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about my car

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docmartensI’d like to show you a picture of my car.

I couldn’t find the exact model I have, but it’s pretty similar to the one show right here.

Yes, that’s right, my car is in fact a pair of doc martens boots.

Although I’ve had a driving licence since I was 18 years old, I’ve never owned a car. Mostly, this has been because cars are expensive to buy and run, and I don’t really need one.

Petrol is currently running at £1 a litre (approximately $7 a gallon). Car parks are increasingly expensive. Then there are the annual MOTs, servicing, repairs and insurance, not to mention the cost of buying one in the first place.

Of course, not owning a car can be restrictive. One of the main factors in choosing my current house was that it be within walking distance of my workplace in the city centre. It also means that I can’t go to Ikea on a whim, if I want to bulk buy, I need to order, and it requires slightly more planning for me to go and visit my family.

I’m used to all these restrictions, and in some ways, I actually enjoy them. I spend less money on a whim when I have to carry everything home. Living in an eminently walkable area, is pretty good - I’d hate to have to drive just to get a newspaper, even if I did own a car.

So my take on the car, is not to own one. The rest of the m-network are posting about their experiences with cars and personal finance. If you want to join in car week, write a post and let one of us know.

  • my evolution from the “new” to “used”… car that is @ i’ve paid for this twice already
  • my cars and my life @ moolanomy
  • 5 reasons you should buy a new car @ gather little by little
  • my experience buying a used car with cash @ being frugal

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42 comments for “about my car”

  1. Nice car Plonkee. The one plus side is that you are saving a whole bunch of money NOT owning a car. If you invest the difference, you’ll be the richest M-network member in 30 years.

    Posted by Pinyo | November 12, 2007, 8:07 pm
  2. I’ve never been able to find a pair of DMs in my size (14), so I have serious “car envy.” I’ve actually been considering getting rid of our car as we rarely use it here in the city. But it’s paid for; my only expenses are fuel, insurance, and annual license and registration fees, plus maintenance and repairs which so far have been very cheap since it’s a relatively new Toyota. I only spend about $40 Canadian per month on fuel. But when it gets older and I start having to spend more money on repairs I do think we’ll get rid of it entirely and rent a car when we need to get out of the city.

    Posted by brad | November 12, 2007, 8:47 pm
  3. That’s my kind of car too, weird! Although mine is green and looks like a sneaker.

    Posted by David | November 12, 2007, 9:52 pm
  4. I have to say, I have been hearing more and more about the no car life, and in some ways, it makes me a bit jealous. In areas like mine, it would be pretty difficult to manage–suburban sprawl and such. But much about it appeals. With cars, like all “things,” they just end up owning you.

    Posted by Mike-TWA | November 12, 2007, 11:22 pm
  5. I’ve never owned a car either. I hate the bloody things. Lower bills, better health, engage with actual people on your commute rather than talk radio, and less likely to get in some road rage argument with boy racers. What’s not to love?

    Posted by guinness416 | November 12, 2007, 11:51 pm
  6. Great post, Plonkee. I think I’ll join in this discussion from my blog.

    I envy the car-free life a bit. Out in the Denver suburbs, a bike would probably do; walking would be tough.

    And how would one do the no-car thing with three kids under 5 years of age? That’s one I’ve wrestled with. I haven’t found a good answer.

    Posted by Ryan Healy | November 13, 2007, 12:55 am
  7. Add me to the no car club. Sometimes, I just can’t believe how lazy some people are about walking. They will pay for parking at $160/month CDN instead of getting 20 min. of exercise each way. And yeah, I’d do it in the freezing winter too! Did it as a kid delivering papers.

    Posted by mariam | November 13, 2007, 1:22 am
  8. Hmmm. 3.86 liters to the gallon x 2.10 Pounds to the dollar… A little closer to $8 to the gallon. Either way, it’s still very expensive! Fortunately the cars in the UK are generally smaller and more efficient. The car I had in England was a 1.1 liter engine that got 40 miles to the gallon. Not too bad!

    Posted by Patrick | November 13, 2007, 1:33 am
  9. oooops. 2.10 dollars to the pound. That’s what I get for typing shortly after returning from the pub! ;)

    Posted by Patrick | November 13, 2007, 1:34 am
  10. With kids you need to live somewhere with walkable schools and excellent public transit, Ryan. One of my best friends has a 5 year old and a 3 year old, and has never owned a car. They’re in NYC. I have neighbours here in downtown Toronto whose kids are on subways and streetcars day in day out.

    Posted by guinness416 | November 13, 2007, 1:53 am
  11. Sadly, I couldn’t go without a car…I just like cars and driving way too much.

    I do however own 2 pairs of Docs, and strongly feel they are the best quality shoes you can buy hands down. I’ve owned my first pair for 7 years, and they are just now starting to look a bit worn.

    Posted by glblguy | November 13, 2007, 12:39 pm
  12. Them boots were made for walking! If I lived in a big city w/ good public transit I would get rid of my gas guzzler real quick!

    Posted by Kyle | November 13, 2007, 10:15 pm
  13. I almost have to have a car, living in Los Angeles, although I drive it about 5K miles/year, which is less than half what most people do. It still sucks eggs, though; o, for a transit system like NYC, Chicago, London, etc. Or a “real” town, where things are within walking distance.

    Posted by communicatrix | November 13, 2007, 11:30 pm
  14. I truly believe that not having a car is a significant improvement in overall happiness. Since I moved away from Manhattan and needed a car I have significantly more headaches with parking, commuting, repairs, gas, taxes, licenses, inspections, yada yada yada. Never get a car if you can avoid it. For 8 years living in Moscow and New York City I avoided owning one and I was completely happy and never missed it for a second. Cabs and rental companies are there when you need a car. The rest of the time it’s great to drive the DMs (or Saucony sneakers in my case).

    Posted by brip blap | November 14, 2007, 4:04 am
  15. I also have never owned a car. It is a *big* money savings. (My transit pass costs me $65/month.) Like plonkee, I deliberately choose to live in a convenient location where I can easily get to work using public transportation, and also that is near to things like supermarkets and drugstores. I would not consider living in the suburbs (I hate them anyway). I am also well served by bicycle paths. Sometimes I have to have things delivered. I get groceries delivered about once a month (costs $3.50), the rest of the thing I carry them on foot. I am also willing to look ridiculous by carrying odd items in the metro. I spare myself all the hassles of car repairs, parking tickets, clearing snow and ice, etc. It does take planning sometimes to live without a car, but it’s worth it to me!

    Posted by Monica | November 15, 2007, 12:55 am
  16. Dang! How would I like to dispense with my gas-guzzling Dog Chariot? Let me count the ways!

    Not possible, though, with an 18-mile commute that takes 20 minutes by auto and 2 hours 10 minutes by bus (one way), and the nearest safe grocery store four miles away. If I had to ride the bus four hours a day just to go to work, well…I’d find a way to go on welfare.

    Seriously, though: Can you rent a car for the times that you really need to haul stuff from, say, Ikea or a home improvement store? It’s always seemed to me that if you lived in a Real City (i.e., one organized so people can reach markets needed to supply food and basic necessities on foot and one that provides a usable public transport system), it would be reasonable to can the car and rent a vehicle for the rare times when you want to drive out of town or haul heavy goods.

    Forty dollars Canadian a month. Darn! Just driving to work costs me $40 (U.S.) a WEEK!

    [sigh] Wish it were possible for the likes of moi either to live in a small town where you can walk almost everywhere you need to go or a Real City where you can ride public transit to work and to market.

    Posted by vh | November 22, 2007, 1:50 am
  17. Yes, I can rent a car for the times that I really need one. I’ve done it to go and visit friends who live out in the sticks for example.

    Actually, for trips to Ikea, I usually wait until one of my friends wants to go, it’s just easier to go with another person. The friend that I normally go with owns a car, so they drive.

    Posted by plonkee | November 22, 2007, 9:26 am
  18. Great Post. Here are a few more good resources for your readers:

    www .edmunds.com
    www .autotrader.com

    and in the UK try

    www .netcars.co.uk
    www .autotrader.co.uk

    Posted by Car Loans | January 16, 2008, 11:25 am
  19. Quite right! I once worked out I’d saved about £15,000 by not owning a car. And that as before you take into account compound interest or guilt about the environment.

    Posted by Monevator | June 27, 2009, 2:40 pm
  20. Very cool Article, keep up the excellent work. I have to mention that your blog looks very cool. Contact me if you need help with your Web Design and graphics :)

    Posted by Mozie | March 5, 2010, 1:23 pm
  21. good topic, but when you will update?

    Posted by auto loans | March 17, 2010, 9:49 am
  22. Well you cant miss what you havent had, however you could look into leasing a car, this allows you to run cars you would never of imagined for a period of up to 3 years. Sometimes you will pay less than the depreciation had you bought the car outright!

    Posted by Phil@Cheap Car Leasing | June 25, 2010, 2:16 pm
  23. I agree with you that is less expensive and healthier not to own a car. But what if you have to change you workplace, you want to go on vacation, you have an emergency and you have to get somewhere very fast? I own a car for some time and I can say that I can’t live without it for now. I am going to the gym 4-5 times a week and I don’t spend too much with the car.

    Posted by john | June 26, 2010, 8:26 am
  24. nice picture but its not a car its a shoes.

    btw, Dog Chariot is not too good, i like sedans

    Posted by autocarez | October 12, 2010, 9:00 am
  25. at least get a better pair of shoes.

    Posted by dui tempe | October 27, 2010, 1:36 am
  26. Yea, nice is that shoes, maybe u should change a collor? Keep up!

    Posted by Igrice | November 15, 2010, 2:49 pm
  27. It would be reasonable to can the car and rent a vehicle for the rare times when you want to drive out of town or haul heavy goods.

    Posted by perfact printing | December 4, 2010, 7:38 am

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