Car(e) free in Columbus

Last year, at the beginning of March, I turned in my 2014 Kia Optima LX at the end of its lease and decided to go ‘car free’. I wanted to see exactly how much of a PITA it would be, how many services I’d need to subscribe to to get things done, and how much money it would actually save me. It’s now been a year, and I can definitively answer these questions.

So, Let’s break things down shall we?

I was paying $440.88/mo for the car, or $5290.56/yr. A not-insignificant chunk of change. That’s not including insurance, gas, oil changes, etc. This was purely for the lease itself.

Once I was ‘sans auto’, I started taking Uber whenever I needed to go somewhere (my monthly PUG meeting, shopping, out to eat, etc). Looking at my past year’s bank statements, I’ve given $1674.83 to Uber. A decent chunk of change, to be sure, but less than I expected if I’m honest.

Since I could no longer drive to the store, I signed up for Shipt to have my groceries delivered. Since I wasn’t sure if I would like the service (or if I’d give up and get another car) I paid the monthly rate of $14/mo instead of the $99 yearly rate. So I spent $168 on Shipt in the past year. Please keep in mind, there is a slight per-item markup with Shipt, but I didn’t track it and just budgeted ‘groceries’ as a total bill.

And finally, if I wanted to go visit friends or family outside Columbus, I needed to rent a car. I have a decent reward membership with Enterprise and there is one close to home, so that’s where I rent. In the past year, I’ve given them $1041.14 of my hard earned income. I’ve also had to put a tank of gas or two into those rentals, but I didn’t think to track them.

And, honestly, that’s it. I really figured I’d have to sign up for a ton of things to “replace” my car, but that’s really all there is. It helps (tremendously) that I’m able to telecommute for my dayjob. Of course, that’s also why I was thinking that having a car is a waste. I paid (a lot) of money, monthly, for a car to sit in my driveway.

For those still with me, the math looks like this:

 5290.56 -- yearly car payments
- 168.00 -- yearly Shipt
-1674.83 -- Uber for the year
-1041.14 -- car rentals for the year
$2,406.59 money in my pocket

And bam, just like that I’m ~$2500/yr richer. And that’s without considering fuel, oil, tires, maintenance, or insurance. Over a standard 5 yr car loan, that’s ~$12500 I save! So yeah, a good decision for me, I think.