Budgeting is all about decisions and reallocation, when choosing between owning a car and going on an overseas trip travelling has won for me. to date In 2017 I spent $6675.07 on overseas travel: three trips to New Zealand and a trip across Scotland, Spain and England. I’ve never been much of a fan of driving, at 30 I still haven’t owned a car. Growing up in Palmerston North, New Zealand, I drove my parents’ cars. When I lived in Wellington, New Zealand the public transport was sufficient. Upon moving to Brisbane, Australia in 2011 and living within the 10km radius of the city and with ample public transport across boat, bus and train and with the recent introduction of ride sharing services a car was still not a necessary. This week’s post provides some Brisbane transport comparison figures across car, public transport and bicycle.


I was lucky enough to have the use of a friend’s car from February 2016-September 2017. The car lay dormant most of this time except the weekly 5km return supermarket journey to Coles, the odd Kmart trip or drive to Kangaroo Point and a couple of trips to my Aunt’s house. Although useful and providing me with slightly more freedom most of time time I didn’t actually use the car. During this time I paid for new shock absorbers, two services, new tyres, petrol and parking.

Across a 12 month period in Queensland: $3336.65 (and that’s not even counting the cost of buying the car and the car depreciation on top of that):

  • Registration including third party insurance for twelve months: $719.65 over a year
  • Petrol, $40 a fortnight: $1040 over a year
  • Service: $300 every six months, $600 over a year
  • Plus whatever breaks and needs replacing once a year: $1000, I’ve gone on the figures from when I had my friend’s car (four new tyres $377 and new shock absorbers $600)

Dave Ramsey has some hilarious conversations on his radio show about cars. His main piece of advice he gives out to his listeners that are struggling with debt is to sell their cars and invest in a beater or a “Dave Car.” A Dave Car is an “ugly” car that is mechanically sound, usually something reliable that had an elderly person as the previous owner.

Public transport

How beautiful are our views from the CityCat ferry in Brisbane?! Public transport always represents a viable option for me, particularly when it is wet or when I have an event after work. Where I have lived over the last six years (Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Kangaroo Point 4169, Norman Park 4170, Bulimba 4171, Morningside 4170) has always been a maximum of 15 minute walk to the ferry, train or bus.

Across a 12 month period in Queensland: $2366:

  • Gocard on a peak journey commute to work (on either a train, ferry or bus), QLD 4170 – QLD 4000, ten times a week: $3.25 x 10 = $32.50 or $1690 over a year to just get to work
  • Budget an extra 4 trips for weekend activities: $3.25 x 4 =$13 a week, $676 a year


I purchased my first bicycle in 2013, it was stolen a week later, and purchased another one that same day I use in my daily commute and errands. I purchased a second bicycle, a road bike, in 2015 that I just use for recreational cycling.

In 2017 I spent $728.66 on maintenance for both bicycles:

  • A general service every six months is $89 plus general repairs… at the moment I am allocating $40 a fortnight for both bikes general repairs which is about $1040 a year

In summary

My Father and I sat down and did the costs together in January 2015 when I was considering purchasing a car, for the costs required it was going to be more cost effective to take regular Ubers and Taxis or hire a car when required. For me, at this point of my life, overseas travel is still more tempting than owning a car. For me because of my addiction and sense of adventure a combination of bicyling, public transport and Uber rides suffice for me to get around Brisbane city and keeps the rest of my funds for my overseas travel.

My main form of transport is my bike for two main reasons. Firstly because although the bus has been close by but the traffic on Wynnum Road and the Gabba as well as the additional walk from the bus station to my work means the commute is over an hour. This is the same on the train or ferry meaning that it is quicker for me to walk the 7.4km to work than it is to catch public transport. Secondly, I love cycling to work, it means my commute is 20-30 minutes long and I can leave home and work whenever I choose and get to my destination quickly.

How do you think about allocations when it comes to your budget? What matters to you? Are you one of those amazing parents that has a child in a bike trailer that I see cycling around Brisbane on your day to day duties?

The Economiss is a single, female, millennial on a mission to buy her first home in Australia. A Kiwi by birth, she jumped over the ditch after she finished her tertiary qualifications in search of employment. The narratives quite often showing up online overshadowed her thoughts of buying a house alone changed in 2017 The Economiss started super charging her finances and saved over 30% of her after tax income towards her house deposit as well as cash flowing four overseas trips. In 2018 The Economiss decided to create a new narrative and share her journey saving 36% of her after tax income for a $60,000 house deposit by December 2018. Do you have some tips to share or want to be featured on the blog, please get in touch!

Car vs Overseas travel – why I don’t own a car

Leave a Reply