I never thought I would say this, and I can't believe I'm writing about it, considering how passionately I hate the alternatives to driving, but:
There was a brief moment, last week, when I considered parking my car.
To give you some background, in early 2012 my 25 year old car finally died (for good) and I bought a new one. In July, I did a calculation of what my car has been costing me on a monthly basis and came up with a figure dangerously close to $1,000/month, which you can read about here.
Regardless of this outlandish figure, public transportation was never really an option for me, so I sucked it up and kept shelling out for the privilege of driving.
Public transportation is now more of a viable option with some changes to work and my October graduation.
This doesn't just have monetary benefits; it would be nice to not have to worry about traffic, and allow me to spend my time commuting more productively.
Here's what I would save:
$20 Maintenance (average)
I would still have to pay my car payment ($220/month). The transit pass that I would need to buy would be $81.
The monetary benefit for parking my car would then ring out to $473.
That being said, if I gave up my car I'd also having to give up my babysitting side hustle.
I make around $300/month from that side hustle. Sometimes it ends up being more, and sometimes it ends up being less.
This would therefore make the monetary benefit only $173/month, provided that I can't find another side hustle that fits my schedule.
- No more sitting in traffic!
- The ability to read or write while commuting to work
- $173 extra dollars/month
- A huge hit to my freedom
- A potential safety concern (I work in a very sketchy part of the lower mainland)
- Spending far more time commuting (about an hour extra per day)
- Once again - freedom.
Parking The Car is NOT WORTH IT
Unless the monetary benefit would be far, far higher than the figure I came up with, I am adamant that for most people (even those of us with really, really high transportation costs), sacrificing freedom and time and safety is NOT WORTH a couple extra hundred dollars per month.
I am viciously protective of my time. We don't have much of it, and after the hellish ordeal that I went through with being in school full time while working full time, I've realized that time is unbelievably important. You cannot earn time back, but you can always earn more money.
When I feel that people are wasting my time, I've been known to have rage blackouts. I even avoid being friends with people who are chronically late because I feel like people who are late do not respect me or my schedule.
So you can imagine how I feel about giving up an hour a day to be sitting on the bus with a bunch of people that are less than savory (you know the type).
While I would be able to read a book or do something productive on the bus while on my commute, I would always, 100% of the time, wish I was doing it somewhere else.
This is probably my biggest beef with giving up my car.
Maybe I've been spoiled, but since I was 17 and got my first car I've gotten used to the freedom of being able to get into my vehicle and go wherever I want to go.
I have never had to ask anybody for the keys, never had to wait for the bus, and I've never had to worry about bringing big objects back on the sky train.
If I lived within a 5 minute walk/bus ride to all of my necessary destinations, I may not be so picky with my freedom, but I don't live down town nor do I ever have even the faintest of desires to do so.
I never want to have to depend on my boyfriend or my family to drive me around. That's not fair to them and it's not fair to me. I need my freedom, and it's worth more than $173/month.
In the winter particularly, it is dusk when I leave work at 4:30. I work in one of the lower mainland's sketchiest neighborhoods (aside from the Downtown Eastside). It's scary enough walking to my car after work in the winter, let alone walking even farther and waiting at the bus stop (I'm not even going to talk about some of the people that show up on the bus). I had to take the bus one time when my old car broke down and it was terrifying.
If I worked in a safer neighborhood, I may not have as huge of a concern but I don't, so fearing for my life every day isn't on the top of my priority list.
There are a whole slew of other reasons I'm not interested in giving up my car after doing that calculation (Ie: it's just money, I'm saving enough, etc) but next time somebody asks me why I don't give up my car to save cash? Well.. I've thought about it and suffice to say it's not going to happen.
Do you have a car? If not, what are your struggles?