Author Topic: On trying to cure my car clown ways.  (Read 2584 times)

FIRE_at_45

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On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« on: November 16, 2016, 09:01:38 PM »
It's strange.  I thought I was doing fairly well with cars.  On the grand scheme of things I probably am compared to the next consumer sucker.  I've been driving for 26 years and only owned 3 cars.  The first one I bought for $1,000 from a relative.  Then my career took off so I 'treated' myself to a $20,000 3 year old car.  I drove this car for 10 plus years and it basically died.  My most recent purchase was a 1 year old Hyundai Elantra for $20,000.   I bought the first and second car with cash.  The third one I had a short loan for about 1 year (punch in the face) even though I technically had the money elsewhere.  So, that's car history.  I plan to drive the current car for 12 years and hopefully by that time electric cars will be the mainstream....how I am going to last 8 years without buying one I don't know!

So then I start reading MMM and I had an awakening about cars.  I followed most of the mainstream thinking....the costs are sunk so you should just use it...you have to get around...etc...etc.

So, I took to the bike.  At first I did short trips for groceries and then I added the stroller on the back for big trips.  I got my kids into biking and they joined me on the trips which was a lot of fun over the summer.  Then I started biking to my kids home games and some away games that were not too far (when they go with their mom; my ex).  That experience started to give me confidence.  Then I added the a commuting partner for my 60 km round trip awful commute...another really positive change.  I also made a conscious decision to not go to every single one of my kids games when they are with their mom.  I still go to a lot of games so that was not a huge sacrifice.  Oh, I also cut down dramatically on golfing which led to a lot of driving all over the place. 

I started a spreadsheet and I recorded the savings from commuting and biking around.  I use $0.50 per kilometer.  At first I thought this number was not accurate.  Then I ran a spreadsheet including opportunity costs on the purchase, depreciation, insurance, maintenance, fuel etc. and holy shit it is accurate.  And this for an economy car! Imagine what a Ford F150 guy pays per km! So far in 5 months I have already saved $1,100 by making these changes.  It is pretty staggering. 

Now when I drive I am thinking holy crap this little trip here just cost me $10.  It has really changed the way I think about driving.  Now I am left wondering how I can curb my car clown ways even more without sacrificing a lot of the things I enjoy (hiking, watching my kids play sports, snowboarding, golfing etc.) that all require driving.

How about you?  What have you done to cut your driving?  Are you finding it challenging when you have a life already established? 

Unfortunately for me being divorced and wanting to be by my kids I cannot move for work.  Getting a new job closer is tough but I always have my feelers out. 
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 09:17:03 PM by FIRE_at_45 »

HenryDavid

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2016, 09:43:54 AM »
You're doing really well already. And you can see the (financial) benefits to driving less.
But there are also social and health benefits. Obviously the exercise from biking is a health benefit. But sharing rides is a social benefit, and there's also the "decluttering" effect of focusing on which social stuff is REALLY worth a a car trip. By cutting back golf you're on track here. A few little ideas:
-hiking, snowboarding etc: you can bike to a convenient carpool spot and meet friends there. I always do this for out-of-town mtn biking etc.
-kid's games: hmm, I don't know. Be selective? Sounds like you're doing this. So much of car-avoidance is about planning ahead: can the kids play in leagues that compete closer to you? Can you find a role in the league (e.g. ref) which will provide you with transport? Etc.
-the phrase "that all require driving" can be revised. They all require transport--of some sort. Does it have to be you driving, in your own car? Between carpooling and occasional car rentals I found that being car-free was more practical than I thought. So try thinking "requires transport" instead of "requires driving."

Anyway, non-driving or reduced driving is a FUN GAME to play, which has huge benefits. It cultivates imagination and resourcefulness, 2 really good things. Enjoy!


Slee_stack

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 11:11:50 AM »
Formal reimbursement mileage rates are 55 - 60 cents per mile in the US.

I've always been sensitive to this and have tallied my costs on any trip.

An older/cheaper, but reliable, vehicle can be far less costly per mile, and a fancypants one far more.  I'm probably realistically in the .30/mi range.  It still adds up!

Just going to work and back each day probably costs me $17.  Being aware of my car costs helps me cut back elsewhere (never a lunch out...unless its on company dime).

The commute costs for me sucks, but it balances as my DW is very close to her office. 

FIRE_at_45

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 07:58:16 PM »
You're doing really well already. And you can see the (financial) benefits to driving less.
But there are also social and health benefits. Obviously the exercise from biking is a health benefit. But sharing rides is a social benefit, and there's also the "decluttering" effect of focusing on which social stuff is REALLY worth a a car trip. By cutting back golf you're on track here. A few little ideas:
-hiking, snowboarding etc: you can bike to a convenient carpool spot and meet friends there. I always do this for out-of-town mtn biking etc.
-kid's games: hmm, I don't know. Be selective? Sounds like you're doing this. So much of car-avoidance is about planning ahead: can the kids play in leagues that compete closer to you? Can you find a role in the league (e.g. ref) which will provide you with transport? Etc.
-the phrase "that all require driving" can be revised. They all require transport--of some sort. Does it have to be you driving, in your own car? Between carpooling and occasional car rentals I found that being car-free was more practical than I thought. So try thinking "requires transport" instead of "requires driving."

Anyway, non-driving or reduced driving is a FUN GAME to play, which has huge benefits. It cultivates imagination and resourcefulness, 2 really good things. Enjoy!

Thanks for the encouragement.  I completely agree that the exercise from biking is a huge benefit because I feel better and lost weight without effort.  I also like sharing the long boring commute with someone else.

I like how you worded that....requires transport and not necessarily driving.  I have started a few informal car pools to kids games.  It is a bit tricky because most parents want to go already and they have a couple other kids.   So sometimes I just send one of my children with a teammate and then hang out with my other child one-to-one which is a nice benefit.

I have started doing what you mention about car pooling to activities and I will push myself to get more bad ass. 

Thanks!

FIRE_at_45

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 08:04:31 PM »
Formal reimbursement mileage rates are 55 - 60 cents per mile in the US.

I've always been sensitive to this and have tallied my costs on any trip.

An older/cheaper, but reliable, vehicle can be far less costly per mile, and a fancypants one far more.  I'm probably realistically in the .30/mi range.  It still adds up!

Just going to work and back each day probably costs me $17.  Being aware of my car costs helps me cut back elsewhere (never a lunch out...unless its on company dime).

The commute costs for me sucks, but it balances as my DW is very close to her office.

This is very true.  I ran the numbers purchasing a $6000 car instead of $20,000 with no collision and it would be right around your costs...well a bit higher in Canada at $0.31 per km. 

I think the best thing you can do is buy a car that is older and pay between $4-6,000 for it but do not drive it much.  That way you just have a mode of transportation for the odd time you need it.  Set your lifestyle up around biking...like a popular blogger did :)

Stash Engineer

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2016, 09:47:04 AM »
What you have accomplished is awesome!  I want to do the same but have run into the situation which you alluded to, an established lifestyle with kids, work, and wife schedules.  My wife is mostly on-board with keeping our spending at pre-lavish levels, but she scoffs at the idea of using the bike for my own transportation.  With our current situation, it would require more effort on her part to shuttle the kids around if I started riding.  For that reason I don't push the issue since she already has quite a bit on her plate and I don't think she would take kindly to the extra work. 

I do think to myself how much every trip costs us though.  She wants to drive to another city 2 hrs away for a change of scenery this weekend and my mind immediately starts doing the math, assuming $0.50/mile.  Anyways, just wanted to chime in and say GREAT JOB! and I hope to one day be as bad-ass as you!

FIRE_at_45

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2016, 07:53:09 PM »
What you have accomplished is awesome!  I want to do the same but have run into the situation which you alluded to, an established lifestyle with kids, work, and wife schedules.  My wife is mostly on-board with keeping our spending at pre-lavish levels, but she scoffs at the idea of using the bike for my own transportation.  With our current situation, it would require more effort on her part to shuttle the kids around if I started riding.  For that reason I don't push the issue since she already has quite a bit on her plate and I don't think she would take kindly to the extra work. 

I do think to myself how much every trip costs us though.  She wants to drive to another city 2 hrs away for a change of scenery this weekend and my mind immediately starts doing the math, assuming $0.50/mile.  Anyways, just wanted to chime in and say GREAT JOB! and I hope to one day be as bad-ass as you!

Thanks, I do not consider myself badass but I am getting a lot better that is for sure. 

Yes, with a SO you have to make decisions that are best for everyone and that is tough if you are not completely on the same page. 

I checked in on your journal...hope you are killing that debt.  The best part is knowing now what you know.  You can kill that and then start saving like a madman and retire decades ahead of everyone else.

stashgrower

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2016, 11:06:03 PM »
Nice :) You inspired me to be more badass about biking.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: On trying to cure my car clown ways.
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2016, 07:54:25 AM »
I should almost start a journal just to document my feelings toward these changes.  They are mostly positive but there have been a few negatives.  Yesterday was a good example.  I was not at work because I am taking a 2 day class that is 20 km away.  I decided to take transit.  The drive takes 26 minutes according to google.  So I got there is 1 hour and 5 minutes which is totally acceptable to me.  The way home was a different story.  Between hoofing it to catch the bus and missing the express by 1 minute it took 2.5 hours to get home.  I stood at bus stops for well over an hour.  The one bus never came according to the schedule so that amounted to the huge time.  I was absolutely freezing (had a toque and gloves but my coat was lacking) and starving (I do not do well without food; sort of weak this way).  So but the time I got home I was grumpy.

Have to do it all again but I will drive and do 2 errands that I need to do anyway to somewhat justify the trip.