How Much Can You Save By Not Owning A Car

View from the Horse Tram. Our favourite local mode of transport.

This is my maiden All Things Mothering post. I am thrilled to be a part of this community and I am excited to share and discuss ideas for living with less, saving money and practicing moderate minimalism as a family.

In November of 2010 my husband and I sold our one and only vehicle.

Selling our car was part of a radical plan to get out of debt and simplify our lives. Not only would we receive the money from the proceeds of selling the car (quite helpful as we were paying off $82,000 CDN in debt) but we would start saving, and earning, money every month by not owning a car. Our car insurance was $145 CDN a month and we knew we could rent our parking spot out for between $75-$100 CDN a month. Our older model vehicle was also starting to need attention, read: more money. We felt sure that with our primary mode of transportation being walking, we’d save money even with the occasional use of public transit, a car co-op and car rentals for longer journeys.

We were right. Selling our car not only saved us thousand of dollars in the first year but it simplified our schedule and choices. We spaced out errands so that we could walk and kept our schedule relaxed. Not having a car actually made our life less stressful.

Eight months after selling our car we moved overseas. We were unsure if we would be able to stay car-free in this small island town but we just made it through a wet and cold winter without succumbing to vehicle ownership. Over the winter we used the bus, taxis and even rented a vehicle for the weekend. Still, our primary mode of transportation is walking. We live a twenty minute walk to most town amenities and a twenty minute walk from my husband’s office.

We’ve spent just under £1000 (roughly $1500 USD) on transportation in the last 11 months. This includes train and horse tram passes, bus tickets and taxis. The cost of living here is quite high. For example a round trip bus ticket to a town thirty minutes away is £7 ($11 USD). A taxi to the airport is £20 ($30USD) one way for the 25 minute journey. We haven’t limited ourselves in anything we have wanted to see our explore since moving here.

That may seem like a lot of money but consider this: a half tank of gas costs £50 ($75USD) on this British Island. We found that out recently when a friend loaned us their vehicle. Being good borrowers we returned it to them with a full tank and were shocked/thrilled at the price at the pump. Shocked to think what we would be spending if we had a car and thrilled that we have chosen not to own one.

Of course the other benefits to not having a car are even greater than the dollars:

  • reduce environmental impact
  • better health with regular exercise

Could you go down to one car or no car? What would your challenges be?

 

Rachel Jonat

About Rachel Jonat

Rachel Jonat is a Canadian mother and writer currently living in the Isle of Man. After the birth of her son Henry in 2009 she decided to simplify her life by drastically reducing her possessions. She gave away 80% of her wardrobe, donated car loads of items and eventually got rid of the car too. Less stuff has meant more time, less debt and more space. Rachel chronicles her journey to less at TheMinimalistMom.com.