One Car to Rule Them All (On Being a One-Car Couple)

My husband and I have been doing something for months that shocks some of our friends and family – we’re sharing a car. Thanks to some engine repairs in the Mr.’s car that were far more expensive than the car itself, we’re now a “one-car family” so to speak. The verdict?

It’s awesome.

But, like many things it comes with its pros and cons. Let’s talk about what’s great and not-so-great about this setup, then I’ll give you a little tidbit about what’s next for my husband and I.

Toy Car

What’s great about having one car

Of course, there are the expected benefits: only one car to fill up and maintain and register and worry about parking tickets for. And only one car to fill up with random receipts and water bottles and shoes and – how did my toothbrush end up in here?

But really, the two best things about it are the exercise and communication. First, when one of us doesn’t have the car, it’s up to us to get from one place to another. We don’t live in the most walkable area of town, but there’s a Target, a Trader Joe’s and a couple of bars nearby. That’s all you need, right?

My husband also works two miles from home, so if he has a day shift, he’s comfortable walking there. And if he needs a ride? I work four miles from home, so I can easily pick him up on my lunch break. A few extra trips, but it’s working out so far.

And communication – we now operate like a well-oiled machine. We know each others’ work schedules, social schedules and have even started planning in advance. We don’t operate separately because, well, we just can’t. It’s nice to coordinate these details together.

What’s not so great about having one car

Surprised? There are definitely some drawbacks here. Like I said earlier, the extra running isn’t so much of a big deal since we’re a stone’s throw from each other and from home.

But the biggest drawback is if one of us heads two hours north to see our families – since our work schedules are so different, we rarely get to see them when we’re together. That requires the carless spouse to walk or bum rides – not a huge hassle, but it can get agitating.

Why it works for us

The only reason we’re doing well with one vehicle right now, though, is that we both live so close to where we work. I hear friends and colleagues talking about their nearly hour-long commutes, and I cringe about the wasted time and money that goes into those drives. We really are fortunate to be so close, and now whenever we move next that proximity will be one of my top priorities.

Which leads me to my semi-announcement. We’re planning a move (and a downsize!) at the very beginning of next year, and I can’t wait! As part of our transition, we are going to be getting another, larger vehicle to help us get from point A to point B. We’ll then sell our smaller car and return to being a one-car couple. We’ve both enjoyed the collaboration and the walking, so why stop now?

How about you – have you fared well with a single car, or thought about becoming a single car family?


6 thoughts on “One Car to Rule Them All (On Being a One-Car Couple)

  1. we’re a one-car couple too! I think it helps that we live in a city and close to my work. With all that we pay in repairs, oil changes, insurance and gas, I can tell you that I definitely don’t want another car!

    Congrats on the downsizing and I look forward to hearing more about it.

    • That’s great to hear! I’m glad to know that others are doing this and that it’s not so terribly unusual (many people think our one-car situation is odd).

      Thanks so much!

  2. Haha, this is so funny to read from a completely different perspective. I live in Helsinki, Finland, which is a city with great public transport. There is no need for me or my boyfriend to have a car. We just bike or take the bus or the metro anywhere we need to go. When we visit our families further away we take the train and borrow their car while we are there. Easy. One of my fears about “settling down” is to actually need to have a car. I really don’t like the thought of being dependable on a car. Dependable on a bike, yes, but not a car. It’s just so bad for the environment. But your text is interesting to read mostly because whoa, you really seem to need a car where you live, even though you live in a city. There must be someone who want’s to sell a lot of petrol who designed that city. 🙂 Thank you for a great blog. Yesterday it really got me to put away a lot of things to go sell at the flea market.

    • Liisa, thank you so much for your comment! Helsinki sounds wonderful. I would love to be in an area like that eventually. It would give me an excuse to get a great bike and get in even better shape 🙂

      I’m so happy to hear your story, it’s very inspiring! I’m looking forward to hearing more from you in the future.

  3. Pingback: The Car Purchase Dilemma | Minimal Millennial

  4. We’re a one car couple too! We’ve been doing it since moving to the city 3.5 yrs ago. We used to rent 1.5 miles from my work but then bought a house 2.5 miles away from work. I still bike in most days. My husband gets the car because he has an 11 mile commute. To be fair though, we each also have a motorcycle. His is for racing but mine is street legal. Sometimes he’ll take mine to work if I need the car. Works for us and since my motorcycle is so old, insurance is dirt cheap. It’s great!

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