Author Topic: How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids  (Read 322 times)

Sunnysof

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How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids
« on: October 09, 2017, 12:22:18 PM »
We were planning to shed our second car when we moved closer into town, but have not yet made the decision for a variety of reasons including inertia. One thing I am most stressing out about is how to coordinate the various activity schedules of our family- everything is pretty tightly booked but depends on having two drivers. Carpooling is an option we are already doing for one activity, but won't work for the others. Public transport is the other option, but will eat up lots more time especially on weeknights, which I don't particularly like because of bedtimes, etc.
How have you done it? Any tips?

KCM5

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Re: How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 12:50:19 PM »
We do it. We only have one child. We both work full time, the kid is in elementary school full time (kid is 4), and one of us bikes for transportation. The biker transports the kid daily, so it doesn't limit activities except that we don't sign up for things that are too far away (say, 3 miles, depending on the route) outside of the time where the driver could take the kid.

Really, in order to make this work, you're probably going to have to sacrifice something - time, energy, activities, comfort. Since we've almost always had only one car, we're used to scheduling around it and being slightly inconvenienced. It's just how we do things, and it is completely unremarkable once you get used to it.

How old are the kids? Are they getting to an age where they can be in charge of their own transportation (walk, public transport, bike, scooter)?

Cranky

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Re: How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 01:01:09 PM »
We always only had one car, and I don't drive. We dealt with it by not signing up for activities that needed a car during the week, and inviting friends to come to our house.

onemorebike

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Re: How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 03:45:22 AM »
We always only had one car, and I don't drive. We dealt with it by not signing up for activities that needed a car during the week, and inviting friends to come to our house.
A well placed home, capable bikes/transit, and the attitude that you can't/don't want to be everywhere and do everything have worked well for this car light family. (2 school age kids and one car)

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Reggie

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Re: How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 07:11:48 AM »
How old are your kids?  If they are out of car seats, it becomes a lot easier.  You just budget to take UBER a couple times a month if needed and this is more than offset by the savings of not having 2 cars.

When we went to 1 car we starting biking (with a bike trailer) way more often. But that is dependent of the weather and we really can't do that in Winter.

I found that we really only run into situations where "we really wished we had a second car" about a few times a year.  Not as often as we were afraid of. 
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Laura33

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Re: How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 08:19:55 AM »
We always only had one car, and I don't drive. We dealt with it by not signing up for activities that needed a car during the week, and inviting friends to come to our house.

This.  When personal transportation is a given, it makes it easy to build a lifestyle that depends on always having personal transportation available right when you need it.  If you don't have that, then you design your lifestyle around activities that you can reasonably get to given the transportation options.  So if you are going from option 1 to option 2, you are going to find some things that just don't fit.  The easy fix is to drop the activities/carpools that are at inconvenient locations/times, or to find nearby substitutes. 

Caveat:  we are not a one-car family.  But since we both work full-time and sometimes irregular hours, we cannot ensure that a parent with a car will always be available for an activity.  So we limit the activities our kids do.  They can do any before- or after-school activities that are at the school or within walking distance of home, because they can get themselves there and back, but anything that requires driving has to be on a night/weekend when one car will almost always be available.  And we never schedule two different kid activities on the same night.
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EmFrugal

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Re: How to go from 2 car to 1 with kids
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2017, 12:03:19 PM »
We are a one car family with three kids ages 20 months to 6 years old. We started out in NYC pre-kids and did mass transit. Then when we moved to the DC suburbs with one child we bought one vehicle. As we added on children, we continued with one vehicle. We did get a larger car (a used Odyssey), but one vehicle has not been an issue for us. My husband takes mass transit to and from work and I have the car during the day for grocery shopping and pre-school pick-up/drop-off, etc. My oldest rides the school bus and will until she is in HS. Our area strongly encourages busing until the kids are old enough to drive, which is really halpful. They also bring the middle school children home from after school activities on the late bus! I just learned this from another parent and am thrilled.

In terms of activities, I personally can't handle driving all over the place during the week and just opt out of it. We could be doing gymnastics, soccer, art class, scouts, music lessons, etc like the other kids but it makes me insane driving all over and gives us less quality time as a family. In the future, I will let each child pick one activity at a time that they beg for. But they have to beg me for it! The activities will have to be scheduled on different days to avoid a transportation conflict. I'm assuming we will be able to carpool with other families and the bus service will still be available for middle schoolers. For sports related activities on weekends, we are fortunate that we can walk to all the soccer fields in our area and the community center.

Going from 2 cars to 1 may be a challenge, but you will get used to it. I always kick and scream a bit at first when I let go of something I thought I needed. It's an adjustment period. But ultimately I'm much happier when I downsize. My life gets simpler in many ways!