Instead of starting 2015 with a resolution, I’m going with a challenge. 12 days in, so far so good.
For 2015, I’ve decided to challenge myself to give up the luxury of driving.
The past six months or so, I’ve been dreaming of the day when I move into One Light. I’ve thought “I’ll get rid of my car and enjoy true city living.” Everything that I need — grocery store, gym, and restaurants — will basically be built in. My workwould be within walking distance and, if the infamous Kansas City weather wasn’t playing nice, I could take the new Streetcar line to work, barely stepping outside.
I’ve decided to fast forward that decision and go all in starting now. This year, I’m getting rid of my car and I will walk or use a ridesharing app to get everywhere.
I’ve slowly progressed to this point over the last year.
I walk a lot. My work and loft are less than 2 blocks from each other, and there is a ton of great restaurants close by.
In 2014, I got rid of my BMW (I loved that car, BMW truly is the ultimate driving machine) for a more sensible Ford Fusion with better gas mileage. My thought process was, it’s silly to pay what I did for hardly every driving. These days, I really only use my car lazy reasons, like going to the gym (there’s a joke there) or the grocery store. Sure, it makes sense to have a car for the convenience to see my parents, goddaughter Collins, and drive to BBQ competitions anytime I want. However nowadays, it’s now easier with ridesharing apps like Uber, Lyft, or even Ztrip (great for scheduling ahead of time) to get anywhere, anytime and it’s often cheaper than you’d think.
I haven’t done the exact math, but I’ve read several blog posts about people trading their car for an app. Their numbers make sense. Doing rough numbers on my own expenses, if I get rid of my car and give myself a $400 ridesharing budget, I come out ahead at least $400 a month. This accounts for expenses like gas, maintenance, car payment, interest, insurance, and depreciation.
Technology has made it possible to get from Downtown Kansas City to Prairie Village for about $14 with the click of a button. If I need to be super lazy, it’s now only $4 to go to Chipotle and back while having them wait as I get that Burrito goodness (even controlling my Spotify playlist, if I want.) I think $400 is going to go a long way.
Getting rid of my car has been a scary feeling and at times, I’ve felt stranded.
But, I’m getting more used to the lifestyle. I’ve learned it’s actually rather freeing. I don’t have to worry about parking or what I’m going to do if I happen to have a drink while I’m out. I only need to pay for transportation when I need to get somewhere. Instead of owning something that sits in a garage for 95% of the time.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve associated driving — or more importantly, owning a car — with freedom. It’s comical to me that, today, I think of it as a ball and chain.
Our city was literally built for the car and driving is ingrained in our culture. I’m curious how many more people are going carless in Kansas City?
I’ll update this post from time to time on the experiment and what I actually spend/save per month.
P.S. I’m challenging myself to write more in 2015, I’m not sure how this is going to evolve, but I’m committed to it. I’ll be writing about what we do at Think Big, the projects I’m working on, what I’m reading, startup life, mindfulness, competitive BBQ and whatever else strikes me or I get feedback on. Sign up for my newsletter here or at the top of the page.