Now that we’ve had a bit of time to focus on the first tip, cooking at home more, it’s time to talk about another step that we took in our efforts to simplify and live more richly. When we started really looking at where we wanted to end up and how we wanted to live while getting there, we knew that we would need to make some significant changes. We both have jobs that we love. Since switching careers to make more money was not something either of us wanted to do, cutting back quickly became our strategy.
Now, there are lots of ways to cut back and we’ve done many of them. We limit our eating out (which you already knew.) None of us require a daily fancy coffee. We’re not big drinkers; although I love a good cocktail, I’m a pretty fair mixologist and can construct the basics at home. No one in the family spends an exorbitant amount on clothes or accessories. We realized that to make big jumps, we would have to make big changes. And that, my friends, is how we became a one car family.
Did She Just Say, “One Car?”
Yes. Yes, I did. I can hear your protests now. About how a second car is necessary for your family. Or how buying a used car for cash doesn’t really cost that much. Hear me out. First, I’m incredibly lucky. I work remotely and, therefore, do not need transportation to work on a daily basis. That reduces the degree of difficulty considerably. Yes, we could buy an older used car and perhaps have no car payment or a very small one. It’s not all about the payment, though. We’re also saving on insurance costs, maintenance (which an older used car might require more of,) and gas.
I’m not saying it’s not challenging at times. It is. We live in Michigan, a state notorious for it’s lack of viable public transportation. Luckily, the rise of Uber and Lyft have mitigated that a bit. On the rare occasion that we absolutely cannot make one car work, we grab a Lyft. It happens once or twice a month, generally. It’s still a significant savings when compared to a car payment + insurance + maintenance/gas for said month.
How do we do it? Well, we think a bit harder about our schedule. My husband and I do a little extra coordinating when it comes to who needs the car and when. If I have to have it during the day for some reason, I drive the boys (including my husband) to work/school and then pick them up in the afternoon. Both my sons have extracurricular activities from time to time. Some are long-term, others are a one-off; we simply plan for them and don’t do a lot of double booking. I’ve also gotten really good at asking my friends to carpool whenever possible. When I’m able to drive, I do so gladly and when I can’t they are happy to reciprocate.
There will be a learning curve if you decide to go this route, no doubt about that, but it is achievable. We are living proof that even in a two job family living in a suburban area with no public transit to speak of, it can be done. And let me tell you, it feels really good to put that money we’ve saved towards something else!
Have you thought about ditching your car? Tell us about it in the comments!
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