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Why We’re a One-Car Couple

May 15, 2015

“Whoa! Look guys, you can get a brand new Mazda (whatever-the-hell-model) for only $300/month! That’s such an amazing deal. It’s practically a no-brainer. You two should stop being so radically frugal, and go to that dealership tomorrow. Get another car!”  — Unsolicited Advice Giver

When people learn we only have one car, they think it’s strange. We get confused looks, eye rolls, and blank stares, even our parents don’t understand why we became a one-vehicle household.

Mr. Saver and I have not always been so frugal and financially-conscious, and like many good ideas, our “one car, one couple” strategy was born out of happenstance and situation rather than a conscientious decision to save money or from any other altruistic desires. It really just happened.

We both brought a vehicle into our marriage. Mine an SUV, his a granny-mobile (no judgments), and while our cars were completely paid off, they obviously come with other recurring expenses. Mr. Saver’s POS, in particular, was a cantankerous old bitch, and we were incessantly spending money on repairs and mysterious failings. When we decided to move to another state, it was glaringly obvious that Granny wasn’t going to make the arduous (3-hour) drive. We returned the car to my in-laws and made our way to another state in my SUV.

At the time, I was working from home, so there was no immediate need for us to get another car. Mr. Saver would drive to and from work, and that was the extent of our car needs. We did dance around the idea of purchasing another mode of transportation because I was getting claustrophobic cooped up in our apartment day in and day out. Ultimately, though, we liked not having a car payment more, especially when we considered this hard truth from Mr. Money Mustache, “Cars don’t cost you money per month; they cost you money per mile.” Our (what was originally planned as temporary) single car arrangement had become our way of life, and even now that I have a new job, one that requires a 40-minute drive every day, we’re still committed to our established one-car habit.

There were no ulterior or frugal motives behind our decision to have one car, but this Mustachian attitude came very naturally to us. We didn’t even consider it was “weird” until one of our friends, upon realizing we only have one car, with much astonishment and incredulity, asked us, “How do you guys function with just ONE car?”.

Simply. We just do.

There are too many benefits to our one-car lifestyle that cannot and should not be overcomplicated.

  1. We see each other more thanks to joint commutes (aww, we’re the sweetest).
  2. It’s a greener (economically and environmentally) option.
  3. We save on gas expenses and car maintenance (two cars, means twice the work).
  4. We have a cool excuse to get out of stuff we don’t want to do.
  5. We can save (would-be car payments) for retirement.

Sure, it’s hard, and sacrifices are inevitable. Being a one-car couple is not always easy in application, but it was an easy decision (in that there was almost zero active resolution) and required minimal adjustment. What seems like a radical decision on our part was literally a no-brainer.


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  • Jen Collins

    I’m in the same boat, moved from the big city back to my hometown, waiting to see how long I could be car-less… 5 years later bf has a car I drive once a week and I bus to work while he commutes. Easy and cheap.

    • Save Money, Dammit!

      Definitely. It takes some getting used to, but it’s well worth the savings. Keep it up, and thanks for reading!