PictureMy 1st car - a 1972 Plymouth Cricket
In North America, many of us grow up in cities/towns where having a car is a sign of adulthood. I remember teasing other kids who didn't get their driver's licenses as soon as they could. We grow up believing / thinking that owning a car is a necessity and a right. I wanted a car so bad when I got my driver's license that I bought a 1972 Plymouth Cricket was $200. I sold it a year later for $220.

I have lived in 5 different cities/towns in North America. My hometown - where having a car was needed. A small city - a car was also needed. A big city - where I had a car, but probably didn't need it). Another big city that was very transit friendly. And unfortunately, right now, I live in a city where owning a car is a necessity. Some American cities are unfortunately not bike / public transit friendly.

When I lived in Montreal, I was transferred there by a company that initially told me that the transfer was going to be only for a few months.  I did not move many of my personal belongings to Montreal (including my car). I inadvertently was trained to live without a car. Eventually, after a few months, it became clear that I was going to be needed for more than a few months - by that point in time, I decided to get rid of my car.  Let me explain how I felt that my way of life was actually IMPROVED and how I saved money.

Personally, I don't really like taking public transit. I hate the idea of down time waiting for trains or buses. I like to get where I am going efficiently. I don't mind walking or taking a bike. Montreal was good because it had the Bixi bikes (if you don't know what I am talking about Google it). However, most of the places I have lived in have extreme temperatures (really hot and sweaty during the summers and really cold/frigid in the winters), so walking and/or biking year round have not really been practical options. 

Two things changed my way of living: Car2Go and Uber.

Uber
I'm sure most people have heard of Uber by now. If you haven't I suggest you check it out. The gist is that Uber is an app that allows you to connect with drivers (who are regular people like you and me) and they will pick you up / drive you to your destination for an amount that is typically cheaper than a taxi.  If you haven't tried it, use my referral link and you get a free $15 credit.

While living in Montreal, I lived in a neighborhood called Griffintown. I either walked / biked or took an Uber to the office. An Uber would cost $6-8 dollars depending on traffic. Which is still cheaper than the $12 per day parking at the office.

Car2Go

I love Car2Go. I used it a lot when I lived in Calgary and Montreal. Car2Go is pure car sharing. 

The unique thing about Car2Go is the idea of a home area, which is a designated zone within your city where your Car2Go resides. You may use your vehicle anywhere as long as you like but, when you end your trip, it must be left inside the home area in an approved parking space. This usually includes residential streets, so you can even park the car right outside your house when you're done. This benefit makes Car2Go ideal for short, one-way trips within the city. Other services require the vehicle to be returned to a specific spot, typically where you initially picked it up, rendering one-way trips impossible. This is why I LOVE Car2Go.

Car2Go charges standard hourly and daily rates like many of its competitors, but Car2Go also offers a by-the-minute option for short trips. The per-minute rate varies from city to city - but somewhere around $0.40 to $0.50 per mile or km. At that rate, a short trip to get groceries won't cost you an arm and a leg. Other services charge an hourly rate so, even if your trip takes 20 minutes, you still get charged for an hour. By charging by the minute, Car2Go gives you the most flexibility to drive for any duration. There are no annual fees.

Only bad thing I can think of is that Car2Go currently only employs smart cars. Alternatives to Car2Go are Zipcar - which is in a few US and Canadian cities right now, but is a bit less popular.

Car Rentals
In most cities, renting a car on the weekend is cheaper than renting during the week. Why? I would guess that most of the people renting cars are business people and they are typically coming into a city on a Monday and leaving on a Thursday or Friday. I found renting a car to pick up groceries, go visit friends in suburbs, go out to the mountains, etc was handy. These are things that having a car is useful for.

On average, I found myself spending $30 a day on car rentals during the weekend. Sometimes you could get a whole 3 day weekend for $50. But let's say I needed a car 2 weekends a month - that's only $120 a month + the fuel for the vehicle.

My Math - Owning a car 
In late 2010, I bought a brand new 2010 Toyota Corolla for $28,000. I sold the car in 2014 for $11,000 to a dealer. Wow - lots of deprecation on a car. I know I could have done better if I had bought a user car in 2010. Lesson learned.
Picture
Total value lost / depreciation ($28,000 less $11,000) = $17,000

$17,000 divided by 48 months = $354.17 in monthly depreciation.

Notice that I did not factor in any other repairs other than oil changes. Notice I did not include fuel. I simply looked at some of the easily quantified costs.

Picture
Here are my worst and base case scenarios I used for planning purposes. Renting a car from say Budget or National Car a total of 3 out of 4 weekends a month. Assuming another 3 trips per month where I use the car for 2 hours or more (think a grocery trip run). Also, using a Car2Go to commute to work - I used to be able to take a Car2Go from my apartment to the office for $2-3 dollars each way. Half the price of parking at the office!
I sold my car and just used car rentals and Car2Go. The result was quite a bit of savings. I found it to be incredibly flexible and such as relief to not have to worry about car maintenance or finding parking near my office or even finding it at my apartment. At the time, underground parking at my building cost a minimum of $250 per month.

I found that I ended up using a combination of Uber and Car2Go and it ended up costing me around $300-400 per month and I felt like I had not given up any freedoms whatsoever. Did it take a little more planning? Yes, but certainly saved money. In fact, what I enjoyed most about it was when I traveled out of town of the weekend, I didn't have a car sitting back at home doing nothing - I was in a new city using Car2Go or Uber and my costs were the same.

Will it work for you? Only you can say. Can it possibly help you get rid of your 2nd car? Perhaps. Give it a try - you might be surprised!

 


Comments

01/15/2016 7:05am

Thank you so much for all our help with purchasing our Elgrand (we love it) Your customer service is outstanding and we would highly recommend you to anyone.

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11/19/2016 1:26pm

Well I don't really want to "get rid" of any of my cars. No matter how old they are, I look at them with so much sentiment. I feel they remind me of a different time in my life. But my sons would sure can use all the guidelines you suggest here if they need to sell my cars after I die. They hate my old cars. I don't think they would want to keep it.

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06/16/2017 11:18am

thanks nice blog

07/31/2016 10:41pm

I found that I ended up using a combination of Uber and Car2Go and it ended up costing me around $300-400 per month and I felt like I had not given up any freedoms whatsoever too!

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11/10/2016 1:58am

Having a car is needed for everyone nowadays! But not everyone can buy it)

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11/30/2016 3:07am

In North America, many of us grow up in cities/towns where having a car is a sign of adulthood. But the increasing number of vehicles have made the roads overcrowded and the atmosphere polluted. Really loved to read such an amazing post.

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12/24/2016 12:01am

I really like your articles, about getting ride your car i also really like to drive my own car, and often i like to go for a long drive, with my friends, and we enjoy a lot.

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