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One large lesson I’ve learned in life is that perspective is incredibly important. It’s not what happens to you, but how you react and handle the situation that is most important. For me, I turned a pretty negative event into a large opportunity.
I was on my way to work, and I totaled my car. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Because my airbag went off, the car was deemed totaled.
I haven’t replaced the car. Instead, I’ve realized huge savings transitioning to a carless lifestyle, which, along with the best travel credit cards, is helping me travel more.
Here’s how I turned this unfortunate event into a great opportunity to save money and travel even more!
A Change to the Carless Lifestyle Means Big Savings and More Travel
Transportation is becoming incredibly fluid and accessible. Whether it be public transportation, ridesharing, the newest fad of e-scooters, or even walking, there are several ways to get around in an affordable manner.
Before my accident, I was paying nearly $700 a month in car payments, insurance, depreciation, gas, and other costs. I was already contemplating getting rid of my car because I had just moved to an apartment with my wife where I was only 1 mile away from work. Then, my accident happened. Luckily, my insurance wrote me a check for the entire balance of my car, and $1,500 on top. So I had a small cushion to experiment with this new lifestyle a try.
After 30 days, I decided to evaluate where I was financially. I had saved nearly $600 just after one month! Once I saw those tangible savings, I knew no longer owning a car was necessary.
Along with this, I have created “indirect savings.” I’ll explain.
Let’s say I want to go grab a quick bite to eat 3 miles away. Well now, not only is my meal a hard cost, but also my transportation there and back. These costs aren’t so tangible in a car payment as you make that once a month, but very tangible when you have to pay for it each time you use it. That $12 meal just jumped to $30 just because of getting to and from. So now I am very particular in where I go to continue saving money.
And the best part is I’m also earning points and miles!
How to Earn Points & Miles Living Carless
Another great part of the carless lifestyle is the ability to make the most of your commuting purchases.
For me, I enjoy the $15 a month in Uber credits I receive from The Platinum Card® from American Express. When I do run out of credits, I tend to favor Lyft because prices are better and I earn Delta miles with each ride. You earn 1 mile per $1 spent on regular rides, and 2 miles per $1 on rides to and from an airport.
Along with this, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is great to complement this lifestyle. Not only can you earn 20,000 points (worth $200) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, but you can also earn 3X points per $1 on ordering in food, rideshares, transit and car rentals!
The best part about the carless lifestyle is saving money so I can travel more. While points and miles from the best travel credit cards can really cut costs down, cash is needed from time to time.
Before I tried this, I didn’t think the carless lifestyle was possible. Growing up in Los Angeles, you are born to believe you need a car to get from A to B. Now, I can’t advocate for it enough as car ownership nearly everywhere is becoming optional because of alternatives.
I’ve saved close to $5,000 making this lifestyle change, and I would encourage you to do the same!
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