How We Survived Two Years in Utah Without A Car


Prior to getting into this post, I want to preface this with the fact that I know people who live in big cities like New York or San Francisco would find this post pretty useless, given the fact that most people don’t own vehicles and ride public transit. HOWEVER, living in Utah, I’d say we’ve accomplished something pretty abnormal. Also...this post has taken about a year to write so I apologize for it being so long!

We do not own a car.
We haven’t owned one in over TWO years.
Not owning a vehicle has been one of the biggest blessings for us.
Keep reading to see our reasons why…
My husband and I got married in 2012 and moved to the heart of Downtown Salt Lake City. We both chose full-time jobs that happened to be within a few blocks of our apartment. When our car broke down at the start of 2014 and the repairs exceeded the value of the car itself (it was a beater and had lived its full life!) we decided to sell it for parts and start looking for a new car. As the weeks past, we realized how little of our life revolved around having a car. We have hundreds of restaurants outside our doorstep. We live a few blocks away from the movie theater, two amazing shopping centers, the grocery store, our dentist office, our church, the gym, the library, sporting venues, etc.…. The list goes on and on. Now as months and months began to go on, the need for a car diminished and we just stopped thinking about buying one. 
One thing that I found interesting when we made the decision to not have a vehicle is how many people, including members of our extended family, resented our new idea.  Many felt that not having a vehicle would inhibit us from being able to live our lives, that we wouldn’t be able to make it work, and that we were just plain well, weird. Aw, but it’s all about perspective my friends….

Imagine for a second not having a car payment.
Imagine not having to pay for car insurance.
Imagine not having to pay for gas.
Imagine not having to stress about when your car was going to break down.
Imagine not having to depend on your own vehicle to get you to work.
Imagine not having to deal with sitting in traffic, dealing with road rage and having to alter your day around the weather-related road delays.
The necessity of owning a vehicle became irrelevant for us and making that decision to not have a vehicle and live close to our jobs turned into one of the best decisions we have ever made as a married couple. We began to focus the money we would’ve been spending towards a car payment, insurance, gas, etc. towards our savings account and traveling.
Drive less. Live more.
That has been our motto for that past two years.  While our fellow co-workers sat in traffic jams after getting off work, we could arrive home in a few minutes, eat dinner and be out at the movies… all by the time they even got home.  Our savings account nearly tripled and we were able to take a lot of big vacations across the country from New York, San Francisco, to Texas, and Hawaii. Obviously our decision to be car-less has had its share of cons. There are things that we have had to sacrifice since not having a vehicle. There are parts of the Salt Lake valley that aren’t as easily accessible via public transit and we many times have had to rely on our friends and family sometimes to pick us up for group date nights and family events. We appreciate everyone who has gone out of their way to help us be able to attend things despite not having a car.
Here's how we have survived without a car for two year:
Trax/ Frontrunner- We are experts now in how to ride the public transit systems in Utah. While we haven’t ever used the bus system (neither of us dare to!), we have mastered checking routes, catching the frontrunner train to Provo or Ogden, or riding TRAX out to the airport to catch a flight. The Public transit system in Utah is great and very inexpensive compared to other major cities. It’s $2.50 per stop on Frontrunner and $2.50 for about two hours of riding on TRAX (wherever your end location may be).
Shopping Cart- We purchased a small shopping cart off Amazon that folds up easily, allowing us to get a transport a good amount of groceries from the local grocery store to our apartment. You are more conscious of what you purchase at the grocery store when you have to be the one to carry or cart it a  couple blocks home! We have reusable bags that we bring when we go for small trips to the grocery store, which allows for us to not use the paper or plastic bags that easily rip and are bad for the environment. The reusable bags can hold more weight and work perfectly for walking home.
Our Own Two Feet- There is so many parts of the city that you miss when you just drive around in a car. We have found so many hidden gems just from walking around so much and we both lead a healthier lifestyle since we walk around the city for everything.  Walking and figuring out how to get from point A to point B is different when you’re walking vs. a car but we’ve learned that the effort is absolutely worth it.
While I understand this isn’t a situation that everyone in life WILL or WOULD WANT to experience, it has been a great learning experience for us. Many times I think our society focuses on material things and how “essential” they are to your life. You NEED a big house, you NEED a nice car, you NEED this and that… but you really really don’t!  Living in a location that has everything you need at your doorstep has been something we have loved. Our priorities are different now…. the city life has changed us.
RECENT UPDATE** We purchased a car last week as we are expecting our first child in July (more on that to come!) and one of the interesting things I’ve noticed since purchasing it is people’s reactions. I think we’ve had as much mixed reactions to buying the car as we did when we told everyone we were car-less. The reason why I added this section to this post is to reiterate the fact that YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LIFE. Not everyone is going to like the decisions you make and not everyone is going to be happy for you despite calling themselves your friends or family. It seems to be human nature to criticize and create judgment about other people’s lives.  You need to make the best decision for yourself/family and you shouldn’t give a crap about what other people think because at the end of the day you’re the one who has to live with the life you’ve created. Don’t let others opinions or reactions to you affect your happiness. Trust your decisions.
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6 comments

  1. Being car-less is actually pretty great.I actually enjoy it sadly in the part of Texas I live we don't have a great transportation system! Congrats on the baby that's coming.
    xx Terica
    www.citihippie.com

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