My new car: access not ownership

  
I love my new car, it’s got everything I need. It’s comfortable, cheap to run, suitable for any scenario and the best thing is it’s there whenever I need it. From the moment I picked it up on Friday night I knew I’d made the right decision.
No, I haven’t had a setback on our track to a minimalist life. Rather, I’ve put into practice one of the steps on the plan to minimalism. 

We joined a car co-operative club in London last week, where people list their own cars for hire instead of leaving them sitting unused outside their home (a great idea I’m sure you’d agree). It suits our needs perfectly so we have access to a car when cycling or public transport isn’t an option.

When we planned a trip away for the weekend with friends I had a look online and found a car available around the corner from our house. A couple of clicks and it was ours.

Joining the co-operative fits in neatly with our move to owning less. We’ve come to realise that access not ownership is an important mantra for us and living in an urban area like London, where there are good transport links but parking space is at a premium, it makes even more sense.

Yes, we will need the convenience of a car sometimes but do we need to own a car? No. And we certainly don’t need to own two cars like we used to.

I did a quick calculation and worked out the cost of hiring cars on the rare occasions we need to use one. If we work on the idea of one trip a month it will come to approximately £900 a year. That is the same as we use to pay in insurance for our two cars each year. 

The financial gains are even better as we no longer have to worry about the parking permits and trips to the garage for an MOT and services which usually came to around £600.

There isn’t just the financial gain to consider either, the amount of time we used to spend servicing the cars in order to keep them on standby ‘just in case’ we wanted to use them was ridiculous. Instead of becoming a symbol of freedom, which they were when we bought them (we had lots of ideas about escaping into the countryside at the weekends), they became a burden, sapping time and money from us. In the end it was better to escape from the cars and sell them.

Having access to a car instead of owning a car has given us the freedom we craved.

F

10 thoughts on “My new car: access not ownership

    1. Hi Danielle, thanks for stopping by. It’s a great system. The daily charge (£30) in our case also covers insurance. We paid an extra £5 to take the excess on the insurance from £600 to £100. That means if we had had an accident we would have had to pay £100 and the insurance would have picked up the rest – pretty good deal! M

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  1. We’ve currently got a hire car for a fortnight and while it is wonderful to be able to do things we can’t usually do easily, all it ever does is reassure me that the gains are greater without one! We’ve started using car hire insurance as it costs £35 for a year and we don’t need to pay extortionate rates to reduce our excess. Don’t know if it would work for a co -op but worth investigating 🙂

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    1. That is a fab tip, thanks! I didn’t even know you could get hire car insurance to cover the excess. Totally agree the gains are greater without having to pay for the car, the upkeep, the MOT, the parking permits…phew! It makes me tired just thinking about it! M

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  2. That sounds like a wonderful system! I really wish we lived somewhere with good public transport (Auckland not so good…), and had jobs where we dont both need cars (music teachers who travel between schools ). I would love to not have the expense of running 2 cars!

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