The Building a Beautiful Life and Savings Adventure I started talking about in this Cutting Costs Post is on like Donkey Kong. One of the biggest dints in our annual budget is our car and I’ve been looking at ways to use our car less. We all know cars aren’t great for air quality, but I’m suspicious that our car is also reducing quality of life, too.
For a long time Gordon has been riding his bike to work and yes, he’s a Strava App addict. I may giggle, ahem, guffaw about his ‘if a trip wasn’t recorded on Strava it didn’t happen’ obsession, but in truth I love how it motivates him to ride. This saves us over $60 a week in public transport fares and thousands every year because we don’t need a second car and we no longer pay for his gym membership. It has also inspired our boys.
On the other hand, as the person who has access to the car, I need to lift my game. It’s funny, because the simple act of walking or riding instead of driving will save money and make the air around us nicer to breathe. How much is this ‘convenience’ really costing me? Imagine how much more relaxed and nicer our cities would be if we all drove our cars a bit less. A girl can dream.
Reducing car costs
- Walking or riding instead of driving
Even in the short time we’ve started using our car less, we’ve saved 100s of dollars, met a lot more neighbours (and it turns out a most of them are really nice) and reduced a lot of air pollution.
- Pay less for insurance
Now that we’re using the car less, we are researching ways to pay less in insurance. I like that Youi Insurance (now the lovely sponsors of this post) encourage people to use their car less, by offering reduced premiums in some situations. I hope that more insurance companies follow their lead.
- Changing driving habits to use less fuel
This can mean rolling several trips into one and having a smoother driving technique, with less acceleration and braking to use less fuel. There are lots more great tips for reducing fuel use in this post.
Despite knowing and dreaming about this, I find it hilarious the excuses I come up with for using our car. The 3 biggest are:
- I don’t have time to…
But wouldn’t it improve my quality of life to walk or ride with my children, teach them about keeping healthy, get fit myself and enjoy the outdoors? Am I seriously rushing home from the work meeting so I can stick the overtired kids in front of the TV or listen to them whine while I cook them a fancy dinner they probably won’t eat? Instead, we could chat, walk, stop by the park, perhaps take some boiled eggs and salad in a jar for a picnic dinner and amble home, dunk them in the bath and put them to bed. Isn’t that part of the reason I decided to work from home? Why aren’t I taking advantage of it?
We live in the city, a lot of things are in walking distance, my kids aren’t sick, I have full mobility and we don’t have a lot of conflicting needs. This may not always be the case. I’m lucky, I can do this, why don’t I seize that luckiness by both horns and relish these moments that would whiz by if we were in a car?
- I need to go and buy xyz right now…
Really? Do I really need it right now? Do I really need to buy it all? Will it improve my quality of life? Can I make do without it? What am I really foregoing to rush out and buy xyz right now?
We now have a weekly groceries box delivered and instead of driving to the supermarket every week I buy a few things at the corner store and do a monthly bulk shop. It’s not perfect, but it works most of the time. Everyone’s needs are different.
- I need to rush to…
Is that true? Where exactly am I rushing? If I took a moment to plan, maybe I could do a couple of things on that trip, leave a little earlier and not rush. Have an adventure or two along the way.
This is a tough one for me, because I’m spontaneous, ahem, disorganised. If I took a leaf out of the Planning Queen’s organisation book, I could plan for more freedom from my car. It’s been a bit of an internal fight, but I’m discovering that a bit of planning can lead to a lot of freedom.
How you guys use your cars less
I’d love to know how you wrestle this car dilemma in the comments, but when I did the social media shout out to find out the ways you guys use your cars less there were some great suggestions.
- Car share schemes
The lovely Kris Howard uses the car share scheme GoGet and said, “I’ve never had a problem getting a car, but there are lots in my area. Vans & utes go quick on weekend.”
- Hybrid cars
Ann emailed me to say she was in love with her hybrid car and loves how much less petrol she uses.
- Make public transport more enjoyable
Pete said he subscribes to Audible App to make his public transport journeys more productive and pleasant.
Nic Avery said, “We survived (with five kids) on one car through lots of planning, plus our kids being independent and understanding we need to work together.” This pic sums it up beautifully.
How do you use your car less? What would you gain?