Author Topic: Downsides of going to one car?  (Read 2119 times)

Villanelle

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Downsides of going to one car?
« on: November 04, 2018, 01:10:22 AM »
Husband and I have always had two cars.  For the most part, it was pretty necessary, until recently.  We are moving next Spring and conditions seem pretty perfect for going to one car.   We will be living in a pretty public transportation friendly location, and also a place that seems to be pretty good for biking.  Also, though we don't know for sure, most likely I won't be working traditionally.  (Ideally I will more aggressively pursue writing and then find a volunteer gig at a nearby library for a day or two a week.)

DH will be working in a place from which we hope to live no more than 5 miles (and hopefully less) away, and that should have very solid metro/bus options.  (He may not get a parking place at work, in which case driving wouldn't even be an option, but in that case the public transport options would likely be free.)  Unfortunately, one to two days a week (we think that will be the frequency), he will be going to a place ~35-50 minutes drive away, with no public transport.  (The price of the short, cheap, easy commute the rest of the time is that long commute.)  He may be able to stay at the lower end of that range if he has control over his hours, but we won't know that until he's established in the job.  We hope to live in a very walkable situation, with shops and other resources easily walkable, or at a minimum very easily bike-able, and with a train station within a reasonable distance as well. That is of course more expensive than living in the 'burbs, but some of that will be offset by transportation savings, and it's a lifestyle we are willing to pay more for. Many houses in the area we want have no parking spaces, but it seems pretty easy to find a place with one.  Two is much more rare and/or expensive.

Rationally, I know we will be fine with one car.  I know all the upsides.  But I'm terrified.  I'm a SoCal gal and giving up my car is very uncomfortable as it feels like giving up my freedom and independence.   I don't need you to sell me on the reasons why we should do this.  I need you to tell me all the downsides, so I can make sure I've thought them all through and accepted or mitigated as best I can.  That's just the way my brain works.  So, tell me why and how this is going to suck, so I can make sure I'm ready! 

Cranky

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2018, 04:34:36 AM »
Well, you're going to have to plan ahead! If you know you won't have the car on Thursday, then you know you have to run errands on Wednesday, or wait for the weekend.

But honestly - in these days of Uber/Lyft, if you desperately need to do something on Thursday, it will be okay.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2018, 04:38:33 AM »
We were a one car couple since our marriage and with 2 kids.   

It didn't suck.  A few hassles were:

- dropping the car off at the repair shop and leaving it there.  We had a repair shop that was on my husband's way to the subway so when I was a SAHM he'd just drive the car to the shop and then walk to the subway.  If the car was fixed early, I could put the kids in the stroller and walk about 20 min to the shop.   Once I was working and needed the car to commute, having a car in the shop meant  I needed a friend to give me a ride to work, or to call a cab, or to miss a day of work.  With Uber and Lyft and such so prevalent now this should only be a minor issue.

- If the mass transit spouse needed a car to get to medical appointments during the day.  When I was a SAHM my husband would take the car and leave me with no car; but once I went back to work, he needed to call a cab.  Mostly he looked for medical providers who were metro accessible.

- Weekend activities where each kid needed to be in a different place at the same time.  (Solved by planning and carpooling with friends, or doing activties you could walk to)

- Car needs a jump start --  needed to ask a neighbor instead of using our second car.

- Weekends where one spouse wanted to go away with the car, leaving the other spouse home with 2 kids and no car.

- Car in shop overnight, and kid has a medical emergency and you need to get to the ER quickly (this never happened to us but was something I worried about happening when we had one car. Again, with Lyft and Uber it is a lot easier to get a cab now, although I guess they wouldn't be too happy about transporting a child who was projectile vomiting....)

Although there are some hassles, the cost benefit of having just one car was very much worth it!   





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use2betrix

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2018, 06:41:16 AM »

- Car in shop overnight, and kid has a medical emergency and you need to get to the ER quickly (this never happened to us but was something I worried about happening when we had one car. Again, with Lyft and Uber it is a lot easier to get a cab now, although I guess they wouldn't be too happy about transporting a child who was projectile vomiting....)


As I found out due to my wife who was having a good time on Halloween - the “vomit in an Uber fee” is $150 where I live.

Fur future reference :)

SnackDog

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2018, 06:47:35 AM »
The downside of going to less vehicles than drivers is not having a car available when needed or needing to juggles schedules.  We had one car the last six years because we could walk everywhere (gym, grocery, vet, doctor, hospital, etc).  Now, having moved, we have two strictly out of convenience so we can both go different places at the same time and we can't easily walk to the gym, grocery, etc.  My spouse drives to the gym 7 days a week so that constrained us a bit.

DirtDiva

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2018, 06:56:46 AM »
Went down to one car 3 years ago when we moved to a walkable/bikeable city.  Work is less than a mile away for each of us, grocery store 0.5 mile, shops, entertainment, hiking and biking trails, and restaurants 0.5 mile.  We let our second car sit idle for 6 months while we tried out the one-car-lifestyle to see if it would work for us.

The only minor hassle we have had was the week when The  Car was in the shop for repairs after hitting a deer, and only because we needed to get to the airport (took public transportation). 

yakamashii

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2018, 07:07:50 AM »
Is your new place in Japan, or are you moving away from Japan? FWIW, my wife and I are here in a mid-sized city with no car, with the standing plan to rent one when we want/need one. This doesn't always work - cars are simply not available certain weekends and nearly all holidays. Therefore, we have to plan ahead, as someone mentioned upthread.

If you value spontaneity, or spontaneity is an important part of your enjoyment of life or certain activities, not having a second car/not having a car when you need it could put a damper on things.

Hirondelle

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2018, 07:28:24 AM »
Maybe a weird question but I've seen some people mentioning how it sucks if your car is in a repair shop and you don't have another one - isn't it common in the US to get a 'replacement vehicle' when the repair takes longer than let's say same day/next day?? In such a car-centric country it sounds weird to me if such a thing doesn't exist/isn't normal.

(As far as I know it's a normal thing in my country - Dutch folks please correct me if I'm wrong)

Also, realize that if you happen to have A LOT of struggles you can always just get back to buying another car. That's not a failure. That means you've tried your best and it didn't work out for your situation in the end. No big deal. Just get rid of the car now as soon as you move to not be too used to the 2-car situation and see if everything works out. Many of the potential downsides sound to me like things that would only happen occasionally, especially if you have good public transport and important facilities nearby (e.g. ER visit in the middle of the night).

big_slacker

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2018, 07:30:16 AM »
We had one car for many years. If you don't have kids to shuttle around and are healthy enough to walk/bike when you can and bus/train otherwise it's no big deal *IF* you're in an area that has what you need within walking or biking distance.

We even had one situation where my son broke his arm and I had to go to the ER 12 miles away. Knocked on my cop neighbor's door hoping for a lights on ride but he wasn't home. I just hopped on my road bike to go meet them, ER was totally cool with me having the bike in there.

You adjust to what you have, you'll be fine.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 07:32:41 AM by big_slacker »

wenchsenior

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2018, 08:08:44 AM »
We have had one car for the last 8 years.  It has (mostly) been fine, BUT that's b/c I work from home and am introverted, so don't miss the car for spontaneous socializing or other activities.  Also, our town does not have much in the way of recreational opportunities that might  'call to me' during the day (i.e., attractive parks, etc.) if I want to get out of the house. This city is TOTALLY car centric.  No bike lanes (I wouldn't ride a bike on the main streets), very limited cab service (not unusual for a cab to take an hour to get around to picking you up b/c there are so few cabs), and very minimal public transport (buses) only on a couple of main 'arteries', not going to places I am likely to go.  This situation has kept me close to my house when my husband is at work. It has forced me to become much more efficient in terms  of running errands that need a car, but not problematically so.

The downsides have been that (even) I occasionally want to just up and go somewhere during a weekday, and can't without calling for uber/lyft (which I've never actually done, and don't know how this works....my impression is that it requires a smartphone, which I don't have).  And we have had times when we had an emergency need for a vehicle and I couldn't get hold of my husband right away at work.  Luckily, we have an 'on call' second car at my mother's house, and she was able to come on those occasions.  But as she ages and on occasions at night, I would be much less comfortable calling on her for emergency help.

Ironically, I was just in a car accident that totaled our car, and the insurance company took THREE WEEKS to even start to deal with it, even though I was not at fault (it's now been 6 weeks and we still don't have the settlement check in hand).  So we were on the hook for renting a car, until we decided to go buy another car after the first week of paying for a rental!  That was REALLY annoying, and I have to admit that during the wait for the insurance company to decide whether our original car was fixable (it wasn't), I was kind of hopeful that we'd go back to being a 2 car household. 

To be honest, if we lived in a city that had more attractive outdoor spaces (like all 4 of the previous places I lived), I probably would want a second car for my own mental health and independence.  As it is, practicality and frugality keep winning out, so one car it remains.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 08:12:27 AM by wenchsenior »

Cranky

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2018, 09:04:04 AM »
Car repair places have a limited number of loaners available, IME.

But y’know - in a pinch, you can rent a car. If you’re in a big city, there’s Zip Car.

Honestly, we’ve always been a 1 car family, and I don’t drive, and we had 3 kids. It just takes planning ahead.

Villanelle

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2018, 09:07:53 AM »
Is your new place in Japan, or are you moving away from Japan? FWIW, my wife and I are here in a mid-sized city with no car, with the standing plan to rent one when we want/need one. This doesn't always work - cars are simply not available certain weekends and nearly all holidays. Therefore, we have to plan ahead, as someone mentioned upthread.

If you value spontaneity, or spontaneity is an important part of your enjoyment of life or certain activities, not having a second car/not having a car when you need it could put a damper on things.

We are moving away from Japan to the DC area. 

Villanelle

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2018, 09:19:04 AM »
Maybe a weird question but I've seen some people mentioning how it sucks if your car is in a repair shop and you don't have another one - isn't it common in the US to get a 'replacement vehicle' when the repair takes longer than let's say same day/next day?? In such a car-centric country it sounds weird to me if such a thing doesn't exist/isn't normal.

(As far as I know it's a normal thing in my country - Dutch folks please correct me if I'm wrong)

Also, realize that if you happen to have A LOT of struggles you can always just get back to buying another car. That's not a failure. That means you've tried your best and it didn't work out for your situation in the end. No big deal. Just get rid of the car now as soon as you move to not be too used to the 2-car situation and see if everything works out. Many of the potential downsides sound to me like things that would only happen occasionally, especially if you have good public transport and important facilities nearby (e.g. ER visit in the middle of the night).

Generally rental car coverage is an optional part of insurance. We've never had it so I don't know how much it costs, but for a slightly higher premium, your insurance will provide a rental while your car is in the shop due to an accident.  If it's for maintenance or non-accident repairs, then sometimes dealers will offer courtesy car.

We have talked about the fact that we can always buy a second car later.  We are starting more or less from scratch with cars since we are moving internationally, so it's not like we'd be selling a car and then rebuying if the experiment fails.  The real problem would be parking.  If we get a place with one parking space (which is most homes in the area, I believe), that second car could be a real problem.  So ideally we'd make a firm decision before signing a lease.  Once we are on the ground we can get a better sense of what street parking is like, which might take some of that pressure off.

ixtap

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2018, 09:30:05 AM »
Maybe a weird question but I've seen some people mentioning how it sucks if your car is in a repair shop and you don't have another one - isn't it common in the US to get a 'replacement vehicle' when the repair takes longer than let's say same day/next day?? In such a car-centric country it sounds weird to me if such a thing doesn't exist/isn't normal.

(As far as I know it's a normal thing in my country - Dutch folks please correct me if I'm wrong)

Also, realize that if you happen to have A LOT of struggles you can always just get back to buying another car. That's not a failure. That means you've tried your best and it didn't work out for your situation in the end. No big deal. Just get rid of the car now as soon as you move to not be too used to the 2-car situation and see if everything works out. Many of the potential downsides sound to me like things that would only happen occasionally, especially if you have good public transport and important facilities nearby (e.g. ER visit in the middle of the night).

Generally rental car coverage is an optional part of insurance. We've never had it so I don't know how much it costs, but for a slightly higher premium, your insurance will provide a rental while your car is in the shop due to an accident.  If it's for maintenance or non-accident repairs, then sometimes dealers will offer courtesy car.

We have talked about the fact that we can always buy a second car later.  We are starting more or less from scratch with cars since we are moving internationally, so it's not like we'd be selling a car and then rebuying if the experiment fails.  The real problem would be parking.  If we get a place with one parking space (which is most homes in the area, I believe), that second car could be a real problem.  So ideally we'd make a firm decision before signing a lease.  Once we are on the ground we can get a better sense of what street parking is like, which might take some of that pressure off.

I don't remember the last time I was offered a courtesy car for repairs. Many places do have shuttle service, but often with weird hours, limited range and sometimes only for drop off, not pick up.

bridget

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2018, 03:01:32 PM »
We're a one-car couple.  I'm also fairly lazy and use Lyft whenever it would be even slightly more convenient than the bus.  Even so, it's significantly cheaper than even the increased monthly insurance for a second car, not to mention gas, maintenance, parking, and the car itself.  If I planned ahead a little better, biking and the bus would get me pretty much everywhere I need to go.

kanga1622

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2018, 03:05:25 PM »
The biggest thing is scheduling. We are a family of four (2 FT working adults and 2 elementary school aged kids). TThere are days we have to split who has the car during which part of the day due to school dismissal or work requirements. Generally DH has the car and I have to walk if I need to leave work during the day. We live in snow country so 6 months a year it is very unfun to have to walk any distance.

We’ve been a one car family for more than 15 years. It was a bit of juggling initially but we were able to make it work and just figure out backup plans now. We don’t have a public transit option in our town but have friends and coworkers that would be willing to drop either of us off if we needed a short ride and had a conflict. As this only happens a few times a year, it is not a hardship on either side and we happily do it for others when we are asked (or know we should offer).

I have a couple other coworkers that are one car families as well. Most of them bike to work unless the ice is too thick. Or they shift their hours to catch a ride with their spouse (they are salaried).

LadyMuMu

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2018, 04:13:54 PM »
We transitioned to a one-car family during our last move. In my opinion, a move to a new city is the perfect time to try out one car ownership. You are going to be making new routines, finding new places to go, etc. and so you automatically start choosing habits that make sense with a one-car lifestyle. We chose a house close to work, school, church and downtown. We also got a less expensive house because it "only" had a one-car garage.

We said if we hated it, we could always purchase a second car later. Well, we're 6 years into this experiment and going strong. On the few occasions that we really needed a second car, Zip Car or Enterprise rentals have done the trick. We probably spend about $200 a year on supplemental transportation. That's a huge savings for us.

zinnie

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2018, 05:38:56 PM »
You’ll be fine. We went to one car in San Diego, with both of us working. It was no big deal, you work with what you have and plan car trips when you have access. Also I started planning my life around what was easy to access without a car. (And we just went to no cars in Boston! Which was also not a big deal and honestly much more enjoyable.) Not sure what is available where you will be but here there are also easy rentals with Zipcar and Getaround. We can easily/quickly get a rental for the day that is pretty reasonable. With Getaround there is a car literally parked behind our building that we can use if we need it...

Linda_Norway

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2018, 06:16:20 AM »
We (2 adults) had only 1 car for 14 years. I felt that maybe twice a year, I would have liked to have a second car available. That would typically be both of us having separate plans in the weekend.

As you are living centrally, practically all issues could be solved with alternative walking/biking/PT. You really don't need a second car. Maybe you should consider an electric bicycle with trolly as a second transportation device.

LifeHappens

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2018, 06:42:36 AM »
My DH and I have been a one car household for 6 years now. For 5 of those years we lived in a pretty remote place with no public transportation options. We both work mainly from home.

The biggest downside for me is that I rarely go out on my own anymore. We pretty much go everywhere together including grocery shopping. I like driving and sometimes miss just going out for a drive.

The only other hassle has been getting the car repaired. We were lucky to live near a good independent shop, so DH would take the car in with his bicycle in the back and ride home. When our previous car had a fatal transmission issue in our driveway we ended up having to rent a car for a week while we shopped for a new one. Still way cheaper than maintaining a second car.

accolay

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2018, 07:34:59 AM »
The biggest issue most people with a one-car family, besides the obvious scheduling issues, is that you'll have to decide what to do with the extra cash you're saving from not having two cars. VTSAX? IRA? 401k? Decisions to make!

Annie101

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2018, 09:34:30 PM »
We have been a one-car couple for 13 years.  It is just now starting to consider a second car, and that is due to kid scheduling issues.  They frequently have activities that are at the same time and in very different locations.  (This has just recently started, at ages 5 & 7.)  We also joined a church that is not easy to get to by public transit, but is the denomination that we want (so the location is not optional).

My advice is to map your husband's route to and from work during rush hour for each house or apartment you look at.  We did that when buying our house and it has really paid off.  For example, a house might be in a generally good area for transit or close to work, but the bus stop is up a giant hill, or there is no express bus.  It's really good to know the situation so that you can take it into account when deciding where to live.

GreenEggs

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2018, 10:02:49 PM »
If we only had one car I would have to at least have a small motorcycle or scooter. 

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2018, 10:57:37 PM »
Never had two cars. Together as a couple/married/with kid for a total of around 15 years (part of that is fuzzy; we had a roommate with his own car, but didn't really use it/him as transport). We do live in a college town with good (... for the US) bus service and its pretty bikeable except when winter/ice.

We had a point we thought we needed 2, because of job, job, home, and daycare locations. We got through it for long enough for DS to switch daycares to near my job, and then DW went back to the bus and I drove the car.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2018, 12:29:03 AM »
We have been a one-car couple for 13 years.  It is just now starting to consider a second car, and that is due to kid scheduling issues.  They frequently have activities that are at the same time and in very different locations.  (This has just recently started, at ages 5 & 7.) 

Is it necessary to have the kids on those particular activities? Could you instead put them on the same activity?

J Boogie

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2018, 08:38:50 AM »
My wife and I each came into our marriage with mid sized SUVs. (2004 Mitsu Outlander, 2006 Escape Hybrid).

Now that my escape has over 200,000 and needs maintenance beyond its value - I'm ready to switch to a plug in electric as I only need to commute with mine. Probably a fiat 500e as I'm a fancy espresso drinking Italophile.

Eventually we'll probably replace her outlander with a nice big SUV with a trailer hitch that I can use for my lumber runs and is good for road trips and family transportation in general.

I just figure now that it's time to make a change, let's be strategic about our the vehicles in our partnership.

Unique User

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2018, 10:03:07 AM »
If I was moving to DC, I'd do just one car.  We're not really one car, as DH's company supplies a second, but we have three drivers.  Since I'm the one usually without a car, it just means I need to think and plan ahead.  It's kind of a pain, but I work from home so it's really not that bad.   

therethere

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2018, 10:12:46 AM »
If parking is not an issue, and one of your cars is older with little value, it might be worth the convenience for a two car household.

We have 2 cars even though we don't need two cars. But, the car we would get rid of is probably only worth 3k or less. Because we barely drive it maintenance is very low. To me it's not worth the hassle of trying to sell for minimal money. It's a compact so higher gas mileage and very easy to park downtown. So we have been keeping it around for 3 years and use it when it best fits the purpose to save our other car. We're also able to save our parents a few hundred on a rental every year when they visit. It's only a $75 tag fee + 1x oil change/year + $5/month insurance. Since we didn't need the money we kept it around. It's not completely mustachian, but even as DINKs we find value in it.

Goldielocks

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2018, 11:03:38 AM »
If parking is not an issue, and one of your cars is older with little value, it might be worth the convenience for a two car household.

We have 2 cars even though we don't need two cars. But, the car we would get rid of is probably only worth 3k or less. Because we barely drive it maintenance is very low. To me it's not worth the hassle of trying to sell for minimal money. It's a compact so higher gas mileage and very easy to park downtown. So we have been keeping it around for 3 years and use it when it best fits the purpose to save our other car. We're also able to save our parents a few hundred on a rental every year when they visit. It's only a $75 tag fee + 1x oil change/year + $5/month insurance. Since we didn't need the money we kept it around. It's not completely mustachian, but even as DINKs we find value in it.

Holy crap.   The most basic, minimal insurance I can get here is $1000/year.   For a 2006 vehicle with only the 3rd party liability coverage, and 20+year clean driving discount at $500k coverage (the minimum).  This only protects the OTHER drivers that are hit, but would not fix my car, cover theft, etc.   As I need at least $1 mill coverage, it is expensive.

Anyway, the minimum to keep the car running for me is thus closer to $180/mo., (including fuel) which is we are down to 1 car.... and the other one is parked in the garage.

therethere

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2018, 11:10:58 AM »
We pay around $90/month for both cars. But once you take the second car off, the multi-car discounts go away. The effective difference is only like $5/month. Insurance is whacky like that. It's also cheaper for me to have collision/comp on one car versus not having it. Go figure.

Should you even count 100% of the fuel costs as savings? If you get rid of one car, then you drive the other more making up the difference right? The key is to still act like you are a one-car household. Not to keep it and keep driving the 4 miles to work.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 11:14:08 AM by therethere »

Goldielocks

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2018, 11:27:49 AM »
We pay around $90/month for both cars. But once you take the second car off, the multi-car discounts go away. The effective difference is only like $5/month. Insurance is whacky like that. It's also cheaper for me to have collision/comp on one car versus not having it. Go figure.

Should you even count 100% of the fuel costs as savings? If you get rid of one car, then you drive the other more making up the difference right? The key is to still act like you are a one-car household. Not to keep it and keep driving the 4 miles to work.

I use my bike, now.   Sometimes transit (But I used transit where it was cheaper than paying for parking, before, too).  I only assumed about $50/mo of gas savings as we do use the one car a bit more on weekends for groceries.

PDXTabs

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2018, 03:13:02 PM »
Rationally, I know we will be fine with one car.  I know all the upsides.  But I'm terrified.  I'm a SoCal gal and giving up my car is very uncomfortable as it feels like giving up my freedom and independence.   I don't need you to sell me on the reasons why we should do this.  I need you to tell me all the downsides, so I can make sure I've thought them all through and accepted or mitigated as best I can.  That's just the way my brain works.  So, tell me why and how this is going to suck, so I can make sure I'm ready!

I think that you should commit to trying it and see how you feel, but use Lyft and Uber liberally if you need to. We have one car, and that means that if I need to grab a handful of Lyfts here and there it's still way cheaper than another car.

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2018, 05:24:58 PM »
Is your new place in Japan, or are you moving away from Japan? FWIW, my wife and I are here in a mid-sized city with no car, with the standing plan to rent one when we want/need one. This doesn't always work - cars are simply not available certain weekends and nearly all holidays. Therefore, we have to plan ahead, as someone mentioned upthread.

If you value spontaneity, or spontaneity is an important part of your enjoyment of life or certain activities, not having a second car/not having a car when you need it could put a damper on things.

We are moving away from Japan to the DC area.

I've seen a different thread crapping on DC metro, but I thought the metro there was great.  Really won't have too many issues going to one car in DC unless you live in one of the affordable Ex-urbs.

Traffic is bad enough there you won't want to be in a car going from one place to another anyway.  Before my wife and I married, she went without a car in the DC area and only used bicycle, feet and transit to get everywhere.  I think I was driving about 5000 miles a year or less with both of us tied to one car in the DC area.

sui generis

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2018, 06:33:39 PM »
This is where city/urban planning really matters in making good decisions easy for people. I always wanted to not rely on my car so much, but in my former sprawl-ish SoCal city, it seemed too hard.  Then I moved to the Bay Area and it became harder to have a car, much less two.  I'm now grateful I have a garage spot for our one car, but it is so much easier to rely on bikes, public transport, GIG/Zipcars and traditional rental cars if we need options than to have to pay for and protect a second car.  I really appreciate my city making it easier for me to choose that and when/if we move, I will have practiced the skills of public transportation and urban biking enough to feel confident doing it where it is a less obvious choice.

In the 3 years my partner and I have lived together we have had a conflict with car scheduling exactly one time.  That was last weekend when he needed a car to drive several hours to do election canvassing and I needed to keep our car to get our foster cats to the adoption fair and lug around stuff for the text banking parties I was training at.  So he rented a car.  One time - 3 years!

singpolyma

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2018, 06:53:43 PM »
When we got married, I transitioned to being part of a 1-car family. Downsides include: atrophy of my planning/scheduling skills due to temptation to "just hop in the car", not always dressing for the weather since we can "just drive if it rains or snows", and an increased tendency to waste time "running errands" instead of planning bigger trips less often to get everything done

jpdx

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2018, 08:51:24 PM »
Single-car family of three here. I'm struggling to come up with any significant downsides. Over the past four years we've encountered a few schedule conflicts, and we've always solved them by taking advantage of walking, biking, train, bus, ride share, car2go, etc.

This does require occasional preplanning and occasional compromise between spouses. Some may consider that a downside; I don't.

Go for it! If you don't love it, you can always buy another car.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 08:55:42 PM by jpdx »

Annie101

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2018, 10:32:01 PM »
We have been a one-car couple for 13 years.  It is just now starting to consider a second car, and that is due to kid scheduling issues.  They frequently have activities that are at the same time and in very different locations.  (This has just recently started, at ages 5 & 7.) 

Is it necessary to have the kids on those particular activities? Could you instead put them on the same activity?

We do you usually put them in the same activity,  but they are different ages and so the times are almost always different.  It was soccer that became an issue for us.  They are on different teams, which have different practice and game times and locations.   Last year it wasn't a huge problem as the locations were near each other and we were able to bus to games.   This year the games were on opposite ends of town and my husband was a coach which required being at every game and bringing huge amounts of gear. 

Raenia

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2018, 07:31:08 AM »
We've been a one-car family since moving in together, and last week was the first time I really, really wished we had a second car - my husband had taken the car to a woodworking class, and had an accident during the class.  He had to drive himself to the nearest hospital and then drive himself home, because I couldn't get to where he was by public transit - which, of course, is why he had to take the car there in the first place.  I can't use Uber/Lyft because I don't have a smartphone.  I was very concerned that the hospital would give him painkillers or something and he wouldn't be able to drive back, and I wouldn't be able to get to him.  Fortunately he was able to drive himself, but that was the first time in three years where I've really thought it would be better to have a back-up car for emergencies.  If I had access to Uber/Lyft, then it probably wouldn't be as much of a problem.

rantk81

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2018, 07:36:30 AM »
Downsides of going to one car?  If I went to one car, I'd have to pay for tags/plates/stickers/insurance/repairs/gas, when I currently don't have those expenses at all!

koshtra

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2018, 08:32:25 AM »
I know you're not looking for this sort of encouragement, but, you know, sanctimoniousness runs strong in the Mustachian crowd... the big surprise for me of switching over to transit was how much simpler everything became. It is SUCH A PAIN to move a car around in a dense urban space, to always remember where you parked it, and is it safe, and you have to think about how you'll fetch it and how you'll park it at the next place you'll have to be. Once you've swapped over to a real transit mindset everything becomes much simpler. You're just moving your own self from one place to another. If the bus breaks down you don't give a damn; they'll be sending another one along. The weather conditions are somebody else's problem. When you actually get your mind free of the damn car-brain, you realize you were hagridden by it. Really, it's the honest-to-God truth, it narrows your options somewhat but it makes your life correspondingly simpler. You need to plan ahead more, but day by day it means you get to stop running all those "do I have time to run over to X to get Y before Z?" scenarios. No, you don't, it's not on your route today. Forget about it.

I anticipated feeling more restricted, but really I feel much freer. The thought of taking a car into town strikes me as absurd, now, a loony idea.

Just Joe

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #40 on: November 13, 2018, 08:28:39 AM »
We have a driveway so it is easy for us to have multiple cars. However car #2 is a low value car but presentable and reliable. We are driving it less and less since I built an ebike.

We both have to buy parking permits at our jobs. Several hundred dollars each. We can carpool so we have a permit for DW and I bike home and we pocket several hundred dollars.

A scooter would also get the job done though I would never take a scooter onto a metro highway for safety reasons. A small motorcycle can be an efficient way to get around too.

That second car doesn't cost much to keep around. I'll probably sell it soon though b/c the ebike gets the job done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHM9HY5bMO4

A Stromer ebike is crazy expensive. We have an Aliexpress bike that gets the job done just fine for about a grand.

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2018, 09:55:08 AM »
We've been a one-car family since moving in together, and last week was the first time I really, really wished we had a second car - my husband had taken the car to a woodworking class, and had an accident during the class.  He had to drive himself to the nearest hospital and then drive himself home, because I couldn't get to where he was by public transit - which, of course, is why he had to take the car there in the first place.  I can't use Uber/Lyft because I don't have a smartphone.  I was very concerned that the hospital would give him painkillers or something and he wouldn't be able to drive back, and I wouldn't be able to get to him.  Fortunately he was able to drive himself, but that was the first time in three years where I've really thought it would be better to have a back-up car for emergencies.  If I had access to Uber/Lyft, then it probably wouldn't be as much of a problem.
For future emergencies; https://ride.guru/content/newsroom/how-to-request-uber-or-lyft-without-a-smartphone

Raenia

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Re: Downsides of going to one car?
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2018, 11:05:57 AM »
We've been a one-car family since moving in together, and last week was the first time I really, really wished we had a second car - my husband had taken the car to a woodworking class, and had an accident during the class.  He had to drive himself to the nearest hospital and then drive himself home, because I couldn't get to where he was by public transit - which, of course, is why he had to take the car there in the first place.  I can't use Uber/Lyft because I don't have a smartphone.  I was very concerned that the hospital would give him painkillers or something and he wouldn't be able to drive back, and I wouldn't be able to get to him.  Fortunately he was able to drive himself, but that was the first time in three years where I've really thought it would be better to have a back-up car for emergencies.  If I had access to Uber/Lyft, then it probably wouldn't be as much of a problem.
For future emergencies; https://ride.guru/content/newsroom/how-to-request-uber-or-lyft-without-a-smartphone

That's useful to know, thanks.