Frugal Living

A Frugal, Thrifty Life for saving Money & enjoying Self-Reliance

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Life without our Car - or Cars?

What would life be like and how could it make a difference

The main thing when considering what items we can do without are; we don't want to make our lives a living nightmare and will not having something be cost effective. With the car, both of these ideas come into the equation.

Sometimes the answer can be found by pure destiny. A few years back I hit financial crisis and one of the things which had to go was the Car. I live three miles out of the centre of Ashford, we have a bus service and I have a bicycle, so I got away with it for nearly two years. It affected my work which was then mainly decorating, but I overcame this by ensuring the house I was doing had a ladder and the rest went into a large plastic box mounted on a back pannier!

But, that was me and I'm not like many who have chidlren who go to school, I don't live in a remote area with no bus or train service and I don't need to ship food to feed a family from the local supermarket!

The problem with modern society and lifestyle is that the car has become an expected part of the household and Governments have reacted to this by building more roads thus leaving Public Transport Systems to run privately all too often at a loss. Bring back a decent transport system and more people may be tempted to give up their car.

The cost of running a car for a year depends on many things, but I read that the average priced car, used for the average amount of miles per week, costs us around £2,500 per year, that's £50 a week. You start thinking what you could have 'extra' for that money and it does quickly add up!

However, there must be many instances where two cars per household are not needed, usually because they can a. afford to run both and b. because of different jobs at different times and places plus school runs etc. But some of these could be cut by car sharing more?

So, do we really need a car? I guess the answer is to try it - give yourself a week of not using one and see how you get on. Maybe it will take a few hours extra of your time, but if you put the cash you've saved aside, have a treat at the end of it - that could be a treat every week!

Owning a Car - benefits

Convenience, go anywhere at any time, saves time with shopping, school runs etc, gives us more time at home.

Owning a Car - con's

The cost, pollution of the environment, stress through traffic jams / other car drivers, repair costs

The Alternatives

If you're not needed for school runs and don't live miles away from anywhere, consider a Moped or Scooter, you can pick up brand new 50cc Mopeds for £500 - £600 nowadays. They're amazingly cheap on petrol and the road tax is good as well and you don't need to pass a test with a 50cc Model. Needless to say, the con's are the danger, so caution at all times
I ran one for two years, you can read my review and how I got on in the Chinese Mopeds and Scooters Pages

Cycling is another option and a healthy one at that. When I cycled, I could get to the town quicker than by car and I was in my late 50's at the time. A brand new Bicycle can cost less than a £100!

Now, as you can see from the photo top right, I do have a car and a reasonably nice one. At the moment I can just about afford it, but in six month's time, it could be back to the picture on the left!!

Cycling keeps you fit and keeps you young,well, for some it does!

Let the Train take the strain they used to say - but it's the strain on your wallet!

What don't we
really need?
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