Saving Money v. Convenience – Being a One-Car Family

Tailgating out of our only car

In most areas of the country, a car is a necessary expense. But two cars? Perhaps not.

When my husband and I were preparing to expand our family, we looked over our finances to determine whether we should become a one-car family. The question became: is the money saved worth the convenience lost?  Let’s face it especially when you have children, having a car for each adult is way, way more convenient

Read on to discover why we became a one-car family and how I feel about it now that we have children.

However, we decided that for our family, the money saved by selling a car was well worth it.

Did you know that the average family in the United States owns 2.28 cars? And owning that extra 1.28 car is pricier than you think. According to Edmunds.com, a Honda Civic costs an additional $31,000 over five years when you include depreciation, interest on your loan, taxes and fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs.

There were several financial realities that motivated us to sell a car. We owned one car outright and had a loan on the other. Our car payment was about $200 a month. Additionally, we paid insurance on two vehicles of about $175 a month. By selling the car we owned outright, we had enough cash to pay off the loan on our other car (which we opted to keep because it was bigger and newer). The sale of our second car eliminated a car payment and reduced our car insurance by $50 a month (until I got into another car accident, but that’s a story for another post).

Whether owning one car will work for your family depends largely on what you and your spouse do for a living. Although it can be difficult to have one car if both adults work full-time jobs, it is possible. One person can drop off the other, or you can take turns taking public transportation or riding a bike to work. I work from home; my husband works about ten miles from our house. Being a one-car family means that I am stranded at home unless I drive my husband to work. In a pinch, I use a taxi cab to get around (a $20 fare is still way cheaper than a $200 car payment!). Our one-car status is a bit more annoying now that I’m a mom, as I have to plan my trips to the grocery store around my husband’s work schedule, but I still believe it’s worth it.

An unexpected bonus to being a one-car family is that my husband and I spent a lot more time together in the car. Whether I am driving him to work or we are running errands together, our one-car status means we get extra time to talk to each other!

Would you become a one-car family?  Why or why not?

A big thanks to Citi for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

 

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