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The morning was beautiful. The sun was shining bright, it wasn’t too hot and it was going to be a beautiful day. My husband was at church early for worship practice and I was home with the kids. The boys and I went to the early service and my husband would be home around 1 for lunch. At least that was my expectation until he called and told me his car wouldn’t start.
Our mechanic we used the majority of the time was also at church. He came out and looked at the car and it was a starter problem. He knew he could fix the problem, but first the dealership would have to rekey the starter.
I saw dollar signs flashing before my eyes as I listened to this. Tow the car to the dealership, rekey the starter, replace starter, pick up car. The grand total for the job was probably $1200.
The facts about the car
My beautiful blue Nissan Altima, that I called Sally, I bought before we got married was 12 years old. My husband had helped me negotiate at the dealership before we got married. We had owned it for 10. The car was worth about $1200.
With the car sitting in the parking lot at church, my husband grabbed a ride home and we began the questions.
- Did we need a second car?
- How much would we save if we didn’t have a second car?
- Gas, insurance, maintenance, all that would go down.
If you aren’t familiar with our story, my husband travels and is gone most weeks Monday through Thursday. Sometimes till Friday. Check out this post I wrote about how to get it all done when your husband travels.
Due to his travel schedule, this means that the car is often sitting at the airport or in our garage.
We decided to go down to 1 car since my husband travels so much. He is gone3-4 days a week. On the days he is home, he either works from home or he takes the train to the city.
- Communication- Our communication has definitely increased because we have to check with each other about who needs the car. Even though my husband is gone a lot, when he is home we still have to plan ahead.
- Saving- The initial savings from the car was about $180 a month. That included insurance and gas. Plus we saved on maintenance since we no longer had the car.
- Family time- This was unexpected for me. I didn’t think going down to one car would mean we would be together more, but we are! We spend more time on the weekends together since we all have to go together.
- Exercise- We live pretty close to town in the burbs. Since we are so close, we are able to walk or bike to town. The kids love it and it’s a nice time to chat while we walk.
- Stay home- Sometimes you just do’t want to go so you stay home. Being a home body allows one to get some work done around the house, or the much needed nap.
- Alternative transportation- Uber, Lyft and the car rental place have all had our business over the last few years. Car pooling has also been a resource we have used and is fun because then we get to hang with our friends and chat with them too.
- Cleaner Car- Since we only have one car, we spend more time keeping it clean. We have placed a garbage in the back for the kids and we all take a minute to clean the car on the weekends.
The only negative I can see is that we do put more milage on the car than we did with two. But it has only really increased by about 2000 miles a year.
I really wish I could tell you some reasons not to go down to 1 car. The benefits have out weighed all the negatives I could think of.
It’s not Easy
Being a single car family isn’t easy. If my husband didn’t travel or able to work remotely we would definitely have a second car. Currently our lifestyle allows us to have 1 car.
Looking back on the day we sold Sally to the junk yard was really emotional for both of us but we had no idea how much it would open up the communication for us.
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.