This one is easy-of course not having a car is cheaper. But I don’t think many people actually sit and calculate how much their car really costs them.
For us, our costs before driving anywhere (registration and insurance) cost $35 per week.
We filled up with LPG fortnightly on average, getting about 400kms for around $65.
We were also spending around $2000 every year on servicing/fixing. It was an old car. But from what I hear of the cost of servicing newer cars, not excessive.
That means we were spending $105.96 every week on having a car. And we bought it with cash, so we weren’t making loan repayments or paying interest. Our car seemed to be relatively cost-efficient to run compared to most (it was more fuel-efficient than the VS Commodore sedan the husband had before it), but needed more fixing.
But hang on, that’s not everything. Over the five years we had it we spent money on other things for it too.
We bought roofracks for it ($550), we put new speakers and a stereo in it (around $400 total). We had to buy tyres for it every few years ($1500+). We tinted the windows ourselves (badly-$250). We didn’t wash it much, but used car wash when we did ($20).We got seat covers and floor mats for it ($60). And lets not forget the mammoth cost of proper car seats and harnesses for five children ($1400)-even buying cheaper but well-rated brands.
This all brings our weekly cost of owning a car to $122.03, when the above costs are averaged out over 5 years.
We’re pretty frugal car owners too-the above prices for everything are much lower than what you could potentially pay. I could have easily spent over $3000 in car seats, or paid to get it tinted at $580.
Granted, we still have the roofracks-as they’re adjustable they should fit any 4WD. And the car seats. But they’re still all costs that were necessary-none of that was really wasted.
We could also add the potential cost of removing $15,000-odd from our mortgage account (what we would realistically spend on another car). Right now, using the ‘penny saved is a penny earned’ analogy, we’re earning 7.5% on that money.
Plus, if you want to get really nit-picky, we’re getting fitness for free. The husband worked out he rode over 40kms last week, just doing day-to-day business. I take Shorty about 10kms return to speech therapy each week as a big trip, and we do numerous small ones. There is simply no better way to integrate exercise into your daily life, that to have to do it to leave the house! If you’re currently paying for a gym membership/fitness classes etc, you can replace that with everyday incidental activity. If you’re currently unfit, you’ll certainly get fit quickly-and as a result more healthy. It is the most natural form of exercise that I, as someone who generally avoids imposed exercise, have found. I am not a fitness freak.
So, is your car really worth $122.03 a week? Or, as is quite likely, even more? How many hours do you have to work, post-tax, just to drive and maintain that big hunk of metal out there?