Friday, August 17, 2007

One car?

Mrs Yam and I have tossed the idea of trimming down to one car. Why this would even be a radical idea is a story unto itself, but, even so, the thought tantalizes me. Doug in Duluth has been doing it for five years and he doesn't seem any worse for wear, and I am chapped that I spend $700 bucks to fix the brakes on one of our cars. I also need new tires on the other car. This is bullshit -- that money could have been spent on a super-excellent single speed winter commuter and clothes and enough left over to buy enough oatmeal to power the Yamster throughout the winter...

Continuing with the though process, do you sell both cars (both work fine) and get a different one? Keep one and sell the other? Drive 'em into the ground and not replace 'em? What to get? I am morally opposed to buying new cars unless you have the cash to pay for it up front because I'll be damned if I'm borrowing money and paying interest on something that loses value. Let someone else with the new car jones take the hit. I'd rather retire comfortably and drive used cars, thank you very much.

The Mrs and I do car camping, so something with a bit of space would be nice. Good gas mileage and reliability are essential. I'm thinking something like a little Mazda station wagon, but I don't have any really good ideas. I like the Honda Fit, but that's a bit small, methinks.

Anyone giving up a car? What are the pitfalls you've experienced? Any added benefits? I like the idea of the financial freedom -- no gas, maintenance or insurance costs -- that can be used for other things.


damienducks said...

Hubby and I have had just one car since we started living in the twin cities (going on 2 years now...before that we lived up in Fargo and still did the one-car thing)...we have no problems with the does take some planning sometimes, and you have to be flexible to an extent, and willing to wait for a ride every once in a while, but with bikes and walking as alternatives, I doubt you'd have much trouble.

Can't really help you on whether to buy a different car or whatnot...the car we have is a 1998 minivan I bought from my parents when they upgraded to a newer (used) car. I agree about not paying interest on a new one, though!

The biggest plus is that you only have to pay gas/maintenance/insurance/parking for one vehicle, not two...takes up much less space, too!...

The only real downside we've experienced (and that only once) is that if the car breaks, you don't have a backup in your driveway (though we found that rental rates aren't too bad if you're not driving oodles of miles a day)...It also means that you have to take care of anything before it becomes a problem, but that's just good maintenance practices anyhow.

I'd say go for it--I quite enjoy the "car-lite" lifestyle. Hope that helps!

Beast1624 said...

My Beautiful Wife and I have been doing more or less 1 vehicle for 4 or 5 years. We had a 10 year old Explorer as our only transport for 3 years. At 245,000 it was getting less reliable. We purchased a used Mazda Protégé w/ only 100,000 1 1/2 years ago that has been flawless. Last December Someone pulled out in front of me while in the Exp. and since they didn't have insurance we are back to 1 (I guess the insurance laws only apply to some of us).

Now she drives the car and I ride my motorcycle or my bike. I put more miles on the bike commuting than the motorcycle but there are times here in Dallas that a bike isn't quite practical and the motorcycle is a life saver. Got the motorcycle used @ 3 years ago for $1500. It gets 40+ in town and insurance is only $125 for a YEAR! The North Texas area is totally devoid of bike lanes so you have to mix it up with the crazy drivers in all the weather extremes. With urban sprawl I have to go 40 miles in any direction to get out of the city jungle. I enjoy only having 1 car now to keep up. The motorcycle & bike are both a piece of cake.

I'm totally with you on used vs. new issue (for car or motorcycle). I would make sure that whichever car you keep it is very reliable. If neither one is you have mentioned some very good ones to trade for. You might consider a good used motorcycle or scooter too as a car replacement. Sorry for the long winded reply...Good luck!

Doug said...

My wife and I have had no regrets about going to a one car household. Once the decision was made and we were both on board, it was easy. Of course, it wasn't something that happened overnight. I think it may have taken 10 years to get to that point where we could do it. A much bigger step would be to go carfree. We don't have to worry about that right now since my wife needs a car for her work as a social worker. I'm not even sure we'd take that step. We like to hike and backpack, it's nice to have the car to get out of town.