As a young professional in their early 30’s, getting ahead in life seems to be my only focus lately. The pressure to succeed can be really daunting, but what I have found is that the simplest solution is the best. In effort to become more economical as well as environmentally aware, I have risen to the challenge of living without a car and maintaining a job for almost 4 years in a city without a strong public transportation system.
Transitioning to a life without a car in an area like South Florida posed a significant challenge for me to overcome financially. In order to make it work I have had to become much more flexible when it comes to my relationship with time management. In a world full of cars, being one of the only people in your social circle to not have a car can definitely have some challenges to overcome however through trial and error, I have managed to keep things economical and consistent.
Life throws some curve balls at you when you least expect it and this specific incident was no exception. My car died in the parking lot due to an electrical system failure. This is how I began my journey as a commuter for the first time in my life. Having a full-time job and living 6 miles away from work may not seem like a barrier to overcome, but in Florida where the average temperature is 95 degrees, biking isn’t a viable option. This is when I looked to technology as a possible solution.
Uber and Lyft became my public transportation instead of using the city bus system. As time went on I found that I was spending on average $300-400 a month for transportation. I began to investigate viable options that compared to the amount I was currently spending commuting. Between a car payment (and 5 year re-payment obligation), insurance, gas, parking, tolls, repairs, Maintenance, traffic violations and liability, the pros of having a car vs. the cost had a very hard tome aligning in a way that I actually benefited from.
When you work 40-50 hours a week and sleep a normal 8 hours a day you really only use a car to get to work, run errands and probably go out to the bar or over to a friends house. For me, I couldn’t justify spending over $700 a month just to have something in the parking lot that I had instant access to. Convenience has a price, but it doesn’t always have to cost you hundreds of dollars if you work smart.
Changing this norm forced me to reevaluate how I did things and how I interacted with others. I began to plan my trips to places more effectively. If I was taking an Uber home from work but needed milk- I would walk across the street to the grocery store and Uber from that location. Maximizing on my time spent allowed me to save a lot more money monthly while still being able to go where I needed to without having a car! There are certain setbacks with depending on others to take you places but I’ve found that a working pair of headphones can be enough of a barrier that can prevent unwanted conversation with Uber drivers #lifehack.
As delivery based apps have increased in popularity, I have expanded my usage to now incorporate everything from dry cleaning to grocery shopping. While I’m sitting in the back of my Uber I reallocate my time grocery shopping instead of driving using the Shipt app. By having the groceries delivered allows me to save the time from doing the actual shopping and allows me to get the same deals as I would if I was shopping for myself without the hassle of actually having to do it. A yearly subscription to Shipt includes free delivery within certain mileage. There is no way I could spend less than $100 a year going grocery shopping so by having someone else do it for me and have it delivered actually lowered my monthly commuting expenses! Procrastination has always been my worst enemy. Grocery shopping can be really time consuming and the last thing I want to do on my day off. This service allows me to facilitate my life even better while saving even more money and spending a lot less time.
I could have easily bought a new car and had the freedom of going where I wanted, when I wanted. This would have done nothing but put me into debt because at the end of the day I can’t afford it. Using these service allowed me to save time and money and use a little creative ingenuity to put money into my savings and lower my carbon imprint on the planet.