, Ikea to pick up a piece of furniture. It's not uncommon for people to be carless in a big city, so I would never consider that to be weird.

My SO used to have a clown commute (1-2 hrs ONE WAY). He got a job in the city and now either takes the subway or walks to work and the car sits mostly unused. And yet, when I ran the numbers, it was still cheaper to own the car than give it up. We have family in places that transit doesn't reach; we like to go hiking/camping in places transit doesn't reach; I sometimes go to UPick fruit places, which transit doesn't reach; that kind of thing. I estimated how many times a year we'd have to rent a car, then I compared that to joining a carshare and their fees, then I compared that to the car. The car was still cheaper. I did the math, though, so I can state that with certainty. You may find the car is more expensive, but you have to do the math.

Have you done all you can to lower your insurance costs? Raise your deductible, let them know if you're driving a lot less, etc.? When my SO went from the clown commute to under 12,000 miles a year (I think that's the number), his insurance dropped like a rock. We use Geico and it even beat out Metromile.

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face because you're mad at some insurance company - it won't hurt them if you leave.

Yes, I get what you are saying.  Thinking more of it as a thought exercise and just to get me over being upset with the insurance company and just to consider something different.  I know they won't miss me.  It is all part of the system we can't seem to ever beat or get out of.  But you can try to have little victories.  Elon Musk also believes people will not own cars in the future of self driving cars anyway and that we would all or most basically timeshare cars.  I'm sure that is far off in the future anyway.

I know I have to do all the math and tracking of trips and try it.  Was just curious if I was not the only person thinking of running through the scenarios and sounds like you have.   Also primarily interested in those experiences you mentioned where renting/sharing/transit/bike would have some limitations.  So that is helpful. 

I live in a smallish midwest town and considering moving to a busier SW Florida town to be close to family but not a big city.  I think most there do it out of necessity rather than lifestyle but there are paths everywhere.  I could make an effort to try it here in current town. There is a transit system and bike paths.  Not sure how many car shares.  I don't think it is fair for me to rely on friends or family if I am capable to pay for this myself and doing it to save money.  I would feel as I am just passing on the expense then.  I may just try it for fun and as cheap entertainment.  First world problems right?

FIRERoad

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I am currently attempting this my DW (no kids). We live downtown in a major center and our vehicle was sitting unused for most of the year. It was a Ford Sport-trac Adrenalin so was also terrible on gas (bought for business purposes as it's rated the same as much larger truck so my rate was higher).

We are tracking extra taxis / ubers and all gas / insurance, car rentals to measure against vehicle ownership.

It has only been one month without a vehicle but the numbers are leaning towards staying without one for as long as possible, that could change with the values run against a cheaper to maintain vehicle so we're doing this as a stop gap until we either get used to the life or can't deal without a vehicle anymore (potentially when little ones arrive).

I'm posting so I remember to follow up with my numbers once they've averaged out a bit more than currently.


Cool! I may try this as well for fun.  I'm averaging 18k miles per year on my vehicle but that is because I choose to drive to Florida twice a year rather than fly or rent.  If I move there I don't have to do that anymore.  I make a lot of unnecessary trips because I can.... lots of behavior that can be changed.  But not sure if I could cover all needs or if life changes such as a child and/or significant other.

FIRERoad

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I've done this - obviously you have to run the numbers to see if it will work in your situation.  I transitioned into it by signing up to a car share service (where you can book cars by the hour, and pay a flat fee for things like insurance), but after about 18 months just shifted to not having a car at all.  This is obviously heavily reliant on the state of public transport and/or walkability/bikability in your area.  I'm in a walkable neighbourhood, with good public transport into a workplace that I don't have to commute to every day, where I can get a lot of work done on the commute - but being in a neighbourhood that makes this possible, also increases the cost of housing, so it's possibly worth taking that into account in any calculations you make.

Every time I have to rent a car or take a taxi, I wince at the cost and think how much easier it would be to have a car.  Then I revisit my spreadsheets and just... nah... much cheaper this way...  But this might not be the case for you.

Yeah, thanks for sharing.  Definitely worth running through the numbers and looks like it is working out for you.  I might at least have to try it for fun and get it out of my system or at minimum to alter some wasteful behavior.

martyconlonontherun

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Depends how much you value your time and how social you are.

I'm 'forced' into a one car situation since my friend totalled my eight year old car at the beginning of the month. (long story but I got a good insurance check and could easily get a new car if I wanted) so I'm going to try two months without a car. First two weeks was perfectly fine cause it's gorgeous out and I have a nice trail to bike to work. Well today it rained while at work, wanted to meet a friend for lunch, meet for a post work fundraiser and was hoping to go visit my mom. Well DW didn't want to drive me out of town to visit my mom and had to rush back from lunch since I walked and too busy at work to take a long lunch. If you have a cheap car and high deductible, the cost of owning one is a lot less than the hassle IMO (especially in winter months). I'm still going to try for another month or so but you do become a little bit of a leech if you always ask for rides and can never offer

shinn497

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I don't have a car right now. I fucking love it, even though I do not have a social life at all atm.

Not being a slave to something that can break, get into an accident, is a significant financial burden, and goes down in value is just awesome. AND, since I don't actually need a car, I can save up for the car I want (which is a BRZ), buy it in cash, and do it when the time is right.

I would encourage anyone to do this. Really it isn't the car itself but the fact that I am flexible enough to be able to deal with not needing a car. I know what it is like to ride public transit, move at a whim, and be reliant on a bike or walking. I def think it has helped me be debt free and save for retirement!

MrThatsDifferent

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Iím in this situation. I want a car. I really do. But, I donít need a car, at all. I live in a major city, 15 min bike ride to work, 40 min walk or 20 min train. Grocery store across the street. 3 min walk to a train station. All my hobbies and weekend activities are within a 15 min bike ride radius. Work pays for taxis during the week. Uber anywhere else (maybe 1-2 rides a week). I donít need a car.

But I want one. The math wonít support it. So I havenít rolled the dice. Sucks. Cause I want one. But for What? Occasional taking bike to trails? Get the city rental cars. But everyone else has a car!?! Iím not adulting!

I am spending a lot less though. Thereís that. ;-)

shinn497

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Yeah I mean I should add. I will only buy a car until i can fit all of the expenses in my budget and continue to save for retirement. I def  don't think its worth it to have a car be an expense that gets in the way of that.

Nudelkopf

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I can't believe you even have to ask this on the MMM forums. Of course you don't need a car. Fffs this forum has changed.

Hirondelle

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You sound like you'll be fine without a car. Especially if your city/town is bike friendly and has some decent public transit cars aren't necessary at all and can rather be a huge costly pain.

I've never had a car, but I live in a country with great public transit and biking culture. During college you get a free train/bus card so once you graduate you're totally familiarized and comfortable with the system and it's easy to keep using public transit.

Regarding dating; I'd favor someone without a car over someone with a car as I value frugality, caring for the environment, being physically active and living close to work. Not that someone with a car can't be all of this - but having no car is certainly a good sign. To me limiting the pool sounds like a positive thing, as I wouldn't wanna date someone who just cares about something as superficial (to me) as car ownership.

tralfamadorian

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I can't believe you even have to ask this on the MMM forums. Of course you don't need a car. Fffs this forum has changed.

+1

Does anyone read the blog anymore?



Cranky

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How big a change this is depends a lot on where you live, and where you need to go. What kind of public transit is available? What can you walk/bike to? What's the weather?

I don't drive. I've never driven. I'm not even a very good passenger. We've lived a bunch of different places over the years, and we've chosen our actual residence every time knowing that I don't drive, so we don't live a million miles out in the country, for instance.

My dh drives, and we do own a car, and I do go places in the car with him, but my set up is such that I will be fine with out that.

I've always said that I can take an awful lot of taxis for the price of a second car, but honestly - I rarely take a taxi. I like Uber, but it's not cheap, and I mostly use it for doctor's appointments.

Cars are convenient, though.

afoonah

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Does anyone else have good luck with jalopies? I have. A 15-20 year old toyota carolla can be a good in-between option with low cost of insurance, depending on where you live. Good luck.

Kepler

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I should also say: not having a car has also been useful, I think, in putting up a barrier to purchases that aren't very important - it's /slightly/ more of a pita to get to a shop, and again to get something home.  I don't enjoy shopping at the best of times, and this adds enough additional inconvenience that I really need to be motivated to get something for it to be worth the effort.  Now, this could play out badly, I guess, if the closest grocery store were really inconvenient compared to, say, a local fast food joint, but I chose places to live that are convenient to everyday needs, so the kind of shopping that gets made more inconvenient is more likely to be a 'want' rather than a 'need'.

The times I've chafed at not having a car have generally related to unexpected medical issues - problems that fall in between 'call an ambulance' and 'oh I guess I should probably get this checked out'.  Last year, I had an initially trivial injury that developed major complications, and I was just too sick, for an extended period, to manage public transport to and from a rather large number of medical appointments.  The cab rides felt like they were adding up to a shocking amount of money, but the numbers still worked out in favour of not having a car - even just considering the months when I was actively having to rely on cabs a lot.  Panning back and looking at the whole year, let alone the many years I haven't owned a car, the numbers just didn't favour car ownership.

The one true downside, from my point of view, is that I can't convince myself to rent cars to do things that do require them, and which would give a lot of enjoyment to the household, like going to more remote areas to hike.  This is more about me being cheap, than about not owning a car - but it is the one area where I feel like the decision has sort of reduced happiness for the household.  But this is more about my not being able to convince myself to rent a car as an occasional luxury, than about the objective cost-benefits. 

zeruel

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I have done this; financially its a clear win. But how easy it is depends a lot on your location (I live in the Greater Boston Area).

I'm married. We spend roughly $40/year on Uber, and $200/year on car rentals (mostly to go visit my parents in NH). We both have free transit passes through work. I almost never use the pass though, and just bicycle everywhere, which is generally more convenient.

Owning a car would cost roughly $1,000 year in insurance, plus about $400 for excise tax, registration, parking permit (I have no driveway; if I did, I might be able to rent it out, so there is a cost to consider). Operating it would cost probably .20/mile for a fuel efficient somewhat older car. Parking here can be expensive, depending on where exactly you go. But generally driving to the places where parking costs a lot is just sort of stupid.

As for the bicycle, I do all my own maintenance on both of them. It comes to around $150/year, but $50 of that is subsidized through my employer.

So, it saves about $1,200/year to not own a car, if I did not drive it at all. Roughly double if we were a two car family.

But I'd add that here, for local trips at least, riding a bicycle is just more convenient. I don't have to worry about parking, traffic, bus schedules, or the location of subway stops. Most of the things that people think they "need" a car for are actually easy to do by bicycle; grocery shopping (or most other shopping), transporting children, etc.  Everything I need to visit on a regular basis is within four miles of my house, and a car just is not very useful for getting to those places. This may not be true every where.

Also, I'd add that people do not need to be in climate controlled cages at all times, and in fact will not melt if the temperature is over 90, or dissolve in rain and snow. Those things are all easier to deal with than the hassles of a car.

Regarding dating, I've been married for a while. But I didn't have a car when I met my wife; neither did she. Many people here do not own them, so its not really a big deal.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2018, 12:10:03 PM by zeruel »

Zikoris

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I've never owned a car (or had a drivers license) in my life, and it's gone totally fine. But the thing is, you have to organize and plan your life around that fact - designing a car-dependent lifestyle and then ripping the car out of it is a recipe for disaster.

For example, when we're deciding where to live, we look at things like walking distance to work, grocery stores, and entertainment, as well as public transit connections to other places we like to go. People who have cars probably don't think about any of that stuff, and as a result, likely live somewhere lacking some or all of those. While not impossible by any means, subtracting the car from that setup is definitely playing on MMM Hard Mode.

Hula Hoop

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I've never owned a car (or had a drivers license) in my life, and it's gone totally fine. But the thing is, you have to organize and plan your life around that fact - designing a car-dependent lifestyle and then ripping the car out of it is a recipe for disaster.

For example, when we're deciding where to live, we look at things like walking distance to work, grocery stores, and entertainment, as well as public transit connections to other places we like to go. People who have cars probably don't think about any of that stuff, and as a result, likely live somewhere lacking some or all of those. While not impossible by any means, subtracting the car from that setup is definitely playing on MMM Hard Mode.

We are the same.  Neither of us drives (although I recently got my Italian license so I could drive if I wanted to) and we have never owned a car.  We have chosen to live in the center of our city.  Supermarket is about 5 minutes away by foot and we have trams and buses right outside that go pretty much everywhere in our city.  Now that I have my license I think I might start using car sharing services every now and again when going somewhere out of the way.

Cranky

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And whether it saves you time and money is location dependent as well - we have a pretty sparse public transit system, and it would take dh much, much longer to get to work by bus than by driving, as we have verrrrry little in the way of traffic here. We don't use a lot of gas; insurance is pretty cheap; parking is free.

Penelope Vandergast

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Do you have Zipcar where you live? Very easy to live car-free where Zipcar is available (and where there are enough cars to make it easy to use, like in Boston).

FIRERoad

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Depends how much you value your time and how social you are.

I'm 'forced' into a one car situation since my friend totalled my eight year old car at the beginning of the month. (long story but I got a good insurance check and could easily get a new car if I wanted) so I'm going to try two months without a car. First two weeks was perfectly fine cause it's gorgeous out and I have a nice trail to bike to work. Well today it rained while at work, wanted to meet a friend for lunch, meet for a post work fundraiser and was hoping to go visit my mom. Well DW didn't want to drive me out of town to visit my mom and had to rush back from lunch since I walked and too busy at work to take a long lunch. If you have a cheap car and high deductible, the cost of owning one is a lot less than the hassle IMO (especially in winter months). I'm still going to try for another month or so but you do become a little bit of a leech if you always ask for rides and can never offer

I did used older cars for a while, more than qualified to complete my own maintenance and repairs.  It became convenient and within my means to own a new vehicle.  Owning a new vehicle has not really turned out to be what I thought it would be.  Less worry about repairs and maintenance now but more worry about damage  and value loss, higher costs.  I'd like to try at some point to just sell it and try the no car lifestyle if I can in a new location.  I'm worried about the leech thing so why I want to learn more about public transit, Uber type services, and finding ways to compensate for those rides/favors.  Not really that social but if life does change with a significant other or children then that might change things.  Reconsidering cheap used cars, combined with using some of those other methods to minimize costs and risks.

FIRERoad

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I don't have a car right now. I fucking love it, even though I do not have a social life at all atm.

Not being a slave to something that can break, get into an accident, is a significant financial burden, and goes down in value is just awesome. AND, since I don't actually need a car, I can save up for the car I want (which is a BRZ), buy it in cash, and do it when the time is right.

I would encourage anyone to do this. Really it isn't the car itself but the fact that I am flexible enough to be able to deal with not needing a car. I know what it is like to ride public transit, move at a whim, and be reliant on a bike or walking. I def think it has helped me be debt free and save for retirement!

Would like to get myself to where you are and at least try it for a while.  I would advice thought that life changes and sometimes things we want may become not as important or once you have them, they are only exciting for a short period of time.  Then you are a slave to something else.  I had sportier vehicles in past and ambitions of having S2000, NSX, or 911 someday and now that I could do it, it is just not that appealing to me anymore.

FIRERoad

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Iím in this situation. I want a car. I really do. But, I donít need a car, at all. I live in a major city, 15 min bike ride to work, 40 min walk or 20 min train. Grocery store across the street. 3 min walk to a train station. All my hobbies and weekend activities are within a 15 min bike ride radius. Work pays for taxis during the week. Uber anywhere else (maybe 1-2 rides a week). I donít need a car.

But I want one. The math wonít support it. So I havenít rolled the dice. Sucks. Cause I want one. But for What? Occasional taking bike to trails? Get the city rental cars. But everyone else has a car!?! Iím not adulting!

I am spending a lot less though. Thereís that. ;-)

Yeah, it would be hard for Uber or transit bus to take you to a mountain biking trail for example.  I'm getting rid of my mountain bike for now.  Have 3 other bikes.  Things like that I have to adjust to or give up.  Or be really badass, ride to mountain bike trail, ride the trails, and ride back home.  I have a single speed MTB currently though.

Wants vs. Needs.  Ask yourself why do you really want something, does it make sense, is it worth it to me?  Wants are okay as long as you are not prioritizing over needs and okay with why you want it.

FIRERoad

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I can't believe you even have to ask this on the MMM forums. Of course you don't need a car. Fffs this forum has changed.

It actually seems like the perfect place to ask. Instead of providing your perspective and experience you choose to add a no value comment. 

Not everyone has had the same experiences you have had or in the same place you are in your journey.  Seems like most come here to learn from others how they can improve and fine tune or just completely change. 

Things are not absolute either.  MMM himself still has a car as far as I know.  Not all locations have adequate infrastructure, some life situations, job opportunities, goals, hobbies, and your threshold for safety may lead one to CHOOSE to have a car instead rather than adjust to say not have kids, make less money at a lesser job, take more risk riding in heavy traffic or getting robbed. 

Try to be a little more open minded.

FIRERoad

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You sound like you'll be fine without a car. Especially if your city/town is bike friendly and has some decent public transit cars aren't necessary at all and can rather be a huge costly pain.

I've never had a car, but I live in a country with great public transit and biking culture. During college you get a free train/bus card so once you graduate you're totally familiarized and comfortable with the system and it's easy to keep using public transit.

Regarding dating; I'd favor someone without a car over someone with a car as I value frugality, caring for the environment, being physically active and living close to work. Not that someone with a car can't be all of this - but having no car is certainly a good sign. To me limiting the pool sounds like a positive thing, as I wouldn't wanna date someone who just cares about something as superficial (to me) as car ownership.

I've never lived in a big city or country where that is the "normal" part of the lifestyle unless done by necessity.  I'd love to find someone like that but it has to be such a small pool of people.  Not a bad thing but harder to find I suppose.

I've vented about this to my mom and she said "let that go of the bike as if you were poor and be good to yourself".  I love my mom but she went through doing that and her parents out of necessity in childhood.  To her it would just be an unnecessary hardship to go without if you can afford it.  She does not know how to ride a bike. But she is retirement age, still working, and I've helped her out financially because I can, because I've been frugal....  I want to be in a different situation when I retire.  Also looking into other Spanish speaking countries with cheaper cost of living as retirement alternative but that is 20-30 years away and a lot could change by then. 

FIRERoad

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I can't believe you even have to ask this on the MMM forums. Of course you don't need a car. Fffs this forum has changed.

+1

Does anyone read the blog anymore?


I have read some of it.  Only have been on here for a couple of months now.  Please see my comments to other poster with your same point of view and maybe be more open minded.  I would welcome if you point me to a particular blog article, discussion I have missed, or your particular experience with not having a car.  Just looking to have a discussions with others on the topic.

FIRERoad

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Does anyone else have good luck with jalopies? I have. A 15-20 year old toyota carolla can be a good in-between option with low cost of insurance, depending on where you live. Good luck.

I used to buy 8-10 year old cars with over 100k miles on them.  These ranged in price from $1k - $6k  I paid for college as a mechanic and an engineer with tools at home so perfectly capable of keeping them going. 

But, my experience has been that they only last me about 4-6 years and maybe up to 180-250k miles before they start becoming too unreliable to take on long road trips or leave me stranded somewhere, burning too much oil, or even having too much damage from a tornado....  I figured buying a new vehicle in the low 20k range that I cared for from the begging I could keep for 15 years and it would be the same as buying three $7k dollar cars  in that same time frame.  At least that is how I justified it to myself.  My experience has not been as I expected for one reason or another.  It is just nice and a convenience if you mostly drive. 

I've been averaging 18k miles per year but certainly could do way less with some  lifestyle change and a mix of other alternative methods to commute.  Maybe going back the used car route with some adjustment would be the right thing for me.  I'm just trying to think of possibilities way in the other extreme of just not having one and see if I could really do it and manage in whatever situation comes up next.  Maybe start making some adjustments to lifestyle now to get used to it.

Imma

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You sound like you'll be fine without a car. Especially if your city/town is bike friendly and has some decent public transit cars aren't necessary at all and can rather be a huge costly pain.

I've never had a car, but I live in a country with great public transit and biking culture. During college you get a free train/bus card so once you graduate you're totally familiarized and comfortable with the system and it's easy to keep using public transit.

Regarding dating; I'd favor someone without a car over someone with a car as I value frugality, caring for the environment, being physically active and living close to work. Not that someone with a car can't be all of this - but having no car is certainly a good sign. To me limiting the pool sounds like a positive thing, as I wouldn't wanna date someone who just cares about something as superficial (to me) as car ownership.

I live in the same country as Hirondelle and I've never bothered to learn how to drive. Neither has my s/o and half of our friends. Living without a car is important to us and we've chosen the area we live in based on that. We're right next to the bus stop, 5 minutes walk away from a small shopping center that sells almost everything we need in day-to-day life and a 20 minute walk from the city center and the train station. I bike to work, s/o bikes, then takes the train. I can't remember the last time we wanted to go somewhere but didn't because of transportation issues. We take a taxi a few times a year, usually very late at night when we're too lazy to walk, at a cost of about Ä50/year.

I was 22 when I met him and we both lived with roommates, we both didn't own any furniture we bought new. He biked half an hour to work every day. One of the things that appealed to me was how frugal he was, even though it was less ideologically driven than my own frugality (I'm still the hippie in the relationship, but environmentalism has grown on him) .

If someone is instantly turned off by you not owning a car, that's not the person you want to spend your life with. You don't have to agree about every little thing to make a relationship work, but frugal / simple living is not something you can "compartmentalize" . You can't find a compromise in the way you compromise when your spouse loves a sport you hate (I go upstairs to sew while he watches games). It's a lifestyle, not a hobby. It's almost like a religious belief: you don't have to agree about all theological details, but if one is Catholic and the other is reading Richard Dawkins your relationship is probably won't work out.

FIRERoad

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I should also say: not having a car has also been useful, I think, in putting up a barrier to purchases that aren't very important - it's /slightly/ more of a pita to get to a shop, and again to get something home.  I don't enjoy shopping at the best of times, and this adds enough additional inconvenience that I really need to be motivated to get something for it to be worth the effort.  Now, this could play out badly, I guess, if the closest grocery store were really inconvenient compared to, say, a local fast food joint, but I chose places to live that are convenient to everyday needs, so the kind of shopping that gets made more inconvenient is more likely to be a 'want' rather than a 'need'.

The times I've chafed at not having a car have generally related to unexpected medical issues - problems that fall in between 'call an ambulance' and 'oh I guess I should probably get this checked out'.  Last year, I had an initially trivial injury that developed major complications, and I was just too sick, for an extended period, to manage public transport to and from a rather large number of medical appointments.  The cab rides felt like they were adding up to a shocking amount of money, but the numbers still worked out in favour of not having a car - even just considering the months when I was actively having to rely on cabs a lot.  Panning back and looking at the whole year, let alone the many years I haven't owned a car, the numbers just didn't favour car ownership.

The one true downside, from my point of view, is that I can't convince myself to rent cars to do things that do require them, and which would give a lot of enjoyment to the household, like going to more remote areas to hike.  This is more about me being cheap, than about not owning a car - but it is the one area where I feel like the decision has sort of reduced happiness for the household.  But this is more about my not being able to convince myself to rent a car as an occasional luxury, than about the objective cost-benefits.

Yes, I feel being cheap/frugal vs. enjoying some experiences would have to be a balance for me.

Oh, and your comments remind me about my conflicting thoughts with Amazon Prime.  This is my first year and while I find the quick shipping convenient and that it has saved me some trips, it also makes it easier to just order something that I would normally give more thought to...  In addition to this, the programming selection to me is not that great and I don't use it much anyway, the price is going up 20% next year.  I think I will cancel.  This is easier than getting rid of the car...

FIRERoad

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How big a change this is depends a lot on where you live, and where you need to go. What kind of public transit is available? What can you walk/bike to? What's the weather?

I don't drive. I've never driven. I'm not even a very good passenger. We've lived a bunch of different places over the years, and we've chosen our actual residence every time knowing that I don't drive, so we don't live a million miles out in the country, for instance.

My dh drives, and we do own a car, and I do go places in the car with him, but my set up is such that I will be fine with out that.

I've always said that I can take an awful lot of taxis for the price of a second car, but honestly - I rarely take a taxi. I like Uber, but it's not cheap, and I mostly use it for doctor's appointments.

Cars are convenient, though.

I have to try this taxi and Uber thing.  I was thinking Uber might be more convenient and cheaper than taxi.  I could see going to one car household for multiple people easier and more doable than no car at all for one or multiple people.

FIRERoad

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I have done this; financially its a clear win. But how easy it is depends a lot on your location (I live in the Greater Boston Area).

I'm married. We spend roughly $40/year on Uber, and $200/year on car rentals (mostly to go visit my parents in NH). We both have free transit passes through work. I almost never use the pass though, and just bicycle everywhere, which is generally more convenient.

Owning a car would cost roughly $1,000 year in insurance, plus about $400 for excise tax, registration, parking permit (I have no driveway; if I did, I might be able to rent it out, so there is a cost to consider). Operating it would cost probably .20/mile for a fuel efficient somewhat older car. Parking here can be expensive, depending on where exactly you go. But generally driving to the places where parking costs a lot is just sort of stupid.

As for the bicycle, I do all my own maintenance on both of them. It comes to around $150/year, but $50 of that is subsidized through my employer.

So, it saves about $1,200/year to not own a car, if I did not drive it at all. Roughly double if we were a two car family.

But I'd add that here, for local trips at least, riding a bicycle is just more convenient. I don't have to worry about parking, traffic, bus schedules, or the location of subway stops. Most of the things that people think they "need" a car for are actually easy to do by bicycle; grocery shopping (or most other shopping), transporting children, etc.  Everything I need to visit on a regular basis is within four miles of my house, and a car just is not very useful for getting to those places. This may not be true every where.

Also, I'd add that people do not need to be in climate controlled cages at all times, and in fact will not melt if the temperature is over 90, or dissolve in rain and snow. Those things are all easier to deal with than the hassles of a car.

Regarding dating, I've been married for a while. But I didn't have a car when I met my wife; neither did she. Many people here do not own them, so its not really a big deal.

Yeah, for you it seems like the location/big city makes it work out and it is more common or "normal".  Pool of people would be different.  Location I am wanting to move to does not really have that lifestyle but I think I could make it work while single at least.   Also, the benefit you are seeing is $100/mo $1200/yr.   I spend more than that in fuel.  When you start adding insurance, registration, maintenance, depreciation... it would be a lot more for me potentially.  It is just how much can I reduce those offset costs of rentals, taxis, etc.  And if it is just a $1000 is that enough value to give up other conveniences or experiences?

Thanks for sharing your experience.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 12:05:07 PM by FIRERoad »

FIRERoad

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You sound like you'll be fine without a car. Especially if your city/town is bike friendly and has some decent public transit cars aren't necessary at all and can rather be a huge costly pain.

I've never had a car, but I live in a country with great public transit and biking culture. During college you get a free train/bus card so once you graduate you're totally familiarized and comfortable with the system and it's easy to keep using public transit.

Regarding dating; I'd favor someone without a car over someone with a car as I value frugality, caring for the environment, being physically active and living close to work. Not that someone with a car can't be all of this - but having no car is certainly a good sign. To me limiting the pool sounds like a positive thing, as I wouldn't wanna date someone who just cares about something as superficial (to me) as car ownership.

I live in the same country as Hirondelle and I've never bothered to learn how to drive. Neither has my s/o and half of our friends. Living without a car is important to us and we've chosen the area we live in based on that. We're right next to the bus stop, 5 minutes walk away from a small shopping center that sells almost everything we need in day-to-day life and a 20 minute walk from the city center and the train station. I bike to work, s/o bikes, then takes the train. I can't remember the last time we wanted to go somewhere but didn't because of transportation issues. We take a taxi a few times a year, usually very late at night when we're too lazy to walk, at a cost of about Ä50/year.

I was 22 when I met him and we both lived with roommates, we both didn't own any furniture we bought new. He biked half an hour to work every day. One of the things that appealed to me was how frugal he was, even though it was less ideologically driven than my own frugality (I'm still the hippie in the relationship, but environmentalism has grown on him) .

If someone is instantly turned off by you not owning a car, that's not the person you want to spend your life with. You don't have to agree about every little thing to make a relationship work, but frugal / simple living is not something you can "compartmentalize" . You can't find a compromise in the way you compromise when your spouse loves a sport you hate (I go upstairs to sew while he watches games). It's a lifestyle, not a hobby. It's almost like a religious belief: you don't have to agree about all theological details, but if one is Catholic and the other is reading Richard Dawkins your relationship is probably won't work out.

Yes, I agree.  Although I have always been budget conscious and somewhat frugal, I've let some lifestyle creep happen and do like nice things.  None of those superficial things have mattered in past relationships.  Just seems like looking for needles in a huge haystack.  Car has also been part of lifestyle and culture as a mechanic and engineer in automotive industry.  Not only a lifestyle change but complete mindset change in what I am used to and how I've made a living.

Hirondelle

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You sound like you'll be fine without a car. Especially if your city/town is bike friendly and has some decent public transit cars aren't necessary at all and can rather be a huge costly pain.

I've never had a car, but I live in a country with great public transit and biking culture. During college you get a free train/bus card so once you graduate you're totally familiarized and comfortable with the system and it's easy to keep using public transit.

Regarding dating; I'd favor someone without a car over someone with a car as I value frugality, caring for the environment, being physically active and living close to work. Not that someone with a car can't be all of this - but having no car is certainly a good sign. To me limiting the pool sounds like a positive thing, as I wouldn't wanna date someone who just cares about something as superficial (to me) as car ownership.

I've never lived in a big city or country where that is the "normal" part of the lifestyle unless done by necessity.  I'd love to find someone like that but it has to be such a small pool of people.  Not a bad thing but harder to find I suppose.

I've vented about this to my mom and she said "let that go of the bike as if you were poor and be good to yourself".  I love my mom but she went through doing that and her parents out of necessity in childhood.  To her it would just be an unnecessary hardship to go without if you can afford it.  She does not know how to ride a bike. But she is retirement age, still working, and I've helped her out financially because I can, because I've been frugal....  I want to be in a different situation when I retire.  Also looking into other Spanish speaking countries with cheaper cost of living as retirement alternative but that is 20-30 years away and a lot could change by then.

I get your point! It would probably be the same as someone telling me they don't have a bike ;). Add your engineer/mechanic background to that and it can be hard to sell people the idea that you're going without a car!

However, I think there's many option to frame it. You could tell people you're doing it to challenge yourself and see how long you can do it. You could tell people you sold your old car and weren't in a rush to get a new one as you don't use it on a daily basis. Then if the lifestyle works out, you just tell them you never got a new car because you still don't need one!

Also, it's not an all-or-nothing game. You can just try it out and if it doesn't work get yourself a new car. Worst case scenario you spend more money on Ubers than the cost of a car would've been for a few months. If your life situation changes (new job, SO, kids, loss of biking ability due to disability) you could always get yourself another car. You have the savings for it, so whenever you need one/get tired of car-free life just buy one. That's not a failure, just a realization that you were more dependent on your car than you realized or that your life situation has changed. In that case you'd have most likely saved a few $100s-1000s depending on how long it's been plus you have new skills/creativity regarding living a carless life.

austin944

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If you rent a car occasionally and don't own one, aren't you going to want some basic liability insurance in case you run into somebody?   Just about all states require drivers to have liability.  I thought the CDW/LDW you buy at the rental desk was in case you damaged the rental.  Can you buy one-time liability insurance?



McStache

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If you rent a car occasionally and don't own one, aren't you going to want some basic liability insurance in case you run into somebody?   Just about all states require drivers to have liability.  I thought the CDW/LDW you buy at the rental desk was in case you damaged the rental.  Can you buy one-time liability insurance?

My understanding is CDW covers the rental, LDW covers liability.  ZipCar includes insurance as part of the rate, as I imagine most car-sharing services do.  It could make sense to buy non-car-owner liability policy if you do rent a lot as rental car company LDW is not cheap.  Also having auto insurance is surprisingly helpful if you are a cyclist and get into an accident with a car (which is not intuitive to me in the least).