Well, the time has come. I've always been the type to "walk the walk" once I talk the talk. I've written a number of times that I'd like to eventually live car-free. Well, that eventuality has come sooner than later. My old ride was this:
That's a 2006 base model Pontiac G6. Not the most glamorous chariot in the world, but it got me from point A to point B for the last three years fairly reliably. But the expenses have been mounting, and the monthly costs have become too much to bear in my new found frugal living doctrine. Check out my new ride:
I purchased this bike over the weekend. I have been cruising craigslist for the last couple weeks, but came up empty, which is surprising considering the efficiency of craigslist. I paid $109 for the new bike, which I consider a good value if it lasts me just a few years. I think it'll last longer, however. Overall, it's a relatively cheap price to pay to rid myself of the $450+ monthly burden of my vehicle. It's a nice little beach cruiser bicycle. It's not a road bike, or a durable mountain bike but my ride will be relatively short and I value comfort over speed.
This is a big step in my life, and I'm happy to share my journey with all my readers. I hope that this blog is inspiring, and although not everyone will follow in my footsteps due to my "extreme" ways, I hope it opens your mind up, nonetheless.
I was offered to sell my vehicle to Carmax, which has a car-buying store just north of me. The appraisal on my vehicle was about $600 short of my pay-off on the loan. That will take just over one month to make up and break even. After that, it's all profit. I'm extremely excited. The car selling process went extremely easy. The appraisal took about half an hour. The actual process of them buying my car took about 45 minutes. I did try selling my car on the private market, but got no bites. I suppose the economy and the fact that Pontiac is no longer made may have had something to do with it. All in all, I think I got a fair price for my car. It had 80,000 miles and it had some repairs coming up. I received $5,500 for it. One article that put my decision to sell over the top was this recent article describing the recent run-up in used car values. When I seen the same sentiment expressed on ABC news, I figured now was the time to pull the trigger.
I have a seven mile journey to work. I'll have to wake up a little earlier now, as I'll ride my bike to the bus stop, chain my bike there and ride the bus in to work. The bus stop is approximately 1.6 miles away from my apartment. The rest of the journey to work will be completed by bus. A one-way bus ticket is 75 cents. This is going to save me a lot of money. I've calculated a savings of approximately $11,000 over the next two years, which is how long I had left on my car loan. With that savings I'll contribute most of it to my dividend growth stock portfolio through monthly cost-averaging.
Overall, I don't think this is going to be much of a sacrifice. Obviously, in many of the big cities here in the U.S. many people live car-free every day. In New York City and Chicago for instance, it's actually a disadvantage to own a vehicle a lot of the time considering traffic, costs and parking inefficiencies. I live in a very car-centric southwestern Florida city, so I'll obviously be a little against the grain here, but I don't mind being a contrarian. In order to reach my goal of being financially independent by the time I turn 40, I'm going to have to take extreme measures. This is one of them.
Only time will tell how this works out for me. Maybe this works out wonderfully and I'll never own a car again. Perhaps this fails epically and miserably. I'm anxious and excited to find out.
Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading.