26 September 2007

carless in chicago

i sold my car. after 16 months in the city, i am finally rid of this burden.

but nicole, how will you live without a car????? STRESS FREE, that's how.

before we moved to chicago, we decided to sell don's truck. no one bought it, so we actually had to give it away. officially a 1-car 'household.' then we decided that it would be too expensive to insure don, and that i would be the only driver. insurance was cheap for me. it was fine. several long car trips later, i decided being the only driver is for the birds. we are birds.

we decided to utilize the gated parking across the street from our loft. it was pretty good and a bargain at $125 a month. then they kicked us out so they could build a 15-story condo on the lot. we decided to save the money and start parking on the street. this required the purchase of a city of chicago parking sticker, which is normally $76. we however, had the misfortune of not purchasing this within 30 days of moving to chicago, so the late fee brought the total to somewheres around $125. we purchased the sticker in april, and had to renew in june. several parking tickets, near towings, and a broken mirror later, i decided parking on the street was for chumps. we are chumps.

this frustration was further escalated by a mere oil change. for the first time in my life, i had to take my car to someone else to get the oil changed. this oil change resulted in the recommendation that i make about $1500 worth of repairs to my car. the car is 11 years old - not worth it. so i settle for $700 (at a cheaper establishment) of necessary maintenance. paying someone else to change your oil is for suckers. we are suckers.

at this point, we had already come to the realization that we don't really need a car. we drove once a week - sometimes we didn't even need to, just to keep the engine from getting cob-webby. not to mention that i was the only one who could deal with the car, because i was the only one with insurance (you owe me big, don semple). but, we had several 5-hour trips over the summer that we had already committed to. and if you have ever tried to rent a car under the age of 25, you know that it is a rip off. so we kept the car through this last road-trip, which was to des moines on september 8.

yesterday we sold the car. it is gone, and in its place is a nice chunk of change with which we can purchase a long-coveted coffee table and desk chair. [don't worry, we get a trade discount direct from the supplier.] and the rest of the money will help us pay off a student loan, which will in turn put us that much closer to saving for our first house or condo or whatever. we will also save $3000 - $4000 a year. and hopefully we won't want or need to buy a car for a really, really long time. certainly not until we have a garage and the desire to make a car payment. in the meantime when we could use a car, we will utilize one of chicago's car sharing programs, like zipcar. and don will be doing the driving.