A few months ago my old van finally bit the dust. I’d paid cash for it several years earlier and the van had been a reliable and a fairly efficient form of transportation, as far as cars go. But as the miles added up, so did the maintenance and repairs till it go to the point where I couldn’t justify putting more money into keeping the van on the road. Losing my second car was the perfect excuse to give public transportation a try.
Before my van died, none of the doors on the driver-side would open, so I had to get in and out from the passenger side. The alternator was going bad. The radio was broken. There was no AC and no heater. Other than that, the van was a sweet ride! 🙂
The final straw came when something blew up one evening while I was driving home from work. Smoke started billowing from underneath the hood and quickly began to fill up the cab. After that, I was done. After getting the car home and making a quick phone call, Kars 4 Kids towed the car away and gave me a nice tax deduction in return.
And just like that, we went from being a two car family to being a one car family. We’ve got four kids and it’s very easy to think that a second car is a necessity, but I want to Get Rich Quick’ish more than I want a new vehicle, so rather than replace my van with a newer car, I committed to giving the bus a chance to shuttle me to and from work. I didn’t have high expectations, but I was willing to at least give it a shot.
I’ll admit it – a car is more convenient than riding the bus (or any form of public transportation really) With my car I could come and go from work as I pleased, I didn’t have to share my seat with anyone, and could drive right up to the office rather than getting dropped off about a mile away. But the car was also costing me thousands of dollars per year in gas, maintenance, and insurance.
After looking through several months of transactions in my free Personal Capital account, I figured that I was spending about $60 per week on gas, $70 per month on insurance, and an average of about $100 per month on maintenance and repairs. $410 per month. $4,920 per year. That adds up to nearly $50,000 over 10 years. Holy crap!
Because my car had been paid off it was easy to think of it as cheap, or even free, transportation. Boy was I wrong; $50 grand ain’t cheap – that was a humongous hole in my budget that needed to be plugged ASAP.
I’m not nearly wealthy enough to hemorrhage $50 grand on an old used car, so I decided to keep that money for myself rather than trade it for the convenience of owning a second vehicle. With that one move we were able to take a significant financial step forward.
We now have an extra $410 per month in our budget that can be used to eliminate other debts, or I could even invest that money and let it go to work for me. Investing $410 per month over 10 years, compounded monthly @ 7% will give you over $71,000!
And as if the money savings weren’t enough, I’ve also started losing weight.
Public transportation is the gift that just keeps on giving!
How am I losing weight you ask? Well luckily there is a bus stop just a few steps from my home, but the bus stop closest to my office is about a mile away, which means I’m walking two miles per day; 10 miles per week. These are steps I wasn’t getting as a car commuter.
A final cherry on top off all this? My employer even pays for my monthly bus pass which means I no longer have to spend a single penny to get myself to and from work. Transportation costs are usually a top three item in everyone’s budget (along with housing and food). Drastically reducing that amount in our budget is a great way to Get Rich Quick’ish!
Do you ride the bus to work, or take some other form of public transportation? Why or why not? Is it to save money? Is it because you can’t afford a car? Something else? What are you doing with the money you save? Please leave your comment below, and if you like what you read on Get Rich Quick’ish, leave your email address here to get new posts delivered to your inbox.