Author Topic: From two cars to one?  (Read 863 times)

Mrs.MLM

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From two cars to one?
« on: November 04, 2017, 09:46:41 AM »
We are a family of four (kids are 4 and 1) and we are thinking about selling one of our cars. My husband now works from home and our lifestyle has changed. It's rare that we both need to use a car at the same time. Are any of you in one-car families and how is it working for you? Any thoughts on what should I do with the extra fancy-pants convertible carseat? It's supposed to be a "forever" carseat, so I'm hesitant to get rid of it in case we become a two-car family again in the next 5 years or so.

BAM

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 10:31:37 AM »
We are. Just went down to one car this summer (well, mostly one car - our 2 college kids have a car with them that we pay for - but just one car at "home"). We have 7 still at home.
My DH works close enough to bike and our town is bike-able so one car has been very do-able for us. We do have everyone but me set up on bikes (my bike is in progress but DH is making ebike adjustments since I'll have 100lbs of kids on the back and our town is very hilly) which makes it more flexible.
The only issues we've had were when my DH and DS took the car for a week to hunt. I had no car and no bike so had to make sure I had the food we needed, etc so there weren't any issues. So flexibility is key - are you and your DH willing to work through those times when you both need/want a car?
Also, how about emergencies? If one of you has the car and the other needed the car for an emergency like a child's broken bone. How would you handle that? For us, since our car is usually at home, it's not an issue. When my DH/DS were hunting, I have some really good neighbors that I know would let me use their cars in an emergency just as I would help them so it was a non-issue.

We're finding it worth the money savings to work through the occasional sticky spot.

onemorebike

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 06:14:15 AM »
About 10 years ago I read "how to live well without owning a car". It talks about benefits, alternatives and lots of "how". We've got two littles, lots of bikes and one beater vehicle and my wife and I both work in an office. Totally doable, you will make some concessions in life but probably not many once you get better at removing unneeded trips, utilizing transit/bike/walk/Uber in those rare instances and formulating a backup plan. Here is the book if you are interested: https://books.google.com/books/about/How_to_Live_Well_Without_Owning_a_Car.html?id=7Aaqef3g6J0C&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button

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SimpleCycle

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 09:49:02 PM »
We’re a one car family but we always have been.  We’ve never had a need for a second car as one of us has always had a bike or public transit commute.  We have a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old.

We have travel car seats that also serve as backup seats for an emergency.  We have a Cosco Scenera Next and a Graco infant seat, but are probably going to get an IMMI Go.  I would keep the fancy pants car seat as a backup seat.

Chesleygirl

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 08:36:43 AM »
We were a one-car family for about 9 months. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be and we have 3 kids. Whenever we got into a tight spot, we'd get an Uber, but that was rare.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 08:54:50 AM »
We went from two cars to one this past May (with one kid).

We were expecting it to be more challenging than it is. I can count on one hand the number of times we've had any real inconvenience about it. The only time it was anything approaching a "problem" was when I had jury duty that got out at 11 a.m. and a Lyft driver couldn't be bothered to come pick me up after accepting the fare.

We keep the extra seat as a spare for when DS might ride with other people (we bought it specifically for easy install). It's worked out really nicely when family visits and stuff.
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?

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brycedoula

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 02:14:34 PM »
We have always had "only" one car (except for when my husband is on-call for work - then he gets a work car for 7 days every 8 weeks). It works very well for us, but only because we've arranged our lives that way:

-our daughter's daycare centre is literally across the street from our home, so we walk to/from to do drop-off & pick-up
-I commute via bus & service downtown is typically very good in our area
-my husband bikes to work 99% of the time (~3 miles ride one-way)

Occasionally we run into situations where having 2 vehicles would be nice, but it's always a "want" vs a "need". Generally speaking the person who doesn't have the kid takes a bus or taxi or carpools.

I'd definitely keep the fancy-pants car seat (our Diono Radian R120 was $400+CAD, no way I'd part with it easily!) - especially if grandparents may be driving the kids around.

kanga1622

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2017, 12:31:30 PM »
We have been a one car family for almost 15 years. We have kids that are 7 and 4. We just work out the car schedule in advance. We are lucky that I work only a few blocks from home so I can walk. Previously I got to work early because I got dropped off and DH had to be at work a half hour before my Office was open and I wasnít interested in walking the distance to my old office in -20.

You just have to figure out a flow that works for your family. I wonít lie - on super cold days it would be nice to have a second car so we donít have to go out in the cold twice as kid pickup was at differing times. However, the times that a second car is truly helpful at our house is way too rare for us to pay insurance and upkeep for two vehicles.

We have no public transportation in our town and Daycare is across town. Luckily, DH and my offices are about a 15-20 minutes walk apart if I need to go pick up a sick kid (DH usually has the car). We may start taking advantage of using the public school bus for our kids due to timing issues with drop off in the mornings but a $100 per year (per kid) pass is WAY cheaper than a second vehicle.

Why not park your second car and commit to not using it for a month or two before making the final decision?

Chesleygirl

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 12:55:13 PM »
When we had one car, I drove my husband to work in the morning, and dropped our oldest off at school on the way. Then I picked him up from work. We spent about the same amount of gas money as we would have, with only one car. Because we still have to drive to the same places every day. We only saved money on car insurance, car repairs, etc.

scantee

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2017, 12:56:46 PM »
We were a one car family for around ten years including when my two kids were babies up through starting school. For the most part it was great and there were very few times when it felt like a restriction in any way.

However...

we now have two cars. Once my kids became school age they got involved in a lot more activities. Combining that with two people with full-time jobs in opposite directions and it just became too hard to do with one car. So we got a second, very cheap, used car and it was absolutely the right move. I expect we'll continue to have two cars as long as the kids are in the house and will then consider dropping back down to one.

So my opinion is to go for it now if you think you can make it with one car, but don't beat yourself up if you end up needing to go back to two cars when your kids are older. Even having one car for just a few years is an improvement over what most families are doing.

acroy

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2017, 01:38:45 PM »
Sure do it!
Can't help you with the convertible carseat, I'm not sure what that is. But a carseat is what, a couple hundred bucks max? no biggie either way, especially when compared to multi-thousand on the car and multi-hundred every year on each car for insurance & operating costs.

Good luck!
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Mrs.MLM

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2017, 10:36:32 AM »
Thank you, everyone! We sold one of the cars on Thursday. It's only been two days, but we are very happy with our decision. It has the same light feeling we get when we declutter. If we hate it, we can always buy another car. However, I suspect that we will remain a one-car family until both kids are in school and the schedules get more complicated. We kept the fancy-pants carseat for the grandparents.

BuffaloStache

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2017, 02:28:28 PM »
When we had one car, I drove my husband to work in the morning, and dropped our oldest off at school on the way. Then I picked him up from work. We spent about the same amount of gas money as we would have, with only one car. Because we still have to drive to the same places every day. We only saved money on car insurance, car repairs, etc.

Isn't this still a significant portion of car ownership, and a large savings year after year? I know for me this would easily be ~$3000 a year in savings.

I'm posting mainly to follow. Congrats Mrs. MLM! Please give us an update after a month or so and let us know how you guys are getting on. DW and I are contemplating selling one of our cars, but it doesn't seem likely until we move to a location that is closer to one of our workplaces and/or more on the public transportation route.
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drudgep

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2017, 06:17:24 PM »
Good for you! We are a family of 3 soon to be 4, and we have been one car the whole way since my first was born. Wife is SAHM, so I need car for work, and it works out. You save so much when you really think about it- repairs, tires, maintenance, insurance, gas, etc. Big investment!Big savings with 1 car!

Mrs.MLM

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2017, 03:59:41 PM »
Well, it's been a little over a month and we've barely noticed we only have one car! I'm so glad we've decided to take this step. It feels like a less wasteful way to live (for us, at this point in our lives -- no two-car judgment here).

The only time it was mildly annoying was when Mr. MLM and one child went out of town for about 36 hours and I was home with the other child. I didn't NEED to go anywhere, and I could have walked to the grocery store, but I didn't like being "stuck" without a car for that long. Fortunately, that is a rare occurrence. It only happened this time because the baby was sick and we couldn't all go on a trip as planned.

I've also noticed it has decreased our nonsense spending. For example, if I had a car the weekend half the family was gone, I probably would have gone to Target and through a drive-thru for no reason other than getting out of the house.

Overall, I highly recommend it for those in similar situations!

BuffaloStache

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Re: From two cars to one?
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2017, 04:48:58 PM »
Thanks for the update! Congrats!
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