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52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become a One-Car Family {Week 7}

At the beginning of every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

Some of you have already rolled your eyes at this idea because you know downsizing to one car would never work for your family. I totally get that. I know that this suggestion isn’t for everyone.

But would you do me a favor and at least consider it, if you haven’t already? Because you’ll never know if something will work if you don’t at least consider it. Plus, if you’re really struggling financially, becoming a one-car family at least for a short while might be a way to find some breathing room in your budget.

How Much Can You Save?

Downsizing to one car is going to mean making some changes and sacrifices. However, if you think about how much you could save, it makes the changes and sacrifices sound a little more doable. So start there, if you’re needing some convincing.

Add up how much you’re paying in taxes, car repairs, and car payments (if any) per year. Then, think how much you’d save in gas if you dropped one of your cars and carpooled, used public transportation, road your bike, or just stayed home more.

Combine these two numbers together, and you’re more than likely to get a number somewhere in the vicinity of $1000 to $2000 per year — or possibly more. That’s certainly not an amount to sneeze at!

Our One-Car Experience

When Jesse was in law school, we had two rather used and unreliable vehicles for the first year. Since we were both working and he was in school, this was a near necessity. Or so we thought.

Then, I got pregnant and very sick. So I stopped working and came home to try and set up an online business (you can read my very long story of Becoming a Work at Home Mom here).

Not too long afterward, our second vehicle gave out. Because we didn’t have money to replace it and because I was now home full-time, we became a one-car family and we stayed a one-car family for the next few years.

Yes, it was a little challenging at times. I had to do all of my grocery shopping and errands on Saturdays. Or, I had to get up early (with little Kathrynne in tow) and take Jesse to work.

When we moved to Kansas City and Jesse started working for a law firm downtown that was a 45-minute commute, it was no longer feasible for me to take him to work. So I stayed home every day, all week long.

We lived close enough to walk to Aldi, if need be, and we were also within walking distance of the library and a park. So truthfully, I really didn’t feel all that cooped up. If I wanted to get together with friends, I invited them to come to our house. No one seemed to mind that I was always the one hosting things — and I loved it!

A few months after our second daughter was born, we were in a financial position to purchase a second vehicle and we’ve been a two-car family ever since. It makes it more convenient, but I’ve told Jesse that I’m always willing to go back to being a one-car family if the need arises. And I truly mean that.

Because honestly? Life was a lot simpler when you didn’t have the option of running out to do or buy this or that during the day.

How Much Did We Save?

Recently, I was being interviewed for a piece and they asked me for a specific number of how much we saved per month by being a one-car family for those few years. Honestly, we’d never sat down and done the math, so this was a fun exercise.

After lots of number-crunching, Jesse determined that we saved around $1500 per year by downsizing to one car. Since our budget was so tight during those years, that $1500 was huge for us — and likely one of the things that helped to keep us afloat.

A Priceless Lesson Learned From Being a One-Car Family

You know what was more valuable than the money we saved by being a one-car family? The lessons I learned on contentment during our one-car family experience.

I learned that it’s not stuff or busyness that brings fulfillment. Contentment is an inner state of the heart. Learning to bloom exactly where I was planted and to be content in my quiet, simple, ordinary life is something that all the money in the world can never buy — and these are lessons I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

Things to Consider Before Becoming a One-Car Family

You’ll want to think long and hard about the sacrifices being a one-car family will require. It has to be a family decision, or it will make everyone miserable. Everyone is going to have to be on board and be willing to be flexible for it to work.

In addition, it’s important to think about safety. If you live out in the country, far from civilization and you’re a mom of young children who is home all day, it might be wise to have access to a second vehicle in case of an emergency.

Finally, it’s necessary to consider how much extra time and effort becoming a one-car family will require. If you have a busy schedule, work two jobs, and are running children to lots of different activities, trying to share a car with your spouse might lead to more headache and frustration than it’s worth. Count the costs ahead of time before downsizing.

Transportation Options Aside From a Second Car

  • Walk
  • Ride Your Bike
  • Use Public Transportation
  • Buy a Moped
  • Carpool With Friends or Co-Workers

Are you a one-car family? If so, tell us your tips and secrets for making it work!

Other posts in the 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year series

  1. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Bake Your Own Bread (Week #1)
  2. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Make Your Own Coffee at Home (Week #2)
  3. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Cable Package {Week 3}
  4. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Order Prescription Glasses Online {Week 4}
  5. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners {Week 5}
  6. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Mixes {Week 6}
  7. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become a One-Car Family {Week 7}
  8. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Surround Yourself With Frugal Friends {Week 8}
  9. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Eliminate Disposable Products {Week 9}
  10. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Cut Your Own Hair {Week 10}
  11. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Use Cloth Diapers {Week 11}
  12. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become Best Friends With Your Freezer {Week 12}
  13. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Rent Movies for FREE {Week 13}
  14. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Ask for a Discount {Week 14}
  15. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cancel Your Gym Membership {Week 15}
  16. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Get the Best Bang for Your Buck at Yard Sales {Week 16}
  17. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Grow Some Of Your Food {Week 17}
  18. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cut Back on the Soda Pop Habit {Week 18}
  19. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Buy in Bulk {Week 19}
  20. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Price-Match at Walmart {Week 20}
  21. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Landline {Week 21}
  22. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Refinance Your Mortgage {Week 22}
  23. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Follow a Local Deal Blogger {Week 23}
  24. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Coupon Database {Week 24}
  25. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Plan a Weekly Menu {Week 25}
  26. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Strategically Use Daily Deal Sites {Week 26}
  27. 52 Different Ways to Save At Least $100 Per Year: Shop at Aldi {Week 27}
  28. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Books {Week 28)
  29. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Clothing {Week 29}
  30. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop With Cash {Week 30}
  31. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat Less Meat {Week 31}
  32. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Is this really a good deal? {Week 32}
  33. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: 3 Ways to Save on Online Orders {Week 33}
  34. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash {Week 34}
  35. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get Organized {Week 35}
  36. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Have an All-Cash Christmas {Week 36}
  37. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Sign Up for Swagbucks {Week 37}
  38. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Cut Your Fuel Costs {Week 38}
  39. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Frequent the Library {Week 39}
  40. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Simplify Birthday Parties {Week 40}
  41. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Brown Bag It {Week 41}
  42. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Snacks {Week 42}
  43. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Programmable Thermostat {Week 43}
  44. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Limit Eating Out {Week 44}
  45. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get a Bang for Your Buck on Travel Expenses {Week 45}
  46. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Don't Pay For Pre-Made Baby Food {Week 46}
  47. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat More Beans {Week 47}
  48. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Homemade Cards {Week 48}
  49. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop At More Than One Store {Week 49}
  50. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat From the Pantry {Week 50}
  51. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Stay Home More {Week 51}
  52. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Develop Contentment {Week 52}

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  • says:

    We were a one-car family for a while and I hated it! I felt way too confined and smothered without the ability to get out of the house once in a while. I’m definitely willing to give up a lot of other things to afford insurance on our second vehicle.

    • Kathy says:

      I agree with you Heather! I teach at the university here, so I work at home during the summers. There are days when I don’t go anywhere, but I like just knowing I can if I wanted to. And it doesn’t tempt me to go out and spend money..if I don’t have it, I can’t spend it! 🙂 I just like being able to visit my stay at home mom friends or my retired parents during the day if I wanted to. Plus get my grocery shopping done early 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    We have been a one car family for almost three years now. We have 2 daughters (3 & 5) and both work outside of our home. Our family thought we were nuts when we gave up our 2nd vehicle. But, truly it only requires a little more thought in our day & we have always been a couple/family that does everything together. My husband and I only work a couple of blocks apart so he drops me off at work and then goes to his job. He arrives an hour early, but doesn’t feel the pressure to work late. When I get off work I walk to his office and usually get some quiet time or run a quick errand.

  • Heather says:

    We have had one car for a few years now since my husband has a company vehicle. We have a van that we have had for 8 years and it’s at just over 100k miles, but it runs well. I will say that although I do take our daughter to her school every day, I need to do a better job of not continuing to shop at various stores in town just because I have a great coupon for some item(s). I should do a better job of just going home, but being up, dressed, out and about makes me think that “it’s just a quick trip!) 🙂 Although I can stick to a list, but I can get sidetracked. LOL!

  • says:

    We’re an “on again, off again” one car family lol! Some years its necessary, sometimes its not for us. We currently own 2 vehicles, but one needs some work done. We’re just taking our time fixing it, because there’s not really any reason why we absolutely NEED 2 cars at the moment!

  • Audrey says:

    We have been a one-car household for all but 6 months of our almost 7-year marriage. We have 3 children, ages 5, 3, & 1, and it gets overwhelming not being able to leave, but it has grown on me and now I love it! I have to be strategic about errands, but I get so much more done at home when I’m not tempted to leave and escape the mess! Plus all my kids are in car seats and can’t buckle themselves, so just loading everyone in the car takes 10 minutes. I prefer staying home. 😉

  • Lana says:

    I had a car like the one in the picture only in white when I was in high school! The football players would sometimes pick it up and turn it sideways in the parking spot so that I could not leave when school was out unless the car parked next to me had gone. I have fond memories of my sweet little car!

  • Lacey says:

    Never, no way, not for me. My husband uses his truck for wor so I would always be at the mercy of his job which involves weird hours if there is a flood as well as some nights and weekends. Sometimes he works out of town also or takes the kids out of town and I stay home because we have 3 dogs. My car gives me a sense of freedom. I think I wild resent not having one long term.

  • Heather says:

    My husband and I share one car and have since we were married two years ago. We started with one used car because that is all we could afford, but have recently purchased a new car which we have almost paid off after only 6 months. We work right next door to each other. Sometimes it is difficult when we have appointments during the work day at the same time, but one of us can generally find a ride. We have saved so much money by only paying one insurance and gas bill! I don’t think we will buy another car until we have children and then it will be a “nessasary” for us.

  • Ruth says:

    Currently, we are a one car family and it is working right now. I just want to say that one thing you have to do is keep up with all the maintenance of that one car. Oil changes, filter changes, tune ups etc, so that car keeps being reliable for that one car family. If you don’t than you may be a no car family.

  • says:

    We have been a one-car family for a little over 3 years. Shortly after we moved from Florida to Virginia, my husband’s truck had some issues and we didn’t have the cash to fix it right away, so we took it off the road and then realized we got along just fine with only one vehicle.

    I stay home full-time and my husband is self-employed and works just half a mile from our home. I don’t know why we didn’t think of going down to one vehicle before we were forced into it. It’s completely practical in our situation. 🙂

  • Ann says:

    We were a one car family for most of last year. My BIL lost his job, and along with it, their second car (it was a company car). They needed a car more that we did, we we let him borrow ours until he had a new job and they could get a second vehicle.

    We have three busy kids, but we made it work. It helped that we lived in a central location, and we could bike or walk to school, work, the library, the bank, and some restaurants. It also helped that my husband works (mostly) from home. The biggest challenges were when he traveled for work, and the kids and I had several days in a row with no car. Luckily we also have lots of friends in the neighborhood that could help me with getting everyone where they needed to be. And sometimes? W just had to miss good things, or make hard decisions about who got to do what.

    We’re back to two cars, partially because we’re living in a much bigger city and don’t have the same kind of support system for carpooling. But when we move back, I would definitely consider it again.

  • Amie says:

    Thanks for the post. I am an avid follower of your blog and it has taught me so much. We just became a one car family about two weeks ago. I have been struggling with the transition so earlier today was googling various articles for helpful tips!! Little did I know it was on your blog already! Thanks for the encouragement. I know it’s the right choice for our family but need to get through this adjustment period.

  • Rachel says:

    We are a two car family and I believe it is neccessary, even though my dh has a company truck(Which is for work use only)! We have a 5, 3, 2, & 4mo. I drove a 5pass car until baby#4 arrived but now I drive a suburban to fit us all( a stroller!) in when going to doctor, eye doctor, & dentist appointments. Also room for extra passengers like when my mom & dad come out to visit or any of my 14 siblings. Or when I’m going to an appointment & take a passenger or 2 along so they can watch my children in the vehicle instead of me hauling all of them into appointments they don’t need to attend! My dh’s truck is paid off and only has liability insurance so it isn’t costing us much. He uses it to go to the dump on weekends and when he buys wood or hauls bigger things, which wouldn’t work in my vehicle.(no smelly trash in my rig. Lol) That being said I still only fill up once a month, every once in awhile twice so gas isn’t a huge expense for us. I pretty much always stay home unless I have an appointment. We live next to our church so we walk there twice a week, unless it’s bitter cold and windy! I like having a vehicle that I know will always be in my yard in case I need it!

  • Tina Kaye says:

    We were a one car family several years ago when my brother lived with us briefly, which meant that three adults and two kids were all toted wherever they needed to go by the designated taxi driver (me). There are stores that are within 2 miles distance from our home, but there’s a raised roadway with no shoulder in one direction and a bypass the other direction, making neither route safe on foot or bike with children, and those two routes are the only way to go anywhere from our home. Now, we have a 16 year old, a 12 year old, a 2 year old, and two adults sharing two cars, which is doable, but still takes effort and thought to schedule who needs to drive which vehicle and where the car seat has to be. (It’s still better than taking out a loan and paying more for our oldest to be the primary driver on a car, though.)

  • says:

    We are in the process of becoming a one car family right now! My husband is trying to sell his truck which we still owe $15k on. When it does sell we will be saving close to $600 a month when you take into consideration payments, gas, insurence, parking and maintenance. He already rides the bus or his bike to work most days, so it won’t be that difficult of a transition. We are going to use all the extra money to hopefully get our student loans paid off within the next 5 years. When it comes time to needing a second car again, we will pay cash and NOT finance it!

  • Anna says:

    Here’s our story….we were a 2 driver family with 4 cars back in 2006. Only 1 of those cars worked, and after we chose for me to stay home w/ our then 3 kids under 4, we decided to go to being a 1 car family. We slowly got the other 3 cars into “working enough” order to get a little cash out of them and my husband started commuting to work by bicycle, 24/7/365(mind you, this was a feat we were worried about because we live in Iowa and the winters can be horrible). His commute is 3 miles each way with bike trail almost all of it, we are very fortunate for that!! We went and traded our final vehicle, a crappy van that left us without any vehicle for an entire summer(also, thankful for it being in the summer), and took the plunge and went and traded our non-functioning van for a brand new car in August of 2009. (Note to all, we have since done Financial Peace University, and know that buying brand new isn’t the best thing to do, but we have had a wonderful little car for our family of 5 that is almost paid off, should be by June 1st this year). We have been a one car family since that August, and we took the plunge into being a 2 car family 1 1/2 weeks ago….terrifying for me anyways!!!! It was much needed as my husband has taken a promotion at work and works more and the kids are now 6 1/2, 8 and almost 10, in various activities and I have gone back to work substitute teaching as of 6 weeks ago. I LOVED the over 4 years that we were able to live with only 1 car, and not to mention the cut in amount of gas paid out monthly, reduced insurance rates and lesser car tag fees each year!! So thankful now, though, that my husband can help out with activities when he is home and that we aren’t running around like crazy people/relying on family to help, get everyone where they need to be!!!

    • Sarah T. says:

      You must be in DM or CF! Love the bike trails!!! My hubby bikes to work too in IA and we’ve been doing just fine with one vehicle. It’s really quite a blessing!

  • cathy says:

    We have been a 1 car family for 11 years, right from the start of our marriage.

    It was a financial decision, but the biggest impact has been on our relationship.

    In the early days there was anger and resentment (at least on my part!) about giving up what I saw as my “freedom” to do as I wanted when I wanted. I resented communicating my needs and wants and was angry that I had to negotiate with my spouse.

    Hmmm…isn’t that what you do in a marriage?

    As time went on I came to realize that having one car was a great aspect of our marriage–it really forced us to communicate and think of the others person.

    11 years later and we still share, though much more happily and easily than we did in the beginning 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    I think you mean rode your bike not road your bike.

  • Heidi says:

    Gosh, I am surprised that there are so many one car families! I thought we were the lone rangers! We kind of became a one car family by accident, no pre-planning. My husbands car died and we fully intended to buy another car, but decided to take our time. Well, we took so much time that we realized one car was working for us. And to be honest, with the price of gas now at an all time high, and looking like it is going even higher, I am thankful that we do not have the extra added expense of a second car. I take my husband to work once a week and run errands on that day. I may call him and ask him to pick up the dry cleaning or run an errand on his way home from work, once in awhile. It is working out beautifully.

  • Melissa says:

    We aren’t ready to make this leap yet, but my husband and I are planning on making this happen in the future. Currently we both work outside the home 23 miles away from our house. Now that we both work in the same general area we are car pooling most days but we won’t be ready to make the leap to one car until we move to a place much closer to work and public transit.

  • says:

    This is something I would love to do. We kind of already do as my husband’s car is the beater that just gets him to work and back.

  • says:

    I love this post! We have been a one car family since we were first married-our first winter, my hubby got into an accident and totaled my vehicle. We couldn’t afford to buy another one so we made do! People are always surprised when I tell them, but it’s really doable. Every so often we discuss getting a smaller vehicle and we always come back to the same thing-how much money we save outweighs the convenience factor.

  • Alaine says:

    We have been a one car family for 5 years now! We’re lucky to live in a place that has public transportation available – it’s how I get into the city to work everyday – and while we’re not in a huge town, it’s a very walkable suburb. We share the car on the weekends and week nights when we need to go places or run errands. I take public transportation down to my parent’s house often and have someone pick me up at the train station there. At this point, for us to get a second car, we’d have to pay 1) the cost of the new car, or car payments (our current car is paid in full) 2) insurance on that vehicle (another $85/mo where we live!) 3) the cost of an additional parking space – our apartment only has one 4) gas and maintenance. The cost savings is huge and definitely worth it for us.

    Additionally, I’ve changed our public transportation options as well… instead of taking the commuter train a block from my house ($170/mo), I walk the mile and a half or take the bus to the subway, which only costs $70/mo. I save $1200/year just for doing that, and when it’s warm enough, I get in a little workout before and after work as well! And it only requires me to leave the house an extra 15 minutes early.

  • Magda says:

    We became a one-car family somewhat by accident. I had heard of the idea and was interested in it as a means to cut expenses as part of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 2 for our family, but thought we could never actually make it work. We decided instead to sell one of our cars and purchase a cheaper, older car, using the difference to work toward our debt payoff.

    Lo and behold the cheaper car ended up with a multitude of problems (since we foolishly did not take our time in choosing one, thinking we could never do…not even for a few weeks…with only one vehicle). This was almost 6 months ago and we have been forced into a successful one-car family situation ever since. Although the purchase of the “clunker” resulted in less money than we had hoped to put toward our debt, it did prove to us that we could easily survive with one vehicle.

  • hope64 says:

    We were a 1 car family for two years when I first came home from work when I gave birth to our first son. We now have two cars and are saving up to replace our 1999 Crown Vic. It only has 70,000 original miles on it and is currently running great. But, it will be six years before our replacement account is fully funded. Now my husband takes the bus to work. So, most of the time both cars sit in the garage. But, we have a teenage son who will be driving soon. My question? Have any of you had just one vehicle with THREE drivers, one being a teenager? Just curious how it worked for you?

  • Anna says:

    We have always been a one-car family. I know loneliness can be a big issue. At most, my husband is only gone 9 or 10 hours a day. I have to just remind myself that there is still lots of time left after he gets home. I just busy myself until he gets home (or take time to relax and read). Then do errands only once or twice a week (usually the same days we are at Church or Awana).

  • Christina says:

    For us it doesn’t work. We were one-car as long as it was feasible. Now we NEED two. We don’t have a 2nd one and it is seriously the worst thing because my husband’s job is door-to-door. We have four kids, most of whom need carseats, so a small car doesn’t work to get us where we need to go together. We have a van for that. However, the fuel eaten up by my husband’s job (and, yes, he walks whenever possible instead of driving tiny distances) makes it really not beneficial. We are currently looking for a small car for him to go to-and-fro. I’m glad you noted in your article that being one-car won’t work for everyone because it certainly doesn’t for us! I hate when people assume you can make it work when they haven’t been in your specific situation! 🙂 (The only reason we are down to one vehicle currently is that our other van was totaled in an accident.)

  • Colleen says:

    We were a no-car family (when we lived in Chicago) that became a one-car family (when we lived in CT)! We still have the car we bought in 2005. However, with two small boys and no parks, sidewalks, or destinations anywhere in sight, and no public transportation, sometimes I do feel a little tied down. My hubby drives the car to work so scheduling doctor’s appointments and other things becomes a little circus-y – hubby home for lunch, he eats in the car while we drop him off at work, go to appointment, go home, do nap time, put boys back in car, pick up hubby, drive home. Exhausting! 🙂 BUT I do enjoy not having car payments, not having to maintain TWO vehicles, and the slower pace of life most of the time. I am looking forward to having my own vehicle some day though, when we can afford it. Or moving somewhere pedestrian-friendly!!!

  • Michelle says:

    We’ve only had one car in our four years of marriage–and we wouldn’t have it any other way! I used to drive my husband to work and then drive to my own job, but once baby came along, he started taking the bus–and it’s actually a shorter commute timewise! This way I have the car, but since our neighborhood is so walkable (I can walk to the grocery store, Hobby Lobby, a park, the mall, and Target, so it’s dangerously walkable budget-wise ;)) I really only use the car during the week to get to Bible study.

    If after graduate school we find ourselves in a big city, we plan to ditch the car entirely for a while, and that just sounds blissfully free to me!

  • says:

    We have been a one car family since we got married, save about 6 months 2 years ago. We knew it was time to buy a new car. I was pregnant and we knew that we couldn’t fit my husband and a car seat in the car (he’s 6’2 and barely fit in the car in the first place!). So, we bought a new car. It was great being a two car family and those 6 months we needed it. I had some extra responsibilities at school and needed to be able to drive extra than what would have allowed with only one car. Well, 6 months after buying the new car, the old car died…. either the transmission went out or the clutch did. We realized we could sell the car and be done with it, rather than start dealing with fixes (neither of us is handy in that way, at all). So, back to having only one car! Now, on one or two days a week, Little Man and I take Daddy to work, do our errands and such, and pick him up at the end of the day. There are no public transportation options for us, and this is working. I suspect if I get pregnant again, we might want to expand to a slightly bigger car, but we will see.

  • Melody says:

    I didn’t read all 100+ comments, so maybe someone else said this- but for our family one car is not feasible. But what does work for us is we have one “nice” car that we use for the family and my husband drives a very old (junky) car that gets great gas mileage and costs almost nothing to insure. It’s great to have the flexibility that comes with a second car, but we’re not paying much for it!

  • Vicki R says:

    We have been a one car family for 5 years. We have been have lived with 5 miles of my husbands job, which has helped. Most days my girls and I run him to work and then do our usual things. Days that he has to work late are rough, my kids go to bed at 7pm. So sometimes they fall asleep in the car. If he has an early morning than he goes and we do a car swap at lunch. Sometimes things get hairy but we have managed and saved money. Most people can’t wrap their heads around it, but I wouldn’t change all the great conversations, singing, counting and plain old madness for anything. The day of one car will come to an end in the near future and so for now I will cherish all the time I spend driving around.

    • Sarah D says:

      This is funny because my husband and I were budgeting last night and were reminded that being a one car family is what is making our budget work right now! We have shared since we were married, 3.5 years ago. He is a student and I stay home with our 2 kids. Things that help us- buying a home by our university’s bus route! Him biking if he needs to. And my flexible schedule so I can leave him to work on rainy days, or stay home when he needs the car for certain events.

  • says:

    We were a one car family for a few years, too. Same reason – one car died and we simply couldn’t afford to replace it. One of the things I learned during that time is that friends really do want to help. Many, many people offered me rides and everyone was willing to help out. I was involved in PTA and people would offer to pick me up for a meeting and friends who practically go by my house on their way never minded if I asked for a ride. We also learned patience – sometimes my kids had to wait at school (they were in middle school and high school) after an activity until Dad could pick them up. Sometimes my husband had to stay at work late if I needed the car and had to drop him up and pick him up. And we learned that by working together we could make it work.

  • The Frugal Batavian says:

    This is actually a great idea, and an idea my BF and I will be doing within the next two months. Since I have a target date to work from home starting May 1st, we are trading in both of our vehicles and getting one car. He also owns a diesel truck, so if by chance I need the car during the week, I can just ask him to leave the car home. For me, this will save me $430/mo not including the cost of gas. If I had to guess, with has costs it’s saving me an extra $160 a month for a total of $590/mo!

  • April Lauman says:

    We are a one-car family. After we got married (2 1/2 years ago!), we had a huge combined debt load. Our first step was taking Financial Peace University. Best decision EVER. But, sticking with the goal of being debt free meant making some major financial choices in our life. One of those choices was selling one of our cars (a 1990 Chevy Suburban), and down-trading the other car (from a 2006 Toyota Camry to a 1999 Nissan Maxima). Not only do we save on gas, insurance, and repairs, but having only one car means we are very purposeful about driving. Our situation is a bit unique because while neither one of us works from home, we live on-site at my husband’s place of employment, and I pick up seasonal work there as well, when I can. Of course, with him being able to walk to work every day, I can get a job in town and use the car more easily. (By the way, we live 20 miles from the nearest good-sized town.) I really would encourage anyone to think about this as a feasible option for saving money. As Americans, we feel we NEED to each own a car, but that’s just not true. A little bit of flexibility and creativity in your schedule can make almost anything possible, including being a one-car family!

  • Laura says:

    We went down to one car around the time when our youngest was born. My husband works from home several days a week, and even with that I’m trying to have only one of those be for appointments and errands.

    Not only are we a one-car family, but we are opting not to get a van even though we have three kids. It’s tight, but it gives us the financial freedom to purchase a house — a much better investment right now. I love driving my family of 5 around and still getting 35-40 mpg!

    One of my favorite things about our one-car arrangement is that it means I almost NEVER have to leave the house with three kids and no help — because if the car is available, that means my husband is also home to watch one or two of the kids while I run out. If I don’t have him available to watch the kids, I simply can’t go out. It also reinforces that we don’t need to be planning a ton of activities. We aren’t really busy people to begin with, but the one-car thing kind of guarantees we can stay that way. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    Yes! I used to think it would be miserable, but it has been nearly two years and I am perfectly happy staying with one car right now. I honestly would be hesitant, even if someone handed us a second car…it is occasionally an annoyance, but it is so nice to only be paying to register, insure and maintain one car. Not to mention I would be spending a lot more has if I had a car available to me during the week.

    It is not for every season, but for this season I am so glad we made the jump.

  • Bronwyn says:

    We were always a one car family until we recently moved to a new city for my hasband’s work and it has seen become impossible for me to take him to work, our son to daycare and get myself to work on time. (Distance is now too far for a bike & public transport is not reliable here.)
    I loved only having one car though! It meant that I’d walk most places with my son and utilise public transport everywhere. I never thought to tally up the saving but I think ours would be close to $2,000 a year. I’ll certainly miss all that money.

  • Shari says:

    We have been a one car family for the past five years. It is hard but we have really grown so much in this season of our life. We are lucky that my husband is able to bus to work two days a week and during those days I am sure to make the most of the day out of the house with my children. Even on those days where I am home with my little ones and no car, we take out the stroller and go for walks or invite friends over to our house.

    Not having that second car has really made me take a strong look at what is necessary and what is convenient.

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