A very recent post over at Carfree With Kids describes how one household's financial situation actually improved when they opted not to replace their truck when it died.
Over at our place on the Pavement's Edge we have had the same revelation. It took eight months or so for it to sink in after we gave up the second car, but once it did we haven’t looked back. I used to think about what kind of car I wanted to get when we finally replaced the old polluting Subaru, but I've finally given up that train of thought and now I mostly think about how I can increase, maintain and enhance our (mostly) car-free lifestyle.
Based on fifty cents a mile we saved about $1,450 since we sold the car in December 2009. It breaks down to about $100 a month, but for the first half or more of 2010 I relied on the car too much. After we moved into our new house in Arvada I began riding a lot more consistently and the average for the last part of 2010 was closer to $150-200 a month.
While that doesn't seem like a whole lot, remember, we've been living on a single income for three years with two mortgages (in different states). My income isn't huge; though thankfully we don’t have much debt other than our school loans.
Keeping a mindset of modesty in spending while living in our society is hard; unless you don't have much choice. The wonderful thing about semi-voluntary simplicity is that you find all kinds of ways to get by on less and you eventually start to enjoy the game.
The frustrating thing for me is that while I love my bike commute every day, I don’t really care so much for the destination anymore. I just want to keep riding until I find that magical place where I can feel fulfilled in my career and feel like I'm accomplishing something important and worthwhile. But I digress...
A nod over to Mrs. BOTW, I had the same problem she had recently, but not quite as bad. I will attribute my milder affliction to a drier climate. Yesterday my brake cables froze up when I went outside. I keep the Cannonball inside at night and apparently when the warm metal hit the subzero air some condensation and simultaneous freezing occurred making for some sluggish braking action. Thankfully the conden-freez-sation didn't affect my shifters because while I can stick to one gear configuration for most of my ride, there are some hills that I just won't make without granny-ing it.
It's okay because riding on snow and ice I've sort of learned to ride mostly without brakes anyway. But the few times I needed brakes on my commutes yesterday I really had to flex my muscles.
I am happy to say that this morning I was not afflicted with the same problem and had free working brakes all the way to work. It was a balmy 7°F according to Mr. Steve Casey this morning and my toes stayed toasty until I was pushing hard on the pedals to climb up out of Golden. Ironically that was the same time I ripped off my facemask and propped my goggles (UNFROSTED!) up onto my forehead for the remainder of the ride.