Dec 16, 2008

Becoming a one-car family

We were rear-ended the week before Thanksgiving, and although everyone was okay, the damage to the car has proven extensive. The original 2 1/2 week estimate for repairs is now at a solid 4 weeks. Our insurance policy includes rental coverage, but we'd still have to pay 20% of the cost. Plus there's the hassle of renting and driving an unfamiliar car.

So we've been getting by with only one car for the last three weeks. (It helps that Marc and I commute together.) We've been a little surprised to discover what's actually within walking distance of our house. The excursions take one to two hours, but I've found that when time is not of the essence, a walk to the bank, Pavilions or CVS is actually quite pleasant. Of course, I can't buy too much, and nothing perishable.

So the last three weeks have proven that we could, if necessary, become a one-car family.

The savings would be significant, even though both of our cars are fully paid for. We pay about $1000 per year in insurance and registration on our older car, plus approximately $25 in gas per month. And maintenance costs are probably about $200-500 per year, depending on the year. That adds up to a savings of $1500-1800 per year, or $125-150 per month.

We are going to keep both cars, though, simply because having two cars is a convenience that we can afford - and while having only one car has been manageable, it hasn't been preferable. But I do think that we'll consider walking a realistic option for a handful of locations from now on, especially when we're not in a rush.


Andrea said...

My husband and I have been a 1 car family for almost a year. We work for the same company so we commute together as well. I am really surprised how infrequently we need a second car. Once we have kids we plan on buying a second car, but in the meantime we're saving the money. Sorry that your one car decision was a little less optional.

Chief Family Officer said...

Thanks, Andrea! I would agree, we might consider getting rid of the second car if we didn't have kids, but it's definitely a convenience we're willing to pay for! :)