Becoming a 1 Car Family – Sort Of

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The decision to become a one car family took nearly 2 years to make.  My husband travels a lot and has a company vehicle for traveling, so for me it was nice to have a back up in case mine didn’t start (it’s happened on several occasions).  Just having an extra vehicle parked at the house made me feel a bit more secure when he was gone. When I traveled to teach classes or for speaking engagements it was great to have that second vehicle in case hubby and the kids wanted to run out for a while. If those reasons weren’t enough to make us keep it – owning it for 13 years and having no car payments for the last 10 years should be reason enough!

But, often I was traveling an hour or more to teach and didn’t feel comfortable driving the truck with so many miles on it and some minor technical issues– especially since it was sitting for weeks at a time.  I’d leave the truck at home for my hubby and kids but about half the time would return to find them all still in PJs at 5 pm, having stayed home all day. More often than not we were forcing ourselves to drive the truck even just a few miles a month.  It’s value was depreciating and maintenance costs were going up.  We were paying to insure, inspect and tag a vehicle that was driven less than 1,000 miles a year.  Even though the math said it was time to let it go, we still weren’t convinced that being a non traditional family was the way to go.  Didn’t we need a 2nd vehicle like everyone else?

In January hubby needed to make a quick overnight trip.  It was a rainy week at home and a snowy week at his destination, so neither of us could safely drive the truck. It needed new tires, had electrical issues, hail damage and a banged up running board just to name a few issues.  We ended up renting a car, and that’s when we realized it was time to finally let the truck go.   Because of schedules and it’s condition we felt it was best to go through a purchasing dealership.  We got an online estimate that was pretty much inline with the estimates on (it’s more accurate than Kelley Blue Book IMO) and took the truck to a reputable dealership that purchases used vehicles outright.

Silly as it was, it was somewhat emotional saying goodbye to that truck.   I’d gone through 3 different vehicles since we’d married but he had only had this one.  The plan had always been to “drive it ’til it dies.”  Bottom line is that we weren’t driving it, which was causing it to die quicker.

From the sale of the truck and saved fees from insurance, inspections
and tagging we’re now able to knock about 18 payments off our house in
  This cuts about 2 years off our plan to have both
houses paid off.  If we keep on track and baring any major misfortunes
we’ll be 100% debt free before 2020!

Will there be days we wish the truck was still parked out back?  yes
Will there be days we have to just stay home because there’s no vehicle available? yes
With our current lifestyles, will it really bother us that much?  no

There will be times of compromise, but compromise makes us stronger.  We as Americans have become accustomed to having what we want as soon as we want it, and that’s just not a reasonable expectation unless you’re a billionaire (or are getting into debt up to your eyeballs).  Most “normal” people would say being a 1 car family is too difficult.  Well guess what?  We’re not normal, we never have been, and never will be.  And we’re proud of it!

I’d love to hear your suggestions for how you’ve made a 1 car or no car situation work for your family.  If you’ll leave a comment here I’ll compile everyone’s suggestions to create another post for next week as an encouragement that it can be done!


  1. We have been a 1 car family for over 4 years now. We had just purchased our new van when my husband car that he used to go back and forth to work started to have trans issues. We got rid of it, meaning to get another car, but then about a month later he got hurt at work and it just seemed silly to replace it when he wasnt able to drive anyways. Here we are 4 years later, he can drive again but still off of work. Looking to retire. (he was a police offer and can no longer do his job so retiring is the only option). We will eventually get a new car to replace the one we have since it is now starting to give us issues. Not sure if we are going to then get a 2nd or fix the one we have now that will give us a 2nd car. All in all it hasnt been too bad. There have only been a handful of times over the past 4 years where we wished we had that 2nd car.

  2. Yey! How nice to be able to get such a big chuck off of it! In Boston several of the families were one car families because their hubbies lived close enough to the train/subway system to walk to it, we never have been, however, so we’ve always been a two car family ourselves!

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