Johnny and I have a bit of a conundrum. It’s one we’ve been trying to solve for months. In fact, it’s one of our New Year’s Resolutions. And, yet, here we are with our problem still unsolved. What’s our predicament? Well, we’re a one-car family… and we’d like to be a two-car family. But we’re having a hard time justifying the cost of a second car. We moved away from Boston in August, where we didn’t have or need a car. Before that we lived in NYC where we would have been crazy to own a car. But now we live somewhere where cars are necessary to get just about anywhere (like the majority of cities).
Within three days of moving to our new location, we paid $15,000 for a two-year-old car. It’s reliable, gets good gas mileage, depreciates slower than most, and could even be our Baby Girl’s first car in, oh, 16 years. It’s been a perfect new-to-us car. After buying it, we decided we would get a second car within a month. But then a month passed, and we realized it was pretty easy to juggle one car between the two of us. I work from home, so a few days a week when I wanted the car to get out of the house and get some fresh air (and by air I mean Chick-fil-A), I took Johnny to and from work. No big deal.
Still, we told ourselves we would most definitely get a car before Baby Girl’s arrival. I mean, we’d be crazy to try to have only one car with a baby, right? But then December hit, and Baby Girl’s arrival was less than a month away. And for some reason we were having a hard time biting the bullet and buying another car. Let’s be honest: it’s no fun seeing four or (gasp) five figures leave your bank account.
So now here we sit with a three-week-old, and we’re still juggling life with one car. So our dilemma is deciding what to do next. These are our options:
Continue Life with One Car
- We would save thousands of dollars.
- We’d never have to move Baby Girl’s carseat base. Moms, you can appreciate this.
- Baby Girl and I won’t have a car every day, not that we need it. But I would feel more secure knowing I was never stranded at home.
- This is not a long-term solution. At some point, we will need a second car.
Buy Another Nice, Reliable Car
- We would have two great cars that would most likely not cost us much in repairs for at least 5-10 years.
- Johnny will no longer have to play the role of a third grader who’s waiting for his mom to pick him from school.
- We would have to say goodbye to a lot of money, probably another $10k to $15k. While we would still have a good emergency fund in place even with $15k less, I really like the cushion we have now. It would take us several months to bounce back from the hit to our savings.
Buy a Crappy Car
- It wouldn’t cost us much money. Saying goodbye to a few thousand dollars would hurt much less than saying goodbye to over $10k.
- We wouldn’t have to share a car anymore.
- This car would not be super reliable. We would probably have to pay for repairs within five years.
- If it’s anything like the car Johnny was handed down in high school, the front door would break and we’d have to climb in and out of our car through the window. And that’s not a good look for me.
- This car would probably not last us long, and we would have to buy a different car within a few years.
Buy a Scooter
- Johnny could ride the scooter to work on the days I wanted the car. This solution would keep our schedules flexible.
- Buying a scooter would cost nothing in comparison to buying a car. Our wallet would barely feel this expense.
- Our gas expenses would be almost nothing.
- I could ride the scooter around town with Baby Girl on my chest in the Baby Bjorn. Just kidding. Kinda. No, seriously Child Services, I’m kidding.
- I don’t like the idea of Johnny riding a scooter. I trust him but not other drivers.
- We would eventually have to buy a second car. So once again this is not a long-term solution, but it would delay the need for a few more years.
- Johnny would only be able to ride the scooter when the weather was nice.
- Johnny would have to fix his helmet hair every day (or so he says).
So those are our current options. I guess as we’re deciding on a solution, we are actually just settling on not having a second car. But I don’t know how much longer that will work. Right now Baby Girl immediately falls asleep when she gets in the car, but who knows how long that will last? Taking Johnny to and from work might become more troublesome in the near future.
What about you, readers? What would you do in our situation? Are there any one-car couples/families out there who are making it work?