Living Without A Car In Texas

by Ragtimelil

Still searching for solutions to a car-less condition. Exploring buying, borrowing, getting rides and charity.

Almost a year ago, I bought a truck to haul my camper down to Texas to be closer to my elderly dad. After I got here my truck broke down. I tried to have it fixed but one thing after another broke until the mechanic said it wasn't worth fixing. I had to let it go. I've been without a vehicle ever since.

There are some good things about living without a car. I definitely have more money to spend on other things. Not only do I not have to make payments or pay for gas and repairs, I spend less in other ways because I can't run out to the store whenever the mood strikes me.

I'm not adding to the pollution of the atmosphere. I get more work done by staying home.

The Down Side

But there are some drawbacks. 
I try to get rides with my neighbors. I have one neighbor in particular who gives me rides to the grocery store when she goes. But sometimes she's busy doing other things when I need something.
Long Road
I start to panic when I run out of necessities like food. There is no public transportation here - no buses, no subways. Texas is a big state. Things are spread out. There is only one  convenience  store within walking distance.  
Even walking is hazardous. There is no shoulder on the side of the road and most drivers are aggressive. A man was hit by a car and killed recently walking down our street after his car broke down.

Dogs in Cars

border collieSometimes I need to get one of my dogs somewhere. Right now I need to get Doc to a rabies clinic. My neighbor is allergic to dogs and would get sick if he rides in her van. I've asked another neighbor, but I don't know how long I'll have to wait in line. I can't ask someone to hang around for a long time waiting for me.

My Dad

I moved here to be closer to my dad. Now I can't get to him. He and his wife both have been in the hospital and I couldn't get there to help them out. My cousin generously drove almost six hours twice to pick me up and drive me into Houston. I can't ask her to do that again unless it's critical.

A Few Other Things

I've just moved here and only have a couple of friends. I'm not able to visit them unless they want to come pick me up. I'm not able to make new friends since I can't get to events and activities that would allow me to meet new people.
Sometimes I need just one little thing to finish a project. I can't run out to get that one thing so it waits. Or I order it online. It seems foolish though to order something for $1.98 and spend $8.00 for shipping. So I wait. And the project doesn't get finished.

Food or Car?

So why don't I just buy a car? I had a little part-time job before I moved. It wasn't much but it was enough to make car payments. Now I'm living entirely on Social Security. I get enough to pay rent and utilities and then I have a whopping $300 a month to live on. That's plenty for me, but if I make car payments of $200 a month and car insurance of $100 a month, well, then no food. Yes, I can go to the food bank twice a month for one shopping bag of food. But what about things like toilet paper and milk and staples like flour and sugar?  They don't pass those out.

Some Solutions

So I'm trying to save. That's a slow process. I've never been very good at it. Something always happens to eat up my savings like a dog emergency or computer repairs.
I'm hoping that I'll start to make some money online soon. It has been slow but I'm working hard at it.
I might even spring for an electric bicycle, but they're not cheap. Even the conversion kits cost over $300. At least I could get to the corner store and one friend's house - if I don't get killed.


In the meantime, I'm applying online at some of the charity car web sites. I don't have anything to lose. One that really sounds good is Free Charity Cars.  It depends a lot on votes. I haven't really figured it all out yet but it has a good feel to it. I signed up as Alley Cat if you're looking for me.
Charity Cars

I find it's very hard for me to ask for help. I'm not the only person around here without a car. I feel that public transportation should be available everywhere. It's not a matter of choice for everyone. And those with cars might find it more practical on occasion. But, for now, there is no choice - drive or stay home.

Updated: 04/04/2013, Ragtimelil
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Ragtimelil on 11/10/2014

Thanks for the thought. A van would be perfect, but since I wrote this piece, I did acquire a vehicle. Probably should update it....

MBC on 11/10/2014

I have the perfect car for you! Have a look at Take a bus up to Colorado and drive it back over a weekend. Good luck

Ragtimelil on 06/15/2013

Aw, shucks. Thank you. I'm seeing my car coming to me.....

fitzcharming on 06/15/2013

I love your writing. I checked out your blog too. I think you are a very rich person in mind and spirit. Wishing you a good used car somewhere in the near future! Hang in there.

Ragtimelil on 04/16/2013

Thank you.

Markwell on 04/16/2013

Informative. I like it!

Ragtimelil on 04/13/2013


katiem2 on 04/13/2013

I like the way you think!

Ragtimelil on 04/12/2013

Absolutely. No where to go but up.

katiem2 on 04/12/2013

Good it's a deal then we both keep on keeping on.

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