/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » one car: how do you do it?

Someone asked me yesterday “how we do it” when I mentioned we chose to have only one car.  It’s a norm Woman sitting on bumper bar of a car at Warwick Farm racecoursephoto © 1934 Powerhouse Museum | more info (via: Wylio)
today in our culture to have one car per adult driver – and yet for the past 6 years, we’ve only had one.

I’m amused when I think about how foreign the concept was to us six years ago – we did it out of necessity.  Mark’s old car needed major work and we simply didn’t have funding for it, so we left it in the garage and used our (better, newer) car.  We worked out a system where Brendan & I would take him in to work one or two days per week when we needed to run errands and were content to be at home on the days when he drove himself in.

It worked out well enough – but what was surprising was that we didn’t spend any more on gas than we did previously, and our maintenance/insurance costs were cut in half.  Somehow, we had figured we’d have more maintenance costs by only using one car – that driving that one car more would equal more fixing.  Oddly, it didn’t pan out that way.

And so we moved to Michigan with only one car – it actually made the move easier, because we were all packed in to one vehicle, not driving two separate cars up the interstate.  It worked pretty well for us in The Mitten, too – we navigated a schedule that gave Mark the car 3-4 days per week and left us with one or two days to run errands.  The times we drove him in became family-time that we wouldn’t have otherwise had, and I began to realize that we’d miss that time if we bought another car.

Down here in Arizona, it’s a little more challenging, mostly because it’s easier for me to feel claustrophobic in an apartment.  But when we find a house, I imagine it will go back to as it was – something with which I’m content.  I was talking to my dad about this very issue when my parents visited us; there are certain days when it’s inconvenient to have only one car, but not so inconvenient as to make me want to plunk down hard-earned (and saved) cash to buy another car and pay extra insurance, gas, and maintenance on it.  It’s sometimes challenging when, between co-op, church, and driving in to Tempe to get Mark, I’m road-weary and tired, but thankfully those days aren’t terribly common.

Honestly, I’m most comfortable and content at home.  I’m a “nester,” as my friend Jeanette observed a while ago.  I like nesting in my home, and as we approach the inevitable Closing Up of Our Home and Turning on the Air Conditioning for the Summer, it’s much like nesting was in the fall/winter in Michigan.  I’ll make our house cozy and comfortable and I’ll be fine inside, content to have fewer expenses and be at home.  :)

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  • http://www.andanotherthing.typepad.com Betsie

    It would be great if you could find a house with good “walkability” to the library and maybe a little downtown type area. If we had that, I would totally go down to one car.

  • http://www.mamasheartblog.com sue

    that would be great, Bets. I’ve been looking for houses like that, but unfortunately, the only ones with good “walkability” are in some dicey areas. :\ i’m still holding out though – i don’t *want* a second car! 😉