Man have I got a deal for you! You are going to buy something for a large upfront cost. This item is going to go down in value as soon as you buy it. Not only that, you are going to keep spending money to maintain it. And then, after you have it all paid for you are going to get rid of it and do it all over again.

Awesome right?

If someone presented you with that scenario you would probably want to punch them in the face.

And yet most of us do exactly this when we buy…a car.

Look, I am a car guy. My dad and his dad before him were car guys. I love looking at cars and reading about them. I like going for drives. I know, I know, not good for the environment at all.

Is it in our North American culture? Maybe.

As teenagers we are told that getting our license is the first step to freedom. And this may be true to some degree.
But when you think about it, that is the start of a “marriage” with cars. Once you get a car you have this item that ends up costing you soooo much money.

A car is NOT an investment. An investment is something that makes you money. A car does not do that.

A car depreciates. It loses value. We all know this I think and yet every few years off we go for that kick-in-the-groin experience of getting a car.

The average per year that we now spend on our vehicle is about 10000$. Less for small cars, more for trucks and SUV’s. This is payments, insurance, fees, and maintenance.

Let’s not forget that a lot of households have 2 vehicles these days.

The thing I was wondering is if a person did not have a car would they save that much money? I mean actually sock it away? Probably not.

How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life

Here in Canada we are paying about 1.40$ per liter of fuel. That works about to about 5.00$ per US gallon. Yes you read that right American readers.

“But I need a car!”

Really? You NEED a car? Okay, if you have CHOSEN to live in a more rural area then yes, maybe you need wheels to get around.

If this is you I would encourage you look at getting quality used vehicle from a reputable dealer. Someone else has taken the big hit on the depreciation.

So if you want to save some serious coin, forgo getting a car. Try to walk, bike, or use public transit. If you need a vehicle for a weekend, rent one or borrow a vehicle from a friend.

Put the money you WOULD be spending on a vehicle each month in a savings account. At least 300$ per month.

This whole idea may take a total change in the way a lot of us think about our lives and how we actually live them.

And maybe that is the whole point of this post.

Your thoughts?

Please share this post with the universe.

How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life

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11 thoughts on “If You Want To Have Money, Never Buy This Item

  1. Cars do take alot of money,Living in Wisconsin it’s hard not to live without one,,My harley is costly but worth it,,I find riding the open road a joy and a peaceful way to see the world. I travel alot so for me it’s just the way to go..It does drive me nuts the cost of ownership. But alot of planning and hard work makes it worth it to me..I still am minimalist on everything, 4 day work weeks,small house, sometimes you just have to do things you don’t want to do, so you have money to do the things you want to do. If you know what I mean.

  2. I tend to keep my vehicles for a long time. Unfortunately, the reality of living in Canada is that cars are a necessary evil. Many more civilized places, like Europe, are built around excellent transit. I currently drive my car around 5000km per year. That’s it. I get a massive discount on insurance as a result, and I am sure my car will last me 10 years or more as a result.

    1. The same phrase father always uses-“evil Necessity”.

      If you only drive 5000km per year. just curious that you could not get away with renting a car when needed or borrowing one from someone. I certainly understanding the point about Canada:(

  3. Technically a car would be an investment. It doesn’t pay you in money perse, but enables to do many things that you value and can’t other wise do if you had no car. Not to rain on your parade/bike ride XD

  4. my new ultra light ebike weighs 40lb and goes 40mph with a range of 40 miles. 40C3 is pound for pound the most efficient transportation system in the world. If you scale to a car it would mean a 2500 lb car goes 2500 mph with a range of 2500 miles. On top of it the 40C3 does 40 mph while carrying a 200+ lb load

  5. I wish it were that easy to live without a car! I live in a coastal town with a very old bus system that doesn’t start until 9am (and goes hardly anywhere). It’s not possible to NOT own a car when I work half an hour away in a rural area that no buses stop at! We have shocking public transport here in Australia (in cities yes, but even more so in the suburbs/coastal/rural areas). I agree that cars are very expensive to own (the car itself, petrol, insurance, and registration is $700 alone!) but at the same time it makes my life SO much easier and adds SO much value to my life, giving me freedom to go wherever I want without relying on anyone. My car is worth every cent and while it is not an ‘investment’ in the financial sense, the value it adds to my life is probably triple the amount I am paying for it. Australians are incredibly reliant on their cars because we have such vast distances between towns (which means vast distances between workplaces). To put it in perspective, I don’t know a single person over 18 (the driving age) who does not own a car. Sad but true!

    1. I certainly realize the realities of owning a car. I own one. In my small town here in Nova Scotia, Canada, there is no public transportation at all. I could bike but our Canadian winter would stop that for about 5 months of the year.
      I certainly understand where you are coming from.
      Thanks so much for the insightful comment.

  6. Wow — this post rings so true. I have been wrestling with the frustration of owning a car a lot recently. I keep thinking about the amount of money I would have saved if I had never bought a car, and then spent ridiculous amounts of money in maintenance and gas… money that I continue to spend even though it feels like I’m just throwing it into an endless pit. But, as Blue Taylor says, it makes my life SO much easier. I live in a rural area, and while I try to bike places as much as I can, sometimes time constraints just don’t allow it. Also, I love to canoe, and it’s pretty tough to transport a canoe on a bicycle 😀

    And so, for now, it’s a frustration I feel like I have to live with. I like living in a rural area (I’ve tried living in cities and I hate it), but unfortunately, that makes a vehicle a much more necessary evil.

    At some point though, I would like to live without a car for a year as an experiment, without changing where I live, just tailoring my schedule to make biking everywhere for feasible. Right now, my work schedule is too busy and doesn’t allow it, but we all can dream 🙂

    1. I certainly understand where you are coming from. It does come down to priorities of course. I have a car but I live in a town and can walk/bike places. Good luck on your journey and thanks for commenting.

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