8 Alternatives to Owning a Car that are Affordable

Driving has become quite expensive for the average people in the last few years. Even though it may seem to be a very extreme measure, giving up on your car is a good idea if you are trying to save some money. Given below are eight alternatives that will allow you to commute for less.

Those who have been slaves to their cars would find it very difficult to consider giving up their car. It might seem to be a very preposterous idea since for most people life without a car is quite unimaginable. However, the cost of driving a car is getting more expensive each day and it is quite likely that there would be some added pressure to your budget if you keep your car on the road.

There are several alternatives to owning your own car today if you are willing to explore the other options and think different. You will be able to save a good amount of money and be able to commute comfortably.

Given below are our best 8 alternatives that will allow you to save money:

 1.    Car Share

Car sharing is a very convenient way to commute and a good alternative to car ownership. The added bonus is that it is quite good for your finance as well as the environment. If the main reason why you use your car is commuting to work, then you can consider car sharing with those who are travelling to the same neighbourhood and save a good deal of money.

Whether you arrange for regular journeys or on and off trips, you can always search for other people travelling in the same location by using a website like National Car Share Network. The process is quite easy and is just like finding a person that you can lift share with, arranging for a pickup point and then contributing towards the petrol for the car. There are quite a lot of large companies that also offer car pooling services for their employees and you can also sign up for one of these.

2. Drive and Go

If you want to have the flexibility that owning a car can offer then it is possible to save some money by car renting with a pay as you go basis instead of purchasing the car outright. There are several car clubs all over the UK and if you register with one of these clubs as a member, you will have the freedom to select a car of your choice that you can use whenever you need it. The cars would be parked in various designated locations in various cities and as a member you can simply unlock the car and drive away.

This offers quite a lot of benefits. You will be able to have access to cars whenever you need one. You would not have to think about insurance and tax and you will also be able to use a car without worrying about maintenance. It can be a good money saver for those who don’t need a car on an everyday basis. Today there are several companies that are trying to get as much business as possible by offering you options for saving money. Given below are some of the car clubs in UK that are worth considering:

City Car Club

The club currently has cars in different locations in 13 cities in UK and are the members are given smart cards for operating them. These cards can be programmed to unlock specified cars through the network once you book the car for a time slot. The annual member for the club is GBP 50 and the hourly rates are at the most GBP 7.95, depending on the kind of car you hire. There will also be a mileage charge that you will have to pay at the rate of 19p/mile.

Street Car

This club operates in a very similar way and issues smart cards to the members. Currently they are operating in ten locations and an annual membership costs GBP 59.90 while the hourly rates start at GBP 4.95 for smaller cars and GBP 8.95 for vans. The club also includes 30 miles for each 24 hour booking and offers unlimited driving on bookings done over 72 hours.

Zip Car

This particular club also offers smart cards to the members and follows the same approach as the above mentioned clubs. Currently the club only offers its services in London. Those who are considering this particular option will be able to enjoy the service at an annual membership of only GBP 25 and hourly rates starting from GBP 3.95 to GBP 4.95.  The club also includes 60 free miles for every hire and the extra costs are for fuel and congestion charge along with the hire fees.

3. Rent a Car

Car clubs do offer good flexibility but if you do not live in a town where these services are available and want to use a car, then renting a car would be a good idea on an ad-hoc basis rather than purchasing one. Along with some of the traditional rental companies like Hertz, Enterprise and Avis, you can also consider renting the car from private owners through some of the online networks like
Whip Car.

Whip Car does not maintains its own fleet of vehicles or operate them. It allows the registered users to rent their cars when they do not require them for cash. What this means is that you would be able to rent private vehicles all over UK. Membership to the website is free of cost. However, every private owner can have a set amount for each booking and would decide what would be included in the package in terms of the free mileage so you will have to be very clear about what you need to pay when you use this service.

Before you go ahead with any type of rental agreement, it would be a good idea to shop around and ask for quotes from private individuals and traditional hire companies so that you can get the best possible deal.

4. Use a Bike

Hop on your bike and cycle your way to work. This is a good alternative to using a car. Other than purchasing the bike, there is hardly any other expense involved. This will also be a good way for you to stay healthy and do your bit for the environment. In the last few years, the government has been encouraging people to use bikes by making them more affordable.

Cycle to Work is a scheme that will allow you to pay for a brand new bike with a pay as you earn basis. What this means is that you will be able to pay for your bike from the gross salary before you need to pay taxes on it. This could help you save as much as 43% on the cost of a bike which makes it even more beneficial to switch to pedal power. Another great way to purchase a new bike without having to spend too much is to look for used bikes online. Websites like Freecyle and Gumtree have bicycles available at reduced prices and sometimes even for free.

You would also want to check auction websites like eBay or even police auction sites to get a good bargain when you purchase a bike. Join Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme if you are in London. This scheme would allow you to select a bike from hundreds of stations around the city and pay for it on a per hour basis.

5. Use the Bus

If you use your car mainly for a single route, for example for your work commute, then going by bus would be a better alternative. Most of the local bus services will offer annual or monthly tickets that can allow you to save a significant amount of money if you use them regularly. To learn if it would be worthwhile all you have to do is to calculate the amount that you will spend every week if you purchase a ticket daily to get the annual cost. Then you can just compare the cost to using a car of your own. This will be a good way to know if it is cheaper to go by the bus. If you are just going for a one off trip, book the coach ticket well in advance so you can get it for just GBP 1 with Megabus or National Express.

6 Use the Train

Using the train would be a good idea if you commute long distances. You will be able to relax on your daily journey and reach your desired destination quicker. If you are worried about how much it would cost to travel through train everyday then you would be quite surprised at how low it would be when you compare it to your expense of owning a car.

You will have to remember that there are several smaller extra costs like insurance, maintenance, services, tax and parking that add up to a lot in the end. When you add all of these extra costs you will find that the train is actually quite cheaper than the car. If you book well in advance you will even be able to save a good amount of money on train tickets. If you have flexible hours, travel during the off peak times to get additional discounts. You may also want to consider a railcard to get a good deal.

7. Walk

Though it may be very unlikely that you can simply walk around everywhere rather than using a car, there are several advantages to it when possible. First of all, you can reduce your travel expenses by walking wherever possible since it is the only travel mode that is absolutely free. Also, it is a very reliable transportation form. It may take you longer to reach your destination but you do not have to worry about other factors like train delays, tube strikes or traffic. It would also be a good way to stay healthy. Walkit.com is a website that offers custom walking timings and routes for various cities in UK and offers route planners. Walk instead of using your car for shorter journeys to save money. 

8 Take the Taxi

Travelling through taxis everyday can turn out to be quite expensive but an odd taxi trip can sometimes be very cost effective. When you consider factors like petrol, car tax, insurance and maintenance, the cost of a taxi when you need one can be significantly less if you don’t need a car on a daily basis.

Mix and Match

The alternatives that have been listed above offer different pros and cons but they can complement one another quite well. If you are quite serious about leaving your car behind then you can certainly use different transportation methods to enjoy better cost savings. The best thing to do is to not look for direct alternatives to your car but to ask yourself which would be the best way to travel for a particular journey.

The main factor to consider when deciding whether or not you should give up your car is the cost. You will have to calculate the overall cost of using your car and the cost of these alternatives and compare them to learn how much you will be able to save if you use one of these alternatives.