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 Womens Deluxe (3-Speed)

Electra Women's Deluxe (3-Speed)

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.