Since moving to the city, it seems that most of my expenses have gone up. This ranges from things you would expect like rent and entertainment (so many restaurants!) but also unexpected items like the cost of internet and utilities. Fortunately it’s not all bad, some expenses have gone down. One thing that definitely has not become more expensive since moving, is transportation costs.
City Transportation is More Than Just Cars
In the country, the only option for transportation that my husband and I had was our little 2007 Volkswagen Golf. There were no buses, and our destinations were too far away to bike to. On top of that, the closest town (and my workplace) was 8km away and the closest city was 35km away, meaning any time we wanted a big load of groceries or to go out to eat, we were looking at a 70km roundtrip.
Needless to say, we spent a lot on gas while living in the country. We managed to keep our transportation costs reasonable by being a one-car household (even though it was inconvenient at times) and by paying off our car loan as quickly as possible, but we still ended up paying around $350 per month for our transportation including insurance, gas and maintenance.
In the city, things are much different. We can walk to most of the amenities we need on a day to day basis, and take transit to get downtown. When we do drive, the trip distance is usually under 10km.
This means we’re going from spending around $200 per month on gas to around $50 per month. This will increase during months that we take trips back to our home town, but only by about another $50. Maintenance is less because we’re travelling less, and our insurance hasn’t increased (yet). Parking is included in the cost of our rent, so we don’t even have that extra expense to be concerned with.
Rolling Over the Savings
We’re spending a lot less on transportation now that we’re in the city, woot! So what am I doing with the savings? Usually when I’m able to save money in our budget I roll the money towards one of our savings goals. Right now, I don’t have any firm savings goals set for 2015, but I do know that we’re going to have to replace our car sometime in the not so distant future, so why not let these savings go towards that and/or future car repairs?
Right now our car is 8 years old and is in pretty good shape. We’ve been taking good care of it over the years and the size is still perfect for us. That said, it has a few draw backs that have made me think about replacing it semi-soon:
- It’s a standard. I hate standards! This wasn’t such an issue until we moved to this very hilly city. I have more than once accidentally squealed my tires in an effort to not roll into the guy behind me on a hill. An automatic would eliminate this problem.
- It’s not a hybrid. I really want a hybrid, or better yet a gas/electric or all electric car. I hate that we consume so much gas for the small amount of driving we do, and I’d like to reduce that amount if possible.
Neither of these reasons are enough to replace the car tomorrow, but I do want to replace it eventually, so I might as well get started with the savings now. I’d love to find a gently used Prius or Honda Civic hybrid and pay for a car in cash, but that probably won’t be an option since buying a house is also in the cards in the future. At the very least I’d like to put $10,000 down and find a Honda dealer to finance the rest at a super low rate, so I should probably start saving!
How much do you spend on transportation? I want to know!