What I've Learned from Being a One-Car Couple

I first shared about our decision to get rid of Michael's truck and plunge into becoming a one-car family back in April. Now, more than six months later, I figured it was time for a little update, to share some of the things I've noticed and been learning as we go without in this arena.

Aside from the obvious financial benefits this decision has provided as we paid off what little debt we had and strive to build up other savings accounts, cutting back to one vehicle has reaped other, quite unexpected, benefits. Particularly in regards to learning to take account of my husband's needs, even in the smallest of circumstances, and becoming more flexible when it comes to my own time, desires and agenda.

To be honest, it hasn't been all that hard to live with one car: I work from home. The Starbucks that my husband works at is just down the street and he usually walks or rides his bike there. When he was in school, he also usually rode his bike to classes. However, it has been an adjustment when it comes to the little, daily outings that spring up, whether it's me running to the grocery store or library or my husband wanting to head over to a friend's house to practice music. It's in those exchanges that I feel like I've learned the most. It's forced me to become more thoughtful of him.

Before, I could just pick up and go because, well, I wanted to. I didn't really have to think about my husband's plans because he had his own vehicle to go to and fro. But now, I'm aware of how directly my plans can affect his, so we take the time to plan our days together, coming up with strategies for running errands and working with and around one another's schedules that make it more intentional.

It has also given us the opportunity to experience grace, hospitality and selfless love firsthand from friends and family when they are willing to go out of their way to pick me up when my husband is stuck in traffic or offer to drop me off when he needs the car for an appointment. It really has been so inspiring and such an encouragement to experience these little acts of kindness when people take time from their busy schedules to help us in these ways, without batting an eye or acting inconvenienced.

And so it's really lovely for me to see how something as inconsequential as a second car—hardly qualifying as a sacrifice at all—can work wonders in my heart to teach me lessons in humility and grace and love and selflessness.

Depending on where both of our job searches will take us and what they might require, I'm not sure what the future holds for us in regards to our vehicle count. I am well aware that it's not probable or realistic for most couples to make one car work when each spouse is working across town and has to be to work by nine. But, truth be told, I'd love to stick with one vehicle as long as possible!

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  1. We just moved to New Haven and became a one care family as well! Selling my car allowed us to pay for moving expenses and have a little leftover, which is excellent because I'm currently unemployed. Since AC lives within walking distance to work AND school and there's a bus stop right outside our house, we don't have to worry about him needing to get somewhere. Monetarily it's been nice, and since we live in a compact area it hasn't affected us NEARLY as much as I thought it would. I was TERRIFIED it was going to be such a hassle.

  2. We've been a one-car family for about 2.5 years now, and while it does sometimes have it's challenges, the amount of money we have saved on car payments/insurance/gas has been really good for us. I am lucky to have access to a reliable public transportation bus system to get me to work on time, and I am lucky to have a husband who is willing to be a little flexible with plans. Plus, it allows us to spend some quality time in the car together when we run errands!

  3. We've been a one-car family for all eight-plus years of our marriage. I can count on one hand the number of times it has been a huge problem, so that's not so bad.

    A lot of it has to do with where we live - we paid MORE for a smaller house in a transit-rich, highly walkable area. Sometimes the size of our mortgage gets me down, but when I factor in our ability to exist with one, older, completely paid-off vehicle - and the possibility of getting by for weeks without one if necessary, well ... all of a sudden our mortgage seems totally worth it.

    Plus, walking with my two kids is really fun - totally beats having to strap 'em into car seats and cross my fingers that we don't hit traffic.

  4. We only had one car for about a year and a half and I really enjoyed it. A change in location necessitated the purchase of a second car and I really miss that time that my husband and I got to spend together when we would carpool to work.

  5. We've been a one-car family for three years now and it's been a really fun experience! It made our family closer, and we saved more money because of that. But we're not closing our doors to the prospect of owning another car someday. =)


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