Living in the sprawl of Los Angeles, the last thing you would ever think of doing to save money is giving up your car completely. However, with ever-increasing gas prices and other costs, and a desire to be kinder to the environment, I decided to do just that.
Rationalizing the Decision
When I realized how much free time I spent traveling abroad, I started wondering how feasible it would be to rid myself of the hunk of metal that often sat in a driveway for weeks at a time while I was off in some foreign country. I also wanted to find a way to save money so I could spend even more time traveling. I figured that if I ditched the car, it would not only give me more spending freedom, but also align perfectly with my desire to live a greener lifestyle.
But, obviously, I need a car to get to work, right? Wrong! I started talking to co-workers and friends who all seemed to know someone who used the bus, biked, or even ran to work every day. Fortunately for me, I lived within ten miles of work, making an alternative commute very reasonable if I gave up my car. Since I absolutely despise sitting in traffic, relaxing in a bus, or riding my bike to get around seemed like it would suit me perfectly. So, I took the plunge and just did it.
The Pros of Letting Go
- I made a choice that is better for the environment. One less CO2 producer on the road!
- There’s extra money in my savings since I no longer have a car payment, insurance, maintenance, gas, or parking expenses.
- I get a lot more exercise, even if it’s just a short walk to a bus stop or cafe.
- I am less stressed since I now relax and read a book, or chat with friends during my commute.
Ways Around the Impracticalities
I am lucky enough to live in a community that is walkable (meaning I can walk to a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurant, and café within 5-10 minutes). But for late-night transportation or weekend road-trips, I can easily take a taxi or rent a car for a couple days.
In a sprawling city like LA, visiting friends who all live in different cities can be challenging. So I try to coordinate get-togethers when friends are in my neighborhood or work area. Weather can also put a damper on travel without a car. However, I live in a place where there is pretty much sunshine and cool breezes year-round. So really… why wouldn’t I give up my car?