I’m not religious, but most years I give up something for Lent to remind myself what sacrifice feels like. It makes me grateful for all that I have, and mindful that many others have much, much less. It’s also a fun way to challenge myself to save money. Last year I gave up meat after calculating how much more expensive meat is than vegetable protein.
This year I’m considering giving up my car after reading that driving takes $7,095 out of my community each year. My yearly auto expenses are much less than $7,095 because I paid for my used MINI out of pocket. But certain auto costs do go out of town. My insurance company is out of state and if my car broke down, there is not a repair shop in town to service it. By not driving I am redirecting out-of-town dollars to in-town dollars, in theory.
What makes giving up a car interesting is that I’m not sure I’m going to save any money by not driving. A trip to the airport (likely to come up during Lent) via taxi could blow any savings. My monthly car costs are about $103, including insurance, gas, and registration. Airport parking and repairs would bump that figure up considerably.
In fact, one trip to the airport during Lent may wipe out any savings from my car sacrifice. Here are my costs for getting to the airport by:
Car – Cost of driving 54 miles at $.50/mile = $27 + $70 to park my car for 7 days ($10/day) = $97. Time: 50 minutes each way.
Taxi – A RT taxi ride would cost $166 plus tip. Time: 40 minutes each way.
One RT taxi ride to the airport basically negates my savings from not driving ($166 versus $97 + $103). Of course, even I if I don’t drive I still have to pay registration and insurance. So I don’t save my $103 in monthly car costs unless I give up my car for good. For this experiment, it’s only gas and wear and tear I’m saving. Cheaper airport options:
Bus – RT cost is $5 for ticket and transfer. Time: 1 hour 45 minutes each way.
Shuttle – Local shuttle service is $50 per person RT, a great option if I am traveling alone. Time: 1 hour each way.
As long as I take the bus or shuttle to the airport, I’m saving money by giving up my car.
So, do you think I should give up my car for Lent? Are you giving up something for Lent?
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