Over a year ago, when I was still working, we made one of the best financial and environmental choices for our family. We decided NOT to purchase a car, new or used. Instead my husband signed up for our local car club called StreetCar. In the year since then, we have spent less than one month’s car payment for our occasional use of a vehicle.
My husband does have the use of a company van, which we take to the grocery store about once a week. But it is never comfortable and on occasion we must transport more people than it will accommodate. As a result, we had given some serious thought to purchasing either a new or recent model ‘people carrier.’
When we considered the cost of a deposit, payments, MOT and petrol (gasoline for an American readers), we reconsidered the commitment. It was a good thing. Not only did I lose my job, which cut our income in half, but the price of petrol went up steeply.
For people like us, who do not heavily rely upon their vehicle, car clubs are an excellent option. For a small monthly membership fee and a reasonable hourly rate that gets charged automatically to your debit or credit card, you have an almost constant access to vehicles for your use: no payments, no insurance, no MOT or road tax, and not even petrol or maintenance.
StreetCar is not the only car club around, or even the only one in London. It just happens to be the one with cars within fifty metres of our flat. For more information about car clubs and to find your local one: http://www.carclubs.org.uk/home. Like our family, it might be one of the best Frugal Fam decisions you make this year.