After making fun of you kids approximately 1,910 times for buying a new car because you want one, dammit, a little under a year ago I went ahead and did the same thing. We bought a brand new 2015 Buick Verano, the pimpin’ ride you see in the picture above.
God, what a hypocrite.
My old 2002 Ford Focus (may she forever rest in peace) was just annoying me too much. First the back window wouldn’t stay closed, a repair I did myself by just gluing it shut. #safetyfirst
Then the air conditioning went. I needed a new fuel pump, and every time I went over a bump it was pretty obvious the shocks were starting to wear out too. Also, the dead hooker stench from the trunk was starting to get into the upholstery.
We weren’t stupid when we bought our new car. The 2016s were already firmly entrenched on the lot when we started shopping, which let us get something like $6,000 off the original price of our new ride. And since we were able to pay cash that helped push the price down a little too.
The best part about driving a Buick is everyone assumes you’re 80 years old and is quite tolerant when you screw up. Thanks, teens!
A number of people gave me crap for buying new and I deserve every word of it. It’s true I could have gotten a better deal if I would have bought used. I just didn’t want to. I liked being able to think I was successful enough for a new car.
So instead, we compromised another way. Instead of having two cars like most other families, we’re making it work with only one car. Now that we’re almost a year into this experiment, let’s take a closer look at how it’s working.
An easy change
Even though I could easily work from home full-time, I decided against it. I really like the idea of leaving the house everyday to go to work. If I just sat at home in my underwear all day, I’m certain I wouldn’t get as much done as when I go to the little office I rent.
But at the same time, when I went looking for a place to work from, I made sure to find somewhere that a) was relatively cheap and b) was close enough to my house so I could walk. In other words, I made walking a priority.
One of the advantages to living in a small town is most everywhere is walkable. After asking around for a bit, I quickly had several choices for an office I could walk to in less than 10 minutes. I picked the best one and life has been grand.
Sure, there’s about a day or two a month when I wish I had a car, but if I really need something, Vanessa is only a quick message away. And again, I can usually pretty easily walk to wherever I want to go. I just don’t want to, on account of being lazier than (insert your favorite stereotype here).
Having flexibility makes the whole one car thing easier. We’ve intentionally built a lot of flexibility into our lives. You might not have as much. That might make things harder, but there are always other solutions.
Sharing the rest of the time
While the wife and I spend a lot of time going to the same places, there’s at least one night a week where one of us heads out while the other stays at home.
This hasn’t been a big deal at all. If somebody wants to hang out after Vanessa leaves for the evening, I can either a) walk to their place/where we’re meeting b) have them pick me up or c) use a cab or Uber. In the last year as a one car family, I’ve never had to break down and pay for a ride.
Even if you have an old car that’s fully paid for, these costs add up. I’m too lazy to figure out the costs, but Desirae from Half Banked actually did the math, and she found out owning a cheap used car cost her about $250 per month. Part of that is a pretty careless ticket, but the overall point remains very valid–I’d have to go through a lot of taxi rides to hit $250 per month.
People refuse to accept the possibility of Uber/taxis being their second vehicle. And most of you live in places that have public transport. It might not be ideal to take the bus to work everyday, but it can certainly work as a second vehicle. Just step over the passed out homeless guys.
It’s pretty simple. We made the decision having one car sitting idle 23 hours per day was silly, but unavoidable. Having two was just an unnecessary bill of expense. Once we committed to that, we just made sure the other parts of our lives fit in with the mindset.
Once you’ve made that choice, you’re already 80% there.