one car family

It seems like I drive a lot these days.

Back last spring when Damon got this  job offer in Boston we knew this was the opportunity we’d been waiting for, working for, to make a major life change. You already know we dramatically downsized our house and our possessions, (on purpose!!) so we could live a simpler lifestyle. Well, we also chose to ~gasp~ get rid of a vehicle and make do with just one. ONE car.

We specifically chose to live in Braintree for two reasons, the schools for Josh, and easy access to the train station for Damon. It’s like city life without being in the city. It’s a place where having one car is really possible.

You’re thinking well sure, lots of people make do with one car, or even no car! But not us. It’s just something we never even considered before. We both grew up in MAINE, and there is practically no such thing as public transportation in Maine. You certainly can’t walk – everywhere you need to go is like, 110 miles away, or more. Okay seriously, I pulled that number out of nowhere and then I looked up how far it is from my hometown to the Maine/NH border and it’s 113 miles! Not even kidding.

Anyway, our plan, and we all know how well plans go, was to keep our old crappy SUV right up until it was time to move and then quickly get rid of it. About 3 1/2 weeks before our closing date we made a decision to donate it to a good charity instead of trying to sell it. Believe me when I say it wasn’t worth much, certainly not even worth the hassle of a craigslist ad!

Three days after that, the dang truck died on the side of the road.

Sigh. I had three weeks of transfer station trips/school pickups/extraneous moving errands left to make. Gah.

Anyway, we gave up, donated it to the Epilepsy Foundation (hello tax break!) and we’ve only had one car ever since. That was four months ago, and I haven’t murdered anyone yet. Wahoo!

Every week day now, I drive Damon to the train station, drop Josh at school, then go home and work until it’s time to pick up Josh again at 3. (No he doesn’t ever take the school bus, but that’s another story of it’s own.) We come home and get homework done and dinner ready, then at 5 we go out yet again and pick Damon up at the train station.

You guys. I feel like I’m in the car ALL the time. But here’s the scary thing; I don’t mind it. Josh gets reading time, or we all actually get time to TALK to each other. It’s quite a nice novelty! One I hope doesn’t wear off.  🙂

On weekends, we plan our time carefully, if one of us needs the car the other gets quiet time at home. We’ve been doing a lot more things together as a family too, even if it’s just errands. That’s a good thing!

The other really fabulous thing? Is how much money we’re saving. Think about this: no car payment, no car insurance, no registration fees, no tax, no maintenance, no extra gas. At MINIMUM we’ve estimated we’re saving around $5000 a year, but in reality, it’s probably 7 or 8. Um, yeah. I’m okay with that. I’ll just keep on doing all the driving, thanks.

Have you ever thought about downsizing to one family car or going car-less completely? Is it even doable where you live? Scary thought isn’t it?

We’re doing our best to make it work. We said we wanted try it for a year. I think we can, and if we get through the winter, maybe even longer!



7 Responses to “one car family”

  1. Kristen on October 27th, 2011 3:38 pm

    Sounds like one car is working about pretty well to me! I know we couldn’t do it here (I’m not driving
    Ernesto to and from work!) but at least my car will be paid off in about a year. Let’s hope it survives until then at least!

  2. kat on October 27th, 2011 5:13 pm

    We did the NO car family for the first two years we lived in Germany. Biking to work, biking to get groceries, bus when the weather was too nasty, and renting a car for the occasional trip. It worked out pretty well until we had our first baby (we probably could have continued but we were anxious first time parents).

  3. MommyTime on October 28th, 2011 2:08 am

    I *wish* we could do that. In Michigan, everything is a drive away. There is no public transportation that is practical. Even though we live just under a mile from the kids’ school, we can’t walk there even if we want to because the direct route is along a street with a 50mph speed limit and no continuous sidewalk. Weekly, I wish we could walk or bike everywhere we needed to go.

  4. Carolyn on October 28th, 2011 6:23 am

    At some point, I want to ride a bike to school – when Scott’s a little older and the construction at the school is completed. I figure that even if we both bike to the high school and he gets on the bus from there, it will still be a cool thing to do.

    I guess I should start my training…. 🙂

  5. moonspun on October 29th, 2011 1:23 am

    That’s really cool. We can’t do it where we live in rural Vermont. But my hubby and i do work the same place, so we do take one car when we can….

  6. Emily Guy Birken on October 30th, 2011 1:30 am

    My husband and I discussed the possibility of going down to one car when we moved from Columbus, Ohio to Lafayette, Indiana last year. I was going to be staying home with our son, and my husband’s job is only 2.5 miles away (although not bike-able or walk-able because of the type of traffic). But every time we’ve come close to it, we just find we can’t pull the trigger. I could easily take Jayme to work in the mornings and evenings, or be without a car on days he has an appointment, etc, and yet we can’t let go of being a two car family. It’s just hard to think of losing mobility. My car is 12 years old, though, so we may find ourselves just not replacing it when the inevitable happens.

  7. Amira on November 3rd, 2011 9:08 pm

    We have one car more by necessity than choice, but you’re totally right about the savings and quality time we get in the car. I’ve always said that our little Corolla is my and Saad’s treehouse as we have some of our best conversations and moments in our car.

    And that extra 7 or 8 thousand? Gotta love it!

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