Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My car-free experience

After all our – very much enjoyed and appreciated – discussions here about frugality and simple living, I decided to tell you a bit about my car-less experience. That's right – I don't have a car; we never had a vehicle when I was growing up, either.

Not having a car is uncommon; while I live in an area where public transportation is convenient enough, and much cheaper than car maintenance, not having your own vehicle is practically unheard of. During my college years, most of my fellow students had their own cars, but I – remembering we have always done well enough without it, and not being ready for the financial investment – decided to try to do without for the time being. The results?

Being car-less kept me debt-free.
Most of my friends who insisted on having cars during college either ended up accumulating debt, or working many long, exhausting hours, or both, at the same time complaining for the money they had to pay for gas and other car-related expenses. I always had a much smaller side income for my own needs (giving lessons and translating), out of which I put a considerable sum into savings. I'm debt-free, and intend to keep it that way.

Being car-less gave me more time.
The roads are the same roads, and the traffic is the same, too; I spent many hours in traffic, and because I wasn't the driver, I could use that time for doing something useful and productive: reading, studying, praying, doing needlework. Usually I completed at least one book a week; and these crochet pieces were completed during bus rides. As a matter of fact, there were months when my rides to and from university were the only occasion when I could dedicate time to reading and crafts! (That tells a lot about the crazy intensity of our study program).

Being car-less keeps me in better shape.
There's no escaping from it; not having a car forces me to overcome my natural laziness and move around more. I walk a lot, and normally almost all of my errands can be arranged within walking distance. Even if I use public transportation, typically I still have to walk a bit. True, it takes more time – but I think it's worth it; it's a great way to incorporate exercise into my daily routine!

To sum it up, not having a car is certainly a sacrifice of convenience in some ways, and I realize there are areas where relying on public transportation is impossible. But in my case, being car-less (or should I say, car-free?), has been a blessing more than a burden. If there's no way you could give up having your own vehicle, maybe you could still cut down on its usage, and walk whenever you can. I wish more people took the time to consider it – it's a major money-saver, and healthier for both you and the environment.


Cristina said...

Not having a car is definitely a major financial advantage. And as for weight: I remember when I first got a car at 20 that I put on 5kg (about 10 pounds) almost immediately ! Since then it never has been as easy to maintain my weight.

Anna S said...

Going around by bike and not by public transportation is even better! My dear N.P. does that and he is so fit!

Maggie said...

I know what you mean Anna about being car-less. I too am car-less and enjoy it. My monthly expenses are kept to a minimal and I have more time on the bus to reflect or just enjoy God's beauty around me.

Brandy said...

My husband and I have been married for 5yrs ... for 4 of those years we were carless, even with having a child. EVERYONE we knew thought getting a car should have been top priority for us (cuz "you have a child now, what if something happens??" -- well, that's what 911, friends, and neighbors are for, I told them). There were times that my husband walked/biked 10 miles ONE WAY to work ... or to get groceries ... and never once complained (he actually used that time to have alone prayer time with God)

So we got a car last year -- we probably wouldn't have normally, but we wanted to move from Vermont back down South (it's home to us, we got married and had our daughter down here). Not wanting any debt, we paid for hte car outright.

About 2 months after we got down here, our car needed some work. The transmission leaked and the brakes needed work. BUT, we couldn't put it in the shop.
My dad didn't have his own car yet -- and he's our roommate -- so if we put the car in the shop, he wouldn't be able to get to work for a week (his work was 20min drive one way ... my husband's work was 2 miles away). With bills to pay, we really couldnt' afford to do that.

Our car was about to die, seriously. So we had to get a new one.
Now, unfortunately, we have a car payment. I REALLY dislike that. It's REALLY set us back for the next 3 years (well, not as long if we can get it paid off sooner).

There are times when having a car is really nice (like when you're in a small town and are a good 10 miles from anything), but honestly? I miss our days of being car-less ...

Rebekah S. said...

That's great, Anna!! Sounds like a true blessing!

AnneK said...

I did not have a car 2 .5 years while I was a student and before I got my job. I walked in the biting cold and snow for 4 miles (some days) to get to and from school. Summers I always walked. I walked for grocery shopping.

We had a car when I was growing up, and we only used it to got to church as a family together on Sundays (I drove it). I went to college in public transportation often standing (as there would be no seats in the bus). I bought my first car after I got a job. Now we only have one car. It is hard some days, but we manage. :D and it has been good for us to keep costs down and good for the environment as well.

Gothelittle Rose said...

Works for people who can do it! :) I use my car on average twice a week. There's no way I could give it up, though. My husband's workplace is 8 miles away, my previous workplace was 30 miles away, the nearest place to get milk is 3 miles away, and the nearest place to get inexpensive milk is 10. My nearest friend lives a quarter mile away (I walk) and the next nearest lives a mile and a half away. Within a mile's walk there are no parks, no churches, no businesses, no libraries, nowhere to swim, nowhere to run except my backyard, just houses and woods.

I live in a relatively rural area. :) I could never be happy living where I might not need the car, unfortunately. I'd take 30 acres of woods and a trailer over a restored Victorian in the city.

Sure, if we had to, I could use my husband's car for shopping after he gets home, and my work is on Saturdays, when he's home. If there was an emergency, though, we'd be trapped! So if someone, say, bombed the naval subbase while my husband was at work, my son and I would drive out the backroads and meet him at a previously agreed-upon safe location.

Cars are constant expenses, that's true! They're like houses, trucks, chickens, generators, and air conditioners. Depending on your location, they just might be a necessity.

(I'm not meaning to negate your comment. You're right on! I'm just speaking from another side. :) )

Anonymous said...

We actually have 4 vehicles. All were under $1000 and all bought with cash (but my dh is a mechanic so go figure). One of the cars doesn't run, we thought we'd fix it, but it will be too expensive to do so, so we will be selling it. And our truck is nessessary for hauling tractors and other large equipment (like I said, dh is a mechanic). The other two cars are the ones we drive. My dh's car is very fuel friendly, and as he drives 60 miles one-way to work that is really needed. I try to only go into town once or twice a week, but town is 20 miles away and out here there is no public transportation. Even our nearest neighbor is 1/2 mile away!!

I agree that if you live in town and have public transportation, that having a car would be a great way to save money and time!!


PhDCow said...

I wish we were a car-less family, although I'd even settle for one car. But I go one way in the morning and my husband and the children go in the other direction. With my complicated teaching schedule, being a one-car family would never work.

It sure would be nice, though. The car payment, gas, and maintenance in my car represents a chunk of our monthly expenses.

Anonymous said...

I have no car either, and don't really see it as a necessity for a while. It's actually quite liberating--which is strange because you'd think it would be more liberating to have a car...but high gas prices and monthly insurance aren't!! I keep my bike around for distances that are longer to go. It helps one to slow down in life and be more creative! :)

Mrs. Brigham said...

This was fun to read! We do own a car, however, I am a non-driver and have never had a driver's license, so driving & cars has never been a big thing to me. Sean & I do not rely on our car for much--other than grocery shopping, and have deliberately chosen to live just down the street from his workplace, near two shopping malls, a children's urgent care, and many other places. Unless the weather is terrible or there are some other extenuating circumstances, we typically walk or bike to where we need to go. It is a blast and such a more relaxing lifestyle compared to times in my life when I was relying heavily on cars.

As an added bonus, our car insurance is super cheap as we drive ridiculously small amounts every year, and Sean fills the gas tank once, maybe twice, a month! :o)

Mama Lily said...

I think as a single person or child-less couple this would mainly be a great option, but when you have to tote around 7 children it's certainly easier with your own vehicle! We've taken the children in the subway in Washington DC and there was certainly no time for crafts, reading or personal reflection! :D I try to walk places in town with the stroller etc, but grocery shopping a car is a MUST!

Crystal said...

That just isn't an option for me, but I'm glad it works for some.

I live 5 miles from town, and if I need anything most things have to be from the next town over which is another 10 miles. Also, I have arthritis so it often is hard for me to get around.

I do wish that I didn't have the expense of gas, especially when I'm looking at having to drive about 10 miles round trip to buy milk. But such is the trade off for living out in the country. I have the peace and tranquility of a quiet and slower life, but the trade off is that I have to plan even better how often I go grocery shopping, and pick and choose when I truly need to go out for something or not.

Terry said...

One thing's for sure: Cars can be expensive. We have two cars that are paid for (so no debt) but the maintenance and upkeep can cost a bit much, especially when the cars start to get older. Regular maintenance can make a big difference, though. Of course, I can't imagine having no car-especially when we have kids.

Ways of Zion said...

We have been able to save over $20,000 with only having a commuter car for Hubby to drive to work.

However this past month we got one for the kids and I since we live in the middle of nowhere...and getting the car for midwife visits was impossible...didn't want to but had no choice (no public trans. unless I ride a cow!)

Candy said...

Hi Anna :)
How are you. Im behind with checking blogs....Ive missed reading yours. This was a good post. I wish we could do without a car but Rob works from his car all day. He drives to see clients all day long. He literally works out of his car. But one good thing is that its a company car and so no payment or anything for us. They pay for everything.

But great post :)

Lauren Christine said...

Ah, so true! Public transportation is SO much more stress free than driving.

Kelly said...

Anna, great post and a good reminder for those that can do without a car that it is do-able. I didn't get my first car until I was 29 and paid for it myself. Before then it was the bus and family members who had cars would drive me to work.
Now though, we just purchased our second car. I, like some of other posters, live in a suburban/rural area. I wish I could walk to get groceries!!!! That would be great. Even if you need one or two cars it's important to remember that while you may have to carry some debt you can get an economical and low cost car.
We did that and we also drive the cars as little as possible and try to do as many errands on one drive as we can mostly to save money on gas.
Unless you live in the city where things are designed to be close by I think that gone are the days of corner markets where you could walk for things. The neighborhood where I grew up was like that and today it's not. Unfortunately where you live dictates if you need a car or not.

Karen said...

We don't drive either, although sometimes we do take rides from othes. We could get along completely fine without even that if we lived closer to the bus stop or if it didn't get so cold and icy here!

I think it's totally doable, and some of my friends think I'm crazy, but I think it's better to use public transportation if it's available. But I'm also kind of peeved that in our area, there aren't even many sidewalks...walking is just considered unheard of, people have offered to drive me 1 block. 1 BLOCK! And then they ask again when I say no, I live so close. I think that is just insane. No wonder we're all out of shape!

I think if you can get there walking or riding a bike, you should. If you can get there on the bus, use the bus. If you can't get there any other way, carpool!

neuropoet3 said...

Some days I really wish I lived in an area where we could rely on cars less. I absolutely hate driving - it is a huge stressor for me, but it is necessary every once in awhile. On Mondays I have to drive into the city to take my son to piano lessons - but other than that I don't go many places (maybe Grandma's house every once awhile). My poor husband has to drive about an hour and half one way to work every day - it takes a huge amount of his time, and he's always really stressed out from the traffic when he does finally get home. There would definitely be pluses in living near public transportation!


Jenny said...

We've never been car-free, but we have been a 1 car family before. The first 4 years of our marriage, we shared one car. It really was not that hard (before kids) We had the best time visiting and catching up on the commute to and from work. It saved us a lot of money. Our friends thought we were crazy, but it was definitely worth it.

Krystyna said...

Anna, I share the sentiment about using bus-rides time well!

Being car-free is fairly easy in my city, but it still is a disadvantage at times - e.g. when I do my bi-weekly shopping at a large supermarket (local shops are quite expensive!). I know that a car will be necessary when I have children.

LisaM said...

well thought and written. Thanks for sharing these good old fashioned ideas.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been both with car (and 35 km commutes) and car-less, I understand that both have their advantages. But, I have one question for those who brag about being carless and then mention relying on friends/family with a car - do you offer to pay for gas when you go with them? Most of my carless friends never have, causing both great resentment on my part and a reluctance to be available for days when they need to pick up a few things.

BTW, my grandmother, who has no driver's license, took pride in never asking friends and family for a ride (but would take it if offered). She pointed out that it was cheaper for her to take a taxi than to own a car, so why should she impose herself on others.

Katy-Anne said...

We have one car, and people think we are crazy for having only one when my husband works out of state. However, it doesn't bother me. Anywhere I want to go with the baby can either wait till my husband gets home, or we can go to Louisiana with him since it's the same city where his mother lives and I can take the car then. So I really end up doing most of my shopping and stuff in Louisiana. Our doctors and everything are down there.

Anonymous said...

I live in a small village with a postoffice/general store a few petrol stations and a couple of restaurants (it is a thoroughfare for a major road). I do not own a car (or have a drivers licence - another expense I cannot afford), so if I want something I pay either extreme prices for tiny packets at the post-office-store or I walk 20 minutes to the next village or take a bus to town - this requires being organised and knowing what I want to buy so that I don't have to make extra trips. I work in a town that would take me about half an hour to get to and 45 mins home if I could drive, the bus goes through all the villages and takes an hour on the way in and 1 1/2 home (including a 20 min wait for a second bus) Considering the rural area I live in I should be greatful that the busses are so good. Sometimes I get frustrated at the time I waste that I would rather be using for more productive activities at home, but ultimately I do not desire to spend the extra money just for the convenience and yes it is a good oportunity to read etc.

Emily said...

What an interesting post. I do wish we lived in an area where we did not have 2 cars. I will not try to justify our reasons for having 2 cars. I will say one was a gift from my parents. PRAISE THE LORD. We did recent trade in our new car for a car 5 years older and worth 1/2 as much. : ) For us that was a big deal. God is doing so much in our lives right now. It is truly a trust building time.

Thank you for sharing.

Maggie said...

With regards to the question re: 'do the car-less who rely on friends for rides pay for gas?' It depends on the event...if a friend is offering to drive me long distance, than by all means I pay for gas...if it's a ride to and from the movies, I'll buy their popcorn and drink. Most of the time I walk, even to get groceries. I budget for the taxi ride home, that way I can get groceries when I want to and not have to rely on others schedules.

Kelli said...

This was a great post, Anna! I think it is wonderful that you are able to stay debt free and at the same time get some great exercise. Very inspiring!
P.s. Thank you for the warm "welcome back," it's great to be home!

College Gal said...

I enjoy driving very much! Although I could ride my bike to work, my parents wouldn't let me, and I don;t think I woud go either. I go to work the same time the high school, (a couple blocks down from our house) is letting in, there are alot of gangs and alot of bad things that have happened there. Not good! Also the college I attned is not very safe, its about 5 miles away, but again all those gangs are there. Scary! I like my car though. And hey, if you love being able to walk or ride the bus, or your bike, that's great, more power to ya! God bless!

USAincognito said...

It is nice this works for you. In the part of the USA where I live this is not feasible. Lots of small rural towns spread apart and the only grocery store or regular shopping places are in a major city about 30-60 miles away. No public transportation is available in these small rural towns. People have to have cars to get from Point A to Point B.

Sue said...

I'm really happy for all of you who have good public transportation and can go carless or live with only one car. Anna makes great points about getting more exercise and helping out the environment by doing that.

When I was single I lived in a medium-sized city with great public transportation, and was able to get cheaper insurance because I didn't take the car to work, and could use the bus to go to malls, grocery shopping, etc.

But now we live in a larger metro area with poorer public transportation; the best we have is a park & ride lot a couple of miles from our house (we live about 3 miles from the closest suburb), which is not efficient because I'd have to go all the way downtown and then catch another bus heading the other way to get to my workplace. Public transportation doesn't help my husband at all.

If it would work for us, I'd love a city neighborhood where we could walk for a lot of errands, even if we had to drive the cars to work.

Karen said...

We very rarely take rides from friends and only take rides from family if they offer. We ALWAYS offer to pay gas money if it's from a friend. With family we tried a few times to offer but they acted all offended and said that's what family is for, so we don't anymore.

I just had to mention though, I don't necessarily agree that you HAVE to have a car when you have kids. We have 2 kids, and we get along alright, although I do agree where you live plays a big role in that.
But we get along without a car and I know we're not the only people in the world who can. You don't HAVE to take kids places all the time to be a good parent, and the older ones LOVE taking walks. You can always have 1 parent stay home with the kids when you go grocery shopping, and strollers nowadays have those nice little baskets underneath good for putting groceries in. The only thing the grandparents really help us with the kids is doctor appointments and sometimes they all carpool out to eat and I ride along but go to the grocery store instead. Even all that, we COULD get to on a taxi, if we suspected we were imposing on the grandparents, but they insist they don't mind, and really seem to like the extra time with the kids.

Karen said...

Oh yes, one more thing lol. I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice, and I don't know if you remember but there is a part in it where Elizabeth's uncle asks how far is the walk all around Pemberley. They are told it is only 10 miles so they decide to go for it. After that you'd think they'd be exhausted and wimpy..but no! They walk and visit some more, then go home and go to a friend's house.

Tells you something about the culture. That we practically be considered a marathon here

To consider 10 miles in a day as nothing just boggles the mind when we live in a society where everyone parks as close as they possibly can to the entrance of the supermarket. :p

Jennifer said...

Not having the added expenses of a car would be nice. But, unfortunately, not possible for us. There is no public transportation (unless you call walking down the street "public transportation") and with (soon-to-be) 5 children, 6 and under, walking to the store (about 2 miles away)is not a possibility.

My husband's work is 40 miles away, one way. I don't use our van that often during the week, so we only fill it up about once a month. My van is our family vehicle, so we use it for church, bible study and other things that we do as a family. And we pay cash for our vehicles. We save about $3,500 for a car if one is needed. And if it is not needed, we keep it there for when it is. We "run our cars into the ground" before buying a "new" one (meaning: new to us). Our insurance is quite low, since we only have liability. All in all, our vehicle expenses are not that high. If the Lord gives us more children, that's going to be a different matter. Come Christmas time, our van will be maxed out with occupants. There might be a 15 passenger van in our near future. Yikes!

If you live in a place where you can be without a car, I think that's great! The less expenses you have the better.

Chesterfield said...

I love this post. Thinking outside the box about things that we assume are necessary (for some, a vehicle) is so important to living frugally!

Sort of along these lines, we are seriously considering going down to one car when my van dies. My husband has to drive to clients as part of his conssulting job (no public trans), so he has to have one. I've seen specialty carseats (extra narrow) that would let us fit all three of our youngins in the back seat of his car. They are expensive, but cheaper than another car payment!

It would mean doing all the shopping and errands in the evenings, which is the one major drawback I can see. We live in an area of no sidewalks, crazy drivers/traffic, and the stores are all about ten miles away (doable for one person, but not with the three bambinos along).

I learned this year that I don't need a stove. I would have thought it was a necessity (like a car) especially with a family, but between the crock pot, the grill, and the microwave, we made do just great! Thanks for the reminder to think outside the box like that regarding other "necessities" as well!

Mary Ann said...

This was a great post! My husband and I have only one car and it is rarely a problem. I stay home and he drives the car to work(20 minutes one way). Since I do child-care in my home, I don't leave during the day anyways. I do my grocery shopping one evening a week and sometimes during the week, I will walk to the library, bank or farmer's market all of which are a 20 minute walk from my house. We love the savings that having only one car brings and the cooperation it requires is good for us.

Michelle said...

When my husband and I were first together we did not have a car. We lived near downtown in a part of the city with many businesses and things to do, and we walked everywhere. I loved those days and often I wish we could live like that again.

However, living without a car is just not an option for us (unless we were to get a cart and horse!) My husband prefers to live in a more rural area, and there is no public transportation here. We have a grocery store within walking distance, but I only walk up there to get small things. I could not bring home enough groceries to feed 8 people for two weeks if I walked! I also cannot take all of the children with me to the store because there are no sidewalks in some places, and it is just too dangerous. We do walk to the park in the neighborhood together, but that's it. Everything else is too far away. My husband can't walk anywhere at all; he has back problems.

For a long time we had only one car, a 3 passenger truck that was given to us by friends. We did not go anywhere as a family for an entire year unless friends or family helped us with transportation. My husband and I could not even go grocery shopping together unless we had a sitter! And if I had any errands that had to be done during a week day, I had to find a sitter who would also let me use her car. Two weeks ago we bought a minivan that actually fits all of us. It's definitely not a convenience for us, but a true blessing!

Emily said...

That's great you are able to live without a car -- it's good for your health, your finances, and the environment!

MarkyMark said...


I'll agree; cars are a HUGE expense! I live in NJ, home of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. I'm 45 with 0 points on my license; comp, collision, and liability insurance cost me $1,100/year-and that's a GOOD deal here in NJ! IOW, I have almost $100/month fixed cost just to cover insurance. That's not counting scheduled maintenance (every 5k miles, I visit the Ford dealer), gas, etc.; it adds up FAST.

When I worked at my old job, I was within walking distance of it; in fact, I chose my residence for that reason. I walked to & from work, getting my commute & exercise done all at once; plus, I lost 20# of weight, which my knees appreciated! I'd use my car like once a week when I had grocery shopping or errands to do. Unfortunately, I got a pink slip from there, and my new job is 15 miles away.

What I would do is use my motorcycle as much as I can, so as to save money on gas, not to mention wear & tear on the car. Though I've always liked motorcycles, I've always made my bike purchases with more of a European mindset, not an American one. What do I mean by that?

By European mindset, I mean purchasing a bike that is practical; a bike that can do whatever you ask of it; a bike that isn't so focused as to be no good outside of its designed use. By European mindset, I mean seeing a motorcycle not as a toy (like most in America do), but a viable transportation tool. Ergo, I never got a crotch rocket (sportbikes that look like racers, aka bullet bikes) to ride. Though I like, admire, and appreciate them for their capabilities and technology (the new sportbikes are better than what professional racers used 12-15 years ago), they simply are not PRACTICAL to use every day.

The footpegs are too high; though this gives good ground clearance so you can lean over more, it's cramped after an hour or so in the saddle. The handlebars are WAY too low! Again, for their intended purpose, this places weight over the front wheel, which allows you to dive into the corners harder & faster; that's good for racing, but for commuting, well...

Likewise, I never got one of those big 'cruisers', either; cruisers are Harley-Davidsons and bikes that look like them. They're big & heavy, making them difficult to handle in traffic or low speed situations (e.g. parking lots, traffic jams, etc.). I have nothing against them, and in fact I like their classic look. But, to use EVERY DAY, they're not practical.

This arises from the American mindset that motorcycling is a sport, that it's a hobby; it arises from the mindset that motorcycles are expensive toys. In America, that's unfortunately the case. However, in most other countries, motorcycles are seen as practical, viable means of transportation, which they are. Not surprisingly, the motorcycles sold almost everywhere else reflect these more practical considerations.

Consequently, I've always purchased motorcycles that are 'standard' in their style; at one time, that was the only type of motorcycle you could get, outside of Harleys; now, they're hard to find, since bikes are more specialized. Standard motorcycles have an upright riding position; they're not too heavy; they're good at doing different things. As they are out of the box, day trips and commuting are no problem. If you want to take a trip, slap on a windshield and a soft set of saddle bags, and you're good to go.

This means that the USA doesn't get a lot of the bikes that are sold elsewhere. Many of these machines are IDEAL for use as commuters, for courier work, etc.; they're not fancy, flashy, or fast, but they WILL get you where you're going. Because gas is like $5-$6 a gallon, folks don't use their cars unless absolutely necessary. Unless you're carrying a bunch of stuff, a motorcycle will get you to work just as well as a car will; it'll do it for less money; it'll take up less space both on the road and in parking; plus, it's just more fun! As you'd expect, cars over there tend to be smaller and more economical.

I don't blame the motorcycle companies for what they do or don't sell here; they need to make money, and to do that, they have to provide their customers with what they want. Unfortunately, Americans don't want practical motorcycles, and it angers me, because many of the bikes sold in Europe would be better suited to my tastes. Then again, as a whole, we are no longer a practical people. Man, I could write a book's worth of proof for that alone, but I won't...

Given our transportation policies (or lack thereof, I should say), I don't know if it's possible for many Americans to totally give up their cars. Believe me, I would LOVE to give up mine! Cars require LOTS of money to keep going; when all is said & done, they cost over $0.40/mile to operate; if you keep your car for 100k miles, that means you'll spend $40k to operate it-ouch! But, we don't have the mass transit that other countries do, so a car is necessary for most of us.

What I think the answer is is SELECTIVE car use; i.e. use the car when it's the best TOOL for the job. That means if I'm not going grocery shopping, and there's no nasty weather coming here, I ride my motorcycle to work; this has allowed me to park my car for days at a time, and I like that; that means fewer trips to the Ford dealer... :)

Selective car use could mean walking when your trip is a short one. A bicycle could be an option too. When I lived down in South Jersey, I used my bicycle for short trips say to the post office; a bike is good for intermediate distances that are too long to walk, yet too short for the car. If you have mass transit available, and it goes to your destination that day, then that's an option. While you may not be able to give up your car, you can cut down on its use, and taking other transportation modes instead.

I have to close for now. If anyone can give up their car-great! They are MONEY PITS, no question about it; cut that money pit out of your life, and all of a sudden your financial picture brightens. Unfortunately, because of your poor transportation policies in the USA, not to mention land use regulations that encourage suburban sprawl, giving up a car is not an option for many people. However, by being creative, you can greatly reduce the USE of your car, and that's the next best thing to going carless...