For many Americans, going without a car is unthinkable. America is the home of the open road, with many people living in cities where lacking transportation can seriously limit employment options. However, as millions of people have learned, car expenses are one of the biggest drags on your monthly budget. If your household includes two or more cars, you’re paying double the gas, double the monthly payments and double the insurance – not to mention extra fuel and maintenance costs!
I’m here to tell you that going down to one car – or getting rid of your car permanently – is not a crazy dream! Here’s how to reduce your car expenses dramatically.
Even in areas where public transportation is lacking, there are programs to reward people for not driving. Local rideshare programs allow workers to carpool. This will change your commute, as you are no longer contributing to heavy traffic. What’s more, this will entitle you to use the carpool lane in some heavy urban areas.
Public transportation provides many options for employees. Do you work in a downtown area? Do you pay daily or weekly to park at work? If so, odds are good that there are public transport opportunities that can slash your costs by up to 75%. Public transportation includes buses, streetcars, subways, trolleys and more.
More and more Americans are taking to the roads with their bicycles for their daily commutes. Biking also provides another great benefit – making you healthier in the process! Even if you don’t want the hassle of owning a bike, there are options for bike-sharing. Cities across the country now offer bike-shares where you can simply use a bike for a few hours and then park it back in a locked spot. Use bike share to commute to work, or ride for your weekend errands rather than driving.
Go Down to One Car
Most couples have two cars. Although this seems necessary, for most people, it isn’t. Take turns carpooling and driving each other to work. If one person works closer to home, or is on the bus line, buy a bus pass. You will save hundreds of dollars a month, especially if you have a car payment.
Use Ride-Shares Like Uber and Lyft
If you live in a neighborhood where you can walk for most things, but live just out of reach of a grocery store, that doesn’t mean you need a car. In addition to making use of public transport and asking friends for rides, you can economically use Uber and Lyft to take you to the store.
Worried about making long trips or having a car if you need to get out of town for a week? Consider subscribing to Zip Car. For a low monthly fee, you can use any Zip Car in your town simply by reserving it online. This will provide you with the security of knowing you can get transportation quickly while keeping your costs as low as possible.