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College Savings Tip: Live Without A Car

By Erik Folgate

This might sound crazy to some of you, but I knew plenty of people who made it happen. The only drawback this is that it makes it tough to hold a job during college. I think all college students should working during their college career, but many jobs are either on campus or right around the corner. My senior year, I worked as a computer technician on campus, and I lived five blocks from campus. I drove my bike to work every day. Here are five reasons why living without a car can save you some significant cash.

  1. Gas is $3.75 a gallon. Need I say more?
  2. Insurance premiums for young people are outrageous. You’ll easily spend $75 to $100 a month on car insurance.
  3. Car maintenance is extremely costly, and most young people drive old cars. Oil changes, new tires, new alternator, new radiator, and new batteries. I replaced all of those during school, and I cringed every time that I did it.
  4. Parking is never fun at large universities. Parking passes ran $75 to $100 a semester for on-campus passes and some apartment complexes near campus charged for parking passes as well.
  5. You won’t be tempted to go home as much. I know mom and dad want to see you, but going home is expensive. Not having a car won’t tempt you to make unnecessary road trips.

Seriously consider buying a good bike and get familiar with the bus system. I owned a car, but I still frequently road my bike, because finding a parking space on UF’s campus is impossible during peak hours. I also used the bus system frequently, because it was free with our student ID. You will seriusly save some cash if you can find a way to make it work for you.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • ekrabs

    No, I don’t think this is crazy at all. In fact, I really, really, really want to go carless. And go with a scooter or bicycle instead.

    Unfortunately, circumstances being what they are right now, it’s not an option for me. But hopefully, it can be some day into the future.

  • Elizabeth I

    Most people do not need cars on campus especially if you live in a college town. College students need to think more creatively, find someone with a car and see if they can give you a ride somewhere for a small fee $5-$10 dollars or take a taxi if necessary. It is so much cheaper than gas, car payments, insurance, etc.

    My husband and I have shared a car for 5 years. At first I thought how could we do this? Then we got used to it. We didn’t run unnecessary errands. We got used to it and save a TON of money.

    • Elizabeth I

      I forgot to mention that community cars are a great way to cut down car expenses if you live in a big city.

  • DG

    I don’t know why a car is essential unless you live at home and go to college. Usually, you can’t find parking any where and gas prices/maintenance prices are bummers. In a big city, public transportation should be fine and many college campuses offer shuttles for free or at a reduced cost. Pretty surprised to find that a lot of people still depend on vehicles in college. Unless you live far there’s really no reason for it.

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