One-Car Family No More!

Two Car Solution

Just last week we posted about being a one-car family in a two car world. It was super fun and informative reading everyone’s comments and suggestions for what we should do. About a third of you said to stick it out with one car until it was absolutely necessary. Another third said to go ahead and invest in a second reliable car. A final third said to save some cash and go for the scooter. And surprisingly, no one had any snarky comments like, “Ride a llama,” so thank you for that.

We’ve been thinking about this topic for almost six months and it was actually one of our New Year’s Resolutions. Well, we’ve finally solved our dilemma. For now. And our solution is…

2006 Vespa LX 150

A 2006 Vespa LX 150. So two thirds of you are probably rolling your eyes right now. But hear me out on why the scooter made the most sense.

Cost of the Scooter

I found the scooter on Craigslist advertised for $2300 at a local scooter dealer. I went and checked it out a couple weeks ago and it looked great. It was still under Kelley Blue Book value ($2475), but the price point still felt high to me. So I passed.

Then last Thursday, I got an email from the shop owner saying he had to move inventory and asking if I was still interested. I replied that I was for $2000. He countered at $2100. And I countered back at $2100 + a helmet + no doc fees. And he accepted. It seemed like a wheelin’ deal and mostly on my terms, so I was pretty stoked. Also, I think he forgot that he agreed to throw in the helmet because he tried to upsell me while I was there, so naturally I chose the $150 helmet. He seemed a little deflated when I reminded him of the “free helmet” clause in our email chain. Johnny: 1, Dealer: 0.

Cost of Insurance

While I was closing the deal on Saturday, I called my insurance company and added the scooter to my policy for a grand total of $6.83/month. How do you scooter-haters like them apples? 🙂

Gas Mileage

“I can get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog.” Name that movie! …you’ve got five seconds. Ok, time’s up. Here you go.


For those unfamiliar with the scooter world, Vespa is THE scooter brand. It’s the Harley of motorcycles, the Toyota of cars (not as sexy as Harley, but think reliability). They’re mechanically sound and should it ever need repair, almost any shop can handle the job, which can’t be said for many scooter brands.

Resale Value

I’ve got three things working for me in this area. One, Vespa scooters don’t depreciate all that fast. Two, even if it depreciated, say, 25% over the course of my ownership, that would amount to a loss of $500. Not a huge hit. And that’s a high estimate. Finally, three, I probably won’t own this longer than a year or two, so it won’t have time to depreciate much.

Temporary Fix

We’re in a weird car limbo right now. We have intentions of growing our family, but that ain’t happenin’ for at least two or three years. We’ll need something bigger than a sedan, but it seems excessive to have a van/crossover/SUV until then. The scooter buys us some time until we sort out our car needs.

Fun Factor

I don’t remember the last time I got a thrill out of driving a car. But I get a thrill every time I hop on a scooter. Even driving it home from the dealership in 30 degree weather was kinda enjoyable. I’d love to hold onto it long enough to take Baby Girl on a few rides, but I have a feeling Joanna will nix that idea. Maybe I’ll look into sidecars…

So that’s where we netted out. It’s not all roses. There’s the good weather requirement, morning helmet hair, safety, etc. But we’re feeling pretty good about our decision given the reasons above.

Alright semi-anonymous Internet critics, let us have it. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Would you ever consider owning a scooter?

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  • Reply Laurie February 7, 2013 at 8:34 am

    So glad you figured out something AND got a good deal in the process. Happy to hear you’re wearing a helmet too. Sounds like a great solution for you guys right now.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks, Laurie! The only thing better than checking off a to-do list item on a big ticket item is knowing you did it without breaking the bank.

  • Reply Karie February 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Thumbs up! Can you ride that in the snow? What state do you live in again?

    • Reply Johnny February 7, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      We’re in the Southeast, so not much snow down here. But it still gets cold. Luckily Joanna doesn’t need the car just yet, so I won’t NEED to ride it until the weather gets a little warmer. Going 60mph in 30 degree weather gets a wee bit nippy.

  • Reply Michelle February 7, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I think that’s great! We have a couple of mopeds and love them!

    • Reply Johnny February 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      It would be a blast to have a matching set with your significant other! We might need to wait a few years before we can do joint joy rides.

  • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls February 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I love the idea! Just told my husband if this local position happens (5miles vs my old 30 miles in Atlanta traffic) I should get one. He asked how I would get the kids to school and I said a sidecar too! I found a really cool helmet they could get a few weeks ago. It had skulls all over it with a tiara to top it off! Perfect for my rock n roll princesses!

    He did not find me amusing! If the girls were not a factor, I would totally do this too. My first Mother’s Day, the hubby brought me to block island and we rode scooters from one end of the island to the other and I immediately fell in love with it…I just have always had a long commute and I would not want to ride one on the highway (although you totally can)!

    I think it’s a great solution for he time being!

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

      Hah! That’s awesome. And when you find accessories like that awesome skull/tiara helmet, you kinda have to buy the thing.

      If I had a longer commute, I probably wouldn’t consider it. I also wouldn’t consider it if I hadn’t found a route that avoids highways/freeways. Even though the scooter can max out around 65mph, I’d prefer to stay to the 35/45mph roads.

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup February 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Great buy. I would do it but my commute would probably get me killed. No issues here, nice compromise.

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Thanks for your vote of approval, Grayson.

  • Reply Rob February 7, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Thumbs up from me too, Johnny, and that side car idea is a good one too as it may well help delay your need later on to upgrade to something like a van, plus it could also provide a cheap alternate method for picking up stuff like groceries instead of using your car.

    Here’s a link:

    (and, no, I’m not a Vespa dealer – lol)

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:06 am

      That sidecar is amazing! It would be great for hauling stuff, not to mention that our little girl would be the coolest kid in school when it was dad’s turn to pick them up.

  • Reply JMK February 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I intend to get one when I retire in ~8yrs. It will be fine for the 3 nice seasons we have here, and when the snow arrives I intend to be far away and it can be parked for those months. There is bus service and a rental car office nearby so, if I absolutely need a different sort of ride it’s available.

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Sounds like you’ve got it all planned out. You’ll be the hippest retiree on the block. I think the important thing with a scooter/motorcycle/bike or any other mode of transportation that exposes you to inclement weather is having other options.

  • Reply John S @ Frugal Rules February 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    While I personally would not do it (as I’d get myself killed) I think it’s a great compromise. It gives you another mode of transportation without plunking down a ton of cash in the long run.

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:09 am

      You’d be surprised how easy they are to operate. Borrow one from a friend for a day or stop in at a scooter shop and take a test drive and you’ll be hooked, too.

  • Reply Jacob @ iHeartBudgets February 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Great deal. You’ll save a ton of money with this. Also, you must live nowhere near me, because a scooter in this weather would be kinda ridiculous 🙂

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:12 am

      Thanks, Jacob. And while it hasn’t been particularly warm where we’re at in the Southeast, it also hasn’t dropped below freezing almost all winter long. Spring and summer can’t come soon enough.

  • Reply Johnny Moneyseed February 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    What an amazing decision. I wish I lived in an area where driving a scooter would be feasible. I would look so awesome on a Vespa. Congrats!

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:17 am

      “I would look so awesome on a Vespa.” Haha. Awesome! I think the RoboCop helmet I snagged looks pretty sweet, but Joanna begs to differ. Whatever.

      Great name, btw.

  • Reply Chris February 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    The wind blows 60MPH on a good day here…so Vespa’s aren’t heavy enough 🙂 good buy though! You’ll save so much on gas.

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:21 am

      Woahhh. Yeah, no thanks. Although that little beast is surprisingly heavy. I, on the other hand, always have a yearly New Year’s Resolution to gain more weight, so the New Mexico winds would probably eat me for dinner.

  • Reply jrm February 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Thumbs up! I looked into one before I bought my car but decided it wouldn’t work for my commute. Vespa’s seem to hold their value and can’t beat the mileage and insurance cost.

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:24 am

      It’s all about the commute. If I hadn’t found a route that was still within 20 minutes and avoided highways, I wouldn’t have took the plunge.

      Vespa depreciation is ridiculously slow. I could probably sell it in 3-5 years and lose almost nothing. Wish I could say the same about my car.

  • Reply Newlyweds ona Budget February 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    i bike to work, so I am ALL for the scooter! great deal too! plus you can save money for your next family car!

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:26 am

      I really would love biking to work. Then I could get a daily workout in and lose the guilt trip I feel every night at 10pm. But until we move a little closer to work, the scooter will have to suffice.

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies February 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Glad you like it! But please be careful… some folks around here get them and then drive on a 60mph highway and it just makes it more dangerous for everybody when the scooters are barely hitting 40mph.
    If/when we don’t have to drive to work, I’d be all about downsizing one of the cars to a scooter. But around here you need to have a pretty flexible schedule to make it work with just a scooter, since when it rains you can easily get tropical storm gusts and bad storm bursts.

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Good words of wisdom, Mrs. PoP. There’s a five mile single lane road to get to our house and on multiple occasions, we’ve gotten stuck behind a 50cc (mine’s a 150cc) scooter puttering along at 30mph on a 45mph. It makes for a really really dangerous situation with attempting to pass them.

      We have spontaneous thunderstorms in the summer, but I have no problem leaving the scooter at my work’s parking garage and having Joanna pick me up if things aren’t looking great. But it does complicate things.

  • Reply Bethy @ Credit Karma February 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    YES to scooters! My husband and I have had two so far (the first one was quite old and kicked the bucket about a year ago) and we have LOVED them. Granted, living in San Francisco, it’s always scooter weather. But we don’t have a car, so a scooter is a faster alternative to public trans.

    I took a motorcycle safety class to learn how to drive the scooter and feel comfortable doing so. It was a little pricey, but definitely worth it, plus passing it meant I got to avoid doing the driving portion of the test for my license.

    For quick grocery runs, the scooter is the BEST because I can park anywhere. Right by the front door of the store? Don’t mind if I do! I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed ours.

    • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls February 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      I swear I must have visited San Francisco during THE worst week!

      I was stoked that I got to go for a company training for a whole week 100% paid for…it rained the ENTIRE time.

      I still went to the most important spot to me though, Ghiradelli Square! Wasn’t missing that for ANYTHING!

      • Reply Bethy @ Credit Karma February 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm

        Aw, that is a BUMMER! You’ll have to come back sometime – I promise it doesn’t rain every week!

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:52 am

      A scooter in SF sounds like an awesome combination. When we were back home in LA for a few months, I had a scooter then, too. And while it wasn’t as practical as having one in SF, parking was easy peasy.

      I’ve been riding scooters for a year or so, but it would probably be worth taking the motorcycle safety class. I know how to ride the scooter, but I think there’s probably some helpful information about what things to be on the lookout for with other drivers.

      I’m going to try and take my scooter INTO Walmart this weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes.

      • Reply Bethy @ Credit Karma February 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm

        Hahaha! Can’t wait to see the headline: “Local Man Drives Scooter Into Walmart, Claims it’s BASICALLY a Rascal Scooter so, ‘Why Not?'”

  • Reply Michelle February 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    So cool! I want a Vespa. I would ride it while wearing a gorgeous scarf a la Audrey Hepburn with amazing sunglasses while zipping through downtown Denver. Be safe!

    • Reply Johnny February 8, 2013 at 12:55 am

      Safety first. I don’t think Joanna will ever care to ride it, but I’m sure she’s already figured out what outfit she needs to buy to do so. 🙂 Denver would be a fun ride in the summer. Love that dry heat.

  • Reply Johnny February 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    My helmet makes me look like RoboCop, so I’m cool with that. But you’re pushing your luck with the bright orange vest. Maybe if it’s a cutoff sweater vest. Maybe.

  • Reply Tathyana July 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    this is exactly what my husband and I were talking about! we just moved to Fort Lauderdale and his commute will be only 4miles.
    I signed for a smal suv lease so I just dont think it makes sense for a young couple with no kids to have two cars. Also, driving a Vespa is so charming!!! I hope he agrees with this!!! 🙂

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