Ever since passing my driving test I've owned a car. The most I've ever spent on a car is around the £2,000 mark for a Citroën Saxo and have always insisted on small-engined, economically viable vehicles.
However, upon moving from my family home in Liverpool to Manchester to study for a Masters Degree, I came to the conclusion that, for the first time, my car might not be worth the cost any more.
I'd moved to a place within a ten minute walk of the city centre and the idea of saving money became even more relevant as I was again a student, only this time wasn't granted the standard student loans as before.
Living off savings wasn't the most appealing aspect for me, either, so to compensate I (luckily) acquired a part-time job of a few weekly hours to help myself get by.
At the time my weekly food shop was around £25, yet the average weekly cost to maintain my car was (including petrol) about £20. It therefore made sense to get rid of this added burden by selling up.
Webuyanycar.com wooed me with their quick and simple adverts that promised to relieve owners of their unwanted motors. After filling out the appropriate online form, the amount they offered me (after a £19.99 admin fee) was £20. I was less than impressed. I knew my well-maintained car -- even though it was a 1996 reg -- had only clocked up 60k miles and was clearly worth more, recession or no recession. Shortly after posting a brief Facebook status advert, a friend declared interest and ended up paying £250 for it.
Having not only gained £250 cash in hand, I began to genuinely notice the additional £20 a week extra I had in my bank account, while listening to pals bemoan increasing petrol costs and inflated insurance quotes. For now, at least, removing these crippling expenses was a huge benefit, especially as I was now saving several hundred pounds (not including any work the car might have needed doing to it) over the year.
In summary, if you find yourself in a similar situation, here a few tips to consider:
1. Assess whether your daily journeys can be achieved by walking or public transport
2. Calculate outgoing costs of your vehicle, thus allowing you to discover how much you can save and use for other essentials, ie food and bills.
3. If you can, sell privately - ideally to someone you know. You'll get a much better price (over 12 times in my case)
Sure, having a car is of course convenient, but unless you sit down and work out the sums, you might not realise the sheer costs petrol alone can set you back.
I'm not a big fan of public transport: it's unreliable and far too expensive, but depending on your location to work, shops, etc, walking, train and bus alternatives are more than bearable for the amount you can potentially save.