If you don’t have a car and find yourself taking Uber often, you may be wondering if you’re wasting your money by spending more on Uber than on an actual car. Likewise, if you do have a car and are drowning in your monthly car, gas, maintenance, and insurance payments, you might be wanting to ditch it all and start using Uber instead.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to the cost of using Uber versus the cost of owning a car.
- How much do you drive/Uber?
Take a look at your lifestyle. Are you needing to get to and from work every day by Uber? Do you work from home and only drive on weekends? Are most of your driving trips close by and around town, or do you like to hit the highway on the weekends for random road trips?
All of these things matter when it comes to the benefits of Uber, versus the benefits of having your own car. The average Uber trip is about 5 miles, and costs about $11. If you do the math, that comes out to a really costly per-mile average with Uber. However, if you’re only taking two average Uber rides a day to local places and that’s about it, your monthly Uber cost of around $500 may be cheaper than the payment on a new car. However, paying $500 a month to be limited to only get to work and back might not seem like a desirable way to live.
- Where do you live?
Do you live somewhere with public transportation, or where everything is very walkable? If you live in the middle of a big city, sometimes having a car can be more of a hassle than it’s worth with expensive parking, heavy traffic, and costly insurance. Taking public transportation, an occasional Uber ride, and renting a car for a weekend getaway may be the best combination for you.
However, if you live somewhere where a trip to the grocery store will take an hour by bus, or is a few miles away, Uber will really add up if you’re using it every time you leave the house.
- How much money do you have on-hand for a car?
If you do want a car, you can potentially find a great deal on a leased vehicle if you have a few thousand dollars to put down. After that, your monthly payments can be ultra low — even under $200 if you go with something like a 2017 Ford Focus or a Kia. Or, buy a used car with that few thousand dollars and you won’t have to worry about making any payments.
Here’s a really interesting look at how three Uber users rack up costs using this service, and how they could all ultimately do better financially by owning a basic car.
If you can’t afford a car right now but are spending a lot of money on Uber, you may want to sit down and calculate exactly how much you’re spending per month on Uber. If it’s a lot of money —comparable to a car payment— you should consider if you’d rather own a car, or if you like a car-less lifestyle. Do you value increased freedom of mobility, or the freedom of owning one less thing? If owning a car seems more right for you and you’re interested in getting one, consider a low-cost lease if you want something new. Or, buy something used and you can potentially skip the monthly payment altogether. Each month you’ll start saving money since you won’t have to pay for Uber anymore, and you’ll have the freedom to take more frequent and farther trips.