Should We Become a One Car Family?

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. Read our disclosure to see how we make money.

used car

As I shared several months ago, one of our goals for 2014 was to actively start saving again to buy a new to us car. The reasoning really doesn’t go back to a want, per se, but a need. Anyone with a family of growing kids can relate to our situation. Rarely does a trip out not result in a shiatsu massage for the driver thanks to our growing munchkins, their long legs and the lack of space in the back seat of our passenger vehicle.

As we look for ways to start building up our car fund, the question of whether or not we should become a one car family has been discussed numerous times and one that is worthy of discussion. We’ve been a one car family before, pre-kiddo days, and I was not a huge fan of it.This largely was because we worked at opposite ends of the city, which meant one of us, had to show up early to work and wait there at the end of the day as public transportation is really not an option in our fair city of Omaha. However, even though our commute is all of five seconds in the morning that does take away that as a problem.

The other major roadblock, in my opinion, is the car we’d be selling, the always sexy Kia Amanti you see above, was given to us by a family member (Hi Mom!) and could pose some intra-family problems.

Since Mrs. Frugal Rules and I are sort of at a roadblock in terms of if we should sell our second car and become a one car family I thought I’d ask for some input from you my dear readers to see what you think. 🙂

The Push Behind Selling our Car


The real reason why we started considering selling this car is that we really don’t use it much at all. By not much at all, I mean going months in between fill-ups kind of not at all. If and when we do buy a new car, the Amanti will be the car that’ll go as it is five years older than our Altima, has double the miles of the Altima and gets quite a bit lower gas mileage.

If those reasons aren’t enough, we simply are going to need a bigger car in the next several years. I shudder to think of becoming a minivan family, and will therefore likely go the route of some sort of used SUV, but we’re going to need to go bigger. That said, it only makes sense to keep the Altima as it is the newer car and we envision giving it to the oldest little Frugal Rule when she turns 16 for her first car.

The other major reason why we’re considering becoming a one car family is that whenever we buy this new to us car it’s going to take a nice chunk of change. It’ll likely take a couple of years to save up enough to pay cash for the car and that could be significantly reduced by selling the Amanti as it would likely get us about 20% or so of the amount of cash we’d likely need to save up.

Benefits to Becoming a One Car Family


Whenever we’re making a decision like this, I like to look at the benefits and drawbacks of making the decision. Becoming a one car family would benefit us in the following ways:

It would save us money: Duh! This is the obvious one. While we don’t spend much money on gas each month it would still likely be in the $10-20 per month range. The other major savings would be on car insurance. We have our coverage through USAA and already have pretty awesome rates. I don’t know how much exactly it would save us, but based on our coverage I’m thinking somewhere in the $20-30 per month neighborhood. So, we wouldn’t become millionaires by saving this kind of money, but we’re still looking at the neighborhood of $50 or so per month.

We get an instant boost to our car savings fund: I covered this earlier, but we’d likely get in the 20-25% range of what we’d need to buy a new car. The car is in excellent shape for its year and I am confident we could get fair market value from it.

It could meet someone else’s need: Like I’ve said, we don’t use it enough to warrant having a second car right now. While I’m a bit leery of becoming a one car family, I am sure there are others out there in need of a quality used car who we would be able to help.

Drawbacks to Becoming a One Car Family

I’m sure there are other benefits to becoming a one car family, but there are also some drawbacks. Here are a few of them:

We’re limited in what we can do: We don’t face this situation very regularly, but if we become a one car family what are we going to do if we both have in person meetings that overlap somehow? This would cause a problem, though we would just need to be flexible in our planning.

What if the Altima breaks down: This is likely the biggest drawback as we’d likely be forced to rent a car. It has always been very reliable for us, but the realist in me fears that it would of course break down a month after selling the Kia. The same issue arises when we’ll need to get the Altima serviced for any reason. I imagine we could always rent a car for the day, but it would be an added expense.

We’ll drive more as the kids get older: This really isn’t an issue right now, but I know this’ll change in the near future. Our two oldest currently just have swimming lessons they go to once per week, but I am planning on also starting our daughter in soccer in the summer. All that said, this means that we will be driving more often and thus the possibility of leaving one of us without a car becomes a reality.

Is the Short Term Benefit Worth the Cost?

The issue of becoming a one car family, as far as I see it, is whether or not the short-term benefit is worth the perceived inconvenience. We have done it before and know that we’re not alone as just over 30% of families would classify themselves as one car families, according to the Department of Energy, but is that an inconvenience that we’re going to be able to roll with? Becoming a one car family, temporarily at least, would allow us to get in to a needed bigger car sooner and allow us to save some money for the time being, but that would come at a short-term cost. As you can tell, I am in a bit of a quandary with this decision and could see us going either way right now.


What do you think? Should we sell our car and become a one car family for the unforeseeable future? How many cars are too many in your opinion?



The following two tabs change content below.

John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • MMD says:

    Despite all the potential up-sides, we could never become a one-car family. Too little independence. When both our cars were in for repairs over the Christmas break we had only one loner car and it was the worst! One person would have to wait while the other went some place else. It really cramped our normal way of life!

    • John says:

      That’s my big concern MMD. I believe we can work around the scheduling, but if the Altima were to break down, or any time it’d need servicing we’d be in need of something else.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    I hardly ever think about the one-car family question because my wife and I work in different cities and it simply isn’t feasible. I could take the bus but I’d be boarding at 6am and getting home after 8pm, every single day. I think in your case you could make it work since you work from home, but I like the idea of having two cars in case one breaks down (as you referenced already).

    • John says:

      That’s basically how it was for us pre-kids and it sucked and I don’t want to go back to that at all. I do think we could make it work, though it does have its own set of challenges.

  • Lauren says:

    We’re a one car family. As a small family of 3, it isn’t a big deal. Aside from work, we pretty much go out places together, so there’s never a conflict there. It’s working out well for us right now, but I can see wanting to have 2 vehicles at some point down the line.

    • John says:

      That’s great it works for you Lauren! Other than client meetings, we go to virtually all the same places as well so that would help us.

  • Dee @ Color Me Frugal says:

    I don’t think we could ever become a one car family. In my opinion you have too many cars if you have more cars than drivers- which does not describe you! If it were me I would keep the car, especially since it sounds like you are going to want it and need it when the kids get older!

    • John says:

      Yea, that is a big concern I have about it Dee. The plus I see is that we could get a solid chunk of what we’d need to buy a bigger car knocked out, but just not certain that is worth the inconvenience.

  • Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial says:

    I can imagine with kids it would be extremely hard to become a one-car family. We’ve gone over the same debate (we are sans kids) and decided to stick with two cars because A. they’re both paid off and B. we keep car costs down by pretending we have one car. What I mean by that is, other than when we drive to work, we try and use one of the cars for everything else. For example, if I’m at home and want to go to the store, I either walk to the one that’s closest to us (only a mile round trip), or I wait until my husband gets home and see what errands he needs/wants to run and then we go out together in the same car and just make one trip. The end result is we pay less in gas and we’re not simultaneously running up mileage/wear-and-tear on both cars. I know it’s not the same as just having one car, but it gets us closer without making either one of us give up that independence that comes with being able to be extremely mobile 24/7.

    • John says:

      I know it will be as they get older and have more activities and sports that they’ll likely be involved in. It sounds like you’ve come up with a good workable plan that works for you and your husband…even better that it saves you some money. πŸ™‚

  • lIZ says:

    Sounds like your kids are pretty young so you might be able to make it work for a little bit of time but I think you’re right- as the kids get oldrer there will definitely be more activites that they will need to be driven to. Have you looked into how much money you could make if you sold the Kia? Just curious how much closer you would get to affording the SUV.

    • John says:

      Right now our two oldest only have one or two activities a week that require being driven to, though I know that could definitely change in the next year or two. Going based off of Blue Book we could likely get 20ish percent of what we’d likely need. It’s not a ton, but would definitely be a boost to what we need saved.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says:

    I don’t know how you can do it as a one car family. Growing up, my brothers and sisters and I all had at least two or three extra curriculars per day, we needed at least two cars (and two drivers, ie. my parents) to make it all happen.

    • John says:

      I was the same way growing up. I always had 2-3 things going on after school that required being driven somewhere. Our kids have a couple of years before hitting that so I think we have a little bit of time where that is concerned.

      • Ginger says:

        In high school, I bussed everywhere and in middle school I walked (or caught a ride). My mom worked so she could not pick me up. In many ways I think we spoil kids these days. I plan for my middle school and high school students to be responsible for their own transportation at least half of the time.

  • Jack @ SeeJackSave says:

    Jane and I both have our own cars – and I don’t really see us going down to one any time soon. I would love to ditch one of those money-suckers but at this point it’s not really feasible. I commute to work and while I could take public transit, the time requirements of my second job don’t allow for it. When I’ve done the math on how much we’d save – its been about $450 a month (insurance and replacement savings). So there is a strong financial argument to going down to one car, but we just can’t make it work at this time.

    • John says:

      That is a good amount of money to be able to save each month, but completely understand the need for the second car. Our public transportation is horrible, so that’s not even really an option for us, especially with kiddos.

  • Michael Solari says:

    Yeah this is a tough decision. It could save you some cash but the inconvenience factor is a big deal. I can see it working if there was decent public transportation but if not it could make life more stressful.

    • John says:

      It is. I love that we could get about 20-25% of what we’d need for a newer car, but the inconvenience factor could potentially be a huge one.

  • Brian @ Luke1428 says:

    This decision is so based on the dynamics of the family…if there are two careers and if there are kids involved. We could not be a one car family right now because my wife and I work in different locations and our kids are involved in activities. However, my family growing up only had one car for the longest time. My dad lived close enough to work to walk or ride his bike. We carpooled to and from school with other kids in the neighborhood. So it can be done, especially if a family works at or close to home. I think the bigger deal is that you are saving cash to buy the new car instead of finance it. That’s the home run financial decision that will prove most beneficial in the long run. That is what we have been doing for over a year now to pay for our next car purchase (hopefully by the end of this year).

    • John says:

      Having that ability to pay for the new to us car ourselves is the big selling point to me and thus why I’m thinking of selling the Kia. It would get us a good amount to put in our car fund, and thus allow us to get it quicker. We do have the benefit of working from home, but the unknown is the inconvenience factor, not to mention the fact of getting less for the Kia if we wait on selling it.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    For the amount of money you’d be saving, I’d keep the Kia. $50 a month would be worth the convenience to me. πŸ™‚

    • John says:

      That’s definitely a valid point Laurie. Though, getting 20ish percent of what we’d need for a new car is a pretty tempting thought.

  • Jon @ Money Smart Guides says:

    That’s a tough call. You point out pros and cons to each argument. I am in a similar situation as I don’t really drive much now that I work from home. But at the end of the day, I am keeping my car. I think you should just hold on to it for a little bit longer as you think things over some more. There is no rush to sell it since doing so would only save you $50/mo.

    • John says:

      Yea, right now we’d likely be selling it in the summer after we get the 60k checkups done on our Altima. It would be a little foolish for us to sell it prior to that.

  • Brit says:

    We went down to one car last year and so far we have been doing OK. Do I miss having an extra car? Yes, but now I am used to it. What I love is that we are saving money just having one car. We are also saving for another car at the moment. When are we getting the other car? I don’t know yet. Good luck with your decision.

    • John says:

      That’s exactly the approach we’d be taking and this would be a boost to what we’re saving for already for the new car. I believe we could make it work, I’m just hesitant to go for it. If you don’t mind me asking, how many do you have in your family and how did that play in to your decision?

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    I say go for being a one-car family. Yes you could find that later down the road you will need two cars as the kids get older, but that will give you even more time to save. If you find that months are going by at at time right now where you’re not needing that second car, then I think it’s worth it. Yes you could always break down, but usually they can fix something in a day, or give you a loaner or you may have to rent a car for a day, but that’s not too bad.

    • John says:

      I am tempted to make that decision for a number of reasons. It’s the “what-if’s” that are holding me back right now. That’s also not to mention the fact of what we’d lose in value by holding on to the Kia for a few more years until we’re ready to buy another car.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    Luckily for us, we will never have to make this decision. My wife and I work on separate ends of the city. She also goes in 3 hours earlier than I do and our public transportation is horrible.

    That being said, I always like to have contingency plans, so only having one car would not make me feel very good.

    • John says:

      Yea, in that situation I don’t ever see it really working – especially with the three hour difference & crappy public transportation.

      That is the big thing that is holding me back right now, not having a backup. If it were just us, that would be one thing but with kids I’d hate to have one of us stuck at home without the ability to get out if we needed to.

      • Grayson Bell says:

        I am with you there my friend. I am somewhat a pessimist, but also a planner. Not having a backup plan when someone is home with our son is too much for me.

        • John says:

          Yea, Nicole would call me a pessimist…as I call myself a realist, but not having that backup is a big pill for me to swallow.

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaply says:

    We’re a one car family but we live in NYC where public transportation is very convenient and we have to pay for parking as street parking is very limited. I’m sure it’s a lot tougher in other areas where public transportation isn’t as convenient. I was wondering about the future if we’ll need another car since it is much more convenient with the kids.

    • John says:

      Yea, I wish we had public transportation a 1/4 as good as NYC. Unfortunately we don’t which makes it a bigger pill for me to swallow.

  • Kasey @ Debt Perception says:

    For your family, it sounds like temporarily becoming a one-car family seems like a good thing. Though I can’t imagine how you share a car with kids! My husband and I share one car and it’s such a big hassle. I waste about 10 hours each week driving my husband to and from work just so I can have the car. Double trips to/from his work take a toll on how much gas we have to purchase each month. I absolutely hate having to share a car!

    • John says:

      That sounds a lot like it was for us before we had kids and had one car. Our work days were about 10 hours because we worked at opposite ends of the city and one person had to drive all over town while the other waited at the end of the day. I can empathize with that hate!

  • Travis @debtchronicles says:

    I’ve thought about becoming a one car family. In fact, it became very evident that it would be possible over the last couple of weeks as I had to jump start our car when I thought it would take it out for a drive because it had been WEEKS since I started it. But, then again I have this teenager….who’s 15 and looking to have a license within a year.

  • Kathy says:

    Even though my hubby and I are retired and go almost everywhere together, we still have 2 vehicles. Sometimes we have different appointments scheduled for the same time. Sometimes I have to take my mom to an appt. and hubby needs a vehicle to run errands, etc. For you I’d ask a couple of further questions such as do you live in an area where public transportation is reliable? Do you both work outside the home so two cars are needed to get to two different locations? If one person has the car and the other suddenly needs to take an injured or sick child to the Dr., do you really want to take that child on public transportation in that condition? Years ago, families only had one car. But oftentimes one person was a stay at home parent who quite literally stayed at home all day every day due to no transportation. I’m not sure people are willing to revert back to that lifestyle again.

    • John says:

      I can definitely understand having two cars when you have overlapping appointments like that. In regards to your questions, I covered most of them in the post. πŸ™‚ Our public transportation is horrible and we both work from home. So, one minus and one plus. That said, that being home without a car and having an emergency or a sick kid is the big pill for me to determine whether or not I want to swallow.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    We think about this all the time as well. The one thing holding us back is that our daughter starts kindergarten this year. We’re afraid that our driving habits will change and I would be stuck without any way to get around. Sorry I can’t offer any advice! =)

    • John says:

      Yep, that’s exactly where we’re at. Of course, right after we sell the car something would happen. πŸ˜‰

  • Catherine says:

    We’re a one car family for now and it works for us. Our work schedules allow it but once our little one starts getting more involved/we move out of the city we will likely get a second vehicle. We also work in opposite ends of the city but I take public transit for now but again our long term plans are to move out of city where it will be a necessity not ”want”.

    It can be inconvenient at times but worth the cost savings for us right now.

    • John says:

      That’s cool you’re able to take advantage of public transportation. We definitely would if we could but that’s just not an option. There are literally like two buses in all of Omaha.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    Tough call. Maybe put the Kia away and agree not to use it at all for a couple of months and see how you feel. I think if you want to be a one car family, now is the time because you will likely be all over the place when the kids get older. If you feel like you need it at all, I’d keep it until you are ready to buy your new car. You might get less money, but a couple of years really doesn’t matter that much with older cars.

    • John says:

      That’s what we’ve basically been doing the past few months as we’ve just not had need for it. That’s a good point on the older cars. It’s not like we’re talking tens of thousands here. πŸ™‚

  • Alexandria says:

    That’s the thing – the cost to keep a paid for car is not necessarily very much. Certainly not when considering the inconvenience factor.

    We went through a low income time when we first had kids and was strongly encouraged by internet “frugal” community to sell our second car. (Both our cars had been paid for in cash, we had no debts, there was nothing pressing about our financial situation). The problem was that our older car has the better gas mileage. IT wasn’t really worth much. & then it would mean having to eventually buy another car later. When we had paid very little for our car and it has been phenomenal. (I think it would mostly be impossible to find as good as a deal again in the future). This was about 7 years ago.

    What we decided was that we could live without second car in an emergency situation. If car was totaled. But in the meantime, keeping the car was far more valuable and useful to us than selling it. 7 years later, we can very easily afford to stay a 2-car family. So, those years where I Wasn’t so sure if we could afford to replace both cars has passed.

    That said, we have never been in a position where we could just park the car. I know we can live with one car, sure. But, at least we are getting almost daily use and convenience out of the second car. Child attends school a few miles away from home. Spouse takes kids to appointments and runs errands while I am at work. I think it’s a tough choice and is a very individual decision.

    • John says:

      I agree, it is a very individual decision. For us, there are many things that would point to it working out for us. The big concern for me is one of us being stuck at home and an emergency happening. I just don’t know that getting the money we could get would be worth it in that case.

  • Alexandria says:

    P.S. I was going to say – it helped us immensely just to relax and realize we could live without the second car. That we had a Financial Plan B. Sounds like maybe something to keep in your back pocket for now, but is an idea that will give you more options when you need a bigger vehicle?

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    We have been debating this one for a while but that is because we currently have two car payments, but with some “thought and planning” we could probably only use one car. For your decision, I think the biggest complicating factor that you hinted at is the family connection to the car you are thinking about selling. My mother gave my sister a car because she totaled her other one, but then found out my sister sold the car my mom gave her to upgrade to a better car. And it has left a big rift between the two of them. I think the biggest cause of the rift, though, was the fact that my sister didn’t ask my mom before she sold the car. So I think if you clear the air first with your mom, it should not be a factor.

    • John says:

      Yea, I could see how that could cause a big rift. It was my Mom that actually said she didn’t mind if we sold it, but it still feels a little like we shouldn’t sell it, if that makes sense.

  • Belle says:

    My son recently became a 1 car family
    For basically the same reasons. Taxes,insurance, upkeep are a big savings but when we fly out we have to rent a car. When they fly in, we give them our best with car seats installed! AEP gives him a company car for just work, so the family does have access to a vehicle during the day. I
    Understand how your mother feels, I didn’t particularly appreciate my son selling the new truck I bought in 2004 for his graduation to put in his minivan fund! My son loves not having a car payment & the fund grows every month! Hope it works out for the best!

    • John says:

      Adding the family element definitely can muddy it up a little bit. She has given us her blessing, but still feels a little bit like we shouldn’t. But, I know she would also like to see us have the money to buy a car outright without having to deal with a loan and selling would get us to that sooner.

  • Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies says:

    We’re going to be selling our second car soon, as bike commuting has become a part of my daily routine. I’d err on the side of giving it a shot now, and banking the savings. While you might need another in the future, don’t let that stop you from realizing some savings in the present.

    • John says:

      Very cool Mrs. Pop! I am really tempted to do it so we could bank the cash and the extra savings could go towards what we’re saving anyway.

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    We are definitely a two-car family and I don’t envision us becoming a one-car family beyond an absolute need to do so. While my office is only a few minutes from our home, I still drive quite a bit for client meetings and events and my husband would be stranded with the girls who have plenty of activities to keep him (and me) hopping. I think that’s the biggest issue for you – going down to one-car may work for a few years but once your kids are older, you may wind-up with another vehicle. I guess it boils down to whether the short-term benefit is enough for you.

    • John says:

      That makes total sense Shannon and we’re not at a point meeting wise, yet, where we’re doing a ton of driving for that. You’re right though, it could work for a couple of years, but not much beyond that.

  • Raquel@Practical Cents says:

    Most families I know with children have 2 cars. I think it becomes difficult to manage with just one as you said once the kids have many activities.

  • Deacon Hayes says:

    I have a few friends that are a one-car family and they save a ton of money every month since the insurance and maintenance is a lot less. If you think you guys can swing it, go for it!

    • John says:

      We have a few of those as well, though I don’t think we’d get that much in terms of monthly savings. However, it could be paired with what we’re already doing in order to pick up the pace.

  • Pauline @ Reach Financial Independence says:

    Tough one as you have a depreciating car in your garage but will probably need a second car in a few years. As cash is king I’d get rid of the car for now and look to buy a more reliable option in 3-5 years, when the current main car would become the second one.

    • John says:

      That’s what I keep coming back to, that I know what I can get now for the car. That would likely help us get a car by the end of next year, especially if we have the kind of year we’re having with the business. But, it’s an older car so we’re not exactly talking a ton of cash if we continue to keep it.

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor says:

    John, if you live near a carsharing hub, that would be a great option to supplement the one car you own without adding the fixed expense of owning a second car.

  • canadianbudgetbinder says:

    We use only one vehicle at a time but it works for us. We used to use both vehicles until we realized we could easily make it work with one. We have since been using one in the winter and in the summer I take my vehicle out. The cost savings have been huge however it might not work for everyone’s situation.

    • John says:

      That’s great you’ve been able to make it work out Mr. CBB! I’m confident we’d be fine 99% of the time, though it’s those unknown things that could hurt us in only having one car.

  • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance says:

    I didn’t know how any family could be a one car family until I saw it done. That being said, if you’re only going to have to go for a few months as a one car family, it could be worth it to get that boost to the new car fund. Of course, if you don’t drive it often, it might not lose too much value over a year or so. You could hang onto it until then as an insurance policy and still sell it for close to what you would get today.

    • John says:

      I know it can be done, it’s the unknown that’s the big pill for me to swallow. It’d likely be close to two years that we’d be with only one car – likely to the end of 2015. But, that’s a good point that if we really don’t drive it too much that it might not lose a whole lot more in value.

  • David says:

    Well, it only depends if the car is an SUV or minivan. Not the car in the picture. You want a reliable car that will be worth the money. By the way, I am not intending to rip on your car, I am sure it is great. Even if you only have one kid, the SUV is more reliable, spacious, and safe.
    Great article!

    • John says:

      Like I said in the post, it would be to sell the car pictured and purchasing an SUV. πŸ™‚ That said, it’s not a reliability issue but a space issue.

  • Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) says:

    We are a one car family right now, and it’s not bad because we’ve both been home but we’re evaluating what to do in the next few months!

  • Anneli @thefrugalweds says:

    I wish the hubs and I could be a one car family! I drive about an hour to work every day and it’s straight across town. While it doesn’t work for us logistically now, we wouldn’t rule it out in the future.
    I grew up with a Mom who chose not to drive so it’s a little bit like being a 1 car home (she said driving in Los Angeles stressed her out too much!) I could see how frustrating it was for my dad to always be the one doing all the driving. But I also saw how they needed to be more coordinated and apply team-work because of this. So it is definitely doable πŸ™‚

    • John says:

      Having lived in LA, I can relate to the stress your Mom felt. πŸ™‚ That said, you’re right, it does require a lot more coordination but it can be done. The only problem I’m having is dealing with unplanned things in the event that we do sell the second car.

  • jefferson @See Debt Run says:

    My oldest son is now 13 years old.. So I decided to keep driving my old 2004 work-sled for 3 more years until I can give it to him. πŸ™‚

  • Daisy says:

    This is something that I’ve been seriously considering as well. Cars are so expensive, and now that I don’t have to commute between several different cities to get to school, work, and home, I don’t think we really need the second car. There are expenses to going carless, too, though!

  • Jacob says:

    I think it can go either way. For some families, it would seem impossible to share one car. On the other hand, there are significant savings involved. We share a car and it has been very rewarding overall. Highly recommended if you can make it happen!

  • Andrea says:

    We have always been a 1 car family and we have 4 kids. We consciously chose to live in a neighbourhood well served by transit and my husband and I have alternated on who takes transit and who takes the car, depending on where we worked, and who was picking up the kids from daycare. For two years now, being a 1 car family has been simpler for half the year as my husband drives a scooter. I am looking at getting my motorcycle license now as well to help give us more options. With the scooter, 1 child can be taken to an activity as we have an extra helmet.

  • Ange152385 says:

    We are currently doing the one car thing and I am a stay at home mom. So, work schedules are not even an issue for us and it is still a major pain. Not having the freedom to just be able to pick up and go food shopping or to the post office is very frustrating. Especially if you live in an area that is not within walking distance to stores. Yeah you may save some money, but in my opinion having freedom is more important than saving a small amount of money every month.

  • Samantha says:

    I have been contemplating this too since I became a SAHM at the end of May. We have a truck and a charger, which we can’t use during the winter anyways. So we basically will be down to one car this winter with me being ‘stuck’ at home. We just paid off the car last month though so all we have to do is pay insurance and maintenance. It definitely is a tough decision with the car starting to get rust that will only get worse. Plus we are living pay check to paycheck atm and that extra cash would help us pay to heat our house and buy groceries over the winter time. Oh, the joys of adulthood!

  • J says:

    Something to consider in case you haven’t sold your car yet: when you buy a new car, you have to pay sales tax on your purchase. If you trade in a car to help pay for the new purchase, the amount you receive as a trade-in reduces the total price paid for your new car. So if your car is worth $5,000 and the sales tax rate is 7%, then you will pay an extra $350 in sales tax if you don’t trade in your car.

  • Kevin says:

    We went down to one car back in July 2014, and we are now going on 6 months as a 4-person, one-car family (we have a Prius). My wife’s car blew a head gasket and it wasn’t worth fixing – so we sold it to the mechanic. We don’t have to pay for registration, taxes, insurance, car payment, nor fuel – I mean, a car costs more than you think it does! If we really need a car, we can rent one, or use a Zipcar, or take the bus, or take the train – you get the idea. We are a husband, wife, and kids 8 and 13. I discovered the reason we have 2 cars is because everyone else does. Try it for awhile – you might like not having the extra expense (and we have a great income – we can afford a second car). I can actually save for retirement now! Yay!

  • Ruth says:

    We have been a one car family in the past and it didn’t work well for us at all.

    We live in a remote rural area.

    Basically, having only one car meant that we had to drive it twice as much. The depreciation and oil changes were insane! We would end up having to replace the car far sooner and that’s not economical at all.

    We added a second vehicle and it’s been wonderful. Since the second vehicle is so economical on gas, our monthly gas expenditure doesn’t appear to be going up. Now we can get oil changes for the other car half as much and won’t be driving it 24,000 miles per year.

    Our insurance hasn’t gone up much with the addition of the second vehicle.

    I no longer have to drive 24 extra miles early in the morning with 3 kids, just so that I can keep the car. I also don’t suffer from feeling trapped at home anymore.

    Also I don’t waste endless time sitting around waiting for my husband after making the drive into town if he’s having to work unexpected extra time.

    Having just one vehicle can work well for city folks, but I don’t recommend it for rural folks. In our situation, we were essentially paying for two vehicles while only driving one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *