You probably don’t realize it, but you drive much more than you need to. You get into your car much more often than you should, but there’s a simple way that you can make sure that you only drive when you need to — by paying yourself a small fee every time you get into your car.
Basically, the reason that you drive more than you need to is because there is nothing to encourage you to take a moment and consider whether or not you really need to to use the car. While there are costs that are associated with driving the car, you don’t actually see these costs as you drive. When you decide to take a quick trip to the store to get something that you accidentally forgot to purchase, you don’t think how much wear and tear it will cause the car, how much gas it will expend or any of the other cost associated with driving the car. You simply get in the car and drive to the store because it’s easy.
The truth is that there are real direct and indirect costs each and every time you drive your car. So the question becomes, how do you remind yourself about the costs of driving your car? There is a simple remedy for this problem. All you need to do is charge yourself a $5 fee every time you get into the car.
There is something about the process of having to take out $5 and place it into the collection box each time you want to drive. It is exactly the little nudge that you need to make you step back and consider, “Is this trip truly necessary?”
When I tell people that I have to pay $5 to use my own car, they look at me like I’m crazy. Why would you ever pay to drive your own car? My answer is that doing so will dramatically change your driving habits for the better and improve your finances far beyond what you imagined. These are some of the direct results from implementing this system:
We are much better organized. It’s amazing the number of “necessary” trips you make when you can just get into your car and go. When you have to pay five dollars to use the car, however, many of those small trips don’t seen near as necessary. What happens is that you delay the trip until you have several errands that you can do all together.
We shop (and spend) a lot less. Since we aren’t taking constant trips to the store there is a lot less opportunity to purchase impulse items and such. We also aren’t wandering around the store wondering if we need to purchase something else. Since we need to now organize our trips into one outing, we know exactly what we need to purchase on those trips(another positive aspect of being better organized).
We save time. The combination of being better organized and taking fewer trips means that we have more free time than we did when we could use the car whenever without paying. It’s amazing the amount of time we wasted driving here and there.
We pay less in gas. Since implementing this program, we drive about 40% less than we did before paying for each drive. That has meant spending a lot less on gas than we had been. It has also meant that we qualified for a discount on our auto insurance for driving less. Although I have no real way to measure (our car has always been in good shape and we have never had any trouble with it), I assume that the wear and tear has decreased meaning we will pay less in repairs. I do know that the standard maintenance such as changing oil and air filters doesn’t need to be done so often.
We exercise more. We would have never thought about jumping on our bike to go to the movies or walking to the post office before we implemented the $5 rule. Now these are common occurrences. We get more exercise as a direct result of not taking the car every single time we leave the house.
We are helping the environment. While we always talked a good game about how we needed to help the environment, it was a lot of talk. Now that we drive less, we know that we actually are doing out part to help the environment.
We never have to worry about money for repairs. The money that we collect for driving the car is our “car fund” and is what we use to pay for all expenses related to the car. If a repair is needed, the money for that is available.
We will never have to finance a car again: The car fund, even with the reduced amount we drive, is enough that we will never have to finance a car again unless we choose to. This means we can pay in cash and get the discounts associated with that – not to mention not having to pay to borrow money.
As you can see, placing a $5 fee on your driving can have a huge effect on both your driving habits and your finances. Don’t get me wrong. We still take plenty of fun trips and enjoy a good Sunday drive. Almost all the driving reduction has come from not going out each and every time we forget something plus streamlining a lot of the trips we were making before into a single one.
You do drive too much. Much more than you ever imagined. If you want to see, try this pay to drive system. I think you’ll be amazed at the changes you see in your driving habits after a few months.