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How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life Paperback – September 1, 2006
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"I hear people talking about how they couldn't live without a car. Then a few conversations later, they'll complain that their job doesn't pay enough and they don't have any money, without seeing the connection. The money I've saved from living car-free has helped me fund things like bike trips to Ireland and visits to farms in Tuscany." -- Jeffrey Rosenblum, 37
From the Publisher
The first practical, accessible, and sensible guide to living in North America without owning a car. Exposes the true costs of car ownership and shows how getting rid of your car can simplify your life and put you on the road to financial freedom. Packed with realistic, economical alternatives to owning a car, including chapters on carsharing, carpooling, and even car-free dating. Includes more than 100 real-world tips, strategies, and success stories from people who are happily car-free or "car-lite," from cities to suburbs. According to a 2004 American Automobile Association study, the average American spends $8,410 per year (roughly $700 per month) to own a vehicle.
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For those of us who aren't Al Gore devotees, Balish does an excellent job of outlining the radical way in which your financial picture will improve if you ditch the cars, not to mention the health benefits that will ensue if you start walking and riding a bicycle.
Where Mr. Balish misses the boat however is in ignoring the incredible degree to which elderly and infirm people are dependent on having ready access to an automobile. And his chapter discussing the advantages of moving your home to a location closer to public transportation is almost risible for the majority of Americans who live in the suburbs and as far away from population density as possible for very good reasons.
In summary, I think this is a great book for consideration if you are young, single or married with no children, and in good overall health. It would be a great way for younger people to save money during their high-earning days, but frankly as one matures and begins to suffer the vicissitudes of aging his suggestions become less and less practicable.
But this is the first book that I've read which really emphasizes getting rid of car for financial reasons-which I think is good, because most of mainstream America doesn't tend to change it's habits until they realize there's money being left on the table. The author appears to be an upwardly mobile individual who's owned some nice vehicles in his day and has now given them up for financial reasons, and in the process bought a nice upscale home-a situation many Americans are now starting to identify with-Honey do we buy the new car so we can live on macaroni and cheese in our cracker jack apartment box, or do we dump the new car and buy a starter home instead?
The book gives alot of insightful ways to limit car usage, and how to keep a social life in the process. The book really gets you thinking: how much better would we all be if only we were less dependent on the automobile? The chapter on socializing and dating is pretty key i think, as most people that I've talked to in Los Angeles that have contemplated giving up their cars, usually back down out of fear for losing a social life. If you've looked at other books on this topic and feel that they are "too green" for you the upwardly mobile individual, than this might be the one you'd better identify with.
I often commute by bike at night and use the Down Low Glow Lighting Kit - Two Tubes-Envy(green) for side visibility.
After reading this amazing book, I began to realize how much my car was actually costing me each month. Even though I had paid it off, my apartment makes me pay $50 a month for parking, and I have to pay $200 a month for insurance because I'm a male under 25... After suffering through using a base model car with no air conditioning for years, I had originally made up my mind to purchase a new car after graduation (one that had air conditioning), but then one day at work (I work at a used book store), someone donated a copy of this book (which was an advance reader's copy, and had no ISBN, so we couldn't do anything with it).
After reading this book cover to cover in about a week, my perspective has taken a 180 degree turn. Where previously I was trying to plan my life and future career around making enough to purchase and maintain a new car, now I am intent to sell my car as soon as I get my clean title back from the DMV! I'll be able to save $6,500 a year (from a car I already paid off completely) by selling it and not buying another car!
This book gives you everything you need to plan out living without a car. First it gives you reasons why its better to live without one, and then it shows you how. For anyone who is interesting in saving TONS of money, helping the environment, and decreasing stress, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!