You’re probably thinking, “Come on Robert. There is no way you can live without owning a car.”
And in many ways, you would be right. But did you know that I sold my car over a year ago and have been using alternatives since then!
However, it is completely possible to get around your city and get things done without owning a car.
And you will find that it saves you a ton of money. In fact, it is possible that you will save so much money, you may not want to go back to owning a car.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here are seven alternatives to owning a car that I know will get you excited to live the car-free life.
If you live in the downtown or the busy part of your city, chances are that everything is close enough for you to reach.
Owning a car in the city gets expensive quickly when you have to factor in parking costs.
Walking everywhere in this instance is a great way to get around inexpensively. Not to mention you will be burning a lot of calories with all that walking and staying in shape.
Fun fact: Walking for as little as 30 minutes each day can help you burn at least 100 calories depending on your current weight.
2. Bike Or Scooter
Yes! That fun activity from your childhood can become your way of getting around, especially if it is too far for you to walk to a place.
Bicycle-friendly cities like San Francisco and San Diego now even have bike-sharing and bike-renting services in and around the city that you can take advantage of for as little as $1.00 per day.
Or, maybe you've seen those scooters - Lime, Razor, and others that seem to be on every street corner? For as little as $1.00 you can hop on and go - and then just leave it on the sidewalk at your destination!
Put those childhood skills to good use and save money.
Can’t reach where you want to go by walking or riding a bike? Taking an Uber or Lyft ride will get you there.
I recently wrote in this blog post about why I decided to sell my car and take Uber everywhere.
The car I sold was 10 years old and while it was “mine” and I could technically move it whenever I wanted, a little calculation I did proved that keeping it was more expensive — in fact more than three times the cost.
Full disclosure: As I mention in that post, we still kept my wife’s SUV so that we could get the kids around as needed. Read that post here.
Trust me, I have not regretted this move. And you might find that this decision works for you as well!
4. Public Transportation
If you live in a city like New York or Philadelphia, taking public transportation will probably not sound like rocket science to you.
Outside of a few cities of the East Coast (and maybe San Francisco), public transportation can be a pain to rely upon. But it is a pain if you don’t study the schedule and tricks that make public transportation a viable option.
Even though most cities don’t have a robust public transportation system like New York’s, it is still possible to get around if you plan around the schedules.
One major way to save on your public transportation costs is to buy a monthly pass that you buy once at the beginning of the month versus paying the fare every time you ride.
You might even be able to get a discount for a monthly pass if you are a student, are a veteran, or work for a particular company.
5. Carpool Services
There are many ways you can participate in a carpool, especially if you need a way to get to work.
In Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. (DMV) area for instance, there are carpool car lots where you can wait and “hitch” a ride with someone who is going in your direction for work.
This is especially helpful because in the DMV the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane moves much faster than regular traffic.
Thus, to get to work faster, drivers will happily accommodate you in their cars.
Workplace Carpool Services
In certain workplaces where parking is scarce and there is a big emphasis on helping employees save on gas/protect the environment, carpool services are offered as an alternative.
These services are sometimes subsidized or even completely covered by the workplace if four to seven employees who live in the same general area can get together and agree to carpool.
Enterprise partners with several companies to offer this service.
Find out if this is something your workplace offers.
Share the Cost of Gas and Tolls with Your Neighbors/Co-Workers
6. Order Everything Online
These days you can order everything online. This includes diapers, groceries, clothes, books, and even toilet paper.
Giants like Amazon and Walmart make this super easy to accomplish.
Taking a ride to the store is not as necessary as it once was. So if you are trying to save on the cost of driving to the store to get an item, consider ordering it online.
7. Carsharing Services
And even with all the options above, sometimes, you really do need a car to get around to do your thing.
You can read our full Zipcar review here and see if you think it's a good alternative.
You thought you could not live without owning a car, did you? Well now, you have seven alternatives to owning a car!
Which one of these are you using? Have you tried the car-free life?
I’m excited to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.