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Can I Live Without a Car?

There are a variety of factors which need to be considered if you are thinking of living without a car. It may help you to remember that many people all over the world live without cars in a wide variety of environments, from cities with great public transportation to rural towns with no public transit at all. The decision to live without a car should not be taken lightly, since although it will save you money, it can come at an immense cost of personal freedom of movement, depending on where you live.

You may want to live without a car because keeping a car is expensive. In addition to the base purchase price, you also need to handle insurance, routine maintenance, and fueling. You also don't have to worry about parking, tickets, and other costs which can rack up, especially in urban areas. With the money you save, you may be able to fund other pursuits, or you may be able to bank funds for rainy days. You can also benefit the environment by choosing to give up your car, since you can reduce your personal emissions, especially if you rely on bicycles and walking to get around.

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However, not having a car can also be really inconvenient. If you have animals or children, you should think about how you would transport them in an emergency, especially if you live in an area with less than ideal public transportation. You may also want to consider how you will bring groceries and heavy loads home. You don't realize how much you use a car until you don't have one and you have a huge load of laundry to be done.

If you want to live without a car, your first step should be to look into public transportation. Find out how much it costs in your area, and how much of your region is covered. You may also want to look into passes and discount cards which will make your use of public transit much smoother. Since car ownership can be awfully convenient sometimes, you may also want to look into carshare programs or rentals, for those times when you really need a vehicle.

If you don't have public transit in your area, or public transit coverage is poor, plunging into life without a car is a major step. You might want to start with a trial run, during which you simply don't use your car. Think about whether or not you are prepared to ask friends for rides when you need them, and you may want to consider how comfortable you are with biking or walking in inclement weather and hitchhiking.

Your location is also an important consideration when you think about living without a car in an area with poor public transportation. If you live in a central, downtown area where you have ready access to most of the services you need on foot, it may relatively easy to live without a car. Ideally, your work should be close enough to walk or bike to, and if you live in an area with a lot of rain or other hostile weather, you might want to think about how you will feel after traveling to work in the rain.

You may also have to face some lifestyle adjustments to live without a car. Your time out at night might be limited by public transit, or you might not be able to reach certain places without a car. For some people, these adjustments are well worth the benefits, but for others, they are ultimately frustrating. You may want to consider banking the money you save so that you can purchase a replacement car, in the event that you end up needing one.

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