1st Car-less goal achieved!

1 06 2009
a girl without a car...

a girl without a car...

I haven’t been talking much about my journey into a world without a car, but this past week marked achievement of the first goal I set for myself when I sold my car back in December- stay car-free until May.  Why May you might ask? Three years ago this May I had what would become the first in a string of car accidents. May marks this accident dropping off of my driving record- Whoo Hoo!  I didn’t want to commit myself to to long of a goal and this seemed like a good one. So, now instead of 4 accidents on my record, I only have 3.  One year from now I will only have 1 accident on my record- so I think I am going to make this my next goal.

How’s it going thus far?

I have to say- I am not riding the bus as much as I thought I would.  With BF and I carpooling to work, and spending a majority of our time together, I usually create  a mental list of things I need at the store and then pick them up when he and I are already there.  I try not to ask him to drive me too many places, my Mom has filled in that role- since I don’t ride with her that much, she’s more than willing to drive me here or there every once in awhile to run errands

Lately I have been taking the bus or walking to do some errands- in reality Walgreens is within walking distance, as is the grocery store.  Now that the weather is beautiful, the walk is quite enjoyable.  I also started to take the bus to meet up with people. Last week I took the bus to meet up with a group from church, and this weekend I took it to the Mukilteo Beach to meet H and her BF.  My BF meet up with us later so it was nice to be able to get there on my own so I wasn’t rushing him along.

In 5 month’s I’ve actually put $3,500 in the bank by not driving… Yay!

view from bus stop by my house

view from bus stop by my house

on the way to Mukilteo Beach!

on the way to Mukilteo Beach!

My very own Fat Tire..

With the pending house purchase, and the onset of beautiful weather I’ve really started thinking about getting a bike.  Our townhouse will be about a mile from the Mill Creek Town Center (where we frequently go on weekends) as opposed to the half mile that BF’s apt is now.  We walk now, but are thinking we’d rather bike from the new place.  Admittedly, I haven’t rode a bike since high school (ok- we rented some cruiser bikes last august in Michigan- but that’s it) so the idea of buying a bike seemed silly.  After doing some research, I’ve been bitten by the bike bug.

It all started with a display at Central Market for Fat Tire Beer.  They had a beautiful bike on display that looks just like the bike on the Fat Tire Label… boy is it beautiful.  I checked out the manufacturer and it’s Electra Bicycyle. ohhh… does this company make some pretty bikes.  I’ll post some eye candy here in a second.  The question I am pondering- can I justify spending a lot of money ($500 +or- $100) on a really nice cruiser? On one hand- I am saving tons of $$ not driving and having a bike I enjoy riding will enhance the likelihood that I continue to not own a car… on the other hand that is $500-ish that could go directly into savings. 😦

I’ll do some research, including looking for used Electra’s, test riding a couple, checking out some similar, but perhaps less expensive options.  More to come… Oh and if you were wondering, I already have a fat tire bike bell, and I plan on putting a basket on my ride! 🙂

Electra Hawaii 3

Electra Hawaii 3

Electra Surf 3i

Electra Surf 3i

ELECTRA TOWNIE EURO 8D

ELECTRA TOWNIE EURO 8D

Electra Womens Deluxe (3-Speed)

Electra Women's Deluxe (3-Speed)

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No car= +25 pt credit score

26 02 2009

I am monitoring my credit this year to see the impact of all the positive things i am doing. Selling my car and paying off my car loan resulted in an increase in my credit score of around 26 pts. YAY!  Can’t wait to see what paying off my credit card (with the money I’ve saved not driving for two months) will do for that score. 🙂





Random Notes

27 01 2009
random scarf for some random posts..."Spontaneous Scarf"

random scarf for some random posts..."Spontaneous Scarf"

  • I am figuring out easy ways to run errands and get around. Last week I caught a bus to  the chiropractor then over another one to BF’s house, all on one fare. Today I plan to hit the post office, bank, and doctors office on my way to see him.  He’s got strep :-(.
  • More savings associated with the selling of the car! 🙂  I am getting about a $100 refund from the dealer who sold me the car on the unused portion of my GAP insurance. I paid my loan off a year early so they owe me around a hundred dollars- cool!
  • I am back doing Dinner’s Ready again. BF and I love to cook! But cooking on weeknights can be a bit lengthy and our grocery bills were high. I suggested we try Dinners ready for weeknight cooking.  We get a bunch of meals in a mix of 2 serving and 3-4 serving sizes. We keep the 2 person ones mostly at his house and the 3-4 person ones at my house- that way we cook for Mom too.  We did it in December and I saw a great reduction in my grocery bill in January.  Plus it’s fun- He and i go to assemble our meals together which saves us 10%, we save another 10% by ordering 16 meals, and we also save $15 through an employer discount.  After all of the discounts our meals cost between $5.50 and $5.75 per serving. Can’t really beat that.  Meals usually come with a side so we usually add either a veggie or rice depending on the side.
  • Finishing projects up! Keeping myself honest below is the original list. I finished a pair of blue and green baby booties for my friend from high school.  Very cute.  Instead of working on the pink scarf, I finished a spontaneous scarf which I started last spring for BF- he likes his alpaca scarf instead so it’s become a scarf without a home.  I am still searching for a baby gift for one more boy who is one the way… ideas appreciated.
    • 2nd sock in a pair for Mom
    • Stuffed Teddy Bear for friend’s baby
    • Felted baby chicks for ???
    • Pink scarf I started 2 years ago (ouch)
    • A slew of miniature stockings ornaments
    • baby gift for baby boy
    • baby gift for baby boy
  • You might enjoy a laugh I have a bad habit of falling asleep on BF’s sofa while watching TV. I apparently say the some pretty funny things right as I am falling asleep.  I’m keeping a running tally… Here’s the list so far
    • “My eyes are toothpicks” (my version of I couldn’t keep my eyes open with toothpicks)
    • “I have a log on my desk too” (I opened my eyes long enough to see a TV show where they were interviewing a guy with a log on his desk)
    • “Uh-Oh”

That’s a short update. 🙂





SOLD!

26 12 2008

2008-dec-23_0003-copy

She’s gone, gone, gone! Yay! I picked the car up on Tuesday around 3 PM and by 5PM she was SOLD to a used car outfit.  It helped that she was all pretty and shinny from the repair shop.  🙂  This was the best early Christmas gift! 🙂





More Time for Knitting

14 12 2008

So, after a week of not driving I have yet to take the bus (but I am figuring out how to read a bus schedule) but the first week carpooling with BF went well. We found out that our employer will pay us each a $100 incentive to carpool… an interesting thought- paying us for something we were going to do anyway.  I also received a citation in the mail for the accident- a little insult to injury. The citation is for following too close- ironically which I wasn’t doing- so I think it is worth my time to fight the ticket.  I walked to the chiropractor on Monday- the walk home will be good for me- almost completely up hill.

I noticed this week that I actually have more time for knitting. Yay!  With the exception of a baby shower gift and BF’s stocking, my knitting has been painfully slow in the last few months.  I’m looking forward to finishing lots and lots of WIP (works in progress) which have been eluding me.  I also cast on a new project tonight. A couple of weeks ago BF was reading my copy of “Never Knit your Man a Sweater Until you Have the Ring” and he was a little put off that in the 9 months that we’ve been dating, I hadn’t really knit him anything (in my defense, I knit him a washcloth like 5 months ago but hadn’t given it to him because i was going to cast on a second one).  So I quickly cast on a Christmas stocking for him.  It called for Lambs Pride yarn, and I used Cascade 220- which is thinner- so I double stranded it- knowing quite well that it would produce a much larger stocking. True to my prediction it did.

The stocking actually used yarn equivalent to a small sweater vest (so I call it his sweater stocking). After felting, it shrunk considerably.  Today I put the finishing touches on it- his name in needle felted script.   Recently the temperatures her dipped under freezing. We also got a small dusting of snow- all of this a bit out of the ordinary for the Pacific NW, this caused BF to request a knit scarf. We picked out the yarn today (charcoal grey alpaca) and I cast on.

In addition to the scarf, I’m also working on finishing the following:

  • 2nd sock in a pair for Mom
  • Stuffed Teddy Bear for friend’s baby
  • Felted baby chicks for ???
  • Pink scarf I started 2 years ago (ouch)
  • A slew of miniature stockings ornaments
  • A couple of baby gifts for baby boys (for the record, girls are more fun to knit for!)

So, as I work on relying less on my Mom and BF for transportation and work to master the mass transit system here, hopefully my completion rate on knitting projects will continue to go up. 🙂





I feel naked without my car…

8 12 2008

A long time ago I used to pride myself on being a good driver.  I learned to city drive in Boston for crying-out-loud.  Speeding tickets or traffic violations were few and far between (maybe 2 in 12 years) and I never had been in a car accident.

Yeah, I held onto that belief for a bit longer than I should’ve.  I don’t know what it is- but since moving to Seattle- I have become a horrible driver.  One speeding ticket (I got it thrown out in court) and 4 car accidents later… I am coming to terms with having become one of those drivers I loath… distracted and dangerous.

I am not sure what role my current car (scheduled to be paid off in Feb 2010) plays in these accidents- it doesn’t handle well on ice (re: 5 mph accident with parked car on black ice)  and I am convinced that on my most recent accident (friday rear ended car at 5mph doing serious damage to my front end…) my breaks didn’t work at all.  But nevertheless- as the tow truck started to hook my car up on friday night I knew one thing- I do not want to get behind the wheel of that car again.

My mind raced- my car insurance will surely drop me, rates which are already high will be through the roof.  My current efforts to save money will certainly be derailed by this whole episode. I believe that there is a lesson God wants us to learn in every situation, that when doors close in our face he wants us to turn around and see the other doors he has open.  I won’t detail all of the soul searching I did, but I came to the conclusion that I am being called to learn patience, to slow down and be able to concentrate.  Here’s my plan:

  • After the car gets back from the body shop- sell it (most likely to a used car dealer). Try to get the whole thing paid for- but if I can’t eat the difference- in the long run it will pay off.
  • I currently telecommute from home 2 days a week- the other three days I will either carpool with my boyfriend or with my mom
  • Take the bus whenever needed
  • Walk or bike to grocery, chiropractor, dentist (they are all in walking distance)
  • Plan errands out for the week and schedule time with Mom to run those errand

With a supportive boyfriend, mom, friends this plan actually looks feasible.  Here’s the pay off:

  • Save $375 a month in car payment
  • Save approximately $300  per month in car insurance (yeah I know that’s high- it has doubled since my first accident)
  • Save  $75-$100 yearly on registration
  • Save approximately $100.00 a month in gas
  • Save approximately $35.00 a month in maintenance

Bottomline savings a month $810!  WOW! Between now and May that would be 4050! In 12 months 9720!

  • I expect to see savings in other areas too…
  • Longer commute on Mass Transit = dedicated time for winding down/reflection/reading/knitting things that my current schedule doesn’t seem to fit in
  • More structure to my time and more care in deciding how I am spending my time
  • Bike and walking help with my fitness goals
  • $$$ to put in savings for a down payment on a house!

My current plan is to re-evaluate my situation (cost of insurance) in May (when 1 of my accidents drops off my 3 year record) but to continue on this path as long as it makes sense.

I know it isn’t going to be easy- but with prayer and support from friends and family I think this is a bit of an exciting adventure! 🙂  I’ll be sure to blog about the ups and downs!  So, task 1: learn how to read a bus schedule and how to get around town via public transport.