A few months ago my old van finally bit the dust. I’d paid cash for it several years earlier and the van had been a reliable and a fairly efficient form of transportation, as far as cars go. But as the miles added up, so did the maintenance and repairs till it go to the point where I couldn’t justify putting more money into keeping the van on the road. Losing my second car was the perfect excuse to give public transportation a try.
Replacing My Car With A Bus Pass
Before my van died, neither of the doors on the driver-side would open, so I had to get in and out from the passenger side. The alternator was going bad. The radio was broken. There was no AC and no heater
Other than that, the van was a sweet ride!
The final straw came when something blew up one evening while I was driving home from work. Smoke started billowing from underneath the hood and quickly began to fill up the cab. After that, I was done. I managed to get the van home and made a quick phone call to Kars 4 Kids. They towed the car away and gave me a nice tax deduction in return.
One Car Family
And just like that, we went from being a two car family to being a one car family. We’ve got four kids and it’s very easy to think that a second car is a necessity, but I want to FIRE more more than I want a new vehicle, so rather than replace my van with a newer car, I committed to giving the bus a chance to shuttle me to and from work. I didn’t have high expectations, but I was willing to at least give it a shot.
I’ll admit it – a car is more convenient than riding the bus (or any form of public transportation really). With my car I could come and go from work as I pleased, I didn’t have to share my seat with anyone, and could drive right up to the office rather than getting dropped off about a mile away. But the car was also costing me thousands of dollars per year in gas, maintenance, and insurance.
After looking through several months of bank transactions I estimated that I was spending about $60 per week on gas, $70 per month on insurance, and an average of about $100 per month on maintenance and repairs. $410 per month. $4,920 per year. That adds up to nearly $50,000 over 10 years. Holy crap!
Because my car had been paid off it was easy to think of it as cheap, or even free transportation. Boy was I wrong; $50 grand ain’t cheap – that was a humongous hole in my budget that needed to be plugged ASAP.
Save Money Riding The Bus
I’m not nearly wealthy enough to hemorrhage $50 grand on an old used car, so I decided to keep that money for myself rather than trade it for the convenience of owning a second vehicle. And with that one move we were able to take a significant financial step forward.
We now have an extra $410 per month in our budget that can be used to eliminate other debts, or I could even invest that money and let it go to work for me. Investing $410 per month over 10 years, compounded monthly @ 7% will give you over $71,000!
Lose Weight Riding The Bus
And as if the money savings weren’t enough, I’ve also started losing weight.
Public transportation is the gift that just keeps on giving!
How am I losing weight you ask? Well luckily there is a bus stop just a few steps from my home, but the bus stop closest to my office is about a mile away, which means I’m walking two miles per day; 10 miles per week. These are steps I wasn’t getting as a car commuter.
A final cherry on top off all this? My employer even pays for my monthly bus pass which means I no longer have to spend a single penny to get myself to and from work. Transportation costs are usually a top three item in everyone’s budget (along with housing and food). Drastically reducing that amount in our budget is a great way to Get Rich Quick’ish!
Do you ride the bus to work, or take some other form of public transportation? Why or why not? Is it to save money? Is it because you can’t afford a car? Something else? What are you doing with the money you save? Please leave your comment below.