Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Car Family

My husband and I both gave up our cars a few years ago when we moved to Manhattan. After all, most people don't drive in New York City. The parking alone was going to be $400/month, and with such easily accessible public transit, the transition from two cars to no car was really easy. In fact, as much as I dreaded my daily commute from the village to the Upper East Side, it's one of the things I miss most about the city.

Upon moving to Virginia suburbia, we knew that once again we were going to become car owners. Out here the public transportation is sparse, and cars are just how people get around! On the weekend we moved down, we purchased one brand new car. For the last 18 months we have shared that car, making us the definition of a "one car family."

Now, it really bothers me that there is such a stigma attached to being a one car family. Is it that we must be really environmentally conscious and doing our part to keep a greener planet? Nope. It's that we must really be hurting financially.

Quite the contrary, actually. I hate how quickly people are to judge. The truth is, when we moved here we really only needed one car. Ken was working and I was staying at home. At the time I was also pregnant, and after not driving at all for two years in the city, I was fearful of doing too much in a place I wasn't familiar with (for fetus sake!) I eventually overcame my fear of the road again, but the truth remains the same. We don't need a second car right now. I'm home with my daughter most days, and we also have the pleasure of watching a friend's little girl. On days that I need the car, I simply drive my husband to work or he carpools with coworkers. I am never trapped at home. Being a one car family is a choice, and it's one that works for us.

Having one car also really has its benefits. We aren't hurting financially, but we also save a ton of money by using only one car. Less car payments, less insurance, less gas! Oh... and I'm absolutely sure we spend less money in other areas too. I am a total shopper, and there are many days when I am bored and would love to just drive out to the mall and buy a bunch of new things that I don't really need. Luckily, planning ahead for when I'll need the car keeps my shopping habit at bay, and my wallet happy. :)

I guess the point I'm trying to make is how often do we think of our real needs? A roof over our heads, clothes to wear, food to eat, some sort of income. These are all things we need, but so often we associate needs with things that are really luxury items. A manicure. A new cell phone. A bigger house. A better TV. I think it's time for us to all reassess, people. This is America, and we are all spoiled rotten. Seriously.

I'm not saying that my family is better than any other family because we make do with one car. It is hard, and there are days/times when it angers me that we haven't just given in and purchased a second car yet. I'm sure we will in the next year or so. As our family grows our needs will too. I am just saying, don't assume that we are suffering financially because we share a car. There are many other reasons, the main one being that we just don't really need one right now. What things do you really need?

One day, when our daughter turns 16 and tells us that she needs a car and that life isn't fair and that she never gets to go anywhere or do anything (I was a 16 year old girl once, after all...) her father and I will be happy to tell her of how for a period in our lives we shared a car, and how it helped us focus on different needs like making sure that she was able to take baby classes and have toys and go on vacations.

Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

1 comment:

  1. holly,we are a one car family too....my husband has a company car, and i stay at home with our daughter, we do not need a second car either and we are quite happy with the one car we have!! I think that having one car is not a disadvantage at all, it is having what we need and not want! I love reading your blog! thanks for your thoughts and your little girl is so adorable!!! take care

    Renee

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