When One Car Will Do

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My husband and I share one vehicle, a 2005 Honda Element, that we thoroughly enjoy. There was a very brief period of time, about 2 years, where we owned two cars, but felt we really didn’t need that second car. Many people ask us how we make this work. For us, it’s very simple:  we save money on only insuring, fueling, and paying for one car.

It all started when I met my husband 12 years ago. At the time, we each had a small pick-up truck. I was paying very low monthly payments towards its purchase; he was paying low monthly lease payments. Since his vehicle was a lease, his lease soon ended and he couldn’t afford to purchase a new car. So we shared mine. During this period, he was starting a photography business and didn’t need to drive to an office. On the days he needed the car, he would drop me off  and pick me up at my crappy-corporate-cubicle job. This continued for many years until I was finally able to transition to working with him.

Our Honda Element

Our Honda Element

By the time we purchased a new car in 2005, our Honda Element, I was working with him about 40 percent of the time. We still only needed one car. Our additional car, a Miata, was paid off and a fun car to drive, so we kept it for a while. However, the day I saw our Miata sitting in our back yard with flat tires and weeds growing up around it, I realized it was a complete waste of a car. Someone else could benefit from the joys of driving with the top down. We obviously weren’t appreciating it as much as it needed to be appreciated. It was in great shape, once we filled the tires, and we decided to put it up for sale. In a matter of hours a neighbor, from around the corner, made us an offer and we handed them the keys.

So how do we make this work? It’s easy, we only drive about 13,000 miles a year. This isn’t many, especially in Los Angeles. We save money on fuel, insurance, and car payments. My husband still works from home, so his travel is greatly reduced. Two years ago, we also invested in a couple of bicycles. Seldom does it happen when he needs the car and I have to be some place else. When it does, I’m happy to hop on my bicycle and cycle within a 6 mile radius. I typically opt to ride versus drive when the trip is under 2 miles anyway.

Our ultimate decision to only own one car for now makes me feel like I’m doing something good for the environment. I also feel like we are living frugally and saving money. The more we reduce our spending, the more money can be saved towards our down payment on our little house in the valley.

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