Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Numbers Are In

It's now been more than a year since we got rid of our car.  Last weekend, Tracy added up our transportation costs for the past year, as well as for the year prior, so we can see how much money we saved by getting rid of our car.  (If at all.)

Keep in mind that it's not like we never drive a car--we use zipcar and other rental cars when we need them.  And that costs money.  As does bike repair and T passes.

So here are the totals:

In our last year with the car, 2008-2009, here's what we spent on transportation:

T-pass/subway:  $520.30
Gas:  $1,293.69
Insurance: $829.35
Car repair:  $1,839.35
Tolls/parking:  $484.95
Monthly parking:  $720.00

TOTAL:  $5,687.64

So last year, without a car, here's what we spent:
Bicycles (repair, class, supplies, and new (used) bikes for both kids):  $896.10
Car rental (not zipcar):  $939.17
Walking:  $42.48  (shoe inserts, but not shoes)
T/Subway:  $558.72
Zipcar:  $1,033.95

TOTAL:  $3,470.42

So, by getting rid of our car, last year we saved:  $2,217.22  (or about $184.77 per month).  Last year, when we were getting started on this, we'd estimated that we'd save about $170 in cash every month

Some things to keep in mind: 
  • the car costs from the last year with the car did not include the purchase cost of the car (it was paid off a long time ago).  If you spread out the cost of buying the car over all the years we owned it, that was about $150/ month (I figured this out last year.)
  • our bike costs might go down a bit in the next year because this year each of the kids got a new (used) bike via Craig's List, we bought a trailer, and I learned how to do basic repairs on the bikes, so even though there will still be some shop visits, they should be fewer.
  • We spent more on zipcar and rental cars than we'd planned, but I think we were pretty satisfied with how it worked out.  We got to visit family when we needed to and took field trips that we wanted.
  • Not only did we save money, we also put a lot less emissions into the air.  And we got a lot of great exercise and fresh air.
  • In our daily lives, because we live in a very walkable, urban area, not having a car didn't end up costing a lot more time.  Grocery shopping by bike doesn't take a lot longer than by car, and other errands, by the time you get in the car, find a parking space, park the car, get out of the car, aren't a lot faster by car than on foot or bike.  This wouldn't be the case if we lived in the suburbs or country.
So it's been a big success so far--we're saving money, getting fit, and doing a small (tiny) bit for the environment.  I'd say we're in no hurry to go out and buy a car.

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