Monday, May 12, 2014

Can you live without a car?

I took my car in this morning to finally get the repairs from a car accident back in March. (Long story, not my fault and I am so grateful police attended the scene because it verified my story.) This means I have no car this week. 

To prepare I did my usual grocery shop, sorted out mail I need to post and just get organised. I have lived without a car various times in my life, but this time I am more nervous about it. 

What do you need to live without a car?
I know I need more time this week. Walking the kids to school takes 20 minutes longer than driving. Twice a day that is 40 minutes. 
If I want to get anywhere else I will need to use public transport. With past experience, that is 20 - 60 minutes longer each way.
With a few errands to run I could easily spend 3 hours extra travelling.

Public transport
It is easier to live without a car if you have good public transport or are close to everything you need. My location is good for my kids school and there is a bus that goes from their school to the big shopping centre near me. Taxi's cost more than I want to spend but are another option to use sparingly if pressed for time.

Walk or ride
Riding a bike bike or walking is cheaper than a car or public transport. A bike can get you there faster than walking and only costs about $300 a year to maintain well. If you have young kids you can get a bike trailer, otherwise get them to learn to ride bikes too.

Organisation skills
Without a car, I find I need to be more organised to ensure I utilise my time and any trips I make more efficiently.

Pros of no car
  • Cheaper. It is usually cheaper to use public transport, walk, ride or get lifts than it is to own a car. Take into account maintenance, repairs, petrol, insurance, registration and replacement when calculating the cost.
  • Healthier. I walk a lot more without a car and that is better for my health.
  • Use time wisely. Without a car I am at home and working more. With a car I am more likely to waste time at the shops, go visit someone if I don't feel like working and in general waste more time and money. Without a car I tend to focus on what needs to be done and stick to my schedule better. 
Cons of no car
  • Time. While I am more organised and focused without a car, I also spend a lot more time travelling when I do go out. More time is wasted this way.
  • Last minute opportunities. No car makes it harder to take advantage of any last minute opportunities such as free tickets to an event, a sale, work or picking up freebies.

So how about you - can you/do you/have you lived without a car?


  1. Time is huge. For me, my time would be figuring out just where the bus comes and goes to! I know there is one bus locally, but I think it only runs to the mall and back. That is nice if I need to buy something over there, but not for all of the other times I need to get around!

  2. I lived a brief time without a car and yes, time was the biggest hurdle. It took longer to get anywhere, but I got more exercise than normal. Now, my husband and I share one car and I ride my bike to work 3 days a week (but I only live a mile from work, so it's very convenient.)

    1. I get more exercise without a car, but it is a huge time drain. It's great you have a system for you and your husband to use just 1 car.

  3. I live in the suburbs and unfortunately the car is the main mode of transportation. There would be no way around not having a car in order to get to work, to see family, or do most of our shopping.

  4. I used to not be able to get away with no car because my job wasn't close. But that's recently changed. I live in a city where I don't need a car, I take the bus to work now and rarely ever use it. It's convenient when I want to get out of town or just run errands that aren't close and I don't have a car payment or anything.

    I like not needing a car though.

    1. It's nice to not need the car, but it is handy to have.

  5. I'm moving to a new city soon and I'm going to try out living without a car. I'm really used to the convenience of a car, but I am really looking forward to saving money by not having one. Especially gas prices at the moment are overwhelming. I'm going to make use of my own two feet and public transport.

    1. I'd be interested in hearing how you go without a car.

  6. I think this all depends on one's family situation in addition to location of residence. In my case, living in a suburban area with kids, it would not be possible to live with this type of arrangement without a car. That being said, I do know of people living in the city (Chicago) here without kids who don't have a car - and it apparently works out just fine for them.


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