Family Ditched Car Completely for a Better Life

Jessica Cave leads the way while Erick and their daughter Rachel follow as the family heads down Bristol St. on a recent shopping trip.
Photo: Michael Goulding / The OC Register

Tired of dumping money into car repairs, a Santa Ana, California family decided to take the plunge and ditched their car all together. The result? Much less stress and the family even recouped a third of their income in six months!

"It's taken a lot of stress out of our lives," Erick says. "We're not hurrying all the time. And we spend more time together as a family."

Within two months they paid off two credit cards. No car meant no car bills. It also meant no quick trips to Taco Bell. No morning jolt of Starbucks. No impulse buys of jeans or toys at Target.

Shopping on a bike, says Erick, prompts the question: "Do we really need an extra box of Crunch 'n Munch?"

One day Jess had a strange complaint: too much money in her wallet and no place to put it. Erick figured out they were recouping more than a third of their income.

"It's as if your boss came in," he says, "and asked if you wanted a 35 percent raise."

Link - Thanks Julie Anne I!

Update 9/25/07: Also check out Erick's website, where he has addressed many of the questions/comments below - Thanks Erick!

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I read a lot of the comments here. Thanks for the positive responses. A lot of the criticisms that have been brought up I've answered on my web site at . Feel free to challenge them there.
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Chris, automobile passengers SHOULD be wearing seatbelts and have airbags. It would be my guess that most brain injuries resulting from auto accidents occur in situtations without one or both of these. Bicyclists, on the other hand, don't have the protection of a large metal-framed car around them.

Of course it's great that these people are doing this, for a number of reasons (health, environmental, financial, etc.). It's just that it isn't practical for most people. Naturally if you live in a big city with a subway system, etc. it would be easy. But in suburban or rural areas, there's too much sprawl to realistically get from one place to another safely or punctually. And in most areas, especially at nighttime, you're practically asking to be run over or mugged. It completely depends on the region you live in and your lifestyle.
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Interesting how threatened people are by someone else doing the right thing. Perhaps we can't all immediately give up our cars but the more we can do the better. We sold our second car several years ago and have found fewer disadvantages than we expected...we have never actually had to use a taxi despite being prepared to. I bike or walk every day (with a is illegal not to here in New Zealand) and don't look too different to the mother...but I am very healthy and almost get sick. Give it a go!
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It's disappointing to see so many people immediately write this off. Yes, it means you have to make different decisions with your life. Maybe we're not all meant to live in McMansions 40 miles from work, though.

I lived car-free in Silicon Valley for 6 years and it was great.
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Did anyone notice the article said they were driving a 1987 Volvo? Of course a 20-year-old car is going to have problems. Sell or junk the dang thing, and use the "couple of grand" they were going to spend on repairs on a newer used car.

It's nice that they can do that, but yeah, I can't ride a bike 10 miles to the nearest grocery store and make it home with a lot of groceries. Especially in the winter.
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