Thinking of Buying a Car? Consider the Alternatives

Cars cost a ton of money to maintain. Costly details like fuel, parking, insurance, and frequent repairs quickly add up, and when you figure it all out, owning a car costs around $400-500 a month or more than $5000 per year. If you want to save big, consider some alternatives to owning a vehicle that might include ride-sharing, biking, or using public transport. Even if you don’t live in a big city like Manhattan, it’s still possible to live without a set of wheels. Your savings account will be thankful that you decided not to buy a car!

1. Carpooling/Car Sharing

Ride-sharing is a smart alternative to owning a car that will help you to save thousands of dollars. There are carpooling websites, apps like ToGo Carpool, Poolmyride, and Waze Carpool, as well as numerous classified ads in publications like Kijiji and Craigslist. A lot of people nowadays, especially those who live in big cities, are looking for a ride-sharing arrangement. Some services even allow you to participate without a car–all you need to do is indicate that you want to be a passenger and are looking for a designated driver. The only potential problem is that all people who share a vehicle should have the same schedule.

2. Uber/Lyft

Lyft and Uber are the most popular ride-sharing programs where a complete stranger will give you a ride in their own cars when you need one. There are other apps as well, but both Uber and Lyft are available almost anywhere and offer the easiest way to find a ride fast. The cost of using both apps is almost the same, but a lot of users agree that Lyft is more affordable. As of today, both services offer a tipping function. The best thing about these ride-sharing programs is that the passengers themselves rate all drivers after the trip, most all cars are clean, the drivers are friendly, and some of them even offer snacks and free water.

3. Avis/Enterprise Rent-a-Car

If you have an Avis Car Rental or Enterprise Car Rental place close to your home, you’re all set! When your schedule calls for a few errands or for a long-distance trip, you can simply grab a rental car for the day or longer.

4. Taxis

Taking cabs can also help save on transportation, but only if they aren’t used that often, say once or twice a week. Since the cost of a cab ride is usually higher than other alternatives, we do not recommend to using it often–maybe rely on a taxi only when you need to go to that mall on the other side of the city or meet your friends at the restaurant.

5. Friends and Family

Chances are you know a lot of people who own vehicles. Your friends, family, or your partner can be a big help if you don’t have a car.

6. Biking, Walking, Bike Share

If you don’t want to purchase your own bike, bike share programs are available in almost any city. Simply use your card, pull the bike from the rack, and ride away. The bikes have cute and functional baskets and can be left at any rental stand, so you don’t need to worry about leaving your bike in public places or storing. Those who bike to work usually have the simplest–and most pleasant–commutes. When biking you don’t waste your time in traffic and don’t have to worry about finding cheap parking. Biking or walking is economical, and it also forces you to focus on your health more.

7. Public transport

One of the safest and cheapest ways to travel through a city, public transportation is more than 170 times safer than riding in a car. It’s also safer for the environment!

8. Motorcycle/Scooter

Not only do motorcycles use less gas than cars, they are also cheaper to insure and easier to park on the street. To save big, do your research before buying the motorcycle or scooter of your dreams – try to find the most cost-effective models, and inquire on the cost of insurance prior to buying it.

9. Leasing a Car

Leasing a vehicle can have a lot of negatives. You make monthly payments but still don’t own this car. Also, if you exceed the mileage allowance, you’ll pay a big fee, usually 20 cents per mile. On a bright side, a lot of car companies offer low monthly payments, no down payment, as well as less maintenance fees on leased cars.

Life without a car might sound like an impossibility, but with so many available options it’s a smart choice. Skip the decision to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new car and instead take advantage of the many ridesharing, public transportation, or even bike riding options in your city. Your bank account will thank you!

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