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Five Signs it Might be the Right Time to Ditch Your Car

There’s a movement growing in many of America’s cities today. Young people especially are asking whether it truly makes sense to own a vehicle. The costs of vehicle ownership are high. Between car payments, insurance costs, gas, taxes, and maintenance, you can end up paying $10,000 or more per year just to own a car. For people who don’t have long-range commuting needs, it can make a lot of sense to get rid of your car and try out other modes of transportation. Some use ride-sharing services, while others put to good use their bikes. If you’re thinking about it, here are five signs you might identify with. It might be time for you to get rid of your ride.

1. You have affordable and available ride-sharing services in your area

If you ditch your car, you might end up relying heavily on services like Uber and Lyft to help bridge the gap. One of the biggest advantages of car ownership is convenience. You can hop in your own ride and be to your destination in minutes. Ride-sharing offers the same convenience, but only if you’re in a place where these services have decent saturation. Most big cities have great Uber coverage. You can test out your area by requesting some test rides. Figure out how long it takes a vehicle to arrive at your doorstep. If you can reliably hail a car within five or six minutes, you’ll likely be fine.

2. You’re often out of town

When you go out of town for business or pleasure, you’re often double-paying for transportation. You have to pay for that rental car on vacation while also paying the total costs for your own car to sit idle in your driveway. People who are out of town for at least a combined month per year may find ditching their car to be the best option. Double-paying for transportation makes little sense.

3. Your commute is only a few miles

Most people who run the numbers find that car ownership only makes sense if they’re driving close to 10,000 miles per year. If you have a commute longer than 20 minutes, you will have a difficult time without a car. The people who benefit the most from ditching their rides are folks who only have to travel a short distance. Ride-sharing trips can get prohibitively expensive if you’re trekking 20 miles across town every morning and afternoon.

4. You have bad driving habits

Texting while driving is a major societal problem that doesn’t have an easy fix. People who do it find it hard to stop. They could be addicted to their phones. They might be the sorts of folks who follow their sports teams religiously. Whatever the case, increased time in the driver seat with your phone in your hand raises the chance of getting in an accident. Ditching the car is a sensible way of accommodating yourself. Some have found that using ride-sharing or simply biking are good ways to account for a habit that’s hard to change.

5. You’re willing to bike occasionally

Most people who make life work without a car aren’t just using ride-sharing services. They are also taking advantage of a handful of alternative transportation options. If you have a bike, you might find good options for food and drink right near your home or apartment. Some even bike to work, reasoning that their commute will serve as a workout, too. If you’re the type of person who is willing to bike here and there, you can cut your transportation costs way down.

Car ownership is convenient, but it comes with certain costs and annoyances. When your timing belt starts crying and a mechanic tells you a new brake job will cost $600, you’ll feel the pain of owning that car. Many have decided to ditch the car altogether in favor of piecing together their transportation strategy. Once you run the numbers and see what public transportation or ride sharing might cost you, it will be easier to decide if this is the right choice for you. Just make sure you’re prepared before you decide whether the time is right to go without owning a car.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.
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