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Walking the Walk

Terry Whaley reviews "How To Live Well Without Owning a Car"

From the Spring 2007 American Trails Magazine

Cover of book

How To Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish

Invest $12.95 and a couple of hours on this book and there is a good chance that you will be convinced to tweak your lifestyle a bit to save yourself thousands of dollars. At least that was the inspiration and experience I gained from reading How To Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish.

Being in the trail business often leads to seeking, educating, and promoting lifestyle practices that are softer on the environment. Since I enjoy the challenge to stretch a dollar, and I despise every dollar I've spent on vehicles, this book really cleared the path to a new vision.

After reading the book, which coincided with several hundreds of dollars in needed car repairs, my wife and I decided to attempt the "car-lite" lifestyle challenge in Chris's book. Currently four months into the "experiment," we have saved the replacement cost of a second car, reduced annual insurance cost by $970, and reduced monthly gas/oil/maintenance by $255.

Every person has to find the formula that will match their schedule and commuting needs. We use a combination of car-pooling, public bus, and bicycles (weather permitting). The bike commutes have added to our fitness routine where before it was just lost time in a car. Success is not without compromise, and some creative scheduling of work and meetings may be needed. It also affects your routine and independence, but so far the payoff has been worth it.

Being a dollar stretcher I initially checked the book out of the local library. So sold on the message and information in Chris's book I have since purchased three copies, and have three more on order, all of which have been given to friends in hopes that they become inspired to try going "car-free."

In his review of the book Ed Begley, Jr. said, "Chris Balish's book can help environmentally conscious Americans live their values. If you're concerned about pollution and global warming, follow the program in these pages. There can be life without a car. And a good life at that!" If a softer impact on the environment is not on your agenda read the book and take a look at the softer impact it can have on your wallet.

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