When my husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest, the cost of living difference was drastic. And, it was our first experience living in a major city in the US. In order to control our costs, we looked at alternative ways of living to save money. One way we saved money was to sell a car. Here is how we became a single car family, and why you should, too.
We Calculated the Cost Savings
Of course, giving up a car wasn’t an easy decision. We both grew up living in a rural area where we drove all of the time. But owning a car in a major city includes many additional expenses. For one, gas prices are typically much higher, especially on the West coast. Secondly, you have to factor in the cost of car insurance and wear and tear while sitting in more traffic. Finally, we had to pay for parking, which was over $100 per month per vehicle! Ouch.
Over it was all said and done, owning a second car would have cost us at least $5,000 extra per year. And that’s not even including the cost of the car itself!
Keeping the cost savings in mind was critical for us to commit to our plan.
We Found a Cheaper Alternative
Because were were both still commuting to work each day, we wanted a second option in lieu of always taking the bus to work. We settled on getting my husband a motorcycle.
We found a gently used motorcycle for around $2000. It cost a whopping $7 to fill the tank! Insurance was substantially cheaper, and best of all, our apartment approved us to park it in the same parking spot as our car, saving that extra $100 per month.
While the motorcycle wasn’t ideal for long commutes, it was perfect for my husband to take a few miles to work. Plus, we loved taking it to the beach or downtown on nice days because it was so easy to park!
We Coordinated Our Schedules
There were some circumstances where we both wanted to take the car to run various errands. It wasn’t always practical to take the motorcycle for, say, grocery shopping, or if the weather was bad, leaving us both wanting a car.
We learned to coordinate our schedules like crazy. Sometimes, we would carpool to work together. Rarely was it a problem to only have one car. Planning ahead saved us dozens of times.
We Utilized Public Transportation
Lastly, if all else failed, we took the bus. And actually, it wasn’t bad at all!
In major cities, buses go pretty much everywhere. Sure, you have to do a little more planning in advance. But once you got used to the bus schedules and finding the various bus stops, it was actually really enjoyable. I loved taking the bus to meetings downtown because I didn’t have to worry about expensive parking and I could get some work done during my commute. At $2.50 for a bus pass, you can’t beat the price!