Life Without A Second Car

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When Brad was hired to work in California in September of 2011, we had two paid-off vehicles.  Brad drove his 2002 Toyota Tacoma, and I drove my 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser.  As we made plans to move across the country, I again began to contemplate the wisdom of keeping my car.  It needed repairs regularly, it broke down inconveniently, and we had just put new tires on it.  Driving both vehicles to California would mean more miles, inspections, insurance, and registration in California.  After weighing the pros and cons, we decided to list my car on Craigslist, and put the money toward our debts.

Life without a second car has been interesting.  As with many of our frugal choices, we’ve gotten some funny looks.  It seems like most American families have 2 jobs, 2 vehicles, and 2 kids.  We’re a little unusual with 1 job, 1 vehicle, and 3 kids.  It’s not always easy to coordinate our schedules when my husband and I both need or want the truck, but we’ve learned to cooperate.  When Brad goes into Sacramento for training every week, I choose activities that I can do around the house.  When I want to go shopping, I check with Brad to make sure he doesn’t need the truck for work.  A friend on our street occasionally picks the kids and me up for a morning Bible Study, or lends me her extra vehicle if Brad goes away for a weekend.  Sometimes we have to say no to activities because we haven’t planned alternative transportation.  Only having one car can be a convenient excuse when we don’t really want to participate in a particular activity!  It also simplifies our lives and keeps us from overcommitment.

In addition, we have chosen not to purchase another vehicle with the birth of our third child.  While many families of five would choose to upsize to a minivan, we fit 3 car-seats across the backseat of our pick-up truck.  When Brad wants to take some high school friends out to McDonald’s, he removes the car-seats and the kids and I stay at home.  The only time our vehicle’s size has become a real issue is when our families come to visit from the East Coast.  In order to drive them from place to place, we must get creative by renting, borrowing, picking up, or leaving someone behind.

We don’t plan to stay a one vehicle family forever, but who knows?  Maybe we’ll eventually upsize to a vehicle with more seats and sell the truck, thus staying a one vehicle family even longer.  But for now, being a one vehicle family has saved us a lot of money in maintenance, inspections, insurance, and registration.

Have you ever tried being a one car family?

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7 Responses to “Life Without A Second Car”

  1. Chrissy Gardner says:

    Us too! Another thing in common.. must come with ministry life 😉

  2. I only have one vehicle but have been deliberating getting a larger one due to the fact that I take my niece and nephew places with me and three car seats just don’t fit into my car, (I’m expecting a baby this July). If I do buy a car I hope to buy one with cash.

  3. Keri says:

    We have been with only one car on and off for well over a year. Our four kids are 13,14,15,18. None of them drive. Our oldest is starting to find interest as our second son reaches driving age. It is often times problematic, but we have managed to make it work. Hubby works during the day 5am-5pm, Mon- Thurs. We homeschool and have found a co-op that meets on Fridays, the day my husband has off work.
    I used to really have a difficult time “being stuck” at home all week. There are times I find myself a tiny bit resentful as my friends are out getting together and we are forced to stay home, however we probably couldn’t afford another vehicle right now anyway. The vehicle, gas, insurance, yearly inspection…
    I’ve learned that the Lord has blessed us in ways He feels is best and often times we don’t see. I also know that when my friends are complaining they just want a day at home to “get caught up” on housework and school, I have that time every day. I’m super grateful. My life was in that fast lane and I can honestly say that I don’t miss it one bit.
    It works because we’ve made it 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you for sharing YOUR story! I agree–I’ve learned to enjoy the slower pace of our lives without a second car. It’s forced me to be smarter about my time, planning trips that accomplish more than one thing at a time. 🙂

  4. […] Second Vehicle–We didn’t have any vehicles when we lived in China from 2007-2009, and in 2011 we sold our second car.  We’ve been a one vehicle family ever since. […]

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