Owning a car is expensive. Really expensive. As of 2014, the average annual cost of owning a vehicle, taking into account insurance, gas, depreciation, annual registration fees, and maintenance, was $8,876 per year. Believe it or not, that number was down about $225 from 2013. That’s a lot of money to be shelling out to own a vehicle, especially if you don’t have to. That’s money that could be used for vacations, retirement funds, emergency savings, or college 529s.
You may think you really need a vehicle. You may be right. Depending on your work situation, the size of your city or town, and access to public transportation, a vehicle may be necessary to do things like hold a job and make money, or get your kids back and forth from extracurriculars. But if you’re living in a city, or a city with a great public transport system that sprawls all over the suburbs, there may be cause to sell your vehicle and start pocketing those annual expenses.
Here are four ways to get by without a car, and save yourself some major cash:
1. Use Public Transport
If you live in a city that has public transport, use it. Whether it’s a train system or bus line, public transport can save you a lot of money if it’s set up well. If you’re hesitant because of wait times during essential layovers, or the time it will take to walk from the bus stop to your destination, think about all the time you currently spend waiting in traffic. Odds are, the times are comparable or possibly even less when you choose to use your metropolis’s transportation system. Besides that, getting the extra walking in on a daily basis is great for your health.
Have a co-worker that lives pseudo close to you? Or someone who drives past your neighborhood on their way to the office? Suggest carpooling. You should offer to compensate the driver for part of the gas, and pitch in something cumulatively more than nominal for regular maintenance. Because remember, you’ll no longer have your own car to trade days driving. But the amount you pay your new commute buddy will be far less than owning a vehicle yourself. Most people will be more than happy to do it, especially if your local highways have an HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane. These lanes are reserved for vehicles with more than one passenger, so carpooling will not only save both of you money, but also some valuable time on your commute.
3. Use a Car Driving Service
Today’s sharing economy is blossoming. Companies like Uber have been set up to not only profit drivers, but benefit the car-less. If you really need a ride somewhere, and public transport just isn’t going to cut it on that particular day, finding a ride is now as easy as pulling up an app.
4. Drive Yourself
If you’re in need of a ride, but would prefer to drive yourself, there are services available for that, too. With companies like ZipCar, you can pick up a car at one of their numerous locations in the cities they operate in at the drop of a hat, whether you need it to get you across town or cross-country. These services can get you out of a pinch on those occasions when public transport doesn’t meet your needs.
If you live in or near a city, you’re likely dealing with increased costs of living like rent and food. But in today’s day and age, car ownership doesn’t have to worsen the situation. There are a myriad of ways to eliminate it all together, thanks to public transportation, and the birth and growth of the sharing economy.