Six months ago I found myself living in the middle of Orange County and driving was always one of my least favorite things to do. The traffic was unbearable, the cost was ridiculous, and it got to the point where I realized the only reason I had a car is because I thought people were supposed to have cars, that it was an essential part of being a functioning member of society. I would come to find that this was far from the truth. Here are the four greatest reasons/benefits I found in giving up my car.
1. Money Savings
Being able to buy/lease a car is a huge expense in itself, then you add on insurance, gas, and maintenance and all of the sudden a hefty chunk of your paycheck is going just to keep and use your car. The first thing I did was sell my car, instant cash in my pocket. After that, I no longer had to pay for insurance, gas, and maintenance. I was amazed at how much extra money I had after each month of not owning a car. The best part is my lifestyle changed very little except for not spending as much time frustrated behind a steering wheel. Think about how much you spend every month on gas, insurance, and keeping your car in running shape, think of all the other things you could be doing with that money, over time it adds up big time.
2. Peace of Mind
Driving is a risk and if you make the decision to get behind the wheel, you can be responsible for a lot of damage, not to mention all the other drivers who might cause damage to you and your vehicle, and even though they’re insurance might cover that, I’m sure anyone would have much rather not have been in an accident in the first place. When I sold my car and decided not to get another one it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, I no longer had to worry about hurting someone or causing damage to something by complete accident. In addition all those hours I spent angrily stuck in traffic were given back to me, even if I had to use public transportation in traffic, I wouldn’t be the one driving and could relax and listen to music or get some work done.
3. Environmental Benefit
Not trying to get political here but the scale at which people use personal vehicles when they could be carpooling, walking, biking, using public transportation, etc. puts a big unnecessary strain on our atmosphere which effects the public health of everyone. Remember driving is a privilege, not a right, and many people seem to be taking advantage of that privilege. Part of being a responsible driver is to not carelessly using and wasting resources. Yes it’s easy and more convenient in the short term to drive yourself everywhere you need to go whenever you want to but that doesn’t make it okay, just like taking hour long showers everyday is completely doable, but a really bad practice.
4. Health Benefit
One of the most rewarding benefits of giving up my car has been the health benefit that resulted. I realized that 90% of the places I was driving to were less than two miles away, easily biking/walking distance. I decided I would just use public transportation or carpool for the other 10% of places I needed to go. After doing this I found myself walking to get groceries, to go to work, to go to school and to my complete surprise these walks became some of the best parts of my days. I could just pop in my headphones and observe my surroundings as I made my way to where I needed to go, it was very relaxing and became a total stress relief for me. In addition I also found my physical health vastly improving just by adding that little extra physical activity to my daily routines.
If you are still scared to cut ties with your car, why not just try keeping it parked for a week or two and see how you do. I know it can be daunting contemplating giving up something you are so dependent on, but for me the rewards were amazing and I hope some others can learn that cars aren’t a necessary thing to have in today’s day and age.