One of the key reasons that we are on their way to financial independence is because we don’t own a car. That’s because cars are ridiculously expensive. After tax, insurance, maintenance, fuel and parking we are talking thousands of pounds a year. And that’s before you even think about paying for the car itself.
The real reason we buy cars
I’m sorry to say this, but there is usually one reason anybody buys a car (I’m not talking about vans or work vehicles here) and that is because we are impatient. We buy a car because we can’t be bothered to walk or bike, or because we want to save time compared to public transport. It’s entirely possible for most people to walk or bike several miles to work, it’s just that we value our time more than the exercise!
But we don’t consider the rest of our time this valuable…
We (as a society) waste huge amounts of time on the internet and social media. On average we spend hours each day watching TV. Why are we so precious with our time when it comes to travel but not with stalking our ex on Facebook? It’s because we’ve got in a bad habit. Mr Money Mustache calls it the Clown Car Habit – we feel it’s so necessary to be able to hop in a car and ‘do stuff’ that we forget whether that stuff is worth doing. We see thousands of people each weekend trapped in their cars in horrific traffic – wasting away their precious weekend hours in abject misery.
And it’s completely unnecessary
Let’s be very clear- we are urban city-dwellers who live in the commuter belt and rely on our public transport season tickets, and local taxis, to get us anywhere we want to go within London. We are blessed with a public transport system that is good enough that we don’t require a car to commute to our jobs or to visit our friends. But even in rural areas (where Mr and Mrs YFG are both originally from) it’s not unusual to see lovely ol’ boys on their bikes or to have a community of great taxi drivers.
We do sometimes need to transport bulky items, pets, people, or go into the countryside or simply go for dinner. Instead of hopping in our car, we book a taxi or hail a black cab. We moved house without a car, there are plenty of people who can offer you a car service and the business is booming. Not to mention, most of our friends and family haven’t kicked the Clown Car Habit and seem eager to have an excuse to use their expensive asset.
But it’s expensive to pay for taxis!
It would cost us £200 per month (£2,400pa) to lease a car that would do what we needed it to. We then need to insure it (£800pa), pay UK road tax (£200pa) congestion charge, parking charges and servicing. We would have to pay for petrol (£1,000pa) plus any repairs or maintenance (£100+ pa).
We cannot use the car for commuting. It’s not about cost- there is simply nowhere to park it at our office in Central London. Because of this we would have to pay for public transport to commute regardless of whether we had a car as well: A season ticket for Mrs YFG is £2,400pa.
Compare the additional cost of a car to the £1,000 we spend annually on taxis, and you can see which way the numbers favour.
Mrs YFG commutes to and from work five days a week for an hour each way and we have no plans to waste our precious evening time driving anywhere. We would only use the car on a weekend or if I had the urge to go anywhere in the day (I don’t).
We have no driveway so we could not guarantee we could park the damn thing if we did drive it anywhere.
- Big shop/bulky items? Everything is delivered now, with a smile (if you order from Ocado).
- All the shops we need are within walking distance or provide a delivery service.
- No children, no need for car seats or space to carry their shit.
Plus there are perks
Number 1, it’s a biggie. We drink as much as we want and travel home in comfort – no designated drivers, no morning after to get the car.
Number 2, driving involves other people. Other people are rubbish drivers. We can watch in the back of the car as White Van Man causes chaos on the roads.
Number 3, if you ain’t driving you can do other things, like having more time to stalk your ex on Facebook.
So, you say, after being a miserable bugger, can’t you admit there are benefits to car ownership?
All the above applies if you don’t need a car for work. And I mean need. I’m talking professional drivers, delivery men, or people who need vans. I can understand that in these circumstances you need a vehicle – especially vans which have the added benefit of being a mobile storage unit. If my future self-employment involved driving or required me to drive then sure, I could probably see the point of having our own car. But until then we’re going to avoid the unnecessary cost of a car.