Family Logistics // Being a One Car Family, Part 2.

one-car-family

Last week, I discussed being a one-car family - some ways sharing a car has made our life more simple and more complicated as well as the keys to how we’re able to make this work for our family.

Today, I want to talk money. Money is one of my favorite things to talk about and analyze, because it’s so empowering. (The flip side of that is that it can be so stressful, but the more I feel in control of my money situation, the more free I feel). Personally, this is of importance to me because, as several of you mentioned in your survey responses, my family has a pretty limited income. Mike is a grad student who works part-time as a researcher and teaches a few classes as an adjunct. I work part-time as a web designer. Together, we make an income that’s still below the median for a family of 4 and we also have things to worry about that we wouldn’t if either of us had a full-time employer – like purchasing our own insurance.

With careful planning and prioritizing, we’re able to live in a way that doesn’t feel like we’re lacking. Some of this is because we have no debt (thanks to our parents for teaching us good financial habits, and to AmeriCorps for helping me with my student loans), but also because of decisions like this whole owning-one-car thing.

Cars & Money

Just how much does it cost to own a car? Well, for our 12-year-old Honda Accord, we spend about $4000 a year just on gas, insurance, and repairs (which is probably the lowest it’ll ever be – we have no car payment, we hardly ever need repairs, and our insurance is a minimum for damage to our car since we’re going to replace it within a year anyway). That’s a bit less than the estimated cost of ownership from Kelly Blue Book (they estimate it’s about $22-24K over five years plus the cost of depreciation), but still rather significant when we’re looking to save money.  And we are.

A few other unexpected ways in which not owning a second car saves us money:

- We only need one car seat.

- We eat out less – we can’t just be like, “Hey, meet you at sushi after work?” It’s more of a hassle to come back home, pick up the other person, and go out. So we do it less.

- Less Target runs. Look, I’ll be honest. If I had unlimited access to a car, I’d be going to Target and Starbucks with Gabe a whole lot more often than I already do. Being ‘stuck’ in our neighborhood means I just don’t have that option. The public library and several parks is nearby and free!

So, basically, the hard part of sharing a car (sacrifice, limited mobility) is also what saves us money.

Also, bonus! It keeps us a little healthier because we’re often walking and biking for transportation. And is a bit better for the environment - one less car on the road (and one less hunk of plastic car seat in a landfill eventually, I suppose).

In my ideal world, I think we’d live somewhere that we can walk to work, school, and all our errands. Where the weather would be cooperative or public transportation plentiful. Where we’d just need to rent a car every now and then for big grocery runs or IKEA trips or something.

That’s not our reality right now (or..ever? It all depends on where Mike finds a job!), but we still want to live in a way that aligns with our values and saves us some money. So we’ll be those oddballs walking 1.5 miles to the grocery store, taking the public bus when no one else we know does, and living in an apartment building with a bunch of retired folks and college kids (who luckily make living with them largely enjoyable, as they adore Gabe and fix things for us within a few hours).

For now, the benefits of sharing a car definitely outweigh any difficulties for us.

5 Things. // On Overwhelm, Child Care, Easter, & Books.

1. Yesterday was the first day of spring break for Gabe's preschool. My plan to use preschool as child care continue to be thwarted by silly things like "days off" and "breaks." They go to school like 9 hours a week! What kind of break could they need?! Sadly, he doesn't seem to want a break … Click here to read the full post →

Family Logistics // Being a One Car Family, Part 1.

one-car-family

I'm still sifting through the survey responses (and I'm really flattered by the kind responses - you guys are absolutely wonderful and just as I suspected, it feels like I'm writing to a bunch of friends.), but lots of folks wanted to hear more about money and budgeting and just how we can live on … Click here to read the full post →

30 weeks.

30-weeks-pregnant

How far along? 30 weeks. How big is baby? Almost 16 inches and 3 lbs (Gabe asks me DAILY how big the baby is now. I usually just gesture around my stomach and shrug, 'Like, this big.') Total weight gain: +20 lbs. Continuing to outpace my pregnant-with-Gabe self by several pounds. Updates: … Click here to read the full post →

Survey Says: You Still Wanna Talk About Money.

survey-gender

I was going through the survey responses (thank you so much for taking the time to complete it!) to start to work on some blog post plans and ideas and an editorial calendar (ooh, fancy) when I thought it would be fun to look back 2.5 years ago and compare the answers then and now. What did I … Click here to read the full post →

A Few Questions for You :: Blog Reader Survey

I started this blog almost seven years ago intending to share our (newly married) adventures in green living. It began with a month of green tips and ideas, became a largely ‘green and simple living’ blog, and is now a smattering of photos, tutorials, family life, and career musings mixed in with … Click here to read the full post →

March Updates & April Intentions.

March-2014 (1 of 1)

Hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheveille [March Update] Go to sleep earlier. I pretty much failed completely at this. I wanted to be IN bed by 10 pm and read for 30 minutes, but I ended up not turning off the light/my phone until 11 pm or later most nights. 11:30 bedtime + 2-3 hours of … Click here to read the full post →