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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Car-Free College?

Donna Freedman wrote a piece on going car-free in Seattle, saving herself $7000-$10,000 per year. Sadly, much of these United States is not set up for such a choice, given the vast distances to be traversed along with a dearth of public transport.

How about a more modest proposal? How about car-free in college? As Frugal Son prepares (fingers crossed) to graduate, I have been thinking about his cosmic or karmic savings account. Not only did he choose a state school with a big scholarship, but he chose to do without a car. Of course, he is making this choice mostly for ecological reasons.

Last week, we had a rendezvous at a crawfish boil. He came with a friend who had a car. They were enticed by the free crawfish invite. The rendezvous involved an exchange: we brought Frugal Son some clean towels; he gave us about 75% of the contents of his dorm room.

Even though his friend has a pretty efficient car, Frugal Son still paid $24.00 for the gas. Wow! When Frugal Son NEEDS a car (seldom), he pays for the gas plus some lagniappe. He also does a lot of cooking for people. Miss Em has a similar arrangement. She cuts a lot of hair for people. They give her rides. Of course, she pays for gas too.

One student of our acquaintance has a car at LSU. She never drives it. Why? She's afraid of losing her parking space.

Anyway, Frugal Son has at least a $20,000 deposit in his karmic and ecological savings account. Miss Em has half that.

Oh, speaking of modest proposal: if you are a college graduate, I hope you've had a chance to read this masterpiece. It's available in a THRIFT edition: perfect.


et said...

All my siblings and my daughter spent at least the first 2 years of college without a car. If/when we did get one, the most use it got was driving home for holidays & the occasional/rare drive to a nearby lake, as most college towns have everything you need day-to-day within walking distance. Some of my friends with cars mainly used them for storing stuff in the trunk because the dorm rooms were so small. And, as you said, good parking spots are extremely rare. I'd say as long as he lives on campus, a car with the attendant expenses including parking permits is unnecessary.

Frugal Scholar said...

@et--So true. Most colleges are self-contained universes also.