Three weeks ago we officially became a one car family. This was not by choice, but neither was it a surprise. For the past year and a half our 1999 Jeep Cherokee with 180,000 miles was literally held together by duct tape and lots of prayer. But alas it has finally met its demise.
I will always remember fondly how your 4x4 got us through the rough winters of 2014 and 2015 and how your A/C and heating system would only work on the highest speed which meant if you wanted to be cool or warm you had to be committed.
Janie and I have made some serious financial goals because we want to become more generous. So when this car went down we have resisted the urge to go out and purchase something else and instead we want to see how far we can go with one car. Full disclosure: I work from the church office about five minutes from our home, Janie works from home and the boys' school is less than five minutes from the house as well. What makes this more of a challenge is living in Zanesville, OH which is micropolitan in nature. It's not easy to get around on a bike and public transportation and Uber are practically nonexistent.
I get that being a one car family would be impossible for some but at the same time I think for others it is a legitimate option but we don't even consider it because we want the convenience. It is also a cultural expectation that U.S. families have multiple cars. Here are some of our discoveries so far:
- It has made us better at communicating with one another. Each day we HAVE to be on the same page and know who needs to be where and when.
- We waste less time. When we all have to concerned about each other's schedules it means we all need to be ready to go earlier.
- One less backseat to clean out. Oh the wasteland of gummies, pop corn kernels, dirty pennies, lollipop sticks and straw wrappers that is our back seat.
- It has been a good parenting lesson for Chase and Jackson that often times the wise thing is to say "No" to what you what.
- My time for reading has gone up. Sometimes I have to get dropped off at appointments earlier than I need to do or I have to wait longer to get picked up and in those times I have utilized for reading through books on my iPad.
- One of my favorite perks of being a one car family is that we spend more time together. It's fun to be picked up from work or from a local coffee shop and seeing your wife and two sons smiling out the window as you "come home" from work. With all the practices and events and birthday parties and church events that have us going in different directions it is nice to steal away more time together as a family.
- We have already saved money by not needing to renew our license plates, we now only insure one vehicle and we didn't go out and put money down on a newer car and take on monthly payments.
All that said, I doubt this will be a long term thing for us. One day in the future, I foresee us going to two vehicles again (will I finally get my Jeep Wrangler?) but at least by that time we might be able to buy it right out with cash instead of having to pay far more than the car is worth with loans and in the meantime we can look for ways to bless others. That's a Win/Win.