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Crazy for Car-Free: Perks Surpass Challenges — Carectomy - Removing Cars from People

Crazy for Car-Free: Perks Surpass Challenges

by Joshua Liberles on March 23, 2008

Crazy4CarFree Crazy for Car-Free: Perks Surpass Challenges
If sky-high gas prices weren’t a strong enough impetus to trade in your Chevy for a commuter bike, M. Butler, a writer for Personal Finance Advice has ten good reasons why it’s time to take the plunge.

Her article, Ten Reasons Why I Ditched My Car, details how she came to say farewell to her burdensome four wheels (which was costing her too much money, mainly) and switch to biking. When she made the decision to go car-free, her friends thought she was nuts—and she wondered if she’d survive without it.

Butler writes:

At the time, everyone I knew thought that I was crazy. I even thought I was crazy. There isn’t anything more un-American than not owning a car. When I made the decision I wasn’t sure if it was going to be even possible to live without a car, but I felt I had no other choice. Now that I have lived without it for a while, I wish I had done it sooner. It was by far the best thing that I could have done. I no longer even want to own a car.

A single mom who lives five miles from the nearest grocery store, Butler was skeptical about making the switch. But, in less than a year, riding her bike (and selling her car) has more than paid off. “Still, even though I can now afford a car,” she writes, “I choose to only have a bike.” She lists ten of the many benefits, including some you don’t hear every day. Sure, the bike is eco-friendly and boosts her good health, Butler says, but it’s also simplified her life.

Due to having only a bike, I must plan my trips much more carefully and not having a car has made me become more organized. In fact, a side effect of getting rid of the car was that my monthly grocery bills dropped by about $200 a month. The bike forces me to always shop with a list (because I’m not making another trip if I accidentally forget) and I can only carry so much stuff back (so no impulse purchases) that my shopping bills naturally went down.”

The financial savings, Bulter says, are enormous. She has no car payment, no insurance bills, no expensive repairs, and doesn’t sweat a drop when gas prices hit the ceiling.

Apart from the benefits of riding a bike, Butler acknowledges the reality that it can be tough not owning a car. But, she addresses the issues as they arise, and comes up with a creative solution.

While I ride my bike almost every day, there are times when I need to use a car. On days that it rains, I usually have a friend come and we carpool into work. There are times when I need to buy a large amount of groceries and I will either have a friend drive or call a taxi to get this accomplished. Even when I have to pay for things like a taxi or occasionally rent a car, I still come out far ahead than if I owned my own car.

While not having a car poses some problems, overall they are small to what I gain in return. I realise that not everyone can get rid of their car, but a lot more people can than think it is possible.

For more on Car-Free and personal finances: Car-Free Diet Expo.
Photo via flickr by space2k & robsv.

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  1. Family Goes Car-Free in the O.C.
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  3. Free Handgun with Every Car Purchase!

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