5 Frugal Ways to Roam About Town

“I need to go to the grocery store.” “I have to commute to work.” “My legs don’t work.” Regardless of your excuse, most of us truly believe that we need a car to get around. Unfortunately, owning your own car these days is becoming pretty expensive. With gas prices near $4.00 a gallon, driving to every destination under the sun no longer seems like the financially prudent thing to do. Still, there are ways to get to where you need to go without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips for getting around without putting your finances under stress.

Walking

Up until about 50 years ago or so, many families did not use cars as their primary means of transportation. In fact, many families were still without cars, particularly in the larger cities. Do you know how they often got around? Walking. Walking is the old fashioned way to get to where you need to be. It is a great way to trim some of those love handles off your sides while you make your way about town. I know, I know. It isn’t very glamorous right? It may not be first-class enough for Fergie, but it does have one giant upside: it is 100% FREE. Of course, walking isn’t suitable in every situation, and that is why there are still four more options to go!

Bicycling

Remember how much you loved to ride your bike as a kid? I can remember cruising around town, feeling like I was absolutely flying over to my friends house across town. In reality, I was probably only pedaling at a rate of 25 mph, but it sure did feel like I was getting places quickly. Well, here is the good news: you can still do that. Even though they may be considered old school, bicycles have not gone the way of the dinosaurs just yet. Sure, you may get totally gassed by riding the thing around your block. Yes, you may wake up feeling sore the next morning. However, the more you do it, the less it will suck, the more fun it will become, and the more fit your body will be. Besides that, it is an uber cheap way to cover larger distances quickly without having to rev up that engine.

Scooter

I’m not sure if you have noticed, but riding a scooter is all the rage right now. Still, I have to admit, almost every time I see an adult motoring around town on one of these things, my first thought is, “Man it must suck to get a DUI.” However,  scooters can provide great value to you, regardless of whether or not your name is Lindsay Lohan. They are great on gas mileage and are pretty darn cheap to buy. So, if you really don’t need the car, maybe you should look into spending your cash on a scooter instead.

Rent a Car

OK. Fine. You want to be able to travel long distances and it really does require a car. No problem. However, rather than running out to the nearest dealership and slapping down a cool 40 G’s on a brand new Acura, perhaps you should look into renting a car for those trips that you only take every 6 months. If the costs of owning and the amount of driving dictate that you may not really need a full-time car, you should look into renting one for those few days that you do. Rather than insuring a car you own year-round, you can pick up daily car insurance from Insure 4 a Day at a reasonable price. How’s that for cost cutting?

Car Sharing Program

Have you guys ever heard of this one? Yeah, neither had I until I started doing a little research. If you live near a large city, you may be lucky enough to join a car sharing program.  The program is exactly what the name implies – people who don’t need cars everyday can essentially share a car without the hassles of ownership…and for less money. Similar to renting a car, members can reserve the wheels for periods of several hours or days. Not only does it save people money, but it also is a “greener” way to get around. How’s that for innovation?

So, there you have it – 5 frugal ways to meet your transportation needs. What ways can you think of to save money on transportation? Let us know in the comments below!

 
About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. I have been all about the biking lately! It’s awesome. =).

    For those in cities – public transit can be totally worth it, too!

  2. Holly! Walking will always be my fave, until that is, I need a wheel chair. We see just about everything while walking a city. Car sharing is so cool. Wish Houston would do it. Everyone here acts like they are 80. Not exactly progressive…

  3. One of our mates, her father has an electric scooter that he fires around town in and loves. He didn’t need any real training or licence but after the battery dies it turns into a peddle bike lol…

  4. I have been walking lately, especially since we aren’t too far from things. The boyfriend isn’t too keen on walking to the grocery store, though, and then having to carry most of the things back! We don’t spend too much on gas running errands as everything is local, but every bit counts. I’d love to get a bike but I need to save up for one first.

  5. Not gonna lie, I have often had the same thought about scooter riders.

    After I moved to DC, I joined Zipcar. I refuse to pay to use it. Interestingly enough, my car used to cost me roughly $22 a day but I paid a car payment, insurance once per month, and gas (which didn’t even feel like spending). The only time I’d get irritated was when I had to pay for a repair.

    The thing is, I can’t get over the transactional costs. I don’t like seeing my usage broken down in to an expensive-seeming hourly rate. I will pay a $400 car payment before paying $14.50 an hour for a Zipcar. Stupid, right? I know I am not the only one.

  6. Funny thing about scooters… where I live now you have to have a license to have one so if your license gets suspended, you can’t legally drive a 49cc or above scooter either.

    I had a scooter in college. Best thing for a small, spread out town, as I averaged 65 mpgs! And insurance was CRAZY cheap.

    In NY, I have no car payment and my insurance is $75 a month and street parking isn’t difficult for me so I still keep my car. It’s great for trips to the beach and to see family in rural PA and Western NY and the monthly trips to Costco and/or Target. But when this car dies, I don’t know if it’s really worth it to get another one and I’m looking at getting a Zipcar membership. Plus then we’ll have an excuse not to visit family anymore, lol…

  7. Los Angeles is a car city! I used to commute about 10 minutes to work, but that changed this year. I would give up my car in a NY minute, but I need it to go to work. I plan to go down to one car in retirement.

  8. Thank you for the ideas, Holly! We love to walk and do it whenever we can, and I would love to car share. When CJ’s car dies, we’re going down to one for sure.

    We tried bikes and this city just doesn’t get it. It’s taking your life into your own hands. We know a biker who’s been hit three times. Three!

  9. I walk and walk and walk nearly every day, but I also use the public transportation (which is really good!) It only costs $65 a month, and then I can use subways, trams, busses, boats as much as I can, from early morning till midnight. It saves us so much money by using this type of transportation rather than cars.

  10. “With gas price near $4 a gallon” lol it’s $5 in Guatemala and about $8 in Europe! Running the numbers to see how much your car really cost can be eye opening, when you add depreciation and insurance, better rent once in a while than have one full time if you rarely use it.

  11. I love your list. We reach for the scooter keys first these days but think we’ll bike more in the fall, winter, & spring here in AZ. Even though it’s hotter on the scooter due to the speed, the ride is over quickly…it’s like ripping off a bandaid. A friggin hot, sweaty bandaid.

    I really should walk more though. It’s a great speed to see a neighborhood in, and I always feel good afterwards.

  12. It is very bad time when you see your car was not ready to run, so you can want your car was every tame use able for all weather, we can help them this work.

  13. Its all about the bicycle…!!

  14. It is truly a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Good stuff!
    Another site that I recently used is http://www.RelayRides.com
    I’ve rented out my jeep (folks like that top down idea) before and have already rented it out again (while I’m currently in Guatemala!)
    I’m thinking of using when I need a car rather than buying a second one…

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