In today’s society, owning a car has become a mark of status and adulthood. You have a car, you can travel when you want, where you want, and however much you want. But does it make sense for you to own one, in a country where public transportation is so well-developed? Have a think!
Considering the cost of car-ownership is an important factor in this debate. Of course, buying a car outright is an expensive thing to do. You’re looking at getting a car loan for the sum owed, in most cases, and then at paying interest on that loan to boot. Furthermore you need an MOT, and a tax disc. Car insurance, on top of all of that, can really push the boat out in terms of annual cost. And that does not consider the price of petrol or regular maintenance, or the price of a tow and repair if your vehicle should break down.
If you tot up all those costs, then even owning a relatively cheap car in terms of purchase cost turns into quite an expensive proposition. Compare this to the costs of public transportation and even a relatively expensive journey by train, bus, or other method of public transportation can become a laughably inexpensive way to get about.
In many places, such as my own home town, it can be impractical to get to the train station you need using public transportation. At that stage, it can all be quite frustrating. But think outside the box for a moment; can you cycle there, instead? Can you take an extended walk in the morning and afternoon? These can be excellent ways to get and keep your fitness levels up, and will be easily incorporated into your day as part of your commute to work and back. You’ll also be unable to shirk your workout routine as you’ll rely on it to get you to work and back. Be aware that you’ll need a good lock for a bicycle, however! Experiment with ways of keeping your clothes clean (changing at work could be an option, especially for trousers and shoes) and keeping your bag with you – a backpack could be an option, but isn’t appropriate in every industry.
On the other hand, if a car is really a must for you – and it can’t be denied that many people either genuinely need a car or feel unable to cope without one, which truly does amount to the same thing – then you can take steps to make it more affordable. Driving at a reasonable speed instead of giving in to your lead foot, for example, can save a lot of money on petrol. Car-pooling with other people who work at your company can help, as they contribute towards the cost of running the car, and so can starting a car-pool to get the kids to school. Many people nowadays are car-pooling to do the weekly shop; you drive to the shop together, shop separately, then meet up after checking out. One person places his or her shopping in the boot, the other uses the back-seat to avoid confusion at unpacking time. You save money and you have a hand taking the shopping into the house!
Owning a car is a genuinely bank-breaking experience. Consider these factors carefully and you may find it’s possible to cut your car out of your budget entirely. Alternatively, you can pare down the cost and find yourself spending much less on the same level of convenience.