Taxi option

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Last week I burned the bee-jesus out of my hand at work. I could not finish work nor could I bike home as I had to keep my hand in ice water.  I knew I could not press on the handle bars or use brakes with my hand hurting so much and well, biking with your hand in a bowl of water seemed impossible.

I called a cab and a very nice co-worker offered to take my bike to the house in the back of his truck after he got off work. Excellent. Cab ride was $9.50 and I gave a nice tip. I have not yet thanked co-worker properly, trying to think of something nice he would appreciate.

We had anticipated this happening, finding a situation where we really needed transportation other than biking. Our budget figured even with 15 cab rides per month (at roughly $10 a shot or the equivalent of $150) we would still be ahead of owning a car.

Our gas and insurance costs were running an average of $150 month. That was how we got the $150 month number. But that number does not include other costs of car ownership like taxes, tags, maintenance, inspections, emissions, and the ever increasing repairs our 10 year old car was requiring.

We know there will be times we will rent a car. They run about $30 day plus gas. We would schedule running errands with the car at those times too to make sure it was a good use of the rental car.

For example, At the end of this month, we have family visiting and they are staying at a beach house that is not a bike ride we want to take. We had thought to rent a car for a day to spend time with them in a relaxed way. At the same time, My mother asked us to cat sit for her and during that time, one of their cars will be left unused in the driveway. she is offering the car in exchange for cat sitting. Win=Win!!

When we can share resources and all get our needs met in a pleasant comfortable way, we do all win.

Sometimes it just takes a little creative thinking and willingness to consider options that aren’t immediately available.

I enjoy reading Jacob’s writings on http://earlyretirementextreme.com/changing-habits-or-changing-the-habits.html

He always brings things up that I would NEVER think of regarding living styles as it pertains to saving money. His site often has a  helpful mind exercise to consider the non-considered.

He wrote about many people actually having the option of living comfortably without a refrigerator. I was perplexed. I could not fathom the concept. He mentioned most refrigerators being cold holding tanks for endless condiments (that would be me) and lots of folks wind up throwing away at least half of the produce weekly. Since most people don’t eat lunch at home, breakfast is simple  and that lots of things could just be bought daily for a fresh and unique dinner plan there really wasn’t any compelling reason to own one.. He did say he thought a FREEZER was a really good idea.

We are still talking about the fridge-free life. For now, it is just an exercise at seeing what life would be like . When we can stop and ask do we really need something instead of going on auto pilot, we give ourselves a lot more options.

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We sold the car!!!

My stepson Nathan, car salesman extraordinaire, sold our car and brought over the moola last night! It is official. We are car-free!!!

I get to call the insurance company this morning and say CANCEL that car insurance. WOW. I am sooooo looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, my co-worker Bill just sold his car! He is now car free. His SO still has a car but he is an adamant biker so it sounds like he will be officially car free.

It is interesting to talk to the full range of people on the subject. Many just get this confused look on their face and clearly, the idea of no car is incomprehensible. It is no wonder as so much of our society is organized around driving, parking lots, pay for parking, gas prices, comparing auto insurance.

We are gearing up to hit the beach and NOT PAY FOR PARKING. 

That will rock so hard.

Errand day without a car

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We had discussed how we would get around when there were a lot of errands to run and thought of renting a car once a month. Interestingly a friend is thinking of living on her boat and trying to figure out what to do with her car and she thought of renting it to folks! So cool. When she is ready, we will be here!

But for now, the regular ol’ Hertz seemed like a good idea. Then DH had the idea of asking my mother who lives in town, to be my chauffeur. Since I’d be asking to go several places, I’d insist on buying us a cute lunch and we’d have the added benefit of spending time together. I’d rather spend money on her than Hertz. Truly.

So, we arranged to meet a few days ago. We embarked on:

2 of our 5 gallon water jugs that needed filling

a big stack of books to donate to library, books that needed returning (and one to pick up),

trip to grocery store for ice (no ice maker, yet! also, ice no fun on bike…)

bank to make a deposit

Michael’s craft store since in that area and I have  gift card to use.

We finished it all up with sandwiches at Red Robin since it is right by Michael’s.

We did have a good time, the lunch money was better spent than on a rental car and always fun to hang with me mum.

For future trips, we have learned:

library is 30 min ride, almost all the way on bike path. Nice. We go a lot.

After moving and focusing on downsizing, we got rid of most any book that the library already has (all my Harry Potter’s have gone!). So that big trip with loads of books was a one time occurrence.

Bank is in that same direction but hey, I can mail checks to be deposited. Most are direct deposit anyway so this is not a regular trip.

Michael’s – well, with the whole frugal living to pay off house fast, I just don’t NEED anything there. Maybe we will save it and buy crafty things for grandkids for Xmas.

In conclusion, I realize we will need the car for errand day less than I thought. maybe once a month? Gotta get that icemaker soon!

Thunderstorms! and summer colds

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Yesterday, I was biking home from a long day at work. I have a summer cold and my energy is low, sore throat, runny nose, watery eyes. Ugh. But I didn’t feel bad enough to not go to work and we had a lot going on so I needed to be there. I dragged my beloved bike out and pedaled to work. The movement made me feel a little better. I gave myself extra time so I could bike at a leisurly pace.

After work, still feeling about the same, I headed home. Once away from the building i realized a thunderstorm was brewing. Big scary looking black clouds were gathering right were I was headed!  A little lightening got thrown in. Great. I started pedaling faster and worried i was not gonna make it before it poured. My imagination had the following to consider: hit by lightening (always the dramatic ones first!), getting soaked and getting sicker, getting hit by a car because the rain was so heavy that a car couldn’t see me…(the drama actually grows!).

As a result, I pedaled FAST. All the way home. My final 4 minutes were a race. The sky was BLACK. The temperature was dropping. The wind was picking up. I was sure I was gonna get it. BUT I got home 10 min before the rain started. And then it sprinkled. Ha! Gotta love Wilmington weather!

My dramatic experience  did spell out the need to have a back up plan. I really could have been inundated and even though my thoughts veer to the dramatic, shit happens.

My  back up plans: I travel a lot of my route on Kerr Avenue. There are numerous businesses that I could duck into and lock my bike outside. I could call a cab from there if I needed too. A reminder to carry some cash (or have it at my destination) and make sure my phone is charged and in a waterproof pocket.

Being more self sufficient is about learning. Learning your limitations (not feeling hot), recognizing the environment around you (changing weather) and taking action accordingly.

I feel like I’m getting better and better at the skill of commuting on a bicycle.

Going car free in Wilmington nc

We had my stepson take 2003 Honda CRV  away to sell it. He is a master car salesman! There is now no car in the driveway. Eeek! What have we done?

Our goal is to live car free for several reasons:

Financial – you can save a lot of moola by living car free

Environmental-really lower carbon footprint by simply not using a car

Fitness-use your body instead of driving to the gym!

Freedom-our goal is to be financially independent in less than 10 years. According to these bloggers, http://earlyretirementextreme.com/day-7-going-car-free.html and http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/ we are making a huge move towards this lifestyle by giving up our car.

Wilmington NC has made it much easier to go car free by building bike lanes.

The journey is begun!