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Saying goodbye to the truck

July 25, 2010

Relying less on cars for transportation

As I mentioned in my original post on the subject, we used to use cars for everything.  Driving to work, to the store, to friends houses, restaurants, everything.  Most of the time when we could have used other forms of transportation, we didn’t.  Amie and I used to own two cars and we used to use cars as our transportation 95-100% of the time. 
Noticed how I said used to.  Key differentiator folks.  Oh how our habits have been changing!
On June 11th, 2010  , we officially became a one car family.  We finally took the plunge, sold the truck and haven’t looked back since!  Despite the time it took to actually do it, and the insecurities we had about it, the feeling of following through with one of our goals is amazing.  To us this was a big shift in our lives as a whole.  After all, getting rid of an entire vehicle has impacts on multiple aspects of our lives. 
Improved Financial Situation
Now that we only have one car, we only have to worry about paying for one car.  This means only one car to repair, one car to insure, and one monthly payment.  Even though we recently paid off the truck, we still were paying up to $400 per month to own it.  Especially considering the yearly maintenance & repair costs.  All in all, I estimate we are saving between $300 and $400 per month as a result of the sale.  Additionally, because we owned the truck outright, we were able to take almost $8,000 dollars and pay off a big chunk of debt that was holding us back.  Wooohoooo!!! 
Effects on Work
The only reason we really needed two cars was because of work.  Both Amie and myself worked for service based organizations here in Denver, each with clients spread throughout the city.  As a result, we were both driving all over the place every day.  In order to make the single car lifestyle work, one of us was going to have to change our working situation.  Being the amazing woman that she is, Amie volunteered to make this sacrafice.  Besides making a little less money than I do, she had the courage to take the leap and start her own hyper-local gardening business (more on that later) that doesn’t require a car!   Because all of her clients are located in or around our neighborhood, Amie can walk or bike to work every day.  Not only is she happier with her day to day work, she gets to set her own schedule and she is making more money. Interesting how things work out when you take a leap eh? 
Of course I now use the car almost full time.  Because Amie’s business is so local, I now hog the car for my own work purposes.  This helps with work, but will also need to change if we are going to fully commit to reducing our use of cars.   In the winter time I will need to take public transportation to work more often since Amie will need the car to get around on cold days.  We’ll have to plan further in advance so I know the days I have off site appointments and the days I will have to commit to staying at the office. 
More Bike Please
In addition to getting rid of the truck, we have made a more sustained effort on using our bikes.  Denver is such an awesome city for bikers too!  With hundreds of miles of bike trails & routes, there really is no reason not to get out more.  We have been using our bikes to go out to eat, explore downtown, and to get to the store and back.  It feels like the more we bike, the more we want to continue biking.  We even participated in the Moonlight Classic bike ride a few weeks ago!
It has only been one and a half months since we became a one car family, but already it feels great.  Of course Amie is the primary person without a car, and it is summer.  I’m sure as the seasons get colder the dynamic of how we make this work will change.  But that is also something to look forward to.  Creative transportation isn’t a bad thing.  It is just something you have to plan for an make work in your life, just like anything else.  The major difference is where your priorities and values lie and spending and acting in accordance with those priorities and values.
How about you?  What is your situation like now?  Have you thought about ditching a car, or going without cars at all?  Have you already done it?  I’d love to hear some tips and tricks!   
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