Friday, November 13, 2009

One car or two?

Jordan and I have recently been weighing the pros and cons of becoming a one-car family. Right now we have the 2000 Corolla I've been driving since high school (my dad bought it for me) and a 2004 (or 2005?) Honda Odyssey which is the first car Jordan and I ever purchased on our own. We are hoping to pay the van off early, possibly by the end of 2010. Both vehicles are in good condition, but the Corolla is a dark color and we don't have a garage so the paint job has suffered over the years in the blazing sun.

When Jordan and I were both working, it would have been impractical to have only one car; we went off in opposite directions each morning. But now I am staying home with the girls and loving it. I wasn't sure what would happen when I started staying home, but I haven't gone nuts from boredom or loneliness. Since I'd never in my life stayed home as a regular thing, I didn't know how much I like being alone. (Except for the two little girls. You know what I mean.) Anyway, being "stuck" at home all day without a car is not a big issue for me. There are certain days when I do need a car, and on those few days I can drive Jordan to work and then pick him up at the end of the day. No big deal.

There are other things weighing into our decision, though. Here are the pros and cons I've come up with so far...

could sell car and pay van off faster
no more taxes and insurance for car
one less car to maintain

losing out on gas efficiency of smaller car for Jordan's commute
would have to go through the hassle of selling
if something happened to the van we'd have to rent a vehicle

Right now we are leaning toward keeping the car--at least for now. For a while we were doing a one-car experiment in which we tried to see how long we could leave the Corolla in the driveway. We went a week or so and could have gone longer, but we realized that we were burning up more gas with Jordan driving the van to work. It really is nice to have a fuel efficient vehicle. Also, public transportation around here sucks. We can't even walk out of our neighborhood safely because there are no sidewalks, and there are hills and turns so the people zooming by at fifteen over the limit won't have time to see you before they run you over. There is a bus, but we'd have to be pretty desperate to walk to the bus stop and even if we did we'd never risk taking the girls with us.

So how many cars do you have? Are you happy with your situation? How many cars do you think is best for a family in which one parent stays home?


Beth said...

The other con (my biggest con when I've thought about that) is what happens if there is an emergency? Something that Jordan can't come get you or an emergency that doesn't require an ambulance....It's a comfort to have that car there if you needed to get somewhere quickly....just a thought :-)

Anonymous said...

We have two cars, both paid off, both in working condition.

I like the idea of going to one car a lot, though. I like it because it would save money and reduce my environmental impact. I live in an area where it's sort of a pain to take the bus, but it's perfectly safe and could be done. And at the moment I'm not working outside the home.

My biggest obstacle, basically, is the inconvenience of either having to drive my husband to work or back, or be carless with two kids. So while I like the idea, I haven't taken the leap. And since our cars are paid off, it's not like they are super-expensive to own. Maybe I'll try your experiment, and see how well I do.

Lauren Wayne said...

We've always had only one car (11.5 years now!), but we both work from home, so rarely is it an inconvenience. guess I have nothing helpful to contribute here, just sharing! :)