Do you think you could manage without a car? I certainly didn’t. When my teen got her driver’s license last summer and took over ownership of the little pickup truck I had been driving these past three years, I was convinced that I’d be grounded at home without a way to run errands, buy groceries, see the doctor or meet up with my friends. Was I ever wrong.
Like many other parents, most of my driving revolved around bringing my kids back and forth from school, practices and other extra curricular activities. And like many other parents also bringing their children to school, we would combine those trips with an errand or two such as the grocery store, or the dry cleaner, the pharmacy, the mall, or some other trip. With my teen now driving herself, I had to find some other way to manage my errands. It didn’t take long to figure out that many of those errands could be handled right within my own neighborhood.
Back in the late 80s when my husband and I bought our home, living on a large lot in an intercity neighborhood was a real plus for us. Though the neighborhood was a little iffy, we loved how our home was minutes from downtown and retail stores, the hospital, and all kinds of neighborhood services.
My husband and I weren’t the only ones sold on an intercity location. All three of our children also appreciated where we lived because it meant they could bike or walk to the public library, the zoo, city parks, and the river. As they got older, they could walk to work and for places that were too far to walk to, the city bus made it easy to meet up with friends at the mall or an amusement park. Now that I am no longer driving, I’ve discovered like they did how well suited our neighborhood is for people who don’t drive. Everything I need is within a mile of my home and easily reached by walking, biking, or the bus.
Being without a car does have it’s challenges however. Instead of driving to the grocery store once a week to do my shopping, I’m now having to shop every other day since I can only carry so much on the bus. And for the times that I need bales of straw and 40# sacks of chicken feed, I have to bribe my teen into picking these items up for me.
Not being able to carry over sized parcels is the only drawback however. Everything else –amazingly– can be managed without needing a car. This wouldn’t have been possible had we not anticipated back in the ’80s that there might be a time when we wouldn’t want to drive and chose a home located in a pedestrian friendly neighborhood. That time came for me last summer. Do I miss driving? Not at all.
More by this contributor:
5 reasons why we rented a car for our family road trip vacation
How surviving on one less car has saved us $3200.
How we slashed $1600 a year from our car insurance premiums