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  1. #1
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    I am thinking of giving up my car due to..

    ...the sad fact that I can not afford to pay my upcoming car insurance. I have been squeezed and juiced by EVERY industry that I have come into contact with including my new job and I just can not pay everyone with one income.My mortgage just went up, I have unfortunatly, credit card bills, life insurance, Electric just keeps rising, my recent ER visit was supposed to be covered by our insurance that we already pay 250.00 a month for but guess what?? it wasn't and I owe them $500, It keeps coming and coming.With the price of gas the way it is I guess this is a great time to do it,however, I am very nervous about this. My new job can not clear me medicaly due to high blood pressure that is under a physcians care but not yet regulated. I will not be able to start working to pay all these bills till it does get under control. Yet, more reasons to raise the BP.

    Our family will not be with out a car however since my husband has to have a car for work. Since I can not afford the payment that is due in Sept, if I give up my car I actually get money back. I own a 2003 Chrysler Voyager and it is a family car, I am thinking of taking his off the road and switching cars but his is cheaper to insure due to his being older. I was planning on commuting to work anyways once I start because I thought I was going to have these ungodly hours and wanted to keep myself going. My older son is in school and takes the bus. His school is about 2-3miles away.I have one son at home (2yo). Walmart and/or many other stores are well within a good riding distance 2-4 miles as well as my job. Doctors on the other hand aren't,they are more like 15-20.

    I read this forum and think you all are so cool and brave and how I would like to be like you one day, but I thought it would have been easier to wait till my kids were more independant. What do you think? What are some things I am not thinking about that I should consider? Should I go for it or should I put the bill on a credit card and hope that the job starts me soon. It will be a couple of weeks at best at this point anyways. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    I think that if his car is cheaper to insure, you could ditch the family car. Unless his car is a whole lot smaller, can it not fit your whole family? Doctors can still be visited with your bf's car, or perhaps even a cab (trust me, cab fare doesn't come close to car ownership).

    Who knows, maybe getting rid of the hurdle of additional car payments, coupled with walking/cycling more will drop your BP faster.

    Anyhow, the decision still rests on you, perhaps there are reasons why the family car is needed. We don't have the whole picture.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cabana 4 life's Avatar
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    i sold my car a year ago. i dont have kids that might make it tough,my brother has a 2 year old she loves the bike carrier, he also has a car, his wife has the car most of the time, so him and his daughter ride the bike.car payments suck. i recently started two bike based buisness, i could have never done this with a car payment,up keep,gas and insurance.i also have way to many credit card bills ,the money you save on gas alone in a month could make your credit card bill. could riding a bike lower your blood pressure? dont try and do it all right away take your time you will figure how to make it work.

  4. #4
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabana 4 life
    could riding a bike lower your blood pressure?

    It is for me, slowly but surely.

  5. #5
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    Riding a bike for many of your trips is a great idea. However, if you find that you need to get places faster than with a bike, if you cannot arrive all sweaty, or if your health prevents you from riding a bike, you should also consider a scooter. Many models are relatively inexpensive, are cheap to insure, and get over 65mpg. They can travel as fast as a car in the city, and many can carry more than one passenger.

    I calculated that I would save over $1000 a year by replacing one of our cars with a scooter for 8 months of the year.

  6. #6
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    We don't have car payments. Our 2003 car is paid off and my husband's current car is old. This can be a temporary solution or it could turn into a more than permanant one. Not sure yet. I am still throwing it around. I wonder if it would be traumatic for my five year old? Also, the doctor has told me that exercise is very good for BP but sadly it has not worked for me. She has encouraged me not to stop and informed me on what to look for when I am exercising so I don't have a heart attack.

  7. #7
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    Pattelapedler: It took me a while (3 months) before exercise started having an effect on my bp.

    Regardless of it or not, moderate exercise WILL help you all around.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenyBen
    Pattelapedler: It took me a while (3 months) before exercise started having an effect on my bp.

    Regardless of it or not, moderate exercise WILL help you all around.
    Word. Please don't get all puritanical, push yourself too hard, too soon and expect results in a matter of weeks. This whole thing about getting rid of the car and becoming more in tune w/ life at a slower pace is not some sort of simplistic new age thinking like some of the mainstream believe -- it takes time, and the rewards (health-wise, financially, etc) often take a longer time than we imagine to materialize.

  9. #9
    Senior Member KristenGilbert's Avatar
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    I'm car free but my boyfriend isn't. We need his car for transporting him, me and his daughter. It's just a matter of being good at organizing time in order to be car free. Like, planning car needed things for all in one day and renting a car for that whole day or using the one family car. You can get a bike with a seat for the 2-year old and use hubby's car or rent a car for doctor's apts for the kids, maybe even planning the whole family to get their apts all at once to get them over with. Or, what about getting a smaller, cheaper family car?

    I'm big on you doing the bike riding as a way to show the kids starting from a young age how important being active is. Plus, when the kids get a bit older, it can turn into a bike riding adventure, with all of you taking a bike ride to the store.

    Whatever happens, I hope it works all out. I'm definitely enjoying a little extra money in my pocket since I gave up my car.

  10. #10
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    Oh and by car payment, I meant insurance, license renewal, gas, repairs and value depreciation.

  11. #11
    gwd
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    "What do you think? What are some things I am not thinking about that I should consider? Should I go for it..." Go for it. My first week without a car scared me a bit, I had bad luck, rain and flat tire in the same day. You can search the commuter and this forum for tons of tips.

  12. #12
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ___
    Word. Please don't get all puritanical, push yourself too hard, too soon and expect results in a matter of weeks. This whole thing about getting rid of the car and becoming more in tune w/ life at a slower pace is not some sort of simplistic new age thinking like some of the mainstream believe -- it takes time, and the rewards (health-wise, financially, etc) often take a longer time than we imagine to materialize.

    Yes, this is what I find as well. I used to want results to happen way too soon, and because of this I have failed with exercise many times over...

    This journey to health I'm on now is on its 3rd year now, and I keep seeing and feeling the improvement. I got accustomed to the fact that this will take a long time, and I'm simply content with the journey. I figured slow and steady will pay in the end, because you can make it into a lifetime habit.

  13. #13
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    Nationwide, there are probably a few hundred families who realized just today that they can't afford to run one or more of their cars. They face some hard choices. Some will try to earn more money, some will cut back in other areas, some will go further into debt, and some will try to figure out how to get by without one or more cars. For people in the last group, I hope our little forum here will offer plenty of support and encouragement.

  14. #14
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    As a basic guide, supporting a car is like supporting another person who has expensives tastes. The AAA estimates the average American is putting $8k a year into owning their car, and that means they have to earn about $13k (because of taxes) to get that 8k.

    Getting rid of the car is a much better choice than working yourself to death trying to pay for it. Get rid of the thing! You'll still have your husband's car. And biking is good for you, you'll like it! Just don't push yourself too hard at first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    Nationwide, there are probably a few hundred families who realized just today that they can't afford to run one or more of their cars. They face some hard choices. Some will try to earn more money, some will cut back in other areas, some will go further into debt, and some will try to figure out how to get by without one or more cars. For people in the last group, I hope our little forum here will offer plenty of support and encouragement.
    I was one of those few hundred people a little over four years ago. It amazes me how many people are loaded with credit cards have cars. It just seems like the two go together and that's what bankrupts millions each year as Americans have the most expensive transportation system in the world. The motorcar.

    Unfortunately, I did not have the forum when making the decision to go car free.

  16. #16
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauren
    If you sell the car you will loose money if you end up realizing you need it and have to buy a new one. Don't romanticize living without a car. It's just another lifestyle, one that may or may not suit you.

    "If you sell the car you will loose money if you end up realizing you need it and have to buy a new one." <- Not necessarily true for two reasons, the replacement may cost less and she'll save money in the mean time.

    "Don't romanticize living without a car." <- Why not? Liberation from her problem seems like something to romanticize about. It will feel great when she acquires the extra income and health and time.

    "It's just another lifestyle, one that may or may not suit you." <- It is not just another lifestyle, it is the most common way of life on the planet. For someone having problems with a car constrained lifestyle to free themselves into something better is wonderful. For the majority of humans it isn't a big deal to live car free because they've never known anything else, for those of us who were once bound up in it though, as is the originator of this thread, it is a big deal.

  17. #17
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I thought the artist known as _______ (Post # 8) put it well -- improvements in your life and health will come gradually but they will come. How many miles/minutes a day would you be riding? Have you checked this with your doctor?

    As for your kids, I doubt if they will be traumatized. Most kids love bikes, and when your's are old enough they can ride along with you. One nice thing about being a child is that your own family will always seem normal to you, even if they don't seem so normal to other people.

  18. #18
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    (1) I don't think it's a "few hundred" who've found they can't afford the costs of keeping a car or 2nd car, I think it's in the millions, US-wide

    (2) Yeah keep your car for a while, a month or two or three, and do without. You'll know by the end of 3 months whether you can do this.

    (3) There are hardly any human beings who can't at least bicycle at a walking pace. At a walking pace, on a "cruiser" type sitting-upright bicycle, with a decent low gearing, you're using very little energy. Much less than a walking person, so that a 1/2 hour on it won't tire you out they way 1/2 hour actual walking will. This is a great "on ramp" for those who are overweight, unfit in general, or psychologically unprepared to ride a bike quickly. Gradually you'll work into it. In reality, what feels like a "walking pace" on a bike is more like a jogging pace or even a runner's pace. So don't worry about it, get a nice comfy bike and ride and smile!

  19. #19
    gwd
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    [QUOTE=laurenGet over yourself and realize that it's a lifestyle choice, not a religion. Some people have them some don't. Just like a house or kids. It's a choice. Decide which option you want to live with.
    [/QUOTE]
    It was a good choice for me that I should have made much earlier and might have if I'd had an encouraging community. However, it is NOT a choice for most car free people. It is not an option. If you've never travelled to places like Africa, or Asia, find an immigrant and ask him or her "Can most of the people in your home country afford to own a private automobile?" or "Can most of the people in your home country afford to live like americans?" I can't believe you when you assert that the people I've seen in other countries could be driving cars if they choose to. They also don't live in houses as we know them, again it is not by choice that they live in shanties. But the person who began this thread may be more like us who have a choice and may become like me and realize that dumping the car is a good choice. I'm getting ready to ride home in the rain, its fun. I still can't get over how cool it is to breeze along getting places on my bike and not having a car. Every year without a car is better than the previous one.

  20. #20
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    It's quite possible that the original poster has some degree of choice in whether to keep or get rid of that car. However, as I read patellapedler's post, there are pressing economic considerations that weigh into the decision. I expect an increasing number of formerly middle-class people to find themselves in a similar position. At some point, to talk about all the advantages of car ownership or how reluctant we would be to give up our own vehicle starts to sound a bit like "if the people have no bread, let them eat cake".

    If fuel prices stay high, I can certainly see more families getting by with one less car. Thus, some individuals may have to get around by alternate means even if the family still owns a car.

  21. #21
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    The reason I am doing it is not because I ABSOLUTELY love the idea!! It makes me nervous having a 2yo at home and no emergency outlet. I am doing it because I can not afford to have/keep it untill I start bringing home a paycheck. However, it makes me feel good to know I am contributing less to the gas/oil crisis that has all car owners ball and chained because I DON'T HAVE to HAVE that problem. I am in a situation where I could probably get by without it. It makes me feel good to know that some people do it as a choice and I have a place where I can go to get answers to some of my questions. I expressed my fears here to get some ideas of what I wasn't looking at. Sometimes I have the tendency not to look at the whole picture. My blood pressure is what is holding me back right now from getting hired(and getting the paycheck I need) and that is causeing STRESS as well as the finacial burdens of these times along with some past bad choices. My doctor has said that exercise is GREAT for helping lowering BP and has encouraged it. I told both my doctors where I was in my exercise regime and they both advised me to continue with it.

    To sell the car would probably get me out of most of my debt and leave me with some money to buy a beater but I am not ready to go that route yet so the car will sit for a few months even after I start working. I planned on commuting with my bike anyways because I like to bike and be active so it would be a small savings on gas.

    My son was told, he didn't really have any reaction. As for the 2yo, he won't have any problems at all, he will absolutely love it! Now I just have to find a trailer I can afford.

    Thanks for everyones input.

  22. #22
    Senior Member biodiesel's Avatar
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    If you have a second car for longer trips there's nothing that should stop you. You won't be totally car free, just a one car family like 90% of the world. Only in the last 10-15 years and only in this country has everyone had to have 2 cars.

    I think it would be a great example to your kids. Showing them that you can live without some things and that a bit of work and a bit of sacrifice are worth lots.

    I swear if i went back in time to the days where i was struggling to make rent and living off of brown rice and beans and 2nd day bagels... i'd be car free in a second. It's amazing how expensive owning, maintaining and driving really is.

    Look at it this way... Add the car payment, weekly gas costs, oil changes, all the maintenence costs last year, car washes etc, car insurance, parking costs at work or home, highway tolls and anything else you can think of. Divide by 12. In many cases you'll come up with a number high enough that you could rent a car 2-3 weeks every month. And still save money.
    So if you need a second car for a week, rent one.

  23. #23
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    I am still amazed at the sheer numbers of people who are now priced out of the choice of car ownership. I was raised in an enviroment of choosing to drive or not, not being pushed the notion of car ownership on me. We (my family of origin) owned just one car at a time and that car was small (think classic Mini Cooper) and stick shifted instead of automatic.

    The only time that I was really hassled about my choice of vehicle (whether bike or small car) was when some potential employer wanted someone to own a car outright rather than use another form of transport for my own "safety" rather than for my other talents offered. These jobs were usually low pay at the time, no health care insurance offered, bad working enviroment, and all around negative feeling about that workplace. I would not even let a dog work there much less me or my child. Choice is the key here, not car liscense.

  24. #24
    Senior Member biodiesel's Avatar
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    I figure that unless i'm driving for my employer it's none of their buisness what i drive. If they need me to haul stuff in a truck then that's the job, a truck driving job.
    Otherwise what i drive today tomorrow or next week is an independant question. Any an employer requiring you to drive 'for your own safety' is silly. Show that driving is safer for one thing, and can they tell you what to eat at home, what sports to do on your days off, where to live? Ridiculous.
    And the argument that they can require a car is also ridiculous. (Unless it's a delivery job.) Do they require a new car? What about an older car? A two seater? Sports car or convertible? Drive a jeep without doors?

    So in this persons case, you do have a reliable car. One for the family but they don't need to know that. If you drive "your" car or your husbands car or a rental car or a clown car... as long as you punch in on time it's none of thier buisness.

    And if someone asks if i have reliable transportation i just say yes. If they ask about the make and model i ask why thats important. If i'm without car i'll just tell them that i'm between leaseing and buying this week or just sold a used car and am buying new then divert the quetion and ask what they drive.

    Personally there are employers that tend to abusivly control their employees and those that don't. For the ones that do, forget it, i'll work somewhere else.
    (And even if you work for the Government you can ride a bike to work.)

  25. #25
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Giving up your car is a no-brainer. You are simply scared about it because you are surrounded by car addicts. American society is a car addicted.

    You will be invigorated by the improvements in your helath as well as the incredible feelings of independance knowing you can get around without depending on gas, oil companies, car bills, insurance payments, etc etc etc.

    A bike, some panniers, and a simple trailer will replace your car just fine. You'll have less stress, more money, and will ENJOY life more. That's why I call this a no-brainer.

    Just do it.

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