My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and we have a terribly adorable 2-year-old son......and we have one car. Always have. From the time we met in college, to this very day. One. Car. Now, I know there are some people who choose to be a one-car family for environmental reasons, financial reasons......some even forfeit a vehicle altogether and opt for a bike, or, depending on the size of their city, public transportation. I suppose our initial reasoning for only having one vehicle was financial, but even when we could afford more than one.....we stuck with one. What's more, I've never needed to ride the bus or take a taxi. Sounds strange, doesn't it? Thankfully, and contrary to popular belief, we've always been able to lead full lives, and get everywhere we need to be.
Here's why I love it:
First, the most obvious reasons....
1. We save money
We bought our current vehicle brand new, off the lot. It has been paid off for a few years now (YAY!). Take a second and think about all the costs associated with a vehicle: car payment, registration, insurance, gas, etc... Only having those expenses for one vehicle.....feels great! It allows us to save more, and have more disposable income too. Totally worth it!
2. It's good for the environment
Really, this is like the financial piece – a no-brainer! Having one car reduces our carbon footprint, and that's always a good thing. It's a small contribution to reducing waste, but a small contribution, is still a contribution.
Now for something a little deeper....
3. We communicate with each other
Before our son was born, my husband and I both worked full time. At one point, I was working 3 jobs, and we both still managed to get to work. We're both busy and have activities and obligations outside of work that require transportation. My husband and I communicate because we have to work out the logistics of having one vehicle. I know when he's working late. He knows when I have rehearsal. He knows when our son has a doctor or dentist appointment. He knows when I have a meeting, or a concert....or when I don't! We keep each other in the loop...we plan and strategize so that everyone gets where they need to be. Our lives and activities are never a mystery, and I love that.
4. We are more connected to our friends
Having one vehicle means that sometimes we need to depend on family and friends for help. And we have fantastic friends! Every once in awhile, instead of meeting a friend for coffee, I may need her to pick me up. This gives us extra girl time together! The occasional need to rely on others helps foster a sense of community in a culture that says we don't need anybody else....that we can do everything alone. I find that, if given the choice, we humans will often choose the most seemingly convenient option, even if it is the most isolating. I like that we have a network of friends to call on, especially since we live hours and hours away from any family.
And now, for my favorite reason of all.....
5. We spend more quality time together as a family
It's not a large amount of time, but it's time that multi-car families don't have if they choose to take separate vehicles. And, it is time that we cherish. Since the birth of our son, I'm, for the most part, a stay at home mom. So, most days, my husband takes the car to work, unless I need it for something I plan to do that day. On those days, I pack up the baby, and we drop my husband at work, do what we need to do, and then pick him up at the end of the day. If we both need to be at different places at the same time, it means that we ride together and one of us drops the other off and picks them up. Some people would call this inconvenient, or even impractical....but we find beauty in it. My favorite part is the great conversations we have on the way! I love starting our days together. We talk about the dreams we had the night before....the song on the radio.....our plans for the day. We hold hands, and talk...and laugh. Our son says goodbye to daddy as we drop him off, and his face lights up when he sees him walk out of his building towards us at the end of the day.......and we just love having that time together.
These days, it seems like the words “family” and “one-car” can't really exist in the same sentence, but I'm here to tell you that they can! At least they can for my family, at least for now, and at least since we became a family, 10 years ago.
We live in a fast-paced world that values, even encourages independence and self sufficiency. And, consequently, we will often choose to do things alone even when we don't have to. When I talk to people about us having one vehicle, I'm met with disbelief a lot of the time. People think it's impossible to do. It isn't. It's just that most people choose the convenience over the financial savings, the time management, and the time together. For me, the biggest take away from having one vehicle is this: We find that having one vehicle keeps us close in a way that we wouldn't experience had we had separate vehicles. Why? Because we're sharing. We are choosing to share.....to sacrifice momentary convenience for lifelong relationship building.
It works. For now. Perhaps in the future, we will find reasons to own more than one vehicle. But I'll tell you....for us, we'd need some pretty compelling reasons to incur all the financial costs of a second vehicle, and we would genuinely miss all the counter cultural positives we enjoy now in having only one. Now, if you think having only one car is weird, wait until you hear the one about how we don't have a TV in our bedroom, and have never owned a microwave.....but those are posts for another day :-)