Thursday, July 19, 2007

Living Car Free?

The Money Diva recently had a post on how much a car was costing her. It turned out to be a huge $8000 per year.

This got me thinking back to the number of times people have asked me why I don't have a second car. I reply I don't really need one and I'm barely using the first car. You see I get a ride to work most days and those few I don't get a ride I take the bus. Why the bus? Well parking downtown will cost me at least $8/day plus gas and the bus with tickets only $3.40 round trip. Then my wife works at home so she doesn't need the car. Overall I would estimate my car sits in the garage at least 3 days a week without moving. So you see I really don't need a second car.

Yet MD's post got me thinking how much is my car costing me. It was in the beginning a lease vehicle which we bought out. So overall lease payments and buy out cost me about $24,000. If I keep the car for ten years I estimate my average insurance cost will be about $1000/year and we spend about $1400/year on gas. I would then guess around another $200 on oil changes and let's add another $400/year for other maintenance (ie: replacing a windshield, tires, etc).

Overall my operating costs and purchase would average about $5400/year if I keep the car for ten years. Ouch, that is a lot of money. Yet if I got rid of the car I would need to spend money on taxi rides and bus fares and road trips would be a problem to visit some of our family who don't live near anything with bus service. So in the end you could likely save some money, yet what are you losing? I know some people who can easily exist without a car, while others just can't manage it. It depends on where you live and what you use nearby.

Overall I'm going to keep the car, but I do now appreciate what it is costing me to keep the thing. So next time I drive somewhere I'm going to be a bit more grateful I have a car and stop taking it for granted.


Kevin said...

Don't forget that now you may be able to claim your public transit costs as a tax credit. You can claim bus passes (monthly and weekly) or cost-per-trip electronic cards.

YoJoe! said...

Lease? Oh noes.

Why do people insist on buying new cars when used ones (10+ years old) are JUST as good if not better. I drive a 91 Sprint that cost me $300. 45 MPG, never needed anything but oil changes. Over 5 years and going strong.

Company fleet insurance (FREE). AND best of all is pulling up next to the rest of the employees big $50-60K SUV's and smiling every time.

Chugalugchugalug. People that buy newer cars are suckers. 24K for a car? Are you nuts? That's 1/8 the price of your HOME.

Canadian Dream said...


I forgot about that credit. Thank you for the reminder.


Yes a lease. It was one of my biggest mistakes I have ever done. Yet now I've got the car I might as well drive it.


Anonymous said...

When I was younger, living in downtown Toronto, my husband and I used to organize ourselves so we could rent a car once a month or so. Nowadays, depending on the insurance coverage required, that could cost from $80 to $150 for the weekend. Because we didn't have a car of our own, we saved the year round car insurance. The rest of the time we would use public transit or bicycle. We found we rarely needed taxis. When we rented the car, we would spend one day doing bulk grocery shopping and maybe go to IKEA or the hardware store. The other day, we would get out of the city for a day trip. When we didn't have a car, on a weekly basis, we would haul groceries such as veggies and milk in his and hers backpacks. We didn't have a big freezer at the time but that would have made renting the car even more economical.

yojoe! said...

^ Check out Autoshare in TO.

It's basically sharing a car, decent rates.