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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-22-06, 08:59 PM   #1
jayhuse
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Semi Car Lite & MY Cutting Costs Experience

I talked to many of you guys back in early May about commuting to work and getting less car dependent.
WOW have I learned a ton by actually commuting to work by bike.

So here is the deal. I started in mid May and now have 670 Miles of Work Commuting on my bike. This 670 miles equates toa about 1300 miles by car since roads go around the city versus str8 through it. I ride about 1 to 3 times a week with an average of about 1.95 times a week.

What have I learned. Cars are expensive as Heck ! I mean really expensive.
My average gas bill when we both drove was about $350.00 a month.

As of now My wife an I car pool. I never thougth about sharing the same car but I talked her into me dropping her off on days I do not ride to work. This is a huge savings in gas and Auto Maintenance. She has a Volve S80 Here is the break down of my expenses and my Savings.

1. 1 Car Hyndi Elantra Gas for 1 month about 180.00 which is alot but I save 150.00
2. I changed Insurance companies for car insurance I saved 600.00 every year or about 50.00 a month.
3. I Talked to my insurance agent an Asked about Low mileage cars. He stated that we could put my wifes care on less than 7500 miles a year which would save about 20.00 a month more.
4. When the weather gets nasty I might just cancel Insurance on my wifes car for 3 months, which would be November, December and January. Saving of about 175.00 for that period.

Old costs
Month Gas 350.00 Insurance 150.00 = total Monthly Expense $500.00
Yearly $6000.00 + untold Maintenance epenses such as Tires, OIL Changes.

New Costs.
Month Gas 190 Insurance 75 = total Monthly Expense $265.00
Yearly costs $3180. + Untold Maintenance.

The truth is I would have never thought about any of this without biking to work. I would have never changed insurance, or car pooled with my wife or even thought about canceling my insurance during the winter.

I will try harder next year to totally get rid of my car but that is going to be a battle between my wife an I.
I am trying to bike more it is that my legs are not in shape enough right now.


Thanks for hearing my out and anythoughts ??

Jay
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Old 08-22-06, 10:46 PM   #2
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That sounds about right, and having a car around can be useful depending on your living situation. The only thing I can think of that would help out your situation would be getting two old, reliable, cars, and always making sure they're both always running. The problem with this is it's not worthwhile unless you do your own mechanical work, which some people don't want to do, but if you can do it, it's so much cheaper. I've found that the hatchback/pickup combo offers the most utility.
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Old 08-23-06, 07:45 AM   #3
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It is interesting what you say about it all working because you found a way to get to work without your car. This is one of the main principles in "Living Well without a Car", a book recently written and posted about here. He says that if you can find a reliable and consistent way to get to and from work without your car then essentially the rest of it is easy and you are almost ready to rid yourself of the 2 ton beast.
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Old 08-23-06, 07:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhuse
Old costs
Month Gas 350.00 Insurance 150.00 = total Monthly Expense $500.00
Yearly $6000.00 + untold Maintenance epenses such as Tires, OIL Changes.

New Costs.
Month Gas 190 Insurance 75 = total Monthly Expense $265.00
Yearly costs $3180. + Untold Maintenance.
The $3,180.00 is actually pretax is you'll have to earn about $4,000.00 USD to be able to cut that check. So if this money went into a 401K plan at work, it would be fair to say that after 25 years, you would have 100K and that doesn't include interest!
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Old 08-23-06, 07:59 AM   #5
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Its funny that you mention your hyundai elantra...

I just sold my 2003 elantra, and traded in my g/f's 03 tiburon for an 04 elantra (paid the difference of $ 1600 cash) and have no payments + better fuel economy (for her).

She still drives but I am car free ! =)

Elantras are very reliable, and have overall low maintenance costs.. An oil change only costs me $ 8 dollars... thats right, eight. dollars.

I do the oil changes myself, and take the used oil to be recycled at the local autoparts store.

If you have any questions about doing maintenance on the elantra, let me know. =)
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Old 08-27-06, 10:14 PM   #6
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Thanks for your input.

To all thanks for your input. this is always a nice board to post on and get inspired to be car free.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:49 AM   #7
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"4. When the weather gets nasty I might just cancel Insurance on my wifes car for 3 months, which would be November, December and January. Saving of about 175.00 for that period. "

DO NOT cancel your comprehensive coverage while the car is idle. This coverage is cheap compared
to any loss due to bad weather, or ANY other unknown cause of damage to the stored car.
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Old 08-28-06, 11:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
"4. When the weather gets nasty I might just cancel Insurance on my wifes car for 3 months, which would be November, December and January. Saving of about 175.00 for that period. "

DO NOT cancel your comprehensive coverage while the car is idle. This coverage is cheap compared
to any loss due to bad weather, or ANY other unknown cause of damage to the stored car
.
I don't know that you need the comprehensive coverage, since fire or weather damage are pretty unlikely. But if you cancel the basic coverage, make sure you disable the car so nobody can drive off with it. In some states, the owner is responsible to any damage caused by the car, and even for any injury to somebody who steals the car and crashes it.
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Old 09-02-06, 05:05 AM   #9
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Hi I made the plunge after reading these posts for a year and moved house just so I could commute. I used to drive 700 kilometres a week to go to work now I commute 15ks a day which adds up to a 100ks in a seven day run of shifts. I work shift work and travel by bike all the time my goal for the year is to ride to work for the entire year not weakening and taking the wifes car. I have seen out the winter now so I think I can achieve the goal now. I look forward to the ride each day as I always arrive at workwide awake after a ru=ide and nice shower. As I work in corrections the job can be stressfull but riding home is the perfect antidote for the stress of the job. I am saving $300 a fortnight Australian dollars which is more than paying for the extra mortage repayments that I have to make. Now I ride past the petrol stations and laugh. Never again the rope of the petrol noose around my neck. I can thoroughly reccomend making the change.
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Old 09-02-06, 06:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
I don't know that you need the comprehensive coverage, since fire or weather damage are pretty unlikely.
I guess it never hails in your area. No baseballs either. The insurance company already paid me full value due to a hail storm for my car. Luckily I only had to replace a winshield on Dimples. Almost everyone in the area suffered car damage in the April 04 hail storm if it wasn't in a garage; as well as house damage.

I suppose a simple life with no possession of anything of significant monetary value that becomes less of an issue.
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Old 09-02-06, 06:48 AM   #11
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I joined the ranks of the car-free yesterday. After being in dis-repair for a year (and lots of dithering on whether to fix it or not) I finally took the plunge and bought a bike and started commuting in May. 400+ miles later I had the car towed off yesterday. As I left the DMV after turning in my title I felt such freedom-- for the first time in more years then I care to remember I am not a car owner. We still have 1 car in the household, so as a family we are car-lite, but the spouse is getting a bike...
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Old 09-05-06, 12:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
I suppose a simple life with no possession of anything of significant monetary value that becomes less of an issue.
Congratulations! You're finally catching on!!!!! Instead of your usual kvetching on.
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Old 09-06-06, 10:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crtclb
I finally took the plunge and bought a bike and started commuting in May. 400+ miles later I had the car towed off yesterday. As I left the DMV after turning in my title I felt such freedom
Agreed. I had the same feeling the day I turned in the plates at the DMV. What a relief it was to be free from the burden of bills brought on by the motorcar. I could finally save and actually have money left over at the end of the pay period. It was like the world was lifted off my shoulder.

At the same time, I was saddend because at the time, I didn't use bicycles and was now dependant on buses. If I had known the power of human powered machines, there would have been zero remorse.
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Old 09-06-06, 11:48 AM   #14
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We're selling our only car today, I'm getting a bus pass, and upgrading the soon-to-be commuter bike. Good luck to you, and wish me the same. I'm excited and kind of scared but there's definetly no remorse.
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Old 09-06-06, 12:26 PM   #15
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We're selling our only car today, I'm getting a bus pass, and upgrading the soon-to-be commuter bike. Good luck to you, and wish me the same. I'm excited and kind of scared but there's definetly no remorse.
I used the bus for a year before I got my bike. I really like it, but I love the flexibility the bike gives me. I am going to consider the bus a backup this winter (every bus has a bike rack in my city) but I'm going to try my darndest to commute all winter.

So, luck to you and luck to me and to all of the car free!
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Old 09-06-06, 12:45 PM   #16
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about the elantra: we have a 2004 elantra GT and its been just great! granted, it spends the vast majority of its time sitting in the driveway, but alas its wonderful.
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Old 09-06-06, 10:27 PM   #17
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I applaud your efforts so far, and suggest you go totally car-free. If you live in a city, not having a car is very, very easy, actually easier than having a car, and it frees up thousands of dollars a year. I have absolutely no regrets about no longer owning one. Among other things, it's really nice to be 45 and still be able to drink beer and eat pie with gleeful abandon. I still drive a borrowed or rented car every now and then to get out of town, but even so, it's far cheaper and way more pleasant to go without the internal-combustion ball and chain of car ownership.
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