Two weeks ago our 1999 Nissan truck died. The head gasket blew just 1.5 years after we purchased it for $3500 cash when my other used car finally called it quits after six successful years (boy I miss my 1997 Chevy Cavalier). While I never liked the truck, it was a huge disappointment that it did not last longer. Repairs were estimated at $3500, and it is clearly not worth it to put this amount of work into it. So much for our truck lasting us the five years we had hoped for! Heck, it didn’t even make it for two.
If you remember the last time when one of our vehicles died we had just moved into our new home and had cut our emergency savings down too much (note: I don’t recommend this as we were in a bit of a pinch). We were still able to pay cash for a vehicle…but here we are again 1.5 years later, so I guess we didn’t make a very good choice. Well, we have wizened up since then and we actually have enough money above and beyond our emergency savings that we could purchase a good used car with cash.
Here’s the thing though: we don’t want to.
Pros of a One Car Household
- Cost Savings: A savings of approximately $1296 per year from not having to pay insurance and gas on a second vehicle. This doesn’t include the time, hassle, and money saved on not having to register, inspect, and get oil changes for a second vehicle.
- Not Having to Shop Around: Picking out a new used car takes a lot of time and energy. I have been known to spend hours just trying to figure out which cat food to buy. Think about how long the process could be for a car!
- More Exercise: We have a library, YMCA, JCC, grocery store, community pool, bayou, CVS, and church all within walking and biking distances from our house. I would be without a car on Fridays while Paul takes it to work (unless his work schedule changes: see below), so this would be a great time to run errands on foot instead of in starting up a vehicle.
- Possibly More Time Spent Together: If we are driving together to work each day, this means more time together!
- Fewer Emissions: If every household went down to one vehicle (or to no vehicles), think about the emissions saved and its impact on Houston’s brown haze in the summertime.
Cons of a One Car Household
- Scheduling: Paul and I are two different people with two different schedules. I am sure there will be conflicts on the weekends and during the week when errands need to be run or one of us is hanging out with our friends.
- Work Schedule Change: Currently I work a highly coveted compressed work schedule of 10 hour days Monday through Thursday. This allows me to write and work on my blog three days a week, which is crucial to Frugal Confessions and to my happiness. Paul is going to attempt to get on the same compressed work schedule at his job (we should find out soon), but if he cannot, then I would have to switch my work schedule to five 8-hour days a week again. If he can, than this will be even more ideal as he would love to go on a compressed work schedule like mine.
- Truck for Hauling: As one of my regular readers (Michelle) pointed out last week, our truck has been an integral part in our renovation process throughout the house. Without a truck, we will most likely have to rent a truck when we need to haul equipment, borrow a truck from someone, or pay a delivery fee (the last time I checked the delivery fee at Lowe’s is $79 even though we live just three miles away from one).
This decision mainly rests upon work schedules, as it would for any household with two full-time employees. The independence/freedom factor is there as well, but the feeling of not being free or independent to do what we wish when we wish to because of not having a car is not very strong for either of us. We are fortunate to live in an area with many things to do, and there is always blog/writing work I can do on Fridays instead of leaving our home.
Do you have a one car, two car, or no car household? Do you have a car loan you are dying to get rid of by paring down to a one car household? What is holding you back?