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.