A few years back, my husband and I decided to sell our second vehicle. We work at home, and we live in a town with an excellent greenway system, so stores, restaurants, the library and my kids’ school are all just a short walk from our house. A second car just isn’t essential for us, like it is for a lot of people. Like it is for most of the people in our town, even. I checked the walk score for our neighborhood this morning and it received a 69, while the average walk score for our town is a 25. Our location is definitely a big part of what makes this work for us – no question about it.
I expected the logistics of sharing a car to be a bit tricky, but it’s been much easier than I expected. We spend a lot of time together as a family, so we’re usually headed to the same place anyway, and on the few occasions that my kids have had to be at two different places at the same time, we’ve always managed to make it work, walking or biking one of them to their destination or catching a ride with a friend who’s headed to the same place.
So, what happens when our car breaks down and we suddenly become a no-car family? Well, we got the answer to that this week, when the water pump died Tuesday on the way home from school. My youngest daughter had Girl Scouts that evening, so we pulled out our bikes, and biked our way there. It meant leaving a bit earlier than usual, but it was a gorgeous day, and we got some exercise in the process.
But let’s face it, our car isn’t just going to break down when the weather is nice and suitable to biking. So, what then? Well, we knew it was supposed to turn rainy and cold Wednesday, so we borrowed a spare vehicle from a neighbor (who we loan and borrow stuff with regularly), and brought a couple dozen eggs from our chickens as a thank you when we walked over to pick up the keys. This gave us a way to get the kids to and from school and a way to pick up the parts that we needed to fix the car. When we return their truck later today, I’ll bring over some homemade jam or another treat as a further thank you.
So, this one-car lifestyle is working out just fine for us. We may buy a second vehicle again some day, but for now, we’re enjoying the savings of not having to maintain, tag and insure two vehicles, and the slower pace that comes with having one car (and sometimes no car) is pretty nice, too.