How many cars does your family lease or own? Many families have two cars- one for each adult driver, and then often times, teenage children may have their own cars as well. While there are certainly many reasons for owning more than one car per family, owning just one vehicle can certainly cut costs of car ownership expenses.
If you're a two car family, think about how often both vehicles are used. Are both cars in use often enough to outweigh the cost of maintaining them? If you have multiple children with busy schedules, two cars may be ideal. If one spouse works out of town and has to commute, two cars are better than one, for sure. If everyone lives and works, and goes to school in town, and you can manage a drop off/pick up schedule which works for the whole family, owning just one car might be financially beneficial.
Here are some pro's to being a one car family:
One less car payment. If you have been juggling two car payments, downgrading to one car will cut your expenses (most likely) in half. If you only have one vehicle and can work toward paying it off, before you know it, you'll be without a car payment completely.
More exercise. Families who only have one car tend to walk or bike a lot more. If you live and work in town, consider walking or biking in fair weather. Take a walk to the local coffee shop, and ask friends to meet you there for a chat, or for meetings.
Lower Insurance costs. Having to insure just one vehicle will cut down on your monthly expenses.
More time spent together as a family. If you just have one car for the entire family, chances are you'll be traveling more places- all together!
At the same time, there are also con's of being a one car family:
Running up additional miles. If you only have one car for traveling in, you'll be putting all of that mileage on one vehicle. The more miles you put on it, the more wear and tear you can expect on the tires, and the car. Be prepared for services to be performed on the car more often.
Lack of space. You may find yourself without the extra room you need for toting along groceries, goodies from those random trips to IKEA, etc. Lack of space can also equal lack of comfort- especially in the back seat, which may lead to squabbling siblings, headaches, and distracted driving.
Managing Schedules. Susie has soccer practice, you have a meeting, Peter needs to be picked up from school, and your spouse is still at work. What do you do when everyone needs to be somewhere all at once?
Only you can decide whether or not being a one car family is for you. If you and your partner travel a lot, or if your family has busy schedules, or a teen driver- having two vehicles can be very beneficial. If you're a low-key family who doesn't mind taking a walk, or relying on a partner to pick you up, downsizing to just one vehicle might be right for you! Check out more on One Car Families.