With all the talk around minimalism and frugality these days, it’s no surprise that Mr. MMM and I have been racking our brains lately trying to figure out how we can hit a major milestone by becoming a one-car family. Obviously, when you live outside of city limits, saying farewell to a second vehicle is a struggle, but not impossible. Throwing kids into the mix and it becomes a pipe dream for most families. Interestingly, we figured out a way to actually become a one-car family.
Ever since getting married, we have dreamed of becoming a one-car family. I mean just think about all the dough we could save if we only had one car sitting in our driveway! But how on earth was that going to be possible with two careers and a kid? That, was the obvious dilemma.
We had many a conversation around this topic and continued to loop back around to the same old answer. There was no way we could sustain our family with only one car. The cons outweighed the pros, even if the pros would’ve increased our bottom line.
Despite Mr. MMM working mostly from home, we still couldn’t figure it out. Mind you, I said mostly from home. When he isn’t working from home, he’s traveling. This could mean driving 1.5 hours to Baltimore or Philly, or driving to the airport to hop a plane to fly across the country.
Unfortunately, I still work full time outside of the home. That means, if Mr. MMM needs to get himself to Baltimore for the day, he needs to drive himself. True, we could probably figure out some sort of public transit system, as long as I can get him there, get our daughter on the bus, and get to work in time for my first meeting. Based on these evaluations, we decided that would be a Fat Chance. But we were desperate to make this happen. After all, I grew up hearing where there’s a will, there’s a way. And I truly believe that.
Related: Cars Drool / Cash Rules
We dove into considering our options as if we had no other choice than to own only one car.
The options we came up with in the event we needed two cars were as follows:
- Uber – If we desperately needed to get somewhere and the other person was using the car, we could use Uber. Unfortunately, since we live out in the suburbs, pricing was pretty steep from our house to some common places we might need to go.
- My Mom’s Car – My mom is retired and doesn’t go too many places. She also has a nice, reliable car that is there for the taking (so to speak). Since she’s also only 10 minutes away from our house and only a short walk from my place of employment, this was an ideal option, albeit, still a hassle.
- Buy A Beater – We could sell one of our current cars (both are paid off) and use the profit to buy a beater and invest the rest.
- Remain A Two-Car Household – Since most of the time we only used one car and the other one sat in the garage, it wasn’t out of the question to just keep both cars and rotate their usage, kinda like we already did.
Deciding To Become A One-Car Family
Our decision was actually quite clear. We opted to become a one-car family, but still keep both cars.
Reasons we decided to remain a two-car family:
- Gas – Since we rarely ever used two cars at the same time, our gas usage wouldn’t decrease by eliminating a vehicle.
- Maintenance – Same theory as gas usage applies here. Having two cars in our possession would not increase the amount of maintenance needed.
- Convenience – On mornings when I have to be at work for a meeting and Mr. MMM has to drive down to Baltimore for a project, we are really thankful we don’t have to go through the hassle of figuring out public transit, doing a car shuffle with my mom, or using a beater that’s going to let someone sit on the side of the road.
- Peace of Mind – It’s nice to know that, if I’m at work and there is an emergency with our daughter at school, my husband would be able to jump in his car and be on site within minutes. Sure beats calling an Uber or waiting for me to get the message at work. I realize this is a stretch and that emergencies rarely happen, but in the event something like that did occur, time is always of the essence.
We made a pact to only use both cars at one time if it is absolutely necessary. Essentially, We have become a one-car family while remaining a two-car household. Not only does this decision provide us with what we need to operate safely and conveniently, it also isn’t costing us an enormous amount of money.
Because both of our vehicles are paid in full, the additional expense we incur by having two vehicles is quite small. By only driving one car at a time (except for emergency situations), both of our cars will last twice as long as they would if we were using both of them on a regular basis. Ultimately, we decided the cost of maintaining insurance, registration, and inspection for the second vehicle is worth keeping it in the family.
Have you considered becoming a one-car family but think it would be impossible? Or, did you figure out how to actually do it with two careers and kids? We’d love to hear your experience.