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Living with One Car in a Two-Car World

Car

Guest Post by Liz from Frugally Blonde

When I tell new acquaintances that my husband and I share one car, I am usually met with a mix of shock and pity. In our affluent society, it is practically unheard of for each adult driver in a household not to have his or her own car.

However, my family has managed well with only one car for four years, and we plan to continue to live this way as long as it seems necessary. While our lifestyle might not work for everyone, I hope that it demonstrates that living without a second car can be both possible and practical.

When my husband and I were first married and both working, it was easy to just have one car with the help of public transportation. However, a year after our wedding we moved to an outer suburb/small town bereft of a subway or bus system that we could use, and shortly after I quit my job to stay home with our newborn daughter.

There was no other way for my husband to get to his job 30 minutes from home except by driving–which meant that I was left without transportation during the day. So that’s what we decided to do. Now, three years later, we have added a second daughter to our family, but not a second car!

The girls and I stay at home most days without a car. Once a week (occasionally twice), we get up early in the morning, drive my husband to work, and spend the entire day on errands and appointments. Then we drive 30 minutes to pick him up in the evening, and we all drive 30-45 minutes home in rush-hour traffic.

Why do we have only one car?

The simple answer is that we do not feel that we can responsibly afford another one. At certain times during the past four years, we might have been able to squeeze a car payment into our budget, but it would have been at the expense of our other priorities.

For instance, we were blessed last year to be able to purchase our first home. We knew that doing so would seriously hamper our ability to get a second car in the near future, but we felt that a home was more needed as well as a much better investment. Further, although we would not rule out a car payment, we would much prefer to pay for a second car in cash, as we did for our first one.

Clearly, living with one car can be challenging and a sacrifice. However, after four years in this situation, we have discovered a host of unexpected blessings and benefits that have come with our unconventional lifestyle.

First of all, we easily save hundreds of dollars a year by not paying for gas, insurance, maintenance, fees, and taxes for a second car.

It also helps us save money in other ways. Out of necessity, I have become extremely organized about my shopping trips. I combine trips and map out the route that is most efficient. I try to do most of my grocery shopping for a two-week period in one trip, and I can often go at least a week without going to the supermarket, except perhaps for fresh fruit. Limiting my shopping trips to once a week also prevents me from being tempted by impulse purchases.

On a more personal level, I feel that our situation has also blessed me with the opportunity to truly blossom in our home and to focus on my life there.

At first, as a new mom, I chafed at being unable to get out of the house, and I admit that some days it is still hard. But now with two little ones, I have so much to do that I can’t get it all done even with being home all day! And my girls and I have developed a rhythm to our days, so much so that I feel very discombobulated if I take the car more than one day a week.

I believe that the day will come when our lifestyle and/or our growing family will require us to purchase a second car. God-willing, at that point we will have the money to do so. And quite honestly, I am looking forward to that day.

I know that I will never take having my own transportation for granted, but rather see it as a wonderful privilege and gift.Until then, I tell my friends, I may not get out much, but they’re welcome to come over!

Liz lives in Nothern Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Her blog, Frugally Blonde, is a place to discuss frugality and celebrate living the good life on less.

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107 Comments

  • Lauren says:

    Hi,
    I really liked your post. We also only have one car; my hubby is in grad school/internship/work, and I work a full and part-time job. Thanks to the pretty decent public transit system in DC/Montgomery County, we can easily go with one car, although like you said, there are times when it sure would be nice to have that second one! Trying to plan out who needs the car on different days gets challenging, and sometimes we end up dropping the other off very early, but it works. We’re proud to get around on one car, and I’m also proud of our smaller carbon footprint because of it.
    Thanks!

  • Kim says:

    We, too, have shared one car for the past few years. We have found we love having the extra money for savings. We stopped all car payments about 12 years ago and began purchasing older cars.

    We home school and have found we enjoy having a great reason to stay home. It’s never a problem for us to take my husband to work when we need the car for an appointment or a field trip. It takes communication and a little planning.

  • Erin says:

    What a wonderful example you are setting for your girls. One question… what do you do in an emergency? For example, my son needed to go to the ER in the middle of the day? Luckily, I live close and could walk. I’m curious if you have an emergency plan and what it is. Thanks.

  • Sommer Emery says:

    I would totally do this, but my husband has to drive for his job. Otherwise, it would be a great way to save money each month! Good for you!

    http://4momsbyamom.blogspot.com/

  • theresa g says:

    I like your post as well. We only have one car too since I stay at home and luckly our townhouse is across the street from my kids school. We are getting out of debt and saving to buy a home so we didn’t want the extra expense. I’m fine with it most of the time but I do miss out on somethings because of it. Once we have bought our home I’m not sure if we’ll get another car or not.

  • Pam says:

    This post could not have been more perfectly timed. Our van (second vehicle) died yesterday, and by dead, I mean it needs a new transmission. Since it is not worth it, we may be going with only one vehicle for a while. We did it before, and we can do it again. A second vehicle truly is a luxury.

  • Crystal says:

    Great Guest Post! We actually lived with one car for many years. My husband would take the car to work every day and I was “stuck” at home with the kids.

    We would also get those shocked responses from friends and family, but at the time, we simply couldn’t afford another car. We lived close enough to stores and doctor offices, so it wasn’t a problem (I’d walk the 30 minutes with babies in the stroller).

    We actually still don’t own a second car (my husband now has a company car to take to work) and I love not having those extra payments/insurance/gas.

  • Michelle says:

    Yeah, for only one car! Like the previous commenter we are also in school. I have 2 kids to stay at home with and everyone always tells me “I remember those days when we only had one car when we were in school.” I think we will also try to keep it like this for as long as possible. It will help us pay off our student loans quicker. Plus, it allows us to spend more time together!

  • Ellen says:

    When we were first married, we unregistered our car & kept it at my in-laws house. The insurance alone was worth more than the car, and since we lived in the city, we just took public transportation (with our monthly passes) or gasp!: walked. We were in much better shape then. 🙂 If we needed to drive anywhere outside the city worth any distance, we rented a vehicle. I miss those days, but now that we live in a suburb, having a car is almost a necessity. Could we get by with only 1 car? For most of the time, probably yes, but you’re right …we get used to the convenience of 2.

  • We were married for 6 years before we purchased our second car- our old car had been paid off for 5 years and we still have it. We purchased the “new” one (it was 3 years old) because our old one (12 years old) was no longer reliable for long out of state trips to see family. My husband and I drop our daughter off at daycare and then ride together to the park n ride, where we catch a bus downtown to avoid the high parking fees. There was a period of time when I did not drive for over 8 years, and I did NOT miss it! We got our bachelor’s degrees in Chicago, and had no need for a car there before we got married.

    When our old car bites the dust, it will be a tough call as to whether we get a “new” replacement. Our second child is due in July and I am praying to be a SAHM after the baby is born.

  • Stephanie says:

    We were a one car family for quite a while, but now do find it necessary to have a second vehicle for a variety of reasons. Great post!

  • Jennifer M. says:

    This is a wonderful post and I intend to share it with my husband. We recently bought our first home and have a 3.5 year old. I will be quitting my full time job in August of this year as we prepare for more children. With dedication and sight of the postive effects it will have on our relationship with each other and our children we have have been saving and have a plan for living on his income alone. Many people are shocked by the sacrifices we have already made to prepare for those changes. We have two good cars now, but have agreed that when the older of the two begins to require costly repairs we will become a one car family. The savings will be awsome. Because of the nature of my husband’s job I will have access to the car quite a bit on most days. My only concern is with how I will respond to a situation like a sick kid who needs to be picked up at school when I don’t have the car. Even with the wonderful family support we have near by there is no way of being sure someone will be available to help.

  • Sarah B says:

    We are also a one car family, but we are DINKs. One benefit that the author didn’t mention is communication. My husband and I must communicate about our goals and obligations for the week so that we can plan sharing the car. If dh has to work late, he knows he needs to call me. If I need to the car to help out at the church pancake feed, I need to let dh know.

    We also are grateful for the opportunity to carpool together and discuss our scripture reading topics and wind down from our work day.

  • Dakota says:

    My husband and I have been married for nearly six years. And we’ve never had more than one car. Yeah I Kinda go insane some days because the kids (3 of them) And I can’t really go anywhere. (No public transportation here aside from a few taxis) But we make due. On days I need the car, I simply just get the kids ready in the morning and we take hubby to work. It does help that his work is only about 5-10 minutes away. So even if I need something mid day he’s usually able to take a quick break to bring me the car.

    We’ll have our car paid off within 2 months. So we’ll start putting some money away to purchase another vehicle in the future. Hopefully loan free..

  • Swap Savers says:

    Great post! I am also a stay at home mom. Maybe you already know about this but there are mom’s clubs in towns that have playgroups–you might not be able to go to other people’s houses but you could have them over your house which would be a way to connect with other mom’s in your town and a fun activity for your kids.

  • Amen, sister! We are a family of five who managed to be a single car family (with 3 car seats in the back!) for 3 years with no regrets. But then my husband, who commutes to graduate school by bike, took a weekend job that entails transporting clients in a car. Grudgingly, we bought a second vehicle (with cash from our tax refund) last year. I am hoping that when one car dies we will be in a situation that we don’t have to replace it.

  • We only have one car as well. I can work out shopping trips in the early morning before my husband leaves for work, or at night after the children are in bed. Depending on his schedule, we sometimes can make a daytime trip with him, in which case all of the children get to go shopping as well (normally I go alone or with just one child). If he has erands to run for work (and he often does) we’ll combine those into one trip.

    Like Liz, we don’t need to go shopping every week. We can get enough things to last us two weeks at a time during a normal shopping month (eating from the pantry times are different as we don’t go shopping or even need the car much).

    My husband also works from home as much as possible. Though we’ve had one car for 6 years, we’ve put less than 10,000 miles a year on it–and my husband is a real estate agent, so he often drives around town for his work!

    Fresh fruit is not a problem; apples and oranges can last more than a month, and our garden helps to keep lots of other fruits and vegetables on our table year-round.

  • gail says:

    when we were first married, we only had one car for several years and we got creative how to use it. there were times i rode the bus to college, times where hubby biked to work and back, times where i took him to work and picked him up so that i could run errands and such. i even remember walking home from the groc store with 2 super full grocery bags that kicked my butt.

    we eventually became the 2 car family, but then hubby lost most of his sight and now doesn’t drive so we only need one car for me, the one driver. this to me is even more challenging. but we’ve adjusted. hubby’s back in school and walks to the college a couple blocks away. once he graduates and finds a job it’ll be interesting to see how we work it out with only one driver and car. we
    re hoping to find a job/home in a town that has a good transit system.

    keep up the good work!

  • Andie says:

    YAY! My husband and I have been married for fifteen years and have three boys. We have always only had one car! My husband does have a company vehicle and always has. I can’t tell you the stress other people feel because we only have one car!:) It is so sad that our society tells us everyone needs their own vehicle!

    Great Post!

  • Erin says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. My husband and I have decided to be a 1-car family. We don’t have children yet, but we still have some sacrifices to make when it comes to our transportation. My husband is in school right now and has class 4 nights a week. Although it would be nice to have the freedom to go out whenever I want on those evenings, I know that this little sacrifice is worth it when I think of all the money we’re saving. Like someone mentioned earlier, being without a car doesn’t stop me from inviting friends over. It’s helped me create a more hospitable home where friends are welcome.

  • Heather says:

    We have been a 1 car family for the past 10 years! In the span of those 10 years we have had so many changes and I do admit that many times I wish we had 1 more car. However, we have been able to be without a car payment for 6 years and are now thinking we may buy a van with cash! I will never make car payments again. I am really glad we have waited to buy a second car and that we will do so debt free. It takes sacrifice but it is well worth it!

  • Laura says:

    This is a very nice, well written piece 🙂

  • Melissa Smith says:

    We only have one vehicle too. It has worked out well for the most part. It has had to have a new transmission in it which caused our life for about 2 weeks to be really crazy! Since we only had one vehicle we had to search quickly to find someone with one they could lend us! For now until we pay this one off we are only going to have one but I think in the future another USED vehicle will be in our budget that way we have a fall back and probably one that doesn’t use much gas!

  • Melissa N. says:

    When me and my husband got married nearly six years ago, we each had our own cars, and it was convient. A year ago after we moved to FL, my husband got rear-ended and totalled my car, so we had to rely on the new one we’d bought (because his other car died, and we don’t know why – so technically for a few months we had three cars, lol). It was a bit hard at first, but I never went anywhere anyway, so I got used to it. He works about thirty minutes away, so if I have a doctors appointment, I just plan them for when he gets home in the afternoon, or if I can’t I’ll just take him to work and pick him up later.

    We’re trying for our first baby, and he worries about “what ifs” and he’s not home and I’ll need the car – but I figure we live less than two mils from two different hospitals, I think we’ll be ok. *lol*

    People give us a hard time sometimes, and wonder how we do it, but since I don’t work it’s not a problem. You just work systems out for grocery shopping and any other errand.

  • Shawnda says:

    My husband and I have been married for 7 1/2 years and have only ever had one car! It can be a bit of a pain to deal with but thanks to public transportation, it has saved us so much for the whole of our marriage. We would love to be a no-car family but in our small city, it just isn’t possible. Yet!

  • Rachael says:

    This is such a great post. I’m a stay-at-home mom of a 2-year-old and my husband is a teacher, and we are lucky enough to have two cars (both cars that we purchased when we were single) that are totally paid off. We have talked about what we will do when one of our cars bites the dust, especially since mine has a reputation for having things break, and we feel it wouldn’t be prudent to take on a new car payment now. We are definitely open to the possibility of being a one-car family for a while so we could put that savings toward another car.

    It’s nice to read here how others make it work. My husband and I talked about what we would do if we had one car and it had to spend several days getting repairs. Even then, the cost of a rental is still cheaper than taking on a monthly payment. And I suppose for emergencies, you can always ride in the ambulance. Expensive, but probably still cheaper than car payments over time.

    I can’t see the one-car thing working as well when you have teenage children who need rides to school events and jobs, but it’s definitely possible while the kids are little.

  • elaine says:

    We are a..gasp…4plus car family plus a couple of pickups, dumptrucks.. LOL! It is not feasible for us to only have one car. We also have a son who is almost 20. He does ride to work with my husband. We own our own business.We live too far out in the country for public transportation. We have a special needs daughter who has lots of drs appointments. My husband has to have a vehicle handy at work so I can’t just take him and take the car/truck. We have five children so we need a van but now they are old enough to stay home and just my dh and I go sometimes, a van is impractical. However, we all have good driving records so our insurance is good. We also will not have any car/truck loans. We also drive vw’s for good fuel mileage. Those are the ways we save.

  • Nicole says:

    Wow! And here I thought I was the only one (well perhaps in my little suburbia I am) who survives on one car. Ours came out of sheer necessity. One income = one car for us. At first I hated it, but I’ve come to love the fact that our current vehicle is paid off (and heaven help us stays running for a few more years) and we can much easier “get by”. There have been times its been difficult – say hubby has to go out of town AND take the car, yet I’ve got a doctor appointment for the kiddos, but thank goodness for parents who can help you out in a pinch!!! Nice post – good to know I’m in minority.

  • We live in one of the few urban enclaves in the vast suburban sprawl of Los Angeles, and manage with one car. We can walk to shops, restaurants and theatres, while my overweight neighbors drive five blocks to the movies and then complain about the price of gas and parking.
    The average price of a new car in the U. S. is $28,400 and as soon as you drive it off the lot you’ve already lost a bundle. We only buy used Volvo station wagons. They’re safe, they last forever, and they don’t cost very much. Plus they can haul a lot of yard sale junk.
    Here’s how it breaks down. We buy the wagon for $6,500 and keep it for two years. Then we sell it for $3,000. That means we have had a good quality vehicle for $3,500. Of course, there are always repairs, but we’re still way ahead of the game.

  • Melissa S. says:

    We used to be a one car family. But DH works 45 minutes away, and the kids’ extra activities start mid-afternoon! He would carpool if he could find someone that lives this direction.

  • Marie says:

    7 years this was our lifestyle. 6 weeks before our 3rd child in Feb 09 we found a minivan on Craigslist for what we had in cash. We were the only ones in our area with only one car. My husband tried to do car pools but they all fell through so for about 8 months in our new area without anything in walking distance I really was stuck all day at home. I made sure to tell a few people who lived near me at church in case I needed to get a kid to the ER that wasn’t ambulance worthy. Never needed too. But my husbands job is flexible enough that he could come home in an emergency.

  • Lana says:

    Love the picture. I had a little car similar to that one in highschool. Problem was that the footballplayers thought it great fun to pick up my car and turn it sideways in the parking space so that I couldn’t get it out. We have been married for almost 32 years and are way past the stay at home mom with small children stage but we only had one car for alot of years when we were first married and had small children.. I remember that I used to take them for walks and go out in the yard to play with them and all that seemed to change after we became a 2 car family.

  • Lisa says:

    My husband and I have had one car for years; making no car payment is a wonderful thing! We both work full time (no children, sadly) so we drive in to his work, and then I take the car to mine. Whenever he has need of the car (dental appointment or something) he drops me off. We’re going to have to move into major money-saving mode now because the car is a 1999 and we plan on getting a Ford Fusion Hybrid when the Taurus finally bites the dust and we hate car payments…. People are really shocked when they hear we don’t have two cars, and we’re asked over and over “When are you getting another vehicle?”

  • Tammy says:

    My husband and I have been married for almost eight years now and except for a brief period in time we have always had one car. There have been times when we could have purchased another car but determined we had other priorities. Although things sometimes get hectic it normally is not an issue. We have just gotten used to the idea of one car.
    One of the unexpected benefits we received was when it comes to shopping. I was raised by a frugal mother we taught us how to make every penny stretch but when we were married my husband was the type of person who would go to the store, pick up an item and check-out without regard to prices.
    Since he works long hours and we enjoy spending time together he has taken to going on my shopping trips with me. Now he has become a lot more careful at how he spends money!

  • Cate says:

    I actually just posted about this very thing (http://budgetconfessions.blogspot.com/2010/01/reflections-on-living-as-one-car.html)! For us, having one car really isn’t practical. Location is a big part of it. We live in a city that’s pretty unfriendly to public transit, and while there are some shops and other places within walking distance (library, local hardware store, Walgreens, coffeeshop), things like doctor’s offices and grocery stores are further out. We also find that when we’re living with one car, we spend more of our “together” time running errands–and that’s no fun at all.

    Having two cars really is a privilege.

  • Mari says:

    This is interseting. We are a 2 car family right now but only myself is a licensed driver due to some medical issues with my DH. He lost his license in November so my daughter and I get up at 4am and take him to work and then pick him up around 1pm. For the most part it has actually not been that bad. I was someone who was terrified to drive in the snow and icky weather and I have gotten quite used to it now. He may get his license back after medical review in May but if that does not happen we have already discussed the issue of getting rid of one of the vehicles. After reading your post though I am seriously considering get rid of one even if he gets his license back. The amount of money we would save would be huge and with the hours he works it is not like I can’t schedule my appoinments and outings around him.

  • elizabeth says:

    What a good reminder that I am not alone. It is also a good reminder that only having one car is not a big deal. I am so thankful for the money we are saving and that having one car is helping us get out of debt faster. At this point, I could not fathom buying a second car until our debt is gone and money is saved for a second.

  • Sarah says:

    Here is a question for all of you who seem so content with being a one car family. My husband and I have been married almost 9 months. I am 24 and received a car for my 16th birthday, so I have had a car for all of my driving years. Until now. My husband’s car died before we met, so he didn’t own a car (took the bus/walked to work) when we met/were dating/engaged/got married. So when we married, we only had one car–mine. I started graduate school this fall and my university offers free city bus access for all students, so it makes financial sense for me to take the bus to school since it’s free, and for my husband to drive (instead of paying the $30/month bus pass fee). I know marriage is about sharing and becoming one. We are strong Christians, trying to follow the Lord, and I love my husband and married life so much. But… this is the one sacrifice that I absolutely hate, and I can’t talk to anyone I know about this because everyone else has their own car and thinks we’re weird for having only one. My husband doesn’t understand why this is difficult for me (his mom doesn’t drive so he had 1 car growing up in a family of 6). He knows it is, but he cannot relate to my (at times) despair over the unfairness of this situation. This post comes at such a timely moment because I was in tears over this yesterday. I know I’m not making much sense and just rambling. I hope I don’t come across as critical or angry… I don’t want to be that way… but how do you cope with this when it’s hard? Any comments would be appreciated.

  • This is something that we could easily do if we had a way out from under our car payments. My husband is now a stay-at-home dad 🙂 I teach less than 2 miles from school. If we could sell one of our cars even steven I would be all for it!!!! Especially since in a pinch my BFF could pick me up on the way to school/work 🙂 Loved your guest spot!!!

  • Erin says:

    Great post. We have always had one car because our income simply didn’t allow for another. And priorities like buying our first home and starting a family ranked much higher to us. I work full-time out of the home and rely on public transport because my husband uses the car for his very car-dependent sales job. It can be a pain trying to accommodate everyone’s needs and wants in term of scheduling but it usually works out well enough. The running joke in our family is that our son (who is only 9 months) will have his own car before I do!

    I was a bit nervous about being home with a newborn when I was on maternity leave and not having transportation in case of emergency but we do have some family close by. It’s also an excellent excuse to get to know my neighbors, who, as it turns out, are great and would be willing to help in an emergency situation.

  • Maggie says:

    Great Post! We have done this for 4 of the 5 years we’ve been married. Right now we are luxuriously enjoying two cars both bought in cash (and we save regularly for another car in 3-5 years). Totally do-able. Annoying sometimes but do-able.

  • Jenna says:

    We have only one car as well. My husband works from home and I still only use the car one day per week for errands sometimes two. I work two to three days per week. In a true emergency we have a neighboor who is home all day every day with a car and she would take him if he needed to go to a hospital also in a true emergency there is ambulance service. I plan well my shopping and errands so that I am never away from home more than three total days per week we go out together on the weekend (usually Sunday’s all day) It makes for a simple life and some extra rest and cash in our pockets less headaches of taking care of an additional car.

  • Gina says:

    We were a one-car family for a while after our 2nd DD was born and DH’s truck had died a very sad death on the side of the highway when he was coming home from work. We did without a 2nd car for quite some time, but with our schedules, my need to occasionally go into the office during the day (I work from home but sometimes have to go in for a meeting or conference call) and emergencies that required my DH leaving work (not practical) so we could go to the doctors office NOW – we bit the bullet and bought a second vehicle. I admire families that can make it work. I remember my mom getting up and driving my dad to work when I was little (she left us at home to sleep…gasp!….but it was a long, long, looooong time ago) – and then we all went to pick him up in the afternoon. They were a one car family until I was 10 or so.

  • Elise says:

    Last year, our 12-year-old vans decided to bite the dust at the same time. We couldn’t live in suburbia without at least one, so that’s what we did – bought one used car and we share it. And it’s working fine for our family of four. And I’ve learned you can always count on your friends. I never have a problem getting a ride to a PTA meeting or similar events, if I need it. People even call and offer before I can ask! My children and husband have also found rides when it was necessary. And we give rides to our kids’ friends at times, too.

  • Lisette Ramos says:

    Same here. We only have one car and your story is very much like ours except we live in a walkable suburb with a play ground and lots to walk to even to a couple of towns. We use to live in NYC so it suits us. Our car is outright paid for no car payments just insurance and gas. I just do not want another car. On occasional I might have the car twice a week and I do treasure being creative on days we do not. We have a toddler boy and hope to add another one but not a car.

    Thank you for your post.

  • Andrea says:

    Good post.
    My hubby & I shared a car for over 1 year when my second little one came along. My hubby sold his vehicle to pay some debts down, and we couldn’t afford to pay for another one.
    I stayed home a ton,and would run errands after my hubby got home from work. Or otherwise would plan keeping the vehicle for appointments or outings. It would get a little lonesome sometimes, but God blessed me with family and friends that would stop by to visit or pick me and the little ones up.
    We still only own one car. My in-laws have graciously allowed us to use their 3 vehicle. But I guess that I got use to the 1 vehicle lifestyle, and many weeks I only go out 1-2 times a week (besides church). It saves gas, money and sometimes my sanity with 2 boys. :))

  • Taleyna says:

    We did this for a while as well-it stressed our parents out so much that FIL sold us a car for $1. And then I still wasn’t sure we should do it because of the insurance, etc. The car we were given (8 years ago and it’s still going strong) is a convertible and DH has had it in the garage taking the top off and replacing it for 4 months-we’ve managed so far without too many problems but I know it would be hard to persuade him to go back to one car.

  • jeannine says:

    One thing I would like to add is that when I was carless once for 6 weeks because of an accident I stayed slim and trim because I had to walk everywhere. I live too far from the stores now to do this, but it could be possible, we could just shop on evenings and weekends.

    This gives food for thought for thought to someone who is contantly looking for ways to cut back.

  • Carrie says:

    How delightful to see that we are not as unique (a nice way to say weird!) as I sometimes feel!! We lived overseas for almost 5 years and we sold both of our cars before we left. When we got back a year ago we got one car (which we’re still buying from my parents – interest free – thanks Dad and Mom!) and my husband takes it to his job every day while I’m “stuck” at home. The first month or two were hard, but I’ve gotten so used to it, I don’t even think about it until it comes up in a conversation. I couldn’t agree more with the SAVINGS that have come from having ONE CAR – no trips to Target because I’m bored, no extra insurance payment or two tanks of gas to fill up, maintaining one car instead of two…the list goes on. Thanks for posting this!!

  • chels says:

    on the flip side tho my daughter has a friend who is in a “one car family” and they dont understand the pressure they put on others for their children due to this. If the girls do anything 2gether we do the driving, any school functions/dances we pick up and drop off mostly so she can go and we arent able to trade off weeks for extraciricular … See Moreactivities since the parent with the car works late. If we dont drive her then she cant go so my daughter gets sad. She lives close so its really not a huge deal except they are soooo used to others doing the driving we have never received a “thx” or a “i hope this isnt an inconvience” or “how can we make it up to you”…… nothing. THose statements would go very far.
    Id love to share a car and have less expense but with kids/teens and both parents working its just not something we can do. Just wanted to share the other side of the coin – im sure that is not how you guys are and im sure that you would be very thankful with rides 🙂
    There just is no nice or tackful way of saying “im not picking your kid up again to go to the school dance cuz we have done that 20 times to your none”, seems so childish, lol

  • Susan says:

    Exactly what we do and for the same reasons…only now I have began my Arbonne business and it gets complicated sharing the car…just great motivation to succeed and earn my Arbonne car…:) Thank you for this post!!!! I was feeling down about our car situation and family gives us a hard time, but this is wonderful…three years sharing a car, two babies, and going strong (most days). 🙂

  • Carrie says:

    @Sarah who has been married 9 months and now must share “her” car with her husband. Marriage is about letting go of “mine” and “yours” and learning that everything is “ours” – after 10 years of marriage, this can still be hard for me at times. However, you’re making the right decision and it’s a good financial decision as well. Pray about your attitude and be open and honest with your hubby about your feelings – ask him to pray for you. Keep the bigger picture in mind – in 50 years, you want to be celebrating a long, happy, God-honoring marriage to the man who is now using “your” car. But in 50 years, the car which seems so important now, will be long gone. It’s all about perspective. I don’t know you, but I’ll pray with you about this. Blessings!

  • Katherine says:

    Dear Elizabeth,

    It is hard to share a car especially when it’s something that’s always been a part of your life. This may or may not be helpful but when my husband and I married he had a Pontiac Trans Am he dearly loved (and has had it so long it’s now a classic appreciating in value!) and I tooled around in a little Honda Civic. It was the first car I ever purchased. To me, a car takes you from Point A to Point B and my husband, a wonderful engineer, saw his car as an engineering marvel. It was a thing of beauty.

    He blanched just at the thought of anyone, even his wife, driving his beloved Trans Am and rather than argue or “discuss” the issue I simply gave him a second set of keys to my car without prompting. A few days later, he gave me a set of keys to his car which was a tremendous sacrifice for him. We can still joke about it to this day and you’re not weird to “hate” this sacrifice or sharing your first car. It represents good memories, your family’s love, and it’s tough to let go to share it with someone even your Dear Husband.

    Rather than think about the sacrifice of sharing, why not change that mindset to what you’re doing for the environment by using mass transit and the example you’re setting for others who are tethered to their cars?

    You’re not unkind or selfish because you love your car that represents so many good memories. It gets easier. Trust me.

  • Laura says:

    One thing that is difficult for most of us to remember is that, until the 70s, most families had only one car. The shift towards two (plus!) car families has transformed our society. Thought-provoking post!

    Does anyone have any comments for the mom who is struggling with the difficulty of being the one without the car?

  • Amy says:

    We, too, have one car. My sons and I stay home during the day. We are going to be getting a van shortly. It’s been nice to not have a car payment since the one we have has been paid off for 3 years, but we need space!!!

  • Kim says:

    Sarah,

    I want to thank you for posting your concerns about this and being so transparent. My husband and I have been married for over 18 years, have two beautiful home schooled children, and have been through many challenges together. When we decided to become a one car family because one of our cars died and we just kept thinking we’ll fix it soon, I had plenty of days filled with resentment that he could run and go and I was stuck here. My post earlier comes out of finding a place of contentment at being my husband’s helpmeet, period. Anything I can do to help, assist, minister to, love, support, decrease pressure financially, etc, I run at the chance to do so. It did not come overnight. Having one car is now for me wonderful. And I see all the money we save each month/year as well. Praise God you have a free bus pass for school! 🙂 Being my husband’s helpmeet is the single most comfortable place in the whole world. I love building a haven for him here during the day while he works. Ask the Lord to decrease the “self / flesh” in you and increase servanthood toward your husband. I think you’ll see some beautiful and positive changes, I pray! 🙂

    Hugs,
    Kim

  • Marisa says:

    Great post! We have been a one car family for 9 out of 10 years of our marriage, and it is so worth it! We are lucky enough to live close enough to my husbands job for him to bike– which he does, even in freezing cold and rain! That way I have the car to haul the 3 kids around, especially since there is no school bus to our home.

  • Mrs. Pear says:

    We grew up in Manitoba Canada and immediately moved to Southern California after we married (we actually moved up our wedding date because of our move). We have always had one car here and even though people act like it is the end of the world, it really does work for us. I honestly have no desire currently for a second car.

    Excellent article.

  • Abby says:

    BRAVO! We’re a one-car family. I walk to work; my husband walks to the Metro and I walk my kids to school. The car is available for emergencies and for big (Crystal-inspired, coupon-fueled) grocery stock-up trips, but nine day out of ten, it’s just there to fill up our garage.

    The flipside is that we do paying a higher mortgage payment to live close-in in a big urban area. We could live some place less expensive, but it would be MUCH harder to do so without two cars.

    Chels, we try very hard to not commit our kids to anything that would strain our one-car policy. And I’m mindful that it can be a burden, so I do offer to drive sometimes, too.

    And the best part? I really love my walks with our kids. Most of the time. I can focus on them instead of traffic.

  • We are also a one-car family, but our car isn’t our only vehicle. My husband commutes to work by bicycle! And the kids and I occasionally use ours to run errands or get to soccer practice. They are wonderfully fuel efficient! 🙂

  • Charlotte says:

    Thank you for explaining my exact situation so clearly and in a positive light (I’ve had a hard time finding the positive lately). My husband has to use the car during the day for work, so I usually only have the drop-off option MAYBE one day a week. Otherwise I go out in the late evening or early Saturday (bless Winco for being open 24 hours!). Some days it’s just hard. Really hard.

    But we are making it work. I love my home, which I got instead of a car this year. I’m blessed to have a double jogging stroller and have worked up to being able to run 5 miles, so we can at least get to the small local market if need be.

    FOR SARAH’S COMMENT: It’s okay to cry over not having a car. It really is. It does make life harder, no doubt about it. But take heart in knowing you really aren’t alone- even when it feels that way.

  • Wonderful post! My husband and I only have one car, and many people are amazed that we manage this. I’m currently a homemaker and will continue to stay home once our first child is born this June. We are planning on still using one car for financial reasons (need to get out of debt and save for a house). It really isn’t that bad, but there are times when a second car would be nice! But the extra gas, insurance and taxes are not worth the luxary to us!

  • Adrienne says:

    What a great post! I have one question – what would you do if you both worked outside the home? I would have no problem with having only 1 car, but my husband and I both work full time, and our boys are in daycare during the day. Due to our schedules, my husband drops them off, and I pick them up. So that also necessitates car seats for both cars. I could drive my husband to work every morning and pick him up every evening, but it would be a logistical nightmare: 1.5 hour round trip twice daily, yikes!

    I’d love to hear from anyone who’s ever made 1 car work when both parents work outside the home and public transportation is non-existent. My husband’s car has a few left and I would love to have a 1-car household!

  • Shelly says:

    We are a no-car family. Of course, we live in Chicago, which has a good public transit system. DH takes a bus to work (20 minutes), and kids and I walk or ride the bus, too. Even with the ocassional cab ride, we save tons of money.

  • Thanks for all the comments! It’s so nice to hear from others in the same situation I was in until about two months ago, when we actually finally bought a second car. (There is a link to my post about it on my blog.) It’s so great to know that we were not alone!

    Just a couple points to address – In an “emergency,” such as a few times that my kids got sick, my husband was usually able to come home early or come home and then go back to work. He is blessed with an understanding boss! A couple of other times my best friend helped me out. In a true emergency, I would not have hesitated to call a cab or an ambulance.

    To Sarah who is struggling to have to take the bus and let her husband use the car: I would encourage you to give it a try. Even though, unlike you, I never had access to a car in high school and college, I can imagine how frustrating it would be to go from the freedom of a car to not having one. However, it’s really amazing what you can do and deal with once you get used it to it! If you believe it is the best thing for your family financially, then it’s worth a try! Maybe you can find some little ways to make it easier for yourself.

    As regards accepting or asking for rides from friends, for us it actually happened very seldom. I’m pretty strict about car seats, and it’s a big pain to move two big car seats from car to car! Generous friends occasionally gave us ride, for which I was very grateful, but for the most part we figured it out on our own.

  • Kaylea says:

    We are a one-car family too, and although the financial part of it is nice, I think a lot about the role it plays in our family’s lifestyle. We basically go everywhere together, and coordinate all of our plans jointly. The idea of grocery shopping without DH is a little foreign to me. It’s not really because of the car, exactly — we’re just a package deal that way, joined at the hip or something. Having only one car just keeps away the temptation to split up, and living in a big city means we’re unlikely to actually find it necessary. But when baby #2 comes along and we need a bigger vehicle (I can’t see 2 car seats, a dog, my mom, me, and dh loading up in our little sedan for a trek to the woods….), I do have some concern about whether we’ll be making it easy to change a habit that works so well for our relationship.

  • we’ve never had more than one car.

  • Lydia says:

    Thanks for your post! We currently are a family with six kids and have always had only one car (we are looking into getting another one right now though). It can be tough. Thankfully my dad (I am 13- a money saving DAUGHTER 🙂 ) has his office in the home so he doesn’t have the car at work all day. Still- it can be tough!

  • Camille says:

    I LOVE seeing how many families manage with one car! We have only had one car for almost 5 years now. I too feel out of sorts when we spend a day with the car and out of the house during the day. I’m just used to being home! I do, however, miss being able to grocery shop mid-morning, mid-week when the stores are not busy!

    And I’m really sorry to the commenter “chels” — I’m sorry the family does not appear to be thankful! Friends often pick the kids and I up to go to do stuff and I always meet them with fresh baked goodies!

  • Anitra says:

    We actually have 3 cars with only 2 drivers (gulp). When we added a large “crossover” family car, we decided to keep our 10-year-old truck, even though it is parked something like 350 days out of the year. At least they’re all paid for! People are suprised that our newest car is 6 years old, but used cars can be reliable while being affordable. 🙂

    We have made various efforts over the years to cut down our car use (bike-commuting, carpooling, etc.) Now I’m a stay-at-home mom and hubby is about to start working from home 3 days/week, so we probably COULD go down to one car if we really wanted to. The convenience is just too tempting, though.

    I offer to give rides & run errands for anyone I know, since it’s a way for me to get out of the house while doing something “useful”. This time of year, I would go stir-crazy if I didn’t have access to a car during the day. Most days, it is too cold to be outside for long, and the snow makes it hard to use a stroller for my toddler.

  • Cheryl says:

    we have the same situation in our house now, going into our second year with only one car. my husband was reluctant to get rid of our second car- because he’s at home all day with our son and I drive to work- “so what if there’s an emergency” he worried- which never makes sense to me because you should call an ambulance anyway- if my son is in an accident do I really want someone who’s freaking out and worried trying to drive him to the emergency room anyway? Isn’t an ambulance a million times safer? I LOVE having the one car. We save TONS of money not having to pay extra insurance, gas, upkeep. Once a week or so they’ll drive me to work and follow a map of errands and it makes us very thoughtful about planning our trips out. Green and economical and frankly allows us more time together because we’re not always driving off alone in different directions running little chores.

  • Amy says:

    Another 1 car family here. My hubby and I have only had 1 car for our entire marriage (8.5 years) and we’ve only lived in small towns or out in the country. Right now we’re 30 miles from a town or store and still we make it work. This requires great communication between us about what’s going on. Yes, I’m “stuck” at home a lot with 2 littles since my hubby drives to work, but I also don’t have time to be driving around places. When we do go out, it throws off our schedule so much! This was hard for me at first with the kids and feeling trapped…now I love it. We used to dream of being a no-car family, but I think the idea of being stuck in an emergency because we are so far from town will keep us with a car. It’s amazing when you do the math how much even an old car that was paid for with cash costs.

  • Sarah,

    You are very blessed to be able to have a free bus pass.

    The bus can be a blessing to you in many ways. For one, you can possibly study on the bus/listen to scriptures while you ride (my husband has often listened to the Old Testament in the car, or The Screwtape Letters, etc.)

    For me, if I feel a need to “get out of the house” I follow the advice in a 1950’s cookbook of mine. (At that time, many families were starting to have ONE car, but in the 40’s, most families didn’t have a car at all.) The advice? To get outside every day. It may be just in your garden. It may be cold, or hot, but sometimes we just need to see the sky and breathe the fresh air.

    “Sacrifice brings for the blessings of Heaven”

    I agree with those women who say it’s important to thin of the car as “ours” now. It is your “family car”.

    For a little while, we had one car plus a motorcycle for my husband. I still didn’t take the car that much, but it saved us in gas mileage having my husband take the motorcycle to work. However, the day came, after about 7 months of no income, when my husband sold that motorcycle to help pay our mortgage that month. It was hard for him, but he said he knew what was most important. He was sad for a while, and he still misses it sometimes.

    It’s hard to be selfless. But, as we strive to be more like Christ, it is who we need to become.

    Find beauty and blessings in the things around you. Be grateful that you can take the bus; I would rather stay home than take 6 small children on the bus in 112º heat (our normal temperature for 4-5 months of the year here).

    Since we’re not able to go shopping right now, I leave the house once a week–to go to church. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll have a new baby. I like to keep babies home and away from everyone the first 6 weeks after their birth to keep them healthy, so pretty soon I won’t even be going to church.

    I will, however, be stepping outside! It really helps!

  • Kristina says:

    Wow, I never realized how many one car families there are out there. We also only have one car. We both work, but my husband works during the day and I work part time at night. We would love to have a second car someday, but right now we are making it work. It really makes you appreciate the second car when you can finally get one. Great post!

  • Chef Juls says:

    My hubby won a bet of $500 on wheither or not I would drive the car thru the week when we first got married. The guy he bet marked my tires without either of us knowing…he lost the bet. At that time I was raising 5 kids and only took the car to the store once a week.Now I work out of state 2 wks out of every month so we need 2 cars… if I could get work closer and as regular I would give the car up.

  • Amanda says:

    We have always purposely lived in a place where my husband could get to work on public transportation and one car was good enough (Boston, Ann Arbor, St Louis). Of course, everywhere we have lived, parking near his work was scarce anyways, so public transportation was the best bet anyways. I would prefer to be a 0-car family sometimes, which really freaks my mom out (what if you had to go to the hospital? well, there’s always taxis, public transportation, friends, ambulances, etc.). But I personally am so much happier to live somewhere where I can walk everywhere.

  • Heather says:

    It is amazing how many people have only one car in their household. My husband and I do the same thing and have done it for almost 5 years now. We have 2 kids in school and I am a stay at home mom. I manage in the school year by taking my husband to work and the kids to school every day, but in the summer have no car which can be a big bummer, but we manage. To answer one comment left about what to do in an emergency, most places have a thing called 911. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!
    Heather from a small town in Central Virginia.

  • shae says:

    Good for you!! We did the same for a couple of years, and I look back on those simpler times very fondly!! It was SOOO worth not having a second car in order to stay home with my babies!!!!

  • Mindy says:

    I could have written this post word for word! You couldn’t have said it better. My husband works 30 mins. away and I stay home with the kids while we have 1 car. My daughter goes to preschool 2 half days a week, but usually we stay home and I run my errands after he gets home. If I need the car for an appointment or whatever, we will just get up and take him to work for the day. I just can’t justify the cost of another car yet in our lives.

  • Cathy says:

    Thanks so much for the post! I too receive shocked responses but the thing I tell me people is that aside from the money–it is one of the best relationship building experiences you can go through.

    I joke that if you can make it through going down to one car your marriage can survive anything!

    Our communication skills improved sooo much after we went to one car. I have a hard time asking for things I need or want and he often didn’t take the time to think of what I might need, so we often ended in a situation where I was upset b/c he didn’t ‘know’ i wanted.

    The single car really brought out this wrinkle in our relationship and presented us with an opportunity to make an improvement that had far reaching consequences in our relationship.

    When we have so much ‘mine’ in this world, it can be easy to forget about others and their needs–creating ‘ours’ really altered the landscape of our relationship for the better.

  • Teresa says:

    We were a 1 car family when I was home with my son during his preschool years. I think it is a blessing in that it forces you to stay home and spend time with your children. Now, while we do have more than 1 car, my husband and I ride to work together each week day, which has also been a blessing in the extra time we get to spend together every day. (Plus the gas savings!) :o)

  • Lisa says:

    We live in NOVA also and it is no small feat to purchase a home here…congratulations! Saving for a home is one of the reasons we’re proud to be a one-car family too.

  • chels says:

    thx to the ladies who understood my comment and didnt take offense – that was never my intention. With all these great stories and the fact that my experience seems to be not the “norm” I may reconsider my 2 car family and go to 1!

  • nanasewn says:

    As a much older mom, I am glad to hear there are still young people who are willing to live without all the debt laden “necessities”. Of course, my parents always had only one car. After marriage, I too for many years had only one car. Shopping was done after work or weekends and children walked to school or an occasional neighbor would give them a lift. Yes, I do understand that some things are different today. However, as you frugal moms are finding out….many are the same and can be done with desire and planning. My hat is off to you. Husbands may not say it ,but in a one paycheck family, they feel the burden for wanting to do the very best for their family and they work among those who perhaps look down their noses at him for putting family first. I know you won’t forget to tell him how much you appreciate him. My hope is that he will do the same.

  • Kim says:

    The additional bonus (& I think that it’s a big one!) is that you aren’t contributing one more car’s worth of polution & congestion on the road. I see that you live in N. VA (I do too) & I think that is a very good thing!

  • Erin says:

    My in-laws have never had more than one car. For the past 40+ years they’ve lived in a small city with no public transit. When my husband and his brother were growing up, their dad would walk to work (20-30 minutes) when their mom needed the car. And the boys walked to school (10-15 minutes) starting when they were old enough to do that. My DH didn’t even get his driver’s license until he was 22.

    We’ve been inspired by them, and so when we purchased our home in the suburbs we made sure there was at least one bus line nearby that I can take to work. That way DH (who will stay home with the baby once it’s born) will have our one car as transportation.

  • Alaine says:

    I agree! We also have only one car. Granted, it is what works for our situation – we chose an apt within walking distance to the train, so I can commute every morning, and my husband takes the car to work. We easily trade off when we need the car for groceries, going to the gym, going out with friends, etc. and we also have a lot of understanding friends who are happy to pick us up if we are without a car! I imagine that if we move (as planned) to a more rural area, and once we have kids, we will probably need a second vehicle, but it is saving us so much money right now I can’t bear to think of it! Luckily, when we do get to that point, we’ll have saved enough to buy a dependable used car and won’t need to go into debt for it.

  • fiona says:

    I’m so glad to see so many other families are living with only one vehicle. We’ve been a one vehicle family for 10 years now. Before we had kids, my husband and I worked for the same company so we would commute together and would either run errands together or swap off – it worked out just fine. When we started our family, I quit my job to be a SAHM so we wouldn’t have been able to afford a second vehicle anyway. Now 10 years and 2 kids later, I’m proud to say we still manage with only the one car. Some days I wish I could just pack up the kids and go out for the day, but then again it saves money on gas/insurance and impulse buying. I know there will come a time when we will have to purchase a second car, but until then…..

  • Beth says:

    Why not just buy an old beater for 1000 to drive around town?

  • Ginger M. says:

    Great post! I am hopeful that when I marry I can convince my husband to go for the one-car thing. I see so many women who want/need to be at home with their children but they can’t afford to…. and yet they have 2 cars, both with payments!

  • Aisha M. says:

    We also have one car but it wasn’t planned. We bought a brand new car as one car had given out. So we paid off my car and brought a brand new car for the second. Well within 30 days the car we just paid off had been totaled while parked. Since I work days and he works nighst and with good public transportation we opted to only keep the new car and not replace the second. On weekends if we need a second car then we use Zipcar. It’s worked out very well.

  • Becca says:

    We have had only one car for the past 10 years. At first it was really easy because we lived within walking distance of my husbands work. Then we moved to another city and still found it workable. We currently have 2 boys (2yo & 5mos) and we still only have one car. You just work around it.

  • Jackie says:

    I think chels brings up a good point. A one-car family can work, as long as you take full responsibility for it and you’re not dependent on others. Saving money at the expense of always relying on other people (and never taking your turn) isn’t fair. I do find this article interesting though. We have two cars + my husbands work car, but it’s doable since we don’t have kids. I think it’s a good thing to think about if we ever go down the kids road.

  • K Quinn says:

    We have had only one car our entire married lives (12 years) I’ve always gotten comments about that. Some of the years we were able to commute together to work and then when his job was on the other side of town I commuted with a friend. Now my husband’s job includes a work vehicle and I have the car but I still only drive maybe one day a week and a little more when we are actively doing foster care. I know there are a few things that help this situation greatly. We live very near family (who also survive on one car with a teenager) and do some sharing and catching rides here and there. I really enjoy home and the comfort of it. The car is paid off and that is the way we like it.

    Sarah I think I had the exact opposite of your younger years so I can relate in that I know you are out of your comfort zone whereas I am out of mine when driving. I dislike driving greatly. When I first learned to drive I broke out in hives after the test (I passed). It’s another reason we get on so great with one car. I drive a little but I truly prefer to let someone else do it.

    This is a hard spot for you. Do you dislike the bus itself? I know that can be trying especially if it is not a commuter bus. Do you not like giving him the car? Can you share like a couple days a week you get the car and then the other he gets the car? And remember this too shall pass. It’s not forever. And sometimes it helps to read some biographies of people in similar situations and how they came through. Just a thought. You’ll make it.

  • Anita says:

    I had a second car. It wasn’t used most days anyway, since I drive my husband to work. It was mostly just for the heck of having 2 cars, just so I could say to people that I had 2 cars. What a joke. I had to park it outside, and what happened? Hit and run. Argh. Must have been a reminder from God not to be caught up in material things. We fixed the car up and sold it promptly. 🙂

  • vicki says:

    When I first married we only had the one truck but it wasnt a problem. My husband worked in the family business that was next door to us. Later on he started a job in town and since we live out in the country my husband didnt feel that it was safe to be without a way to get to town. The truck was paid for and we bought a used car. I also started a home daycare which required you to have transportation so we always had two cars. I no longer work ,which is great and my husband has a company car. We still have two trucks , one is 6 yrs olds and the other is 15 yrs olds and they are both paid off. We are debt free except for the small amount due on our home loan. We will have that paid off in 2 yrs. I guess we will keep our 2 trucks, for the most part they in the garage but are there when we need them or when a family member needs to borrow one. I think its great that all these families on here are being frugal with their expenses. Keep up the good work.

  • Sarah says:

    Enjoyed reading your story…my husband and I have only one car, as well. My husband works from home and takes care of our 1 year old daughter while doing so, so there’s no sense in having the extra burden. You’re right — it saves hundreds (even thousands if you’re making car payments) per year. Honestly it’s nice to have the freedom.

    In an emergency situation, thankfully we have relatives that live within 30 minutes. Otherwise our plan is to use a taxi or just call an ambulance. Doctor’s office is also about 10 minutes down the road. I’d say that this type of situation is not “ideal,” per se, as there are certainly times where he would benefit from having a car. But we’re trying our best to save money and live frugally and this is one way we’re doing it.

  • Becky R says:

    We don’t have just one car, BUT when I read the part about people being in shock and having pity I had to laugh. I don’t have a cell phone (shock!) and my husband only has a business cell phone. We have basic phone service (we’re talking like $15/month) AND we do not have cable (another shock!). We get news and entertainment thru the internet or Redbox. There really are LOTS of ways to cut costs if people are willing to give up some things.

  • Toni says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. We, too, only have one car. I sometimes stress because with a seven-month-old, I worry about getting out of the house for activities, shopping, etc. Your post and the subsequent comments made me feel much better. We’re not the only ones! One car mommas unite!!! 🙂

  • Heather says:

    I have to echo chels. While I understand the benefits to only having one car and have seriously considered it, by husband I both agree that we do NOT want to become a burden on other people because of a choice we have made. What would you do if you child was sick and needed to be picked up from school, how can you help out in your child’s classroom, how can you reach out to others and serve them when you are stuck at home with no car and a town with no public transportation? I can see how this would work out in a city with public transit, but it is not for everyone. We too have some friends who are a one car family and we have taken them home from things countless times, while we do not mind doing it, I would never want to put other people out in that way. I often take meals to people, visit shut ins, and do my own errands during the day while my husband is at work and my kids are in school so that the evenings can be free for family time. If I was stuck with no car my evenings would be used up much more quickly trying to fit all those things in. Just some things to think about. If having one car works for you and is something you are committed to, then wonderful, but don’t expect everyone else to do your driving for you without doing something nice for them in return.

  • Emily C says:

    But does anyone have any advice on making it with no car and kids? We’ll be moving either to LA or Philadelphia in a few months, and would love to dump the car altogether if we can.

  • Melissa says:

    This post has truly inspired me! We have a family of 5, that includes 3 little girls under the age of 6. Currently we have 2 vehicles, one of which is a lease. We had always felt the NEED to have two cars because my husband and I each had our own when we met! The lease runs out in October of this year and after reading this post and talking to my husband we have decided we will go down to only having 1 vehicle. With the savings of only having 1 car payment we can afford for me to drive him to work if necessary. We plan on “paying ourselves” in what we would be making on that car payment to our savings account and paying cash for a car that makes sense for our family. We CAN do this, and we will do this until we can pay cash and own our car or car(s) outright.

  • Jan says:

    wow good for you- (I could never do it- I can’t stand to be stuck in the house all day)

  • Kristin says:

    We have done this for years and saved a ton. We have never had a car payment, and I can’t imagine it any other way. And I save a LOT of money by just staying home. Ever noticed how you always spend *something* every single time you go to town?!

  • Kellie says:

    We are not a one car family, but a one cell phone family! People are always surprised by this! Sometimes it’s an inconvenience, but not usually. I really LOVE our low cell phone bill 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    I have a friend whose family only has one car and they do well with it. She like Frugally Blonde, just goes with her husband, if she needs to go to appts or do errands. It works well for them. Kudos to any family who can make that work for them.

  • Joy says:

    Love this article!! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve linked it to the “This ‘n That Thursday” post on my blog.
    http://myreasonstoblog.blogspot.com/
    Hope you have a great day!!!
    ~ Joy 🙂

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