Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Do you really need a car to live the good life?

Having just returned home from a driving vacation (more about that another day), I keep wondering whether two retired people really need two cars to live the good life. Mind you, we paid cash for both of our cars (and you can too if you read the post about buying your cars wholesale) - so there is no car payment, but there are still the maintenance, gasoline and insurance costs on the cars. After spending two weeks away with only one car, I realized that we either go places together or we have a tendency for one to stay home while the other plays golf, goes shopping or whatever.

If you live in a major city where there is good public transportation, you may not need a car at all. We live in the 'burbs, but Mr. S. still drops me off at the Tri-Rail station so that I can take the commuter rail down to Fort Lauderdale or Miami when I want to head to the city.

If you're IN a major city you might want to consider joining ZipCar as an alternative to owning. If you can use the subway, rail or bus for day to day traveling, but just need a car for an occasional weekend away ZipCar seems to provide the least expensive alternative to renting a car.
What does it cost to join?
  • You pay a one-time $25 application fee.
  • Your annual fee of $50.
  • No deposit.
  • No monthly commitment.

What does it cost to drive?

  • Depending on the car model, drive from $8 /hour and $60 /day (any 24-hour period) . Gas, insurance and 180 FREE miles * are included.

What about housemates or family?

  • Once you join, you can add other drivers to your account. It's $25 to apply. There's a $25 annual fee. You may wish you weren't related — but they'll at least be happy about it.
It's a very simple concept. Once you join you're given a Zip Card. When you want to use one of the ZipCars, you simply call or go online to reserve the car of your choice. Then just wave your ZipCard at the windshield and the car unlocks. You'll be good to go. Don't forget about that gas card that you'll find in the car (remember - gas & insurance are both included).

Whether you want to drive a hybrid, SUV, sedan or station wagon - you'll find the car that fits YOU! If you live in the San Francisco area, you can even rent a plug-in electric hybrid that can zip over 100 miles per gallon.

Until ZipCar hits the suburbs, we'll keep one of our cars. It's nice to know that we can always rent one of their cars when we travel in the future though, because I don't EVER want to drive from Florida to New England again!


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