Having Only One Car Saves Us Money—Even Though it Sucks

It’s been over two years now since my husband’s car broke down for good. It was a sad day, but sometimes things have an upside. My car immediately became my honey’s car, since he’s the only one who works. It might suck at times, but I’ve begun to realize that having only one car saves us money. Of course there are the typical money savers, such as:

  • lower car insurance
  • less money spent on gas
  • vehicle registration renewal
  • tags
  • emission inspections
  • regular maintenance

Car insurance is probably the biggest expense, aside from gas that we would be dealing with. Obviously you can always shop around for your insurance.

Lately though, I have realized that there are other ways that having only one car saves us money. I’m not even sure if we could afford to have a second car right now, so I guess it’s not too awful that we don’t. It might suck being stuck at home all the time, but it’s actually saving us money. If I wasn’t stuck at home, I’d be:

  • making more frequent trips to the grocery store
  • paying for extracurricular activities for the kid
  • out indulging in entertainment activities
  • taking college classes again (at least some for writing, I need all the help I can get)
  • shopping
  • getting back into extreme couponing (which of course has other cost than just monetary)
  • going out to lunch and probably coffee

I know it sounds bad, but how can I know for sure that I wouldn’t be out doing all these things? I have made a ton of financial progress, but I’ve been stuck at home because I don’t have a car anymore. The only way to know for sure that I wouldn’t be doing this stuff would be to have another car again. Would I love to have a second car? H*ll yeah! I feel like such a recluse these days, eventually, I’m going to develop agoraphobia (the fear of leaving your house) or something.

The idea of making more frequent trips to the grocery store does sound appealing though. I usually go to the grocery store once a week and try to make sure I get enough food to last until the next time.

I spend hours at the grocery store trying to save money and make sure that I don’t forget something. Also, since I don’t meal plan or cook like a normal person, I’m trying to piece together possible meals while I’m grocery shopping. All of that makes me hate going to the grocery store; so it would be nice to go more than once a week.

Going back to college would rock, even if it’s just to take some writing classes. I’m sure you all have noticed that I’m not the best writer out there. One of the things on my bucket list is to write a book and to take writing classes to accomplish that.

Even if we had a second car, we’re not currently in a position to afford taking on another expense. Seriously, if we can’t afford health and dental insurance, then we shouldn’t increase our expenses. Sure it could be considered an investment, but there’s not a guaranteed return.


Would you go nuts without your own car?
Does having your own car enable you to spend more money?

About Jen Perkins

Likes: saving money, being debt free (aside from our house), zombies, travel, getting money, blogging and dogs. Dislikes: debt, being broke, bunnies, wasting money, not having enough money to travel the world and paying interest. Facebook  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Google+  ♥  RSS


Having Only One Car Saves Us Money—Even Though it Sucks — 34 Comments

  1. My wife and I definitely need two cars but if we absolutely had to, I think we could get by on two for awhile.

    2 years though is a ridonculously long time and I’d go crazy by then.

    Just a tidbit on the grocery store: why are you so reluctant to make a grocery list and menu plan? If you hate going shopping because you hate putting together meal ideas while you’re at the store, why not just do it ahead of time?

    It’s super easy and it has saved us a lot of time and money over the years!

    • I’ll usually make a quick reminder list of staples, but I think I don’t do more (or meal plan) because I hate cooking. I rarely cook, I’ll throw something quick and easy together but it’s rare that I’ll actually cook a real meal. I keep meaning to start cooking but it never seems to happen.

      • Meal planning isn’t the answer for everyone. I don’t meal plan anymore – it’s like budgeting, I think, in that eventually you get to a comfortable stage where you can wing it a little bit and a lot of the rest of it is somewhat automatic.

  2. Jen it sounds like you just need to find plenty of quick, easy meals that you like.

    As for only having 1 car between the 2 of you, that would definitely feel restrictive. It would save a large amount of money though. Perhaps you can find other ways to get out of the house by walking or taking public transit. I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of many of my amenities. So I’ve been driving less and less. It’s almost making me consider giving up my car altogether.

    • It would be awesome if we lived downtown in a city and could just walk everywhere, I wouldn’t even want a car. I just can’t seem to fork over $3+ for a bus ride (for just myself). :-(

    • Yeah, that’s just how it is sometimes when everybody in the household works—2 cars can become a necessity. :-)

  3. I guess public transportation doesn’t work for you, sorry. We also share one car and it’s great for us. The Mrs. takes public transport every where and I also do it occasionally. Today we dropped baby RB40 off at daycare by public transport. We live in downtown and we pay more on housing, but we’re doing well on the transportation front.

    • It must be nice living downtown. :-) I’m pretty much just being cheap by not taking the bus, I just don’t want to add on extra expenses just to run errands.

  4. Yes, there is a lot of freedom with a second car, but more than that there are added costs that you wouldn’t believe. I’m sure one day you two will get another car but right now it doesn’t sound like it’s working out that bad for you.

  5. We could make do with 1 car, but those 28 miles we each drive in opposite directions to work would probably make us late every day.

    Still, if we lived in a city with good public transportation we would move to one car. We did it for 15 years in Asia.

  6. Another 1 car family here. It definitely sucks at times (like right now when I have to walk to the train, ride the train, and then walk from the train to work) – but it has its advantages. It keeps me healthy, that’s for sure. Sometimes it pays to force yourself to make sacrifice, especially when you don’t trust yourself (like me). :)

  7. Having no car has so many benefits, especially if you live in the middle of town like myself. As you can get public transport to where ever you need to go! As well as saving on petrol, insurance etc.

    Plus your doing your bit for the environment! 😉

    • Yep, I’d forgotten that it helps out the environment too. Not that I’m considered green or anything, but the little bits add up. :-)

  8. Believe it or not, having one car used to be the norm when I was growing up. Of course, my Mom had lots of other stay at home Mom’s in the area to hang with – which isn’t true now. She used to drive Dad to work and go get him on the days she really needed the freedom of a car.

    • Really though, if I don’t work too, then I don’t really “need” a car. It would be nice but isn’t a necessity. I tried driving my honey to work a few times when I wanted the car, but it’s about 3+ hours worth of driving time because of the commute and traffic—not worth it.

  9. My wife and I both work so we both need cars given that we go opposite directions at differing times. She drives to work and I’m off to the park and ride for a quick bus trip. I could do it without a car, but my bus ride (and total commute) jumps from about 20-30 minutes each way to 45-60 each way. Cutting off the part of the bus ride where it stops every 2 blocks really speeds things up. And Jen, you must have great willpower, I’d get pretty stir-crazy before too long!

  10. For the record, I think you are a fine writer!

    Speaking of agoraphobia, that didn’t stop Emily Dickinson from producing some fine material. I verified she didn’t have an extra car either, haha!

  11. You should check into online college writing classes. Two of the English/writing classes my son recently took at community college were online classes.

    • That would be a much more attainable way to take them. :-) Maybe if we ever have expendable money I can look into that. Thanks OneFamily.

  12. We have one car between two, as well. It’s not always easy, but we manage to make it work. I’ve always bussed to work, because when you work in the CBD it makes more sense than driving in and dealing with parking, and now I walk to work.

    • Taking public transportation is sometimes way more convienient for people, especially those living in the city. It would be awesome to be able to just walk to work or wherever you need to go. :-)

    • That would be pretty cool, or…if we had Jetson cars (like from the cartoon) or…even better—speeders (like in Star Wars). :-)