Cars are expensive and needy. Between insurance, maintenance, gas, and other upkeep they take a huge portion of our monthly budgets and time. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the average American spends 52.2 minutes on a back and forth commuting daily. So many drivers are stuck and unhappy sitting behind the wheel rushing from point A to point B day in and day out. We have seen a regular uptick in traffic and crowded roadways every single year with nearly 3,000 deaths annually due to distracted driving (CDC).
Many cities throughout the U.S. have underutilized resources for transportation or biking and pedestrian designations with town and city centers developed around encouraging residents to leave the vehicles at home more often. It has become a trend over the last few years for larger metropolitan areas to add trolley transport and offer bike and scooter rentals.
Not every area is foot traffic friendly but if your town is, why not make the switch? Less emissions means a better environment and more activity means a healthier you. Our family made this switch over 3 years ago and found vast improvement in many aspects of our lives including our relationship with each other. Without the car we have less to pay for and more ways to save and without the time lost in traffic we have more quality time to spend with one another. We never looked back.
How you can make the switch
- First decide if your area has access to grocery delivery or you can walk/bike to a store nearby. Can you commute to work or do you work from home? Is every one in your household on board?
- Take some time to leave your car parked while you explore what this will feel like. Don’t be tempted to drive, hide the keys! Take at least a month of exploring, getting groceries, and navigating your every day without the car to see you you feel.
- Assess your findings. Did it improve you life? How many times were you tempted to drive? How did adverse weather affect your willingness to not drive? How much could giving up the car save you monthly/annually?
- If you find this is the right move for you and your family build your budget without the car & decide where that money will now go. Purchase bikes or other alternative commuting needs like good backpacks and outdoor clothes and start a fund for car rentals and options like Lyft in case the need arises. Spend time outdoors for recreational needs as well as errands and work commuting, this is your new way of life after all so enjoy!
How we do it every day
We live in a area that is open to cyclists and has relatively easy weather. Biking is a huge part of our lives and we always felt better riding than we ever did behind the wheel. We love the ability to easily just go without being stopped up by traffic and take pride in blowing away previous mile goals. Not every day is easy but there are more easy days bike commuting than there were in a car.
A few hacks to live car free and make life simpler and stress free.
There are several ways to get groceries depending on the day and amount needed. Shipt is a HUGE part of our lives and useful for bulk orders (like Costco) as well as rainy days we can’t get out. Their customer service is great and while most deliveries are smooth, they quickly fix the ones that aren’t. If you’re interested in signing up use our link to get $10 off your membership.
Biking to get groceries is easier than you think. We first tried this before giving up our car and couldn’t believe how much fit into our backpacks but was also comfortable carry back home. If you use reusable bags anyway why not backpacks instead? It took some trial and error but we now know how much each bag holds so we don’t over buy and save the heavier items for the orders or Target shipments. At the register we work together to pack up and check to make sure no ones pack is too heavy before leaving. This not only cut our grocery bill down but also encouraged us to eat healthier because who wants to waste space and effort on junk? Well I do, sometimes, but at least I’m working it off and not doing it as often as I would when we could mindlessly drive every where. We still eat very well and probably better now because a huge portion of what is saved has since been dedicated to buying better quality foods and products.
Appointments and other outings
Just like with a car we commute by bike. All of our appointments are nearby (within a 6 mile radius) and we leave early enough to take our time, lock up, and cool down when the weather is hot. For other outings and special get always there are always car rental deals available to take advantage of. We have been able to rent SUVs for $150 (a week or a weekend for under $80). This is a nice option for road trips and weekends when we just want to stock up and go shopping for larger items that can’t be easily bought online.
Like I mentioned before, biking is our life. We enjoy riding and do it for fun and on the way to do something fun! Our bike rides take us to the movies (pre-Covid), to the park, to go shopping, to the beach, and so many more amazing places. It feels good to know you are powering this movement and that each step or pedal is an improvement to your health. Every year we track about 2,000 miles spent commuting and actively try to do more each year. Biking is our choice of cardio and the main part of our exercise regimen. Time is short and when you can find ways to condense things you love with things you have to or should do that’s a win in my book.
Thanks for reading!