This week, we are experiencing what it is like to be a one car household. It actually isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. While I’m not sure if we could keep it up long-term, there are some distinct financial benefits to being a one-car family.
With a one car household, here is the obvious savings of the purchase or lease of a second car plus all of the maintenance that goes with it. The AAA estimates that it will cost the average family approximately $9,122 to maintain one car. Youch. (You can find out how to reduce your car costs here.)
There are also secondary savings. With a one car household, trips have to be planned out carefully, which means you’ll probably be optimizing your gas use and the number of trips you make, for additional savings.
If you are going down to one car, you may need to make some adjustments. If you already live close enough to work or school to walk or bike, then you are already in a good place. In our previous home, we could walk to my son’s school as well as to the grocery store. In our current home, that isn’t an option, but there are still other ways to get around it, such as carpooling if needed.
If you are a family where two of you work, trying to coordinate your work schedules can help with commuting, as can being able to work from home on some days. Shopping online, including for groceries may also help. Many local chain grocery stores will put together your order and deliver it for a $10 fee.
If you are curious as to how walk-friendly your neighborhood is, you can visit the website walkscore.com and plug in your address. I got a score of 5 out of 100, meaning that there is basically no where I can walk to unless it is a neighbor’s house or to hike in the woods. No shopping, dining or work options within walking distance.