Author Topic: Single car family - pitfalls?  (Read 4624 times)

geekette

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Single car family - pitfalls?
« on: October 28, 2015, 05:21:52 PM »
I'm trying to convince my (retired) DH to ditch the car he hates and rarely drives and go single car.  Why won't he? 

"There will be a time we wish we had 2 cars".

Other than hanging out at the shop for the occasional service, what are the pitfalls you single car people have found? 

pbkmaine

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2015, 05:31:21 PM »
Tell him that's what car rentals, taxis, Uber, neighbors, family and public transportation are for.

JROH

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2015, 06:51:24 PM »
None if you are in a walkable neighborhood with access to other forms of transport.  My DH and I are a one care family (have been for over a year) and the only time it has posed the most minor inconvenience is on the weekends in the summer.  DH likes to golf and it requires the car, so I simply have to plan my errands around the time he wants to golf.  I must say this is only a slight inconvenience because it really hasn't been a problem.  My DH works a mile from home, so I usually have the car during the work day (I have a 15 mile commute with no good bike path) and we share at all other times.

The other forms of transport that we use are bikes, walking and Car2Go, a car sharing service in our area.  It also helps that our grocery, entertainment and other necessities are all within walking/biking distance in a very bike friendly community.

MrsPete

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2015, 07:01:19 PM »
When we were first married, we only had one car, and it was SUCH a budget choice!  We lived way out in the country, so no public transportation, no taxis, nothing.  It was rarely a problem, and it was really the thing that allowed us to start out saving 50% of our income while we were young -- it's really the reason we were able to put aside money while we were still young enough for compound interest to make all the difference. 

Pitfalls?  None. 

My suggestion:  Ask him to give it a year's trial, and if you're not happy, they'll still be selling cars.  Or, if he balks at that, suggest that you freeze the car key so that it's not readily accessible ... and see how long it is 'til you actually NEED that second car. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 07:03:50 PM »
Tell him that's what car rentals, taxis, Uber, neighbors, family and public transportation are for.

Yes, exactly this. My wife and I share a single car. During the day it's usually easy because I take transit to work, so she can use the car (or not) as needed. Outside of work hours it's very rare for both of us to be going to different places that are not walkable or busable. It's not worth owning a vehicle for those rare occasions; better to pay a one-time fee to use a short-term rental, or decide for one of us to stay home if we don't feel like that rental is worthwhile for the thing we would be doing.

Would your husband be open to a trial run? Agree to avoid using the second car for a month and see if any real, actual problems arise. If so, keep the car. If not, ditch it.

geekette

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 08:08:40 PM »
The car has been months without driving before (I've literally swept cobwebs out from under it). It just seems to upset him to talk about getting rid of it. It's not that we can't afford it, but I hate the waste, and the only excuse he comes up with is the probability of being inconvenienced. 

He's had his own car since high school.  Maybe it's a guy thing? 


lbmustache

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2015, 08:48:02 PM »
The car has been months without driving before (I've literally swept cobwebs out from under it). It just seems to upset him to talk about getting rid of it. It's not that we can't afford it, but I hate the waste, and the only excuse he comes up with is the probability of being inconvenienced. 

He's had his own car since high school.  Maybe it's a guy thing?

People will make excuses to justify their habits. It's human nature I think :) At one time my parents had 3 cars, and one was a "weekend" car - wtf?! Finally they got rid of it.

jac941

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2015, 05:48:47 AM »
Logic won't work here.

My husband was the same - didn't want to give up the 2nd car that we never drove. We even loaned the car to a buddy of his for a month and didn't miss it, and he still didn't want to give it up. Finally some distantly related family member of his was broke and desperately needed a car so I suggested we sell him ours for $100 just to cover the transaction costs. "Helping" family seemed to be the push he needed to sell - perhaps your husband has some other similar motivator you can work with?

As far as pitfalls- there have been none. Despite saying we'd use Uber / taxis / car rentals more, it hasn't been necessary. The spouse hasn't once regretted getting rid of the car.

Now, how I feel about enabling the desperate family member - not great. And the transaction was all kinds of drama (as expected with this individual). But the car (and registration, insurance, and repairs) are finally gone!

MayDay

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2015, 06:52:17 AM »
We had one car for awhile.  H mostly rode the bus and biked to work during that time period.

It was a pain somewhat regularly, but that was 10 years ago, before Uber et al.  We did use Enterprise, and they picked him up and everything, but it was so dang time consuming.  Now the subscription services take a lot of the fuss out of it, I imagine. 

We are looking to go down to one car again, but as our kids get older and have to be shuttled different places, are too big for the Burley but not big enough to ride too far or in too cold of weather or too late at night themselves, I again think it would be a pain.  We'll see. 

You obviously already know you can handle it, though. 

Red Beard

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2015, 08:22:35 AM »
The biggest pitfall? Poor planning/communication.

We have been a one car (or no car) family for several years now. The only time it has been an issue is when something "comes up" or we didn't communicate clearly to begin with.

Even when these situations arise, we have been able to resolve almost everything by going the friends, uber, bike, walk route. In the past 6 years I can only think of two instances where the "it would be so nice to have two cars" thought crossed our minds. That lasted all of a day each time.

KCM5

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2015, 08:32:32 AM »
None.

But it it doesn't seem like that's actually the problem. He probably has some sort of sentimental attachment to the car. I'm assuming it's not reliable enough to be your only car? I second the idea of giving it to someone you know who needs a car - any newly 16 year olds in your life? Or maybe a car scrap book or something? Make him a paper weight with the hood ornament on top? A weekend camping out in the car to say farewell?

smalllife

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2015, 08:56:58 AM »
We sold the second car and got a scooter to facilitate the times we "need" two cars (which could be avoided with extra planning and some lifestyle changes, but the scooter makes life easier for a fraction of the cost/waste).   If one of us was retired, that "need" would go away completely. 

Our "need" for a second mechanical form of transportation is driven by
-an extracurricular activity that is not safe to bike to/from
-one of us currently in grad school with meetings after work at classmates homes
-one office being 15 miles away, and the time constraints if the other had to be somewhere immediately after work outside of biking range
-client visits for work

It's been a great half-way point between two cars and one car.  I still smile when I fill up the "tank" for under $2!  And insurance for a year was the same as for two months on the car that was used once a week, if that.

Maybe float the idea of a scooter or motorcycle to see if he's receptive?  It reduces the feeling of being "trapped" at home and needing to go somewhere fast.  The only downside is that you would have trouble doing a major grocery haul on one of those.



pbkmaine

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2015, 09:45:27 AM »
We have one car, a golf cart, 2 e-bikes and 2 regular bikes. We keep a joint calendar on Google Calendar, so we know when the other person has an appointment or meeting and schedule accordingly. I would say that making a habit of keeping the calendar updated was the most important success factor in going to one car.

ruthiegirl

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2015, 09:53:32 AM »
We are a family of 6 and have 1 minivan. 

What works for us:

We all have good bikes.

We purposely bought a house within biking distance of work and school.

We plan and communicate a lot.

We sometimes say no if we can't coordinate a ride.

In the 6 years we have been car free, we have rented an extra car exactly once.  $135 for a long weekend where one of our kids had an out of town event. 

My husband was resistant at first too.  But then he started getting a lot of high-fives and kudos from the guys at work.  Now he feels a bit badass when he puts of his rain gear and heads out on his bike.  Just needed a change in perspective. 

geekette

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2015, 04:08:42 PM »
We finally did it - sold that second car.  What finally changed his mind was a) he prefers driving my car, b) the $2400 estimate for changing the timing belt, and c) the convertible top was going to need replacing soon, too.

Carmax offered $5k, and a local used car place offered $5250 for it.  Sold!  If we end up regretting the sale, we'll buy something, but I just don't think we will.


alsoknownasDean

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2015, 04:15:45 AM »
We finally did it - sold that second car.  What finally changed his mind was a) he prefers driving my car, b) the $2400 estimate for changing the timing belt, and c) the convertible top was going to need replacing soon, too.

Carmax offered $5k, and a local used car place offered $5250 for it.  Sold!  If we end up regretting the sale, we'll buy something, but I just don't think we will.

Nice stuff!

I find that going without a car for a while also changes your perspective of what car you want. When I got rid of my last car, I wanted to replace it with something a bit nicer, etc. I ended up buying a cheap little hatchback a year later.

KCM5

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2015, 07:22:47 AM »
Good work! $5250 can get you a lot of rentals for the times that you'd like two cars, too.

geekette

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2015, 08:05:14 AM »
Not only the $5250, but the $40/month insurance and taxes.  Plus no more opening the garage door to get around the car to the deep freeze!


bridget

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Re: Single car family - pitfalls?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2015, 02:38:51 PM »
We finally did it - sold that second car.  What finally changed his mind was a) he prefers driving my car, b) the $2400 estimate for changing the timing belt, and c) the convertible top was going to need replacing soon, too.

Carmax offered $5k, and a local used car place offered $5250 for it.  Sold!  If we end up regretting the sale, we'll buy something, but I just don't think we will.

Awesome! DH and I have only had one car for our entire 7-year marriage (I didn't have one when we got married). We've never really even considered getting a second, and sometimes toyed with going down to zero. For one year (the current one) we are long-distance, and I took the car to the new city, and he's been fine with zero car back in our hometown. Sometimes he has to grab an uber, and we sometimes consider a zipcar membership, but that barely comes up.

I think it comes down to inertia. The need to stay with the status quo and not take a risk is powerful. That's why it might be hard to convince myself to sell our car when I move back to hometown; DH has clearly demonstrated it's not necessary. Glad you guys overcame it!