Mostly Car-Free March

Lots of driving this month and yet, it was still less $ than owning a vehicle.

Transportation Costs for March

  • ZipCar: $50.10
  • Public Transportation: $35
  • Car rental, including fuel, for Seattle trip (split with Katy): $68.90
  • Miscellaneous: $20 *gave Katy for gas and parking when she helped out with Swap Meet transport

Total: $173.49

We’re still ahead on this if you look at our cost comparisons here.

Sure, there is planning and thought required when we need a vehicle. And sometimes I reign in a favour and chip in for gas like with the Swap Meet this month. But overall, we’re saving money and I find it pretty easy to use alternate forms of transportation.


What can you live without?

Once again, Courtney made me question my assumptions about what I can live without. I read this post and immediately thought about coffee. I didn’t start drinking it until I was 27 but I quickly got hooked. As soon as I wake up in the morning I think about making a double Americano and how enjoyable it will be to drink it in the early morning quiet of our home. Coffee doesn’t hold its relaxing and rejuvenating powers for me when a toddler is banging pots and pans and emptying the recycling bin all over the kitchen. I like a cup when it’s just me and my view over the city. When the streets are still quiet. I read that post and thought, could I enjoy the quiet without the coffee? Not sure I am ready to try it right now but it’s in my head to give it a go at some point.

Have a great weekend and remember to unplugg!

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  • My car is off the join the Retire Your Ride program ( this week. I just made the date for the end of the program! I’m very excited. City living is easier without a car, I find. We got one last year as the babe was born, and it was nice with a newborn, but I’m ready to be more active about getting around, especially since Olive can, almost, walk now.

    I am in the same boat as you with coffee, I started around 20 or so. Am so hooked! I remember before I drank coffee I could get up in the morning and immediately have energy. Not anymore, even when I go weeks without it. And I am addicted to the expensive kind. latte latte latte.

    • Congratulations on getting rid of the car! It’s true, this is easier to do if you are in a city. You’re in Montreal, right? Beautiful city. And the Metro is excellent.

      Coffee: addiction or simple pleasure to enjoy? I mostly just have one big cup a day. I like the exercise of considering what I really need and why I think I need it. But I also think it’s good and normal to have some simple pleasures in life. Coffee is one of mine too.

  • You know it’s funny, I read Courtney’s post too the other day and my first thought was coffee. I started drinking coffee when I moved to Vancouver – I guess I couldn’t escape the Starbucks on every corner, ha. My biggest issue is that I like to add tons of cream and sugar to my coffee, so the coffee was like a gateway drug to my sugar addiction. So I’ve decided to go coffee-free for April. I started two days ago, and so far I’m doing fine with tea. :) Happy Friday!

    • Bold move, Erin. I also like the cream and sugar and haven’t been able to wean myself to black coffee.
      Happy Friday to you too =) Hope you enjoyed the sun yesterday!

  • Not sure if addicted or not, but somethings in life are too precious to live without, coffee is one of them for me!!

    • My mom let me try her coffee when I was 5 or 6. I remember spitting it out and saying it was disgusting. This memory and aversion lasted a long, long time. It wasn’t until I retired from rowing and got back into office life that I succumbed to coffee. I’m not sure I can even consider it a guilty pleasure – just a nice ritual!

  • I am amazed at how much one can save by being carless. Even with trips added in, your transportation costs are amazing!

    Ahhhh….coffee. I do the same as you. I have a cup in the morning, before the kids wake up as I read blogs. Only one cup, by myself. Since it’s part of my morning ritual, there is no way I’m ready to give that up. It would be like being asked to give up “me time”.

    This month, I’m giving up processed food and high fructose corn syrup. I’ve given up both before but I’ve noticed it starting to creep back in.


    • I just took a look at our spreadsheet again and, WOW, we really are saving a lot. We are lucky that we live in a city and at lot is walkable. I know not everyone can do this, or wants to do this, but the car-free lifestyle has been relatively easy for us. I’m still open to owning a car some day if we think it is needed for our lifestyle.

      Good for you on giving up processed foods. We’re trying to eat fewer packaged foods and mostly shop the perimeter of the grocery store. I like the concept of just eating things that are perishable.

  • I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional cup of tea. I consider it a bit of a treat, though my mother and sister (who share a home) have hot tea twice daily.

    I can see where having a drink helps give you a focal point to take some quiet time, it also serves as a sort of timer. When you get to the bottom of the cup, times up! But that isn’t to say that we can’t find ways to take some time for ourselves without yucky coffee. (Sorry, I hate the stuff.)

    • Great analogy with the timer of drinking it. Hadn’t thought about it that way. But it’s very true. When the cup is done it’s time to pack things up and get started with the day.

  • Why on earth would you want to give up coffee? It smells good, is nice and warm, perks you up, making and drinking it is a nice ritual… it is even good for you with antioxidants, etc. (of course, of course, there is better for you).

    If it is just to prove (to yourself) you can, well okay, though I think that can slide into a habit of mind of not allowing yourself to have anything you enjoy – an ascetic, if you will. I say moderation is the key, neither hedonism or asceticism is terribly appealing.

    But I am in graduate school, so me attempting to give up coffee would be attempting to give up a major food group — not going to happen.

    • Hahaha! I love your shock at the thought.
      Coffee hasn’t, YET, become what I would consider a crutch. But I’ve had them before: I drank copious amounts of Diet Coke for many years. One year I went cold turkey on it for 7 months. One sip later I was back to 2 cans a day.
      It’s been about two years since I clawed my way back from being a regular Diet Coke drinker. We don’t normally have it in the house and at most I have it twice a week if I am out.
      Sometimes I wonder if coffee is creeping up there for me.

  • Hi Rachel

    Your blog is looking fantastic.

    We’re carless and it’s great, although it would be even better if we had zip cars here. We have to rent cars in the traditionally way, but that’s OK as we have a depot within walking distance.

    We live in an inner city suberb on a river so we can use rivercats, buses and trains to get around using the same ‘gocard’ to swipe on and off.

    Australia is a very car reliant country however and while most people are happy to use the great public transport for commuting they just assume that everyone has at least one car available for the rest of their lives. I confess to feeling something of a freak and have shied away from sharing our car-free status. The government is trying to sell everyone on a very unpopular carbon tax and I dread igniting debate over the environmental advantages of public transport.

    As for coffee; surely we need some pleasures?

  • Great mention in the Calgary Herald today!!! calgary could certainly use some inpiration like you when it comes to minimizing!

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