Friday, May 20, 2011

How we manage as a 1 car family...

When Ben + I got married the summer of 2007 we started our family with two cars. Ben had a black 2002 VW Jetta and I had my grey 2005 Dodge Neon. Two cars were necessary to us because we worked at separate jobs at different times. He worked at 7am at a hotel and I worked at 8am at a college campus.

In 2008 Ben got a job working at the same campus as I and working the same hours. We still had two cars but really only needed one. We lived so close that in the spring + summer we could ride our bikes to work instead of driving either of the cars.

That 4th of July we ventured out, just the two of us, on a road trip to Washington (state) to meet up with his family for the holiday weekend. We made it an hour, just into Salem when his Jetta literally powered down. By the grace of God we made it to the shoulder where we waited to be towed home. We never made it to Washington. We also didn't have enough cash-flow to drop on fixing the Jetta and it sat for a very long time. We finally asked to borrow some money from family to fix it so we could sell it (and immediately pay them back) and be done with it.

For the past 3 years we've been a 1 car family. It was pretty easy when it was just the two of us working at the same place. It was even easy when Ben got a different job because I was staying at home with our 6 week old son Malakai and soon started watching a friend's baby boy at my house.

It's become more difficult within the last year since we moved further from both of our jobs. Ben was able to secure a pretty reliable carpool so that I could switch gears and start driving to our friend's house to watch the little guys together. This arrangement worked for a surprising 10 months before I was unable to make the drive because of Ben's carpool becoming more limited. Thankful things transitioned somewhat smoothly when I moved from daycare to Nursery Director at our church which I do from home for the most part.

Things have been getting more difficult as I put in one morning per week as often as possible at the church office, and on Sundays Ben and I ALWAYS have to be there at different times. When he leads worship he needs to be there at 7am, but I don't need to be there until 8am and surely don't want to wake Kai that early. When he doesn't lead worship he doesn't need to be at church til 10:45am. It gets a bit sticky.

We have been blessed with the ability to borrow cars from our moms on such occasions. One of Kai's grandma's will come over to watch him for a couple hours and I'll take their car into the office. On Sundays we've been able to use my mother-in-laws car since they don't need it on the weekends.

My one real frustration has been not being able to go anywhere during the week when I don't have someone to borrow a car from. I can't go grocery shopping except in the evenings and on weekends, the WORST time to go. I can't take Malakai out for play dates or toddler classes. I can't make it to impromptu family or work gatherings. Sometimes Ben can get a carpool in advance if I know I'll need the car for an appointment or errands, but most of the time we are stuck.

All of that to say that I have the car today, and nowhere to go...


  1. We did the one car thing for about 18 months. Initially, it was easy. I walked 5 minutes to work, and Brent drove about a mile down the road. Whenever I needed the car and he was at work, I'd just walk to Fred Meyer and borrow the car.

    Things got more difficult when we bought our house. We were no longer close to work. I had to carpool, and Brent took the car.

    I'm very grateful now for our two cars. If we had only one, then I'd be driving Brent to the max station at 5:30 am, and would have to tote Liam along.

    The way we afford our 2nd car is first by owning it out right. The Mazda is 14 years old, so we only have liability coverage on it. We also make it possible to own two by driving both very little. The Mazda is mostly driven 10 minutes to the Max station and back. The Santa Fe is the gas guzzler, so I drive it very little. Just for once or twice a week errands, to my parent's house every 2 weeks (they drive to our house in between times), and to church and lunch at Brent's aunt and uncle's house on Sundays.

    I hope you can continue to make the one car thing work. The savings is great, but it is hard to drive somewhere on a whim.

    A couple weeks ago my prego friend commented on FB that she really wanted some bubble tea, but sadly her husband was at work with their only car. I knew how hard it is to be pregnant, have a craving, but can't satisfy it. So I left Liam with Brent and drove out of the way to take my friend on a mini date.

  2. we own our neon fully as well. We just can't afford to add a payment to all of the other ones we're making. especially Kai's medical bills!
    It would be NICE to go somewhere on a whim but it's not completely necessary, so that's the sacrifice I make right now so we can make ends meet where it's crucial. I know it's just a season!

  3. We had one car for 3 years and it went great. Now I drive a company car and I can't tell you how fast you get used to it.
    If it was up to me, our second car would be gone by now, but our jobs make it so difficult and we got so used to this luxury situation.
    Too bad, because it's costing so so much.
    I can't imagine how I would manage with a little boy, and even with your second little one on the way. I guess it's really a matter of organizing yourself.


thanks for responding, I love your feedback!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

certified site

certified site