Over the last 50 or so years, we’ve been told that living without a car is impossible. You have to get to work, get the kids to school, and complete your weekly routine. And to do that, you need a car…right?
Living Without a Car: Is It For You?
This post has been written by our fabulous staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.
While a car may be a necessity for some people, living without a car is possible. How do I know? Well, my husband and I are doing it. Here’s why we started living without a car, and how you might be able to do it too.
1) Choose Where You Live Wisely
When we first decided to live without a car, people thought we were crazy. But the main reason why we decided to do it is because we both work from home and we were moving to a part of the city that had everything within a 3-mile radius.
- We could walk to the doctor,
- the community college,
- hundreds of different restaurants, and more.
We also had multiple grocery store options, a theater, and a library. Plus, my daughter would be able to catch a bus to school, even though the school was really only a 10-minute walk.
We had all that we needed and wanted near our place, so why would we need a car? If friends or family wanted to see us, they could visit us (which wasn’t a problem for them because they love our city). We knew living without a car may be a bit of a sacrifice if we wanted to go further than our little city. But honestly, we haven’t really seen the need.
If you plan on living without a car, choose where you live carefully.
Can you walk to the grocery store? Where will your kids go to school and are you okay with that? What about your church home, or your favorite restaurants?
If you do plan on living without a car, make sure it’s in an area where everything is easily walked or cycled to.
2) Look At Costs
When we chose the area we wanted to live in, prices seemed high at first. For example, our apartment is 1,200 sq ft and is on the lower end at $1,100 a month. But, we hav ea few perks like a washer and dryer and a patio. We got lucky with our apartment. It’s honestly the cheapest on the block. Most apartments around here of this size go for around $1,500.
Now, that may or may not be expensive to you, but people were shocked to find out how much we were paying in our area. If you move a little closer to the rural areas, you could easily find the same size for around $900…
So why would we choose to live where it was $1,100?
Once we broke it down that we would be living without a car (which obviously saved us money), people understood.
See, we didn’t have a car payment, but because I’m young and we had full coverage on our car (just in case, you never know) we were paying around $190 every month for car insurance.
We also paid for maintenance, gas, registration, and taxes on the car every year. And even though we worked from home, to take my daughter to school, get groceries, or anything else, we had to drive a bit to get anywhere, which added up in gas costs.
Let’s list that all out:
- Car insurance
All of that added up to around $300 a month.
If we would’ve had the average car payment on top of that (around $479 a month for the average American), we would be saving around $800 a month on a car. Well over the extra $200 payment we are paying for this apartment!
Living without a car frees up a little bit of money for us each month, and it also gives us peace of mind. Because we live in a no-fault state, I would’ve hated to have to pay for car repairs even if I wasn’t the cause of an accident. I also knew our car was getting older, and I didn’t want to start paying for a bunch of repairs. That’s more money in pocket without having a car!
Living without a car? Yes please.
Another huge perk of living without a car are the health benefits.
The average American sits for 10 hours a day or more. That’s not including lying down and sleeping. Which means that many people are only up and moving for 6 hours a day. Which sadly, really isn’t enough.
Since we are living without a car, we’re so much more active.
We go to the store more often (mainly because it’s literally right across the street from us) and will walk down the aisles choosing our lunch and dinner for the day. Don’t worry, we don’t overspend in our grocery category, but it gets us out of the house. We also go for family walks more often to go somewhere versus just driving there.
And, if we need to go further than our little 3-mile radius, we bike. And biking is super beneficial to your health. We exercise more without even thinking about it, because it’s become so natural to just walk outside and go where we need to go. My husband has even said how he’s happy to exercise more because he finally lost his dad gut. Talk about a win-win.
You Could Become A One Car Family
If you don’t want to (or can’t) move, and if you can’t get rid of cars all together, try becoming a one car family instead.
My husband and I were a one car family for 5 years, and while it was tough, we made it work.
You know why?
Even dropping just one car can save you a considerable of money. And, if you’re struggling financially, this could be a huge help. Will you have to make some sacrifices? Possibly. But aren’t they worth it for financial freedom?
Living Without a Car: We Say Absolutely
Living without a car has been the best decision we’ve made as a family. Even my daughter loves it. And while many people thought we were crazy, it’s worked for us. Plus, we’ve inspired other people to drop their cars (and car payments) too! In fact, our neighbor just told us that he and his family got rid of two of their cars and are using the extra $1,500 a month to start college funds for their kids! Sure, living without a car may be a little different, but hey, if it works it works.
What about you? Are you ready to start living without a car?