Why You Should Become a One Car Family

by Frugal Brian

car sign

For each car your family owns, you are paying for auto insurance, maintenance, and gas. This is all in addition to a car payment if the car is not already paid off. By going down to just one car, you can save a lot of money. It will take some adjusting and getting used to, but in most cases, the benefits can outweigh the challenges of being a one car family.

The idea of having only one car may seem a little daunting, but there are some big benefits. The biggest is the savings. By eliminating other cars, you are getting rid of extra oil changes and extra tire rotations. You will not have to purchase extra insurance or tires. If you live in a building or complex where you have to pay for extra parking, that is another fee you can avoid. Also, if you have some debt, getting rid of one car can help pay off that debt, either with the money you are saving, or the money you earn if you sell the extra vehicle.

An added benefit of having just one car is that you will be forced to get more exercise. If you have a spouse or a significant other that works and you stay at home, then you will probably need to make a few quick trips here and there. Or if you both of you work and are in the same vicinity, then one can walk to the other spouse’s job to meet at the car. This will save on time and you will be getting exercise daily.

If you are thinking that becoming a one car family might work for you, then here are some tips to help. Start by talking to your spouse or significant other and brainstorm how you will make it work. Take a look at the schedules of everyone in the family. If you have 2 adults with jobs and children with activities, then it will take a bit more planning. You will need to figure out where everyone needs to be, and the best way to get them there. This will most likely require dropping off at the same time and riding together. A benefit to this is less back and forth trips. A great way to see if it will definitely work for your family is to do a test drive. For a few weeks, use only one car. It may take some getting used to in the beginning, but after the first week when routines settle in, you will get a better idea of how it will work for your family.

To make having one car easier on the entire family, see if one person can possibly adjust their working hours. It might help with the driving scheduling of one can go a little earlier or stay at work a little bit later.

Also, look into public transportation. Most cities have reliable bus or train systems. The cost to take the bus or train monthly will be considerably less than the cost of having to fuel and maintain another car. If your destination is close enough, you can also consider riding a bicycle or walking. If it’s too far to bike or walk and there are no modes of public transportation, then you can also consider investing in a moped or scooter. They are very inexpensive in comparison to a car and cheap on gas as well.

Carpooling is another great way to help you get around if another driver in the family takes the car. If you have a co-worker that lives close by, see if you can catch a ride. You can also see if there are any carpooling networks in the area to get older kids to and from school and after-school activities.

You can register with a carpooling website that keeps databases of people looking to share rides in your area. Some websites include erideshare.com, carpoolconnect.com, rideshark.com, and carpoolking.com. Another way to find a carpool is to post an ad on craigslist.org, or put up a flier at the local coffee shop or grocery store.  

If you are unable to find a carpool or other means of transportation, if one spouse or partner is staying home, then perhaps that person can drop off the other on some days. This will allow both partners to have the car some days. Or, if the stay at home partner can drop off the daily, then it will allow more flexibility in the car schedule and the stay at home partner can get errands and shopping done during the day.

Going from being a multi car family to a one car family can be a big adjustment. But with proper planning it can be done. Becoming a one car family will save your family money by eliminating extra car payments, fuel costs, maintenance costs, and extra insurance.

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