Becoming a One Car Household

For the first time since I got my driver’s license, I don’t have a car. Just this past weekend, we sold my Honda Accord and George and I have officially become a one-car household. I know plenty of people do it all the time, but I’ve been a little apprehensive. After all, I grew up in the suburbs where a car is practically a necessity.

Too bad this rad ride isn't our one car.

Too bad this rad ride isn’t our one car.

But Why?
George and I have talked about downsizing our car situation for quite some time in order to gain extra cash. We both work from home, so our daily travel needs are very low.

It wasn’t until we recently moved, though, that the car situation became a more pressing issue. (Side note: we still don’t own the new house, but we’re living in it. More on that later.)

The small city where we live now has parking restrictions during business hours. If we drove to work every day, it wouldn’t be a problem. But since we are home, and our car needs to be parked nearby, we had to invest in a paid parking pass. While a pass is a manageable monthly expense, it just didn’t make sense to pay for two cars, especially since both are normally dormant. So we made the jump and sold my car, since George’s is a little newer and nicer.

The Logistics
Already we’ve faced the issue of both of us wanting to use our one car at the same time. Luckily, George has an understanding friend who was able to pick him up while I was able to drive myself to a lady date.

When we each had our own vehicle, we certainly discussed schedules, but didn’t have to plan for this level of detail. Now things are a little more important, since we can’t make an appointment or meeting out of town if the other person is using the car! We still need to set this up, but our primary plan is to use a shared Google calendar to mark down when each of us intends to drive the car.

I should note, that the shared car experience is made easier by living in a small city. There are shops, basic grocery stores, restaurants, and a drugstore within easy walking distance. Plus, multiple bus lines run right through our neighborhood.

The Advantages
Let’s be real, the biggest advantage to being a one car household is the money saved! Since we’re in the process of buying a house, we put the proceeds of the car sale towards home improvements and new furniture. But we’ll also be saving on registration, yearly inspection, upkeep, and insurance costs. It’s nice to have a financial incentive to live on less.

The basics of sharing a car

Bottom Line
It’s certainly too soon to tell how this one car thing is going to work out for us. Thankfully, George is a very flexible and understanding partner who doesn’t mind taking the bus or riding his bike. I don’t know that I could share a car with someone who was inconsiderate or flighty.

I still have my concerns, like for when one of us wants to leave town to visit relatives, but I think we can make it work. I know a few other successful one-car families, like my brother and sister-in-law, so I’m confident we can do it. Wish me luck!

2 thoughts on “Becoming a One Car Household”

  1. You knew I’d comment on this, right ;0) We have been a one car (truck) couple for the better part of 20 years. I work at home, my husband does too now that he is retired. Before that, in Houston, I worked at home, he worked on Main St Houston so he either drove or more often took the bus. Saved on gas I can tell you! It can get frustrating here as there is no bus service but then again, we pretty much go everywhere together or he takes me and goes shopping etc.

    It was a shock to learn that our auto insurance went up when we became a one vehicle family. We have AAA and they said “you lost your multi-car discount” What? Even with homeowners insurance with them our auto went up about $75 or so a year. Sadly, no one else in TX offers “slab insurance” on homes so we stay with them.

    All that aside, you will adapt :0) Each time you save a few more dollars on gas and inspections and wear & tear its worth it.

    As for traveling, you know Enterprise offers $10/day rentals on the weekend! We pick up a car every a couple of months and do road trips. It saves gas for one thing, with a truck it would cost twice as much to do the same miles.

    Good luck with this! I have friends who won’t own a vehicle, they ride bikes, the bus and…rent the occasional car.

    1. Haha! Thanks for sharing your experience. I try to be an eco-minded person, so I always imagined a single family car or no car at all would be a great idea. But it’s really hard to give up that independence and freedom. You’re right that we can always rent a car if need be, which is a nice fall-back plan.

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