I’ve been browsing a book today by the name of How to Live Well Without Owning a Car, kindly lent to me by a person I interviewed. She, of course, lives car-free. I, of course, do not. I’ve been feeling a bit stupid while reading paragraphs like the following:
"Let’s consider what would happen if you invested your money, instead of spending it on a car…That AAA average annual cost to own a car of $8,410 invested at an 8 percent annual return over thirty years would be worth $1,043,251. So if you adopt a car-free lifestyle over the long term, quite possibly you could become a millionaire."
Egad! Is that all it would take?
The book includes a handy worksheet for calculating the cost of owning your car. As the author is at pains to point out, your car payment is only one facet of this expense. Also on the worksheet: parking meters, oil changes, tickets for expired tags, and tolls. No big surprises there.
But get this–you also have to account for the costs of arcane stuff like jumper cables, car iPod adapters, satellite radio subscriptions, clothes you ruined while changing a tire, and rock salt for your driveway! Among other things.
At least I can say that we do not spend our money on air fresheners, in-car organizers or license plate frames. We’re probably saving at least $20 a year giving up that stuff.