A one-car family?

I feel sorry for our sedan. See, it’s been sitting unused for almost a month now. Aside from moving it from the driveway to the street for our garage sale, then back into the driveway, it hasn’t moved. No, nothing it wrong with it. It’s in great shape and, aside from a busted AC and long non-functional sunroof, it’s in tip-top shape. We just haven’t needed it at all.

I’ve started biking to work 2-3 days a week. The office is a scant 2.7 miles from home with bike lanes, trails, and wide shoulders along the entire route. The other days, I telecommute so that Shauna can go do water aerobics at the gym. Between the two, I don’t use my car on weekdays. On Saturdays, I rarely have anywhere I need to go and even if I did, I could drop Shauna off at school and use the RAV4. On Sundays, we’re always travelling together, so no need to use a second car. We’ve effectively eliminated the need for a second vehicle.

Given how little we use it, we’ve been thinking about selling our second car. I know there are valid arguments for keeping it, like those rare occasions where we both may need to go to separate places at the same time or if there’s an emergency when one of us is gone. All the same, we’re rarely more than a 10-minute drive from home, and a 15-minute walk can get us to church or the grocery store for necessities. I can bike to the TRAX station in 10 minutes.

So what do you think? After a month of using one car, should we continue our purge of stuff we don’t use?

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6 Responses

  1. Vanessa says:

    I think that if I were in your position I would consider selling the car only after no less than 3 months of non-use. The past month really hasnt given you the full spectrum of weather possibilities. Will you biking to work when there’s 6 inches of snow?

  2. Jesse says:

    I’m going to try and be all “iron man” about it and bike during the winter months as much as I can. There’s also the option to telecommute on days with inclement weather, get dropped off and picked up by Shauna, or just borrow the one remaining car.

  3. Kris says:

    We’ve been a one car family for 7 years and we have THREE KIDS. It’s totally doable. Do it!!
    Can you believe I’ve even considered being a “no car” family. It’s true.
    But emergency doctor visits keep me from it.

  4. We had four cars at one point. We’re still trying to get down to two. But if we were in your situation, I think we’d definitely opt for one. Is it sustainable if your circumstances change, like when Shauna graduates? If it didn’t work for you, would you be able to buy another car when you needed? Every day your car sits in the driveway it’s losing value. Why not sell it now and get the maximum profit?

  5. W says:

    My brother is in a pretty similar situation to yours: he does a lot of biking to work, seeing as how he lives about 2 1/2 miles away from his job at USU. He’s found that the winters present a pretty formidable incentive to drive.

    So, he drives my other car to work.

    I know. Why do *I* have two cars, right? It’s essentially risk management. I picked up the ’93 Oldsmobile a few years ago for under $500 in sale and repair costs when my Geo Prizm broke a timing belt and I didn’t know if it was going to be salvageable for less than $2k. It turned out to only need $200, but afterward, when I thought about selling the Olds, I asked myself how much it would likely cost me to buy another acceptable car if my Prizm broke, and realized that my chances of happening on another car in the Olds’ condition at that price were slim. And that while I was looking, I’d have the problem of not having a car. So, keeping it seemed to make sense (bonus that I had a chance to loan it out to a family member who was riding their bike in the winter ;).

    Non of this is to say you shouldn’t do it, but I think you’re more likely to make a decision you’ll be content with long term after you’ve been through an entire winter doing the bike thing and also thought through the economics and logistics of a case where the RAV4 breaks or is temporarily available.

  1. March 22, 2014

    […] time ago, we thought about maybe going down to one car. We decided against it since I was working in an office and Shauna would still need to go places […]

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