Owning a business means our personal finances have a real ebb and flow to them. In other words: if the store is doing well, we're doing well. If it's doing poorly, we're doing poorly. Things are actually going really well for us right now; the store itself is at a mini peak. About a month ago, as we weathered our latest valley, Allie and I sat down for a big conversation about our life, our finances, and our stress. We came to several decisions, the most immediate of which is to STOP driving.
We own two cars. A couple years ago we moved one of them to storage insurance and stopped driving it. I buy myself a subsidized monthly bus pass through my office job and use the pass Monday through Friday to get to work (parking downtown is TOO expensive for driving). Our store is only 15 blocks from our house. While we often drove to get there--walking, biking, or bussing the distance is supremely easy.
We put our other car on storage insurance starting August 1st and haven't driven since. Our decision to stop driving wasn't based purely on economics (although we will be saving over $100 a month). Allie and I have also been interested in living a healthier, more fit lifestyle. Not having the option to drive FORCES us to walk and bike more, even when it's not convenient. I'm also thrilled about polluting that much less in our lives and not giving our money to gas and oil companies.
The benifit is threefold. I consider it a dramatic lifestyle change and so far, it's been going great. I definitely want to sell one of our cars this year and if the experiment goes really well, maybe we'll get rid of the other.