On Being a One-Car Family

On Being a One-Car Family

For the entire length of our married life so far (7.5 years), we have been a one-car family. It just happened to work that way. We were co-workers for the first few years of marriage, and when we moved to Colorado, we were always close enough to my husband Tim’s school/work (same place) for him to walk, bike, or use a scooter. I realize that for most people, having one car is simply not realistic, but if you’re thinking about it and want some tips, here is how it has worked for us:

Why it works for us:

We both live very close to our workplaces.

I work very part-time, but when I do work, work is in walking distance. Tim has a scooter (he only uses side streets and always wears a helmet) or he can bike to work. So, I have the car most of the time during the day to run errands or go on playdates with the kids. If the weather is too cold or snowy for Tim to scooter or bike, we either drop him off or he takes the car, because we wouldn’t want to go anywhere in the bad weather anyway.


We are within walking distance to parks, the library, coffee shops, and many friends with little kids, so if we don’t have the car, we can walk to interesting places when we just need to get out.

The savings!

It’s so nice to only pay gas and insurance (and registration) for only one car. Plus, we don’t have a car payment.

Of course, don’t think this is all sunshine and roses for us. Do I grumble when we have get the kids in the car to drop Tim off at work on a cold or snowy day? You bet. Do I feel lonely and isolated at times when we are at the house all day? Absolutely. I try to remember that even having one car is a blessing, and we have been able to get a little creative to make it work even better:

Some Tips for Making it Work for you (especially if you’re home with little kids)

Invite people over to your house.

If the forecast calls for a little snow or lots of rain on a day that I am not working, I’ll text a friend with little kids the night before (or earlier) and see if they want to come over for a playdate. I’ll have some fruit, coffee, and little snacks out to lure them over, and it’s easier for Mama and toddler to both have friends over so we don’t go crazy.

Find places within walking distance.

Even if it’s snowy or cold (within reason, of course), we’ll take a walk with the sled, or play in the backyard. We have an awesome bakery down the street, so we can walk there and share a muffin or something (I’ll get coffee. Obviously.) for a treat.

Get to know your neighbors.

Maybe there is another young mom with kids on your block. You could walk to her house, or she could come to you for a playdate. Maybe there is a retired widow across the street, and you could stop by with your wild toddler for a few minutes to chat and visit. Even just a few minutes out of the house can break up a long, monotonous day.

Plan ahead.

There have definitely been times where I planned to go to the zoo or something, but Tim needs the car for an off-campus meeting. It takes a little extra planning in our schedules to make sure everything is running smoothly.

I’m sure a day will come when we will need to have two cars, namely, when our kids go to school everyday and start being in regular sports or other activities. But for this season, it works for us to have one car and we’re happy with it – most of the time.

Are you a one-car family or thinking about it? Let me know in the comments!

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