Author Topic: Should I buy a car?  (Read 2762 times)

windawake

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Should I buy a car?
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:18:47 AM »
I'm trying to figure out whether I should buy a car, help me? Here's the sitch:

I had a '99 Ford Escort for 10 years until this summer. It wasn't in great shape and needed work done that was worth more than the car itself. I sold it on Craigslist. It was summer in Minneapolis, and I decided to give carlessness a shot. I bike everywhere I can and even have a neighbor who lets me borrow his car whenever, as long as he doesn't need it.

A few months ago I started a new job which is 5.5 miles away, mostly bike trails. Up until this point I've been biking, but yesterday was pretty painful (0 degrees plus a windchill). There are busses to get to work, but it costs $4.50/day and takes about the same time as biking, or more. I plan to bike every day except when it gets unreasonably cold (below 0 probably).

So why do I want a car, you ask? I can get by without a car. I think I've proven that until this point. But occasionally, especially when it's so cold, it's just not reasonable or safe to do all errands/chores by foot. I also want to spend more time in the woods. The main thing that's suffered by me not having a car is not being able to go to my favorite dog park regularly. I also don't have the freedom to visit friends and family in the suburbs, or to go on weekend camping or cabin trips alone. My neighbor is very generous with letting me use his car, but I feel like if I wanted to use it once a week (or more occasionally) that might be too much, even though I put tons of gas in as payment.

When I had a car, I wasn't using it frequently, especially in the summer. I hated that it would sit around so often. Ideally I'd be able to share a car with someone, and in fact I think my roommate would pitch in gas money to use it on occasion since she's carless as well. If I get a car, I could sign it up for RelayRides so I could make some money off of it and it wouldn't be sitting around all the time.

What do you guys think?


frugaliknowit

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Re: Should I buy a car?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2014, 09:33:41 AM »
Take the bus/transit as needed.  Take cabs as needed.  Use a car sharing service as needed.  Rent cars as needed.  No, do not buy a car.

KCM5

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Re: Should I buy a car?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2014, 10:37:44 AM »
Have you looked at car2go?

Also, I don't know what your relationship with your roommate is, but in the right situation shared ownership could be worth it.


TerriM

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Re: Should I buy a car?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 10:43:14 AM »
Is there a zip car close to you?

http://www.zipcar.com/minneapolis/find-cars?zipfleet_id=1028438868


Also, what about seeing if someone from work would pick you up on the way in?  Same thing with the dog park.  Can you find a friend to go with who has a car?

windawake

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Re: Should I buy a car?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 11:05:08 AM »
I use car2go, it's the most feasible of the car sharing options here in Minneapolis since it requires no subscription. It's quite expensive though, $0.50 per minute, so it only works for one-way or short trips.

My commute isn't the issue, since I can bus/carpool if absolutely necessary and bike most of the other time. Instead, the issue is wanting to visit my family in the suburbs and going hiking/camping. Yes, I do bring other people along so I can get a ride. I don't like doing this because I'm beholden to their schedule and a lot of times would rather go to these things alone, with my dog.

I think the issue is having to pay each time I use a car. I can use RelayRides or car2go or borrow a friend's car, but I still have to pay every time. This means that when my parents want me to come over for dinner, I weigh wanting to see them against the $35 it would cost me to rent a car. This attitude applies itself to other things too, like going hiking or nearby weekend trips. The problem is that saving the $35 often wins, so I limit activities I'd otherwise really enjoy.

Spudd

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Re: Should I buy a car?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2014, 11:21:45 AM »
But how much would you have to pay if you bought a car? You'd have the following expenses:
1. Buying the actual car
2. Insurance
3. Maintenance
4. Gas

You should figure out how much all that would run you, and then figure out how often you actually want to go to the dog park, to your parents' place, etc, and how much it would cost to go those places with the ways you have now.

If, as I'm assuming will happen, the cost to go those places with renting cars as needed, will be less than the cost of owning a car, then try and adjust your mentality to say hey, I know it's $35 but I'm still saving $X per month vs owning my own car!

surfhb

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Re: Should I buy a car?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 11:33:07 AM »
Why in the Lords name would you limit what you enjoy just to save $35?   So you work a little longer....so what?

Get the car and enjoy!   Life isn't all about FIRE.   I mean, good for you if you can feel you can be perfectly happy without a vehicle.   Many people do it and that's fine.   For me, you and many others it just isn't pratical. 

This site is about those sensible decisions which enrich your life.   Buying a new car for $20k vs a good used one for $5k..... Things like that :)