Friday, July 11, 2008

Today Show Considers Carfree Life as Money Saver

Author Chris Balish says the way to put the brakes on high gas prices is to do the unthinkable: leave your car behind! In his new book, "How to Live Well Without Owning a Car," Balish argues that getting rid of the ride can actually increase your quality of life. An excerpt.



Reuben said...

I read his book a couple years ago and thought he was a little dishonest in his accounting. It's hard to recall exactly what it said 2 years later, but if memory serves, he goes to great lengths explaining how expensive car ownership is and mentions every miscellaneous expense an auto owner will ever have. But he isn't nearly as scrutinizing of the costs associated with bike ownership. He only presents worst-case scenario of car ownership and best-case scenario of bike ownership.
...but overall, I still agree with his book. Beginner commuters will probably find a lot of useful tips in it.

Kathryn said...

I'm not a numbers person, so I enjoyed the sections in Balish's book on how expensive it is to own a car. He may have gone overboard, but he brought up expenses that I don't normally think about. What I really loved about his book, though, as someone who wanted to become car-free for more than just savings, was the down-to-earth advice on how to get your cat to the vet without a car, how to get groceries, etc.

Kathy said...

I have been car free since mid-April, though not on purpose. My car died. I have chosen, however, not to buy a car at this time. Let me tell you, its not easy and I confess to being cranky about at times. Change is hard. We are very used to our cars in this country. I can get most places by bus, car pool to work and take a weekly grocery shopping trip in someone else's car, paying for gas of course. For the most part I don't mind and look forward to my weekly bus trip to the farmers market. I am adjusting but there are some places I cannot go without a car. I wish they would start a car share program here in Syracuse, NY. Even though I miss having the freedom to come and go as I please, the idea of supporting a vehicle again makes me crazy. I have saved a lot of money. I don't have registration, insurance, gasoline or maintenance costs and I don't shop as much. I actually have to think about what I am going to buy which is a blessing especially at the grocery store with grocery prices having gone so high. I also take satisfaction in doing just a little to help the environment. On the downside, most people think I am crazy or feel very sorry for me. I think I need a support group.
For now I am good through the nice weather. Winter here in upstate New York could be another issue. We'll see how it goes.
I realize this is not practical for many people but worth trying if possible.