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  1. #1
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    how much money do you save by being car free?

    How much money do you save a year by not having to buy a vehicle when living car free?

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slipknot0129 View Post
    How much money do you save a year by not having to buy a vehicle when living car free?
    It will vary from individual to individual, based on lifestyle and location.

    Average will be somewhere in the $5k range if you have to make payments on a small car. More for a larger car or truck, less for an older used car that you pay cash for. An added bonus would be to take the car payment money and put it in savings. Bikes at Work has an interesting calculator on their website. Then there is the added benefit, that if you use a bike you get "free" exercise while getting around. When my mileage dropped drastically one year I noticed a huge difference, in my mental attitude as well as my physical conditioning.

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 12-20-09 at 06:39 AM.
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  3. #3
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slipknot0129 View Post
    How much money do you save a year by not having to buy a vehicle when living car free?
    When doing your calculations, don't forget to deduct travel expenses incurred by other modes, extra time spent traveling by bike, and/or trips/activity not taken because of a lack of available/reliable/suitable transportation. Answers that include a rationale that any activity that can't be reached by bicycle isn't worth doing should be given the appropriate consideration.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Though I'm carlite, I've been able to delay the replacement of my older paid for vehicle, as well as reducing the amount of maintenance it would normally require. With the monetary savings, I can either spend toward my bicycles or whatever I happen to chose. Another savings plus is that bicycle repairs and costs are extremely basic/inexpensive when compared to that of today's motor vehicles.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    When doing your calculations, don't forget to deduct travel expenses incurred by other modes, extra time spent traveling by bike, and/or trips/activity not taken because of a lack of available/reliable/suitable transportation. Answers that include a rationale that any activity that can't be reached by bicycle isn't worth doing should be given the appropriate consideration.
    I will not consider any activity totally unworthy of my efforts if it is unreachable by bicycle, but what has gained me considerable savings is the fact that since the bicycle requires more planning and effort, I now give more thought on whether the activity is really worth doing, or to possibly consolidate other activities with it.

  6. #6
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by slipknot0129 View Post
    How much money do you save a year by not having to buy a vehicle when living car free?
    I save enough that I can afford to live (and quite well too) on a part-time job. Granted it's not a McJob but a government job with union wages (and a pension), but I'm not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week.

    On the other hand, I'm spending a lot on bikes and bike stuff. I just put $700 of dynamo-hubbed wheels and an additional $250 of lights on my main commuting/grocery-getting rig, and I'm looking to build up a nice titanium frame through the winter for a fast ride fun bike.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    I save enough that I can afford to live (and quite well too) on a part-time job. Granted it's not a McJob but a government job with union wages (and a pension), but I'm not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week.

    On the other hand, I'm spending a lot on bikes and bike stuff. I just put $700 of dynamo-hubbed wheels and an additional $250 of lights on my main commuting/grocery-getting rig, and I'm looking to build up a nice titanium frame through the winter for a fast ride fun bike.
    While that might be considered a sizable amount, it would barely cover a lot of car repairs. Every time my F350 truck hits the shop for repairs it seems the bill is measured in $1000 increments

    I spent about $1000 on bikes last year, and that included several acquisitions, I spent around $4700 on truck repairs (it is used for work). I would have rather spent that $4700 on bikes and parts...

    Aaron
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  8. #8
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    I will not consider any activity totally unworthy of my efforts if it is unreachable by bicycle, but what has gained me considerable savings is the fact that since the bicycle requires more planning and effort, I now give more thought on whether the activity is really worth doing, or to possibly consolidate other activities with it.
    Your answers in the last 2 posts make good sense, but do not answer the OP's question since your car lite status provides options (using your car less, but only for those activities "worth doing") for you that are not available at all to the OP or anyone else who has no access to their own motorized transportation.
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 12-20-09 at 11:23 AM.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    While that might be considered a sizable amount, it would barely cover a lot of car repairs. Every time my F350 truck hits the shop for repairs it seems the bill is measured in $1000 increments

    I spent about $1000 on bikes last year, and that included several acquisitions, I spent around $4700 on truck repairs (it is used for work). I would have rather spent that $4700 on bikes and parts...

    Aaron
    Other than body repair, non of the vehicles that I've owned has seen the inside of a repair shop. Since my vehicles were only used for transportation, and not for work related activities, I have considerably more downtime available to me if I need it. I have no idea on how much I saved in shop labor costs, but I do have a very nice tool/bike collection to show for it. The best part, after saving my wife a considerable amount of money over the years in vehicle maintenance/repairs, my wife does not give a second thought if I by any new tool(s)

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Your answers in the last 2 posts make good sense, but do not answer the OP's question since your car lite status provides options (using your car less, but only for those activities "worth doing") for you that are not available at all to the OP or anyone else who has no access to their own motorized transportation.

    I've toyed with the thought of a car free life. Since I live in a rural setting, able to buy an inexpensive vehicle, do maintenance repairs myself; being carfree would be a wash monetarily and only add more time/effort getting to distant activities. Someone living in a denser metropolitan setting with better mass transit, or with very limited mechanical skills would probably accrue much more savings being carfree than I would.

  11. #11
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    It will vary from individual to individual, based on lifestyle and location.

    Average will be somewhere in the $5k range if you have to make payments on a small car.
    And... lest we forget... this $5k average is with after tax dollars. Depending on your tax bracket, you may need to earn $7K on your marginal tax rate(in the US... more in Canada) to pay for it.

    The way I look at it, if I'm paying a marginal rate of 35%, every dollar I don't spend could be $1.35 that I don't need to earn.

  12. #12
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Someone living in a denser metropolitan setting with better mass transit, or with very limited mechanical skills would probably accrue much more savings being carfree than I would.
    I'm good at fixing bikes, but I have neither tools nor skills for any auto repair besides an oil change.

    I spend a pittance on bike transportation - something like $100 to $200 per year. If I bought a car it would be an inexpensive one, but I suspect that if I paid for insurance & repairs, plus replacing the car every time it became "broken and not worth fixing" I'd be spending something like $2000 per year, more if I used it often.

    Check out what consumer reports has to say:
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/c...-to-own-ov.htm

    A lot of what the Consumer Reports car people say assumes that you are buying new, or at least buying a car made in the last 4 years. They calculate depreciation as a very high cost and repairs as a small cost, but the situation is reversed for old cars. Fuel comes out as a big factor, which makes sense for their audience but not as much for car-lite folks.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have the skills and the tools to do anything that a car, truck or tractor could require in terms of repairs. I seldom have the time

    I was ASE certified in several disciplines at one time, but have since let them lapse.

    In my current job I make enough to pay someone else to repair things that I don't have the time nor inclination to do. I even pay to have bike wheels built every now and again when I really get pressed for time. Believe me I would love to not have to shell out the dollars. I do as much vehicle light as I reasonably can, but my job won't allow vehicle free.

    Aaron
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    When I last owned a car, I paid $30 a month for PLPD, about $15 every 3-4 months for oil changes, the same twice a year for plugs, and anywhere from $40-$70 a month for gas.

    $360 + $45 + $30 + $600 = $1035 for a year's operating expenses; this doesn't count brake jobs, etc. I paid cash for that car, there were no car payments.

    I've been car-free for 5 years now, had two bikes in that time, total investment of about $3400.

    $1035 x 5 = $5175.

    I've saved enough in that time to build a twin for the bike I have now -- but the frame is discontinued. So I'll just do a couple little upgrades, build the SS, and get some toys.

    I figure my present bike will go at least 4 more years, so the savings will keep adding up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slipknot0129 View Post
    How much money do you save a year by not having to buy a vehicle when living car free?
    I can't estimate how much is saved because it no longer matters. When you become car free, your bank account starts to increase to a point where you no longer pinch pennies. I live a minimal life with no kids or huge house so my saving is in the hundreds each month.

    A more important question is not what you save but what are you going to do with your savings that will make the difference in your life. I found that owning a car forced me to spend my savings on motor transport. This form of spending felt worthless.

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    There are many things to consider that are often over-looked and depend entirely on how you budget you finances. There are the following sources of drain on you finances when you buy a car: the depreciation of the car's value, repair, maintenance, gas, tolls, parking, excise tax, registration fees, any upgrades or accessories (radio, Lo-Jack, OnStar, Tom-Tom, etc.), insurance. There's also a drag on savings where you need to have savings immediately available to finance repairs, keeping you from being able to tuck the money away into a high yield IRA or CD, if you use a credit card to finance repairs, the financial burden is exceedingly greater! Another factor is the age of a car and the climate it's driven in, new cars depreciate in value faster than old cars, old cars need more repairs than new cars, winter climates are more hard on cars than dry and/or salt free climates, it's much more expensive to insure a car in a city than in the country... the list of variables goes on. Living car free also forces upon you a more healthy lifestyle, therefore there is a high probability of lower medical costs down the road.

    In my own experience, we have about $5,000 in extra finances per year thanks to living car free (which seems to be the consensus amount). However, we take that $5,000 and dump it into a Roth-IRA, so with the tax-free interest earned on the IRA, the total amount gained by living car free is much higher.

    In my experience, living car free has also encouraged a more efficient life-style in general (some a direct consequence of it being harder to go out and just shop around, so you REALLY have to want something to go get it, and some just from the fact that those who enjoy being car-free are also likely to enjoy efficient living). Through the subsequent transition to more efficient living, we have saved another $5,000 per year, for a whopping $10,000 per year, which equates to an annual maxed out Roth-IRA contribution each year on just the savings alone.

  17. #17
    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    Our savings went from $50-$70 per month, to $300-$500 (depending on purchases.) The direct savings per month came to about $240-$280 for two used cars (90 Caprice, 98 Lumina.) Biggest savings was from gas. Indirect savings comes from less frivolous runs to eat out, get coffee, or visit random retailers.
    Both cars required about $300 a year for the four years we owned them, for repairs.

    We've been car free about a year now, car light for a few months prior to that. We go out for "fun" things just as much, but trips have become less purchase orientated (sucks hauling stuff home) and more experience related. It's been fairly easy with two kids, the hardest part is the extra prep time which adds about 5-10 mins of putting on layers and sorting the trailers out.

    There's only been a few times a car would of been a major help, but we used alternate transportation and it worked perfectly. One was a funeral, another was a hospital trip, and the last was bringing home furniture. Taxis took care of the first, and renting a truck for $30 the last.
    Last edited by MilitantPotato; 12-22-09 at 02:26 AM.
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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    When doing your calculations, don't forget to deduct travel expenses incurred by other modes, extra time spent traveling by bike, and/or trips/activity not taken because of a lack of available/reliable/suitable transportation. Answers that include a rationale that any activity that can't be reached by bicycle isn't worth doing should be given the appropriate consideration.
    By this rationale, i must also add a dollar value for the increased utility and enjoyment of life that being carfree gives me. For example, going to the supermarket is not only a drudgery, it is also two pleasant bike rides--there and back. And I experience much greater enjoyment of the food I bought, after clean exercise in the outdoors. I also have a sense of accomplishment that has a dollar value when you consider how much more I would have to spend on hobbies if i didn't do every day cycling.

    I think the bill for pot, booze, tranquilizers and antidepressants is also lower for those of us who are carfree cyclists! (Actually i don't spend money on any of those things, which i attribute partly to my low stress carfree lifestyle.)



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  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=slipknot0129;10168259]How much money do you save a year by not having to buy a vehicle when living car free?[

    Recent report states 10 to 12K a year in Canada.

  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I think the bill for pot, booze, tranquilizers and antidepressants is also lower for those of us who are carfree cyclists!
    Interesting theory; my guess is that for that theory to be true you would have to be very selective in choosing your carfee comrades.

  21. #21
    Riding Heaven's Highways on the grand tour ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Interesting theory; my guess is that for that theory to be true you would have to be very selective in choosing your carfee comrades.
    why do you want to toss out the mtb crowd?
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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ModoVincere View Post
    why do you want to toss out the mtb crowd?
    Don't forget 'bout the car free FG hipster, economically depressed or DWI transportation crowd. But I suppose Roody doesn't count them as being one of "us." Ya think?

  23. #23
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=jimblairo;10177499]
    Quote Originally Posted by slipknot0129 View Post
    How much money do you save a year by not having to buy a vehicle when living car free?[

    Recent report states 10 to 12K a year in Canada.
    That's amazing! I just checked CAA (Canadian version of AAA) and they estimate $7-9K. These estimates based on owning a smaller Chevy Cobalt of a mini van. When I visited Newfoundland last year, where gas was over $1 a litre, I saw a number of oil types chugging along in Hummers. I'd guess those guys are paying a lot more.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Don't forget 'bout the car free FG hipster, economically depressed or DWI transportation crowd. But I suppose Roody doesn't count them as being one of "us." Ya think?
    I'm not excluding anybody. (Look up "projection" in a psychology text and ponder on your own obsession of putting everybody into a category.)

    In fact, two of my favorite riding companions fall into all three of your silly categories of economically depressed and DWI and fixster. They're up for anything, but sometimes we have to slow down for a sec while they light up another blunt.


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    I save roughly $450 a month not including repairs .

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