Back in 2008 I wrecked my Jeep and we were forced to become a one car family. My buddy “knew a guy” who could fix it for cheap – you know how those deals go. What was supposed to take “about a month” quickly deteriorated into 8 months, several yelling matches, and a big headache. Finally, I got my Jeep back in working order.
It was a trying time but it taught us a lot and showed us we could get by with only one car, even when we both worked full-time jobs.
Cost of owning a car
Even if they’re paid off, cars cost more than you think.
Using the [cost of owning a car] equation, the true cost to own and drive our paid off vehicles is around $720/month.
This means owning both cars, even though they’re paid off, costs us roughly $8,650/year.
How many cars are needed
We only need one car.
Nowadays we both work from home, have no children, and spend most of our time together. Since moving to North Carolina a month ago, there has not been a single instance where both vehicles were needed so it’s time to say goodbye to one of them.
How many do you really need? Not want, need.
We thought we needed both back when I crashed my Jeep, but turns out we only needed one; and that was when we both had full-time jobs outside the home.
Our plan for one vehicle
Right now we have a 2000 Jeep Cherokee and a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix. The Jeep is our utility vehicle; we use it to haul things and drive back roads and bad weather. The Grand Prix is our every day car because it’s a bit more comfortable and gets better gas mileage.
We would like to sell both and purchase a better all-purpose vehicle; kind of like a Subaru but something less expensive with better gas mileage, like a Pontiac Vibe. We priced them out and have test driven a few. We made an offer on one tonight but the owners turned us down (we offered $1,000 less than their asking price).
The plan for now is to sell the Grand Prix, drive the Jeep as our every day vehicle, and continue looking for a Vibe (or something similar, like a used Volvo wagon). If we need to drive a long distance – like our upcoming trip to Michigan – we’ll rent a car with really good gas mileage (like a Ford Focus).
For us it’s way cheaper to own one car and rent a high MPG car for long trips.
God is in the details
It’s easy to think God has better things to do than help us with our car situation; but He does have time for it.
We have to remember that God is in the details! He wants us to come to Him with all our concerns, and buying/selling our cars is a big deal.
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
We have no way of knowing how long our current vehicles will last and cannot tell exactly which used cars are the best to buy. We can make educated guesses and get a CARFAX, which we do, but only God knows what is best for us… so we invite Him to help.
We want to encourage you to remember God in all your decisions – He cares so deeply for us and wants to be involved with all parts of our lives.
Save money and simplify
Less vehicle ownership means more money in your pocket. You may have to buy a bus pass or give a friend a few bucks for gas but chances are you will save quite a bit by downsizing to one vehicle.
Going down to one vehicle means less money spent toward car payments (if you finance), gas, repairs/maintenance, insurance, and plates/registration.
For us it will save an extra $360 every month. Use this equation to see how much it will save you. Chances are you will save quite a bit even if you have to pay for alternate transportation and rental cars once in awhile.
Another benefit to fewer vehicles is less maintenance and headaches. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Save, save, save.
Vibe owner here – we LOVE ours. The gas mileage is great, the cargo capacity surprises us every time we need to haul stuff (we brought home our dishwasher from the store, among other things). Also worth noting that the Vibe is essentially a Toyota Matrix, which is essentially a Corolla with a hatchback body (same engine, chassis, etc), may help to expand your search that direction if you can’t find a Vibe that you like.
We’re also in the process of becoming a one car family. My 99 Firebird just bit the dust, and we’ve been surprised at how much cheaper things have been now that we’ve made the one car work.
Matt Jabs says
Great info Greg! I had been wondering about things like dishwashers and washers/dryers because I always carried them in my Jeep. It’s amazing how freeing going down to one car can be, it seems like it would be impossible… until we have to do it. Congrats on your decision to simplify and save.
Chris Michaels says
I love that you and Betsy keep doing what works for you two. Keep it up!
Matt Jabs says
Thanks for the encouragement, will do. 🙂
We downsized to one vehicle last year and we are so glad we did. Saves us a lot of money and we honestly don’t miss having two cars. Both are cars were old and had a lot of mileage so our “new” to us, vehicle has far less miles.
Matt Jabs says
Great to hear JD, kudos. It’s awesome how easy it is to adapt once we make the steps.