It has been over three years since I sold my van. I wanted to go car-free for one year, write a book about the experience, and then move on with my life.
I honestly believed that I would purchase another vehicle once the experiment was over. I enjoy traveling on occasion, have family to visit, and prefer buying some consumables in bulk. Aside from that, it gets cold here in the winter; I knew that I would prefer driving to work during inclement weather.
Three Years Later…
I realized the other day that I haven’t even seriously considered buying another vehicle since my one-year fast ended. While I still admire beautiful vehicles and borrow one on occasion I have no desire to purchase one of my own.
I know that I can save the money to buy one. It might take a bit of time but I am a pro when it comes to sniffing out bargains and saving up for big purchases. Money wasn’t the problem, so what was going on? It was time for some soul-searching.
I have to plan my shopping trips now but that has made me a better consumer. I have eliminated a lot of impulse purchases simply by eliminating how many times I go to the store. While I may spend a bit more money when I borrow a car or ask a friend to take me somewhere (I pay for gas and enjoy treating them in some small way as a thank you), I still spend less money than I did when I could go shopping whenever I wanted.
I love the fact that I no longer have to concern myself with maintenance duties. I no longer have the fear that a breakdown is going to decimate my monthly budget. I feel an odd sort of relief when my friends tell me of their latest automotive woes; I don’t have to worry about that any longer.
I also feel better than I have in years. I can walk across town at a decent rate of speed regardless of weather without getting out of breath. I can even jog for short stretches now, something that I’ve not been able to do since 1995.
Even better, I realized that I’m saving a small fortune every year. I no longer have to budget $50 a month to pay for car insurance or $100 for my annual taxes. That might not be a huge amount of money but it adds up over time.
While I am no longer able to visit my beloved aunt as often as I like we are closer than ever due to regular phone calls and Facebook chats, and when we do see one another, we make every moment count.
I get to spend more time with friends as we plan trips together. We both save money by splitting the cost while receiving the added benefit of good companionship during the excursion.
I have gotten better at planning my purchases beforehand. Since I never know when I will get to visit a certain store, I save up the money ahead of time for pet supplies, personal care items, and anything else I know I will need to buy soon. This allows me to take advantage of spur-of-the-moment opportunities when they arise.
The time has come for me to admit to myself that I am really, truly content without a vehicle.
Have you ever considered eliminating your car? What is holding you back if you are? Please share your stories in the comments below.