The day Snowflake died, I felt oddly bereft even though our relationship had been strained for years. All my efforts at resuscitation failed, so I did the only thing left. I called the salvage yard and had her hauled away. It was the easiest $250 I ever made.
Even good cars go bad over time
Snowflake was a white 1997 Dodge Neon and still under factory warranty when I bought it in Nevada. It was the first car I ever purchased from a car dealer. No more driving clunkers culled from the classified ads in my local newspaper.
I drove it everywhere: home to Colorado, through deserts and mountain passes, then two years later, I drove it to Illinois.
But as the miles piled up, the car started showing its age. It developed squeaks, leaks, and rattles. One day it died and left me on the side of the road. I was forced to use public transportation to get to work. The experience was eye-opening.
There was a bus stop on the corner, and every morning the bus delivered me to the doorstep of my workplace. I saved time in the mornings. I saved money on gas. I could relax on the ride home. I thought it over, considered the cost of replacement, and decided to give up my car.
Taking the wheels off can be liberating and cheap
There were adjustments. My travel now has to follow bus routes and schedules. But I found a car sharing service that allows me to run errands and pack groceries every other weekend. The service provides a choice of late model cars to drive. Fuel and maintenance are included.
What do I save each year?
- Car payment: $2400
- Auto insurance: $1200
- Fuel and maintenance: $880
- Registration: $100
- Total cost: $4580
What do I pay now?
- Bus pass: $40 per month.
- Auto insurance for car sharing service: $9 per month.
- Fuel and maintenance: $0
- Rental from car sharing service: $60 per month.
- Total cost: $109 per month, or $1308 per year.
Total savings: $3272 per year.
It’s not for everyone. But if you have easy access to public transportation, going without a car just might save you money and make your life a little bit easier.