Several years ago, we became entirely debt-free aside from a small mortgage on our home. And even though we didn’t have a ton of unsecured debt, it was still an amazing feeling. Thanks to our zero-sum budgeting skillz, we paid down the last of Greg’s student loans, a few small credit card balances, and the last of our car loans. Further, we vowed not to take on a penny more debt for the duration of our lives. Why? Because we learned that debt is a curse – a burden – and we knew that we were better off living a debt-free lifestyle where we call the shots.
It’s been several years since then, and I have to say, staying out of debt has been easy. I don’t miss owing people money, dealing with the monthly payments, or knowing that I had to keep working in order to pay it all back.
Unfortunately, being debt-free has made us somewhat complacent in terms of our vehicle situation. For the last few years, we have had two cars – one of which is rarely driven. Sadly, my periwinkle minivan – the one I wrote about in a post titled, “Reader Question: Should We Sell Our Second Car?” in 2013 – is still taking up space in the driveway. I mean, it’s a 2007 Dodge Caravan and only has 55,000 miles for heaven’s sake! And since both Greg and I work at home on our online business, I drive it more out of duty than necessity.
Why We’re Becoming a One Car Family
Well, a situation came up where I can unload this van and give it to someone who could actually use it. And after some thought and consideration, we decided to try our luck as a one car family and see if we could make it work. Even though the car is paid off, we recognize some distinct advantages that come with only having one vehicle to care for. Here’s how we decided to share one car – and drop the second:
We’re going to save on insurance.
Although I have an affordable Allstate liability policy on my Dodge Caravan, it would be nice to avoid paying insurance on a car I rarely drive. Currently, the policy on my Dodge Caravan costs $164 every six months, or $328 per year. Since I only drive the van once per week, that’s mostly money down the drain.
We won’t have to pay for repairs or upkeep.
So far this year, I’ve had to purchase new tires and a new rim for the stupid van. Plus, I put on new brake pads and had the oil changed at least twice. In total, I probably spent $1,000 on the damn thing – and remember, it’s only worth around $5,000! Now that I made those repairs, it’s in extremely good shape. But if we get rid of it, we will no longer have to worry about oil changes or surprise upkeep. I like it.
We’re going to have extra room in our garage.
Even though I think it’s silly we humans park our cars in our houses, I do enjoy parking indoors. There’s something especially annoying about scraping ice-covered windshields during winter and getting in a blazing hot car during summer, isn’t there? Meanwhile, parking in the garage allows us all to avoid dealing with the elements. The problem is, fitting my van and Greg’s car in the garage at the same time is a chore. It can be done, but it means everything else in there needs to be stacked and organized so we can squeeze through the sides. With the van gone, we will have ample room to walk around the garage all winter long – and we’ll no longer have to squeeze around. Further, we should have room to set up our weight bench and get a few cold weather workouts in!
We’re happier with less.
You know how it is – the less stuff you have to take care of, the better off you are. That’s part of the reason we practice minimalist decor, have annual garage sales and donate to the thrift stores frequently, and don’t buy lots of new stuff. I don’t like taking care of things, dusting them, organizing them, or worrying about them. Having one less car means having less to worry about, and that’s alright with me.
The Bottom Line
Honestly, it’s nice to be at a point in our lives where we don’t really need a second car. Years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to make that choice due to our stressful and time-consuming 9-5 jobs and frantic lifestyle. Now that we’re self-employed and working out of our own homes, we have a lot more time and flexibility, which will be key for making this work.
Over the next five years, I would imagine we’ll be able to save more than $2,000 (and possibly a lot more) just by not having that extra vehicle. And I don’t know about you, but I can think of a lot better ways to spend that money!
Have you ever thought about becoming a one car family? Why or why not?