What We’re Doing Now That We No Longer Have a Car

As I recently said in Welcome To Paradise – We’re Living On A Sailboat!, we no longer have our Jeep and have been car free since July. Since we are preparing to cruise and will soon be leaving the marina (eeek, this week!), we no longer have a need for full-time use of a land…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

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What We’re Doing Now That We No Longer Have a CarAs I recently said in Welcome To Paradise – We’re Living On A Sailboat!, we no longer have our Jeep and have been car free since July. Since we are preparing to cruise and will soon be leaving the marina (eeek, this week!), we no longer have a need for full-time use of a land vehicle.

But, this has led to many of you asking what we’re doing now that we no longer have a car with us.

I’ve heard questions like:

  • How are you getting groceries?
  • How are you going to the store?
  • What are you doing for errands?
  • How do the dogs get to shore to use the bathroom? Not that a car would help in this instance anyways, haha!

Due to ditching our car, we are commuting by dinghy, folding bikes, walking and Lyft.

We haven’t had a car for around four months now, and we are still very happy with our decision!

Some of you may feel bad for us, but we’re actually really excited! Perhaps this novelty will wear off eventually, but for now, we’re excited about this change in our lives.

I know many people think that being able to drive a car anywhere you need to go is super nice, but for some people, driving everywhere might just be a habit.

Trust me, I completely understand. I used to live in a suburb and the thought of walking or riding my bike somewhere never once crossed my mind. Not at all!

Getting rid of your car (or, maybe just using it less) and finding other options might be exactly what you need if you want to save more money, be more active, feel refreshed, and so on. Taking the time to consider the benefits of being car-less might just be the push you need to change your life.

For us, having a car just wouldn’t make sense right now anyways. I mean, where would we keep a car on our boat? Haha!

 

What We’re Doing Now That We No Longer Have a Car

Going to and from our boat with our dinghy.

If you’re not familiar with boats, then you may be wondering what a dinghy is. A dinghy is a small boat that you use along with your larger boat. In the RV world, our “dinghy” was our Jeep, if that makes more sense.

When we’re not at a marina, our dinghy is our main form of transportation for getting off our boat, such as when we are anchored or on a mooring ball.

This is how we get the dogs off the boat so that they can use the bathroom (this is a common question I hear!), as you can see in the picture above.

We’ve also taken our dinghy to go out to eat at restaurants, to meet up with friends, and more.

It goes behind the boat like this when it’s not being used.

What We’re Doing Now That We No Longer Have a Car

In case you’re wondering, we have a Highfield CL340 dinghy with a 20 HP Yamaha. We also added some dinghy chaps to protect it from the harsh sun and to help it in spots where it’s rubbing against metal.

With our setup, it’s easy to get it on and off the boat, and it’s nicely secured while we’re out sailing too.

 

Folding bikes to get around town.

The other day we needed a part from West Marine, so we decided to turn it into a fun bike ride– 20 miles total.

It was a fun ride, a great way to get a workout in, and we also completed some errands. This is now our norm.

We actually love riding our bikes. When we were RVing, Wes would often ride 100 miles a day, and I like to ride around 50 miles, so doing 20 miles isn’t bad at all.

We ride our bikes to the grocery store, out to eat, to meet up with friends, and more.

Many of you have asked, “But how do you bring stuff home, such as groceries, on a bike?”

We have reusable bags, backpacks, and even a backpack cooler. It’s easy to just put everything in our bags and go home.

So, what bikes do we have? Wes and I both have Bike Fridays, which are high-quality custom folding bikes made in Oregon.

They fold up nice and small so that we can store them on the boat. They’ve been great and we are really enjoying them!

 

What We’re Doing Now That We No Longer Have a Car

We walk everywhere.

Even though we have bikes, we still walk quite often. We may walk to and from lunch or dinner, to do errands, and so on. Many times, we will take our dogs with us on a walk and complete errands (one of us stays outside with the dogs, while the other runs inside to get whatever we need). We’ve also been very fortunate to be in a marina that is within walking distance from grocery stores, banks, restaurants, and more.

Having a car is so convenient, and I realize that. However, one of the major benefits of no longer having a car is that we think longer and harder about each errand we have to run.

This is because if I want to get something from the store, it’ll take me a heck of a lot longer to complete that errand.

Plus, it’s super hot in Florida, so I will really think twice (or even three times) before thinking that I need something.

And, if I do decide to go to the store or complete whatever other errand I have, I will have to carry things home in my arms or in a backpack, so that’s another thing that can stop you from overspending or getting things that you do not actually need.

Just think about it: how many times do you go to the store for one or two things and come out with several bags full of stuff? That’s definitely not happening now!

There’s really no splurging and going crazy at Target when you have to carry everything home once you’re done shopping.

And, this is probably a no brainer, but if you are thinking more about your purchases in terms of how much stuff you can carry home, you are likely spending less money on stuff you probably don’t even need.

Maybe you really think you want something, but if you can’t just drive to the store to grab it, you will weigh out the benefits of actually going to buy the item in the first place.

It’s also just really nice to just walk everywhere! There’s no worrying about your car, finding a parking spot (which is hard in cities), and so on.

 

Uber and Lyft for farther away places.

Don’t forget, though, there are plenty of ridesharing services for those rare times when you just need to get somewhere a little faster or farther away.

We have been using Lyft a little bit (once or twice a month, for the most part), for when we’ve had to get things that were just a little farther away that we couldn’t wait on, or if it is raining too hard to ride our bikes or walk.

In the end, we aren’t missing our a car for running errands or anything else. It’s been nice riding our bikes and walking everywhere! Plus, dinghy rides are always fun.

Have you ever thought about getting rid of your car? Why or why not?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Folding bikes are awesome!! So handy in so many situations!

  2. Mel

    “Some of you may feel bad for us” lmao who are these people? Come on now 🙄

    1. We’ve actually had several people offer us their cars and people tell us that we’re crazy already. Also, a lot of people think that we were “forced” to do this due to money problems.

      What I’m saying with the sentence you quoted is that this is our choice and that we’re happy with it! 🙂

  3. I definitely think driving has just become a habit for most people. I mean I understand that in rural areas and some suburban areas driving is pretty much the only means to get around due to the lack of public transportation and how far everything is. There are other alternatives to driving and things such as walking and biking are healthy options!

  4. We downsized to one car – we work together so that helps. We live in the country so some things you mention, like thinking carefully about errands, are the same. It’s inconvenient at times but the rewards (financial and bonding) are worth it!

  5. Cars are over rated. Minimalism is the way to go. I wonder if driverless cars will ever be a thing in our lifetime? Sort of what is needed in America as our infrastructure is built around car ownership

    1. I think they will definitely be a thing in our lifetime.

  6. I would love to be able to ditch my car, but living out in a rural area with no public transport life would be just too difficult. But when I was in London and Singapore I walked or used buses, trains, taxis and Uber. I didn’t miss having a car and got fit from walking every day.
    I’m not a great bike rider but I know that many cities also have bike and scooter schemes which are another good option for not having a car.

    1. Yeah, rural areas definitely don’t make it easy to ditch a car, haha.

  7. Nita

    I grew up in the city and having a car was a hassle. However, not having one was a hindrance. Without realizing it, not having a car generally closes or boxes in your opportunity to discover new things, to conveniently go certain places late at night or early morning. It does give you a bit of freedom.

    1. I somewhat agree with that, but we’ve also traveled pretty far via bikes too! 🙂

  8. I’ve been considering getting rid of my car for a few years now. However, now I have a kid and I contemplate whether or not getting around town with a kid in tow and no vehicle would be feasible. I live in the downtown area of my city but public transportation is ridiculously slow. Do you have any blogger friends who are also parents and have experience with not having a car?

    1. Sorry, I don’t know who has a car and who does not.

      I do know plenty of sailors with young children who don’t have cars, though.

  9. You are truly an inspiration. I am so glad that you are living your dream. Good luck with that!!

  10. Great post, Michelle! I love keeping up with you guys because you seem so happy doing your own thing. I’d love to pare our vehicles down to one (we have two right now), but the convenience factor is hard to give up, especially when we live in the country and my husband works in town. Maybe one day 🙂

    1. A car is definitely convenient 🙂

  11. So what about mail and deliveries? Is your address the marina, or do you have a PO box?

  12. I heard you yesterday on the DYEB podcast, (yes, I’m late to the party) so when someone linked to you on Twitter I popped over to have a look.
    Funny you mentioned having the dogs on a boat. I have a miniature wire-haired dachshund and her breeder lives on a boat with his 6 dogs. He’s been living there for years with his partner and their dogs and he loves it.
    The bikes would make a huge difference to your shopping, without a doubt. I live around the corner from Aldi so I usually carry things home. Every 6 -8 weeks I’ll take the car to stock up on heavy things like tins or bulky things like toilet paper. I DEFINITELY buy more things when the car is doing the heavy lifting to get things home, not me!

  13. Luis Cabrera from Mexico

    Being car-less sounds really great to me.

    I used to walk a lot more when I was single (10 years ago).

    But it is not an easy thing to do when having two boys (school, soccer, grandma).

    I bet you understad

  14. Kris

    Having a car is really convenient but at the same time you have to know if it meets your needs. Our car was out of commission for almost a month earlier this year and it provided as a test to see if we can get by without one. After being limited on where to go because of the baby, it was for certain that we needed a car.
    It’s all about your situation and see if you really need something like a car, bike, and/or walk.

  15. Tom Botts

    Everyone has a different situation. In your line of work, no vehicle is needed. I live in a small town in Alaska which is located on an island. When we first moved here, we didn’t have a vehicle, but neither did most the folks in town. We made it work, but that was over thirty years ago. Once roads were built and access to more hunting area became available, everyone started using a truck or car. So much of what I need to pursue my work as a commercial fisherman requires the use of my truck to haul heavy items. I obviously have a boat which I use and if I really need to go to the beach for any reason I have a canoe. When I first moved to Alaska, the thing I missed the most was driving. Forty two years later, I still love to rent a car when we go to the lower 48 so we can go see the country.

    1. Yep, everyone’s situation is different. I’m not saying that everyone should get rid of their car.

  16. You had some great points in this article and it makes me think if I really need my car.

  17. Rank Frank

    According to WHO, in order to maintain health, a person must travel 7-15 km a day, i.e. about 1.5 – 3 hours. Everyday! So people like me (with sedentary work) need maximum loads – 15 km on foot per day.

    On weekdays, I spend 30 minutes walking to work and another 30 minutes on the way back, then every evening (well, with very few exceptions), the whole family walk for an hour. Total – 2 hours, which does not even cover the required minimum. Sometimes I run, I walk more on weekends, but the essence is the same – even now I walk a little.

    After buying a car, you will have to restore your health by doing sports or slowly say goodbye to a healthy back, slim figure and decades of life.

    2. Walk cheaper
    I have been doing home accounting for a long time, so I can tell you the numbers for sure. On average, a month my wife and I spend on transportation for $ 35- $ 40 (excluding travel), which is a penny. Having a car, only for gasoline, we would spend $ 100 – $ 150. And this is without taking into account those. maintenance and other expenses. These figures are the average data of my friends and acquaintances with cars.

    Also for the car need a garage, which will have to buy or rent. In addition to finding a garage close to home is almost impossible, you will have to pay a tidy sum for it. True, garages practically do not lose in price, and you can always sell it profitably.

    In addition, the car itself is not cheap and, of course, loses its price with the “age”, and sooner or later it will have to be replaced. Even if you often travel around the city, taxis are likely to be cheaper.

    3. The car does not give a gain in time
    traffic jams
    Yes, of course, the car will be faster on the road segment than the pedestrian, however there are many pitfalls. The car requires care, and care takes time. The car owner has to spend time on:

    bureaucracy – registration of insurance, those. passports, communication with DPS, etc .;
    scheduled maintenance: refueling, oil change, winter / summer tires;
    unscheduled maintenance.

  18. I divorced my ex in 2013 and left with nothing as I just wanted out of the marriage. In doing so, I also gave up my car and have not had one since then. I have utilized uber and lyft primarily but I also have used delivery services. By using Publix grocery delivery, I only pay 3.99 (less than I would if I ubered or lyfted) and it helps me stay on budget. I don’t “see” things like I would in a store. Now that shipt has started, I can also get things from a few more stores. I have a lot of items shipped through Amazon, Target (free shipping with Red Card) and WalMart.

  19. I have lived car free for four years now, and it feels great! Currently my home is the small Mediterranean island of Malta, and I walk EVERYWHERE.

    Glad you are embracing the car free lifestyle!

    Enjoy!

  20. Having no vcar can be really humbling, especially when you need one. And if you have one and it doesn’t run and you’re just starting out in online marketing, anyone can sell their car to pay for hosting and a domain name and PPC advertising so they can go from starting from the bottom to a future “side hustle millionaire.” 🙂

  21. My partner and I spend way more money on car related expenses than we’d like. Between having two cars and two drivers, we end up making our DTI too high. The only upside to having a car really for us is being able to easily transport groceries and bring our dog around with us easily. At this point I am not sure if it’s worth it. I know if I didn’t have a car, I’d be way healthier and I’d think twice about making unnecessary grocery trips!