Family save £3,500 a year by ditching their car for walking and cycling

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Money savvy (Picture: Anita Maric / SWNS)

Who’d have thought the cost of car journeys would add up to so much?

A frugal couple with four children have saved thousands by travelling everywhere on foot or bus, saying goodbye to their car.

They even go on holiday by train.

Ruth and Tom Cumming, both 38, got tired of the costs associated with keeping a car running.

When they were told their ten-year-old VW Touran would cost thousands to repair after it broke down last January, they sold it and didn’t look back.

The family now mostly walk or cycle to school and work, and for longer journeys they take the bus or train.

Ruth and Tom live with their children Andrew, ten, Joel, nine, and four-year-old twins Samuel and Naomi, in Bournville, Birmingham.

They’ve saved thousands (Picture: Anita Maric / SWNS)

The city is currently ranked one of the highest in the UK for car-ownership.

Ruth believes the family have saved at least £3,500 on fuel and running costs in a year.

She said: ‘We haven’t looked back from the day we got rid of the car.

‘The car broke down one day and it was going to cost around £2,000 to repair.

Now they cycle (Picture: Anita Maric / SWNS)

‘We just thought that maybe this is the point where we’ll go car-free.

‘It was during lockdown and no one was going anywhere anyway so it was easy but we still haven’t missed it when things got back to normal.

‘The main thing we’ve learnt is about choosing the best tool for the job.

‘Is it walking, cycling, bus or tram? If those are not possible then we will hire a car. I’m not anti-car but cars are overused in cities.

‘We had to hire a car when we went to the Peak District.

‘None of us are particularly sporty, but it is important that we bring exercise into daily life.

Their children are on board too (Picture: Anita Maric / SWNS)

‘You just naturally fit in exercise in the day. It builds into your daily life. It’s free entertainment to the kids.

‘There was an environmental element to this decision too.

‘Since having the kids we try to make as little impact on the planet as we can.

‘It is something new for us because we weren’t really into being eco until we had the kids.’

As fuel prices continue to rise, the choice has proved to be even better.

A major money saver (Picture: Anita Maric / SWNS)

Ruth added: ‘The other day my brother spent nearly £100 on the tank of fuel.

‘I’m so glad I don’t have to do that, I don’t know where I’d find that money.

‘We were spending around £200 a month on the car and if we still had it today that it would be even more because of the high fuel bills.’

Tom, a researcher at Birmingham University, uses his bicycle to get to work and pick up essentials from a local shop on his way home.

Ruth is also a member of Co-wheels car club and hires a car for a day when she can’t take public transport.

She said: ‘You do have to take entertainment so when we go to Devon, it takes three-and-a-half hours on the train.

‘The twins cope with that now they’re four.

‘We’ve had some really horrific journeys back from Devon in the car when the kids were toddlers because they didn’t want to be strapped into a car seat and they were whinging and whining.

‘They’re far less likely to moan on a train than they were in the car.

‘It’s really liberating, I feel a real sense of freedom that we don’t have to worry about the admin of the car.

‘We don’t have to worry about repairs.

‘The money saving is great, I mean ultimately, that’s why we didn’t want to be dependent on a car.

‘It’s nice to say we do it for environmental reasons and that, of course, is part of it but we just have never had the budget to have a really reliable car.

‘With the cost of living crisis and higher fuel bills, I think a lot of people are taking a look at their car and thinking whether they really need it.’

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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