2009 Kia Borrego

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3 Easy Ways to Become a Money-Saving One-Car Family

by Faith Mack

Are your cars driving you into the poorhouse? If so, you're not alone. With skyrocketing insurance costs for each car and monthly financing payments, gas, maintenance, and annual tag and registration fees, owning a car is often the largest household expense other than housing. To reduce costs, many money-savvy families are making the switch to being one-car households. With parents and kids on different schedules with different activities, you may think having only one car is crazy. Here are three easy ways to make the transition.

Join a Carpool

Photo of 2014 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Sport via Chapman in Scottsdale

You can use this technique for going to work and taking your kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. A well-oiled carpool should have enough participants for each day of the week. You take a turn to drive everyone in the pool to wherever they're going one day a week, and ride along with other drivers (or send your kids with them) the rest of the week. This leaves four weekdays plus weekends when your car at home is free for other people in the household to use it.

If your spouse works outside the home as well, it helps if you both join carpools so you each have the home car available on the days when it's your turn to drive. Many workplaces and schools have carpools, and some have waiting lists to join. Larger companies offer perks for carpoolers, like preferred parking. If you find yourself on a waiting list, start your own.

Use Alternative Transportation

Photo by Zed Fitzhume via Wikimedia Commons

If there's a bus route, commuter train, or subway hub near your house, use it and teach your kids to use it (always with friends or adult supervision if they're young, though). Call a taxi if you need to get someplace in a hurry. If you need to go somewhere that's relatively close, ride a bicycle, or even walk. Even the smallest towns have at least some of these options available. Look at routes and schedules and decide which ones will work for you. Even with the money you spend on fares, you'll still be spending far less than you would by keeping that second car.

Telecommute

Photo by _e.t via Flickr

Technology has made telecommuting a real possibility for a lot of jobs that were previously office-only. Your workplace may already have telecommuting as an option. If so, start using it. It will save you a commute and leave your one car free for your spouse to use. If you believe your job can be done from home but there isn't a telecommuting option at your workplace yet, talk to your supervisor about starting one. Explain the benefits of telecommuting to both of you by having such a program. Even if it's just available a couple of days a week, any day you don't have to take the car to work is a day when it's free for someone else to use, or when it can just sit in the driveway and help clean up the environment by not being on the road (5).

About the Author:
Faith Mack is a mother and writer from North Carolina. 



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