Life without a car – Update

(This is a photo of my walk home. How nice is that?!)

On 5th March 2014 I started my challenge for lent, which consisted of not using my car to commute to work. I’m now closing in on that challenge, so how have I done??

I’ve walked into work every day apart from 2 x days. I think it’s been a great success overall, even thought there have been some exceptions.

The 2 x days in question, I feel, have good reasons behind them, and I’m sure you’ll all tell me if you disagree. 

The first time I chose to drive to work, was because I had to get to Hereford Hospital in the afternoon to meet my dad. He was finding out his results to his recent biopsy for cancer traces in his prostate. He was very nervous about going, and I offered to attend to support him. In honesty, I could have got a bus into Hereford, but I wanted the control of having a car so I could get there on time (I work 18 miles from Hereford). I was aware that it meant I didn’t technically complete the challenge, but I’m happy with my decision and I stand by it.

The second occasion was earlier this week, when my car was scheduled for it’s annual MOT. I drove the car to the garage, and then walked to work. After work, I walked to the garage and drove it home. The walk is approx a mile from where I work, so I didn’t feel too bad about that, but yet again, I did drive my car. 

So, why did I have the MOT now, and why didn’t I just wait until after lent if I’m not planning on using it? Good Question! 

Well, my fiancé has recently been successful in getting another job in nursing. It will result in a lot more driving but all of which will be local to where we live. Her current car is quite thirsty on fuel and performs better at 50+ mph and on motorways. My car is a small ‘runaround’ that’s much cheaper to tax, insure and run on petrol. It’s perfect for 20-40 mph driving, which is mainly the case where we live.

I was talking to her about the possibility of selling my car after I’ve completed lent as I’ve proven that I can get by in life without a car, and what she thought of having one car between us. She said she’s happy to share one car with me, and suggested sharing my car because her car was starting to cost her a lot of money to run and maintain. 

She said she could buy half of the current value of my car, we can then split all the bills 50/50, apart from fuel where the driver covers the cost (which will be mainly her). 

I think it helps to provide a bit of background information here, Miss FFBF gets very nervous about buying cars. She would prefer to buy a car from someone she knows and trusts rather than a garage/stranger even if it costs her a little extra. I’m comfortable going out and finding a car myself and buying from a garage or private sale, but the reality is it’s going to be her car more than mine, so it’s important for me to know she’s happy and content with the choice. She has used my car on a few occasions and she trusts it (and me thankfully!).  

The other option would be to sell my car and reap the full financial rewards for myself. This option is very tempting! However, Miss FFBF and I will still need to go out and find a car. She’ll find this process a bit stressful, and I’ll still have to pay for my share of the car as I will be using it. 

I had given these options a lot of thought, and I decided to go with Miss FFBF’s suggestion. It seems the more balanced decision overall. I’ll benefit from having a lump sum payment, followed by a 50% share in all car bills (aside fuel). I get to keep my beloved car, my fiance feels safe, and we’re both happy.

Once we made the decision, we then spent some time reviewing how much I could receive from selling car now. We worked this out by filtering on Autotrader and Ebay Motors to find the same car, age, mileage etc and working out the average cost. We both agreed £4,500 was a fair price (which was more than I initially thought I could get for it). 

Last night she transferred £2,250 into my account. I plan on investing the whole amount into dividend paying stock and reaping the rewards. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. The decision to live day to day without a car has meant I’m much more likely to meet my Goals of achieving a £12,000 portfolio and receiving £300 in Dividends by December this year. 

It’s also going to have an impact on my monthly expenses. I was paying £185 per month to cover big ‘one off spends’. I can now half the amount for Car tax, insurance and maintenance. My new monthly amount for this will be £150. I will also reduce my monthly spending on fuel, which was around £50 per month. I should see a saving of around £85 per month in total and I’m very happy about that! It’s also going to increase the probability of achieving my other two Goals of saving more than 50% of my monthly wage over a year, and keeping my expenses below £950 per month for rest rest of the year. 

The monthly savings are going to provide me more disposable income to invest each month in Dividend paying stock. The lump sum payment is going to give a boost to my portfolio and dividend payments. When I review how successful lent was for me this year…… I have to say it’s been the best one yet!

I’ll now continue to commute to work by walking, the only downside will be the extra weight I’ll have in my wallet with all of these savings! 🙂


Did you give up something for lent? How did you get on? Have you been living without a car or sharing a car? Has it worked for you?



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