Friday, September 14, 2012

Mid-Month Money Manifesto

And just like that, it's September.  We are done with nearly 3/4 of the year!  How is that possible?  I know, I know, it's  rhetorical question that most of us are asking ourselves.

Last month, I tweeted something about how the ability to walk to the grocery store was one of my favorite aspects of living downtown - which resulted in a flurry of responses.  Some said they had lived walking distance from a grocery store and loved it, some said they absolutely hated it and loved the convenience of driving to the grocery store.  This conversation then prompted other conversations about how much we each drive and whether each person was a one car family.

I am single, so obviously, I am a one car "family".  But I rarely drive the car that I own (which I own free and clear, boy I don't miss the car payment).  Most weeks, the only time I drive is to drive to run club (which is ironic, no?).  The rest of the time, I get around by walking or taking a nice ride bike.  I HATE DRIVING so I love that I can get most places on foot, be it church, the grocery store, target, or work.  Granted, shopping on foot has it's pros and cons.  I have to really think hard about whether I want to take advantage of the 2-for-1 deal on pickles as that might make my grocery bags too heavy, making for a miserable bike ride/walk home.  I also take more of a "European" approach to grocery shopping which means I shop more frequently and buy less during each shopping trip.

Besides the summer months when I drive up to my parents cabin, I usually get by with only filling my car with gas once a month.  The decrease in the amount of driving I do has been a significant source of saving since moving downtown.  In fast, last fall I went 1.5 months without buying gas, and I expect that to happen again this fall!  Besides the savings in gas, my car *should* last longer, and I only need about 1 oil change a year instead of multiple oil changes.

My car has been payed for now for a couple of years and I do not have any plans to replace it anytime soon.  Given the low number of miles I put on each month, I expect my 2003 Honda Accord to last me for years upon years to come.  I have absolutely no plans of replacing my car anytime soon.  For me, I'd rather have a paid-in-full "older" car than take on a car payment to drive something nicer.  And really, I don't think of my car as being old, but know that many would since it has ~145,000 miles on it and is 10 years old.  I have never subscribed to the view of cars being a status symbol, so I have problem driving my practical paid-in-full car.

So here is hoping that my trusty Honda Accord stays reliable, as right now, it's a huge source of savings for me to not have a car payment!

Do you grocery shop on foot or do you drive to the grocery store?  Are you a 1 car family?  If not, have you or would you ever consider being a 1 car family?  If I was to get married and continue to live downtown, it would definitely be feasible to be a one car family since I drive so little.

20 comments:

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Eric and i could not be a one car family since we live out in the suburbs and both need a car for work- but if I lived closer to work or on public transportation, I would gladly use it- I also am not a huge fan of driving everywhere. Luckily since my commute is short, I don't usually have to fill up TOO often. I always say to Eric that if I was rich I still would have a Honda, I think they are super reliable cars AND I am the type of person who would not want to "show off" having a lot of money anyway. My friends would probably laugh at me if I came plowing down the street in a Mercedes. Ha.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I think where I live, being a one car family would be very very hard... Des Moines does not make it easy for public transportation, even if you live downtown.

Your Accord should last you a long time! Hondas will go forever if you take care of them, and since you barely drive... I don't blame you one bit. If I didn't drive all the time, I would not care what I drive AT ALL.

missris said...

We're a one-car family and I love it! I hate hate HATE driving and our lifestyle means that I almost never drive. I take the bus to work every day and D rides his bike, so we only drive the car on the weekends if we're going somewhere we can't walk, bike, or bus to. We have a 2001 Jetta with about 120K miles on it and I hope it goes for another 11 years. I've never had a car payment and I don't want to start now!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I love this post about driving - because it reveals so much about you (and your readers)! We live in the city and while we don't walk to the grocery store (it's a bit too far and too inconvenient to do "small shops" multiple times a week), thankfully Sweets can bike or take public transit to work. So, we are able to be a one-vehicle family. My work in the suburbs means a 20-mile commute (one-way), but because I work from home 3x/week, it helps limit the number of miles we put on the truck. Speaking of vehicles ... ours is a 1997 Toyota 4-Runner with over 220,000 miles ... and we hope to keep driving it until Gavin graduates daycare (and we can afford a decent car payment again)! That means we'll have it until 2016; gosh, I hope it lasts that long!

Leigh said...

There is a grocery store in our neighbourhood that I can walk to, which I do. But for the big groceries, we drive to a farther way store because it's cheaper than the one in our neighbourhood. It's still nice having one close to us if we happen to forget something or run out and need it immediately. My car is paid off as well...such a great feeling!

Melissa said...

I think it's really great that you take advantage of being able to walk everywhere, as not everyone actually does that! I certainly would too if I lived downtown. In fact, I kind of wish I did, except I'm just not in a place in my life where I can live on my own (I just can't afford it).

Good for you for saving money on these things, it would just make so much sense for more people to take this approach!

Alli said...

Remember yesterday when I made a joke about NYC stereotypes? Well for these questions I actually am an NYC stereotype. I don't own a car and do my food shopping on foot. Since New York is the most walker friendly city in the country though, it's very common for people who cook to shop more like a European and go to the market several times a week. I probably go to the store 3 times a week, but I have a Trader Joe's on my corner, and three other markets within a 4 block radius plus there's a little bodega a few doors down from my apartment building is always there in a pinch.

Nora said...

Well you've seen where I live so for the most part walking places would be tough. I have walked to Walgreens before and I can walk to one of the grocery stores with little problem, it's just bringing the food back would be tough.

I would LOVE to be a one car family and thought we could be, but Knight is starting to travel work this month and beyond, most of them driving distances, so that would make it tough if we had just one car.

We pretend we are a one car family though... my car will be paid off in two more payments and we tend to be smart about who gets gas and when, meaning we sometimes can last with my car for two weeks without filling up! Knight's car is the "weekend" car. Sounds silly, I know.

I have no plans to get a new car any time soon, love my Honda and love that it's almost paid off, too!

Stephany said...

My mom and I are a 1-car family until I actually get out and buy my own car, ha. Luckily, my mom lives half a mile from work so she can walk there & home without too much of an issue but it gets hard when we have different things to do and someone has to sacrifice. Like, if my mom has a doctor appointment in the morning, I have to be at work an hour early and about 45 minutes after 5. My town does not make it easy to be a 1-car family because you really have to drive EVERYWHERE. And I hate driving so I really need to move downtown, I guess. ;)

pinkflipflops said...

I hate my car but I will drive it til it's death because it is paid off haha. I have a 2005 Cobalt. It has just over 106,000 miles on it. We could not be a one car family because we live 5 miles from town (5 miles from my work / 10 miles from daycare) and my husband works 35 minutes away. So, no. And I wouldn't want to be either. I like to be able to get out of the house.

Oh said...

I suspect that if I did Euro shopping, I'd be a lot lighter, not wanting to tote home all the stuff I love but don't need!
Lucky you to be in walking distance of everything.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Since I moved from my parents house, I have always been a one or none car family. I don't mind walking, taking the bus or biking to get places; in fact, I prefer it. I usually walk to the grocery store, which doubles as a workout, unless I go twice a week, which is again, just an added fitness bonus. I will willingly pay more to live somewhere where I can walk/take the bus etc... I wonder...if you do the financial comparison for everything (added rent + less gas/transport), do you still come out ahead in the end? Not that I care, since I think being green is often more expensive but definitely more worth it!

Jeanie said...

Well, I'm a one-car person. If Rick and I lived together, we'd probably STILL be one-car, because he is on his bike 90 -- no, 97 percent of the time! We have a nice grocery about eight blocks away. For big groceries, I drive. For quickie stuff, if I'm not in a hurry and the weather is nice, I enjoy the walk. I, too, only fill up about once a month because I'm about three miles from work on the highway. (Rick would bike.) When it's summer, though, I hit the lake -- and that's when I drive!

Amber said...

Oooh love this post! We are kind of a one-car family and kind of not. Not because we OWN two cars but ARE because we only use one from about November - April of every year (when Eric is in school). It just doesn't make sense to a) spend the money to insure it every month and b) for him to pay $4 a day for parking when he can SO EASILY take the bus to school. We are actually plotting getting rid of one of our cars and being a one-car family but not sure if we want to do that since who knows what Eric's job will be next summer and whether he will need a car or not. So that might have to wait until he's done school and has a permanent job and then we can work towards being a one-car family. I would definitely LIKE to be a completely one-car family one day as I don't really like driving (even though I do drive every day) and HATE all the costs associated with having a car!!

Shoshanah said...

I love my little car. It's a 2001 Toyota Echo that still only has around 90,000 miles on it. Of course I rarely drove it in high school, and in college, and still know anytime we go anywhere together we take the boy's car, so I probably have a lot of use in it still. But even though I love it, we probably will trade it in, in a year or so once we start having babies, because with only two doors, it won't really fit a car seat.

As for a 1 car family, baton rouge is NOT the place to make that happen. But growing up my parents were a one car family for many years, and even when they weren't, my dad would still take public transportation into work.

Caroline said...

I love this topic, I think it's so interesting to see the variations in how people commute/get around. Since moving home from NYC, I've missed walking SO much. I've been trying to go on walks every day (I actually just got in from one!) but I like walking to/from something more than going on random walks. Though, I'll take what I can get now.

In the city, I would grocery shop every three days, which worked sooo well for me because I'm the kind of person that hates buying extra food and then wasting it and it was just so much easier to plan only three days in advance. Now that I'm home, I'm still shopping that frequently just because (which is feasible because my yoga studio is right next to the grocery store!)

After school, I have every intention to move into Boston and depend mostly on public transportation and walking again.

Mandy said...

This post really makes me want to live in a downtown setting that so I could just easily walk to places. I work in a downtown area and its so nice to just walk a few blocks to restaurants, coffee shops, etc.

Journey Authentically said...

I lived downtown for two years while in grad school and seriously loved it. Being from a small town I hated the idea of driving downtown and foot was the best way to get around anyway. I walked to the grocery store (and I could fit all my weekly needs into one tote bag), walked to school, walked or took public transport to socialize. I had a car but it pretty much only was used to get me to family out of town. Ironically I sold my Honda for a cross over last fall, but have loved the decision being a dog owner and outdoor lover. I'm making monthly payments again...but it's a decision I'm okay with.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

The grocery store is 2 blocks from my house, so if I just need a couple things I walk. If I need a cart full then I drive because I can't carry it all :-)

Cherry Blossoms said...

I really wish at times we would have taken on the downtown city living approach. I think its great that you can walk and be so close to so many places.
i don't see cars as status symbols but rather as what you buy that will work best for you as a family/ and what can we get for a good deal. Its amazing what kind of fall end of year deals dealerships will do. Since, we moved and now only have one car it hasn't been bad and saving on gas, and insurance has been great.