We have one vehicle, and when we are all together it’s pretty full. But most days it only holds my dear hubby, as he drives it away and leaves us home with no wheels.
Many people are surprised when they find out that we have only vehicle, and even more bewildered when they learn that, except for the first four months of our marriage, we have always lived this way.
Sure, there are difficulties. Tim used to work at a delivery job that had him getting back to his base anywhere from 11 pm to 1 am…then he would have to call me and I’d pack up the kiddos and haul them out to retrieve him. I limited the days that I kept our car and did all our errands on his day off, but there were still some occasions where I had to suck it up and do it. His schedule now is a lot more reasonable, but there have still been inconveniences, like when I’m waiting outside the building and he gets hung up with a work issue.
There are days when I wish that I had the freedom to hop in the car and go out-but who am I kidding? I have three kids. I don’t hop anywhere except into bed at night, and that’s more like a roll as my eyes close before I even hit the bed.
What are the benefits?
Honestly, living with one vehicle is hard sometimes. We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think that it was the best choice for us! So, why did we decide this was best for our family?
We save money
I would be lying if I didn’t say this was the biggest part of our decision! We save tons of money by driving only one vehicle…literally hundreds of dollars a month in gas, insurance, payment, and maintenance. Instead of spending that money on an extra car, we funnel it into a savings account for when we need to purchase a new vehicle. By doing this we are always able to pay cash for our cars-and avoid any monthly payments, interest, and other fees.
We save more money
In addition to the money saved by only maintaining one car, we also save because we end up staying at home more. Since I have to consolidate all my errands, I can’t just run to the store if I need something for dinner or drop by Target if I feel like it. While impulse purchases are not completely eliminated, they are certainly minimized by having to wait a few days to go shopping.
It simplifies our life
Getting out of the house with kids is always an event, and it can be a cause of stress, both on myself and my children. We keep our events and our life simple by only driving to a few activities and spending the rest of our time at home as a family.
We have more time
The more things you own, the more time you have to invest in caring for those things, and a vehicle is a perfect example. Cleaning and washing the car, filling the gas tank, getting the oil changed, and other routine maintenance takes time. And I hate doing those things because I am lazy. Owning only one vehicle means we have that much more time for family fun. Or sleep.
How do we make it work?
Benefits aside, having one vehicle and two drivers can have challenges. So how do we make it happen?
We plan ahead
Tim and I keep each other informed as to any upcoming appointments we have, and at the beginning of each week, he always asks what days I need to keep the car. We have a master calendar that we note any obligations on, and each of us consults with the other before making any commitments that would require the use of the vehicle.
Being at home without wheels has taught me to plan my meals carefully. I make sure to note all the necessary ingredients and side dishes so I have everything I need, and I shop for everything on my errand day.
Right now, what works for us is a Friday errands day. The kids and I get up, drop Tim at work, and then make our rounds. We take care of any appointments, stop at any stores we may need to visit, and then hit the grocery store last before heading home. This is exhausting but it does mean that we get everything done.
I always try to schedule doctor appointments and the like for Fridays, but if that doesn’t happen I simply switch my errand day for the week. I make every effort to only keep the car one day out of the week.
We’ve changed our thinking
Having the mindset that you need a vehicle at all times can be challenging to overcome, but it can be done. We eased into it since we chose to go down to one car while we were still childless. The trick is to let go of the idea that you must have a vehicle, that it’s an absolute necessity. Instead, any time we consider getting a second vehicle, we think of how often we would actually need it and realize that those occasions are few and far between.