Save Money By Sharing One Car

Wisebread published an article this week which detailed in part the expenses incurred when taking on a second car:

According to the American Public Transportation Association, replacing one car with a combination of walking and public transportation saves a household $8059 per year in reduced spending on fuel, maintenance, insurance, registration, depreciation, finance charges, etc. (Even after adding back in the cost of public transit.)

I started to pat myself on the back for insisting we stick with having one car because we’re so used to coordinating our trips that we do it without really thinking about it. We also live within walking distance from the metro rail which makes it easier to get home if one of us is away with the car.

What are we saving?

I did some of my own calculations and we save upwards of $12,000 by opting out of purchasing a second car. Since my husband’s place of employment is on my way to class and my internship, we drive in together in the mornings. When I leave for the day, I swing by his place of employment if he’s ready to go and we drive home together. On my days off during the week, I drop him off and pick him up from the metro. This works out pretty well since it saves us the metro ride cost of $7 per day which amounts to $140 per month which in turn saves us $1680 a year.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t include the actual costs of owning a second car. If we did, our expenses would look something like this:

  • Car payment: $4200
  • Insurance: $3000
  • Gas: $2880
  • Maintenance: $650 (Tires, routine preventative maintenance, inspection, registration)

Total: $10,730

We can afford to do this because we dont have children and therefore don’t have runs to the babysitter, school, practice or anything else kid related. I’m certain this will change once we do have children but for now I enjoy the financial convenience of not having to purchase a second car.

Our friends who do have children with multiple commitments ask how we make it work and we usually answer something like this:

Don’t you ever have a situation where one of you has to go in a totally opposite direction than the other?

This rarely happens since we live and work all within the same general area. It’s rare that I am forced to take the bus home (hubby picks me up from the metro) or be left at home without a car. On the rare occasion that I was at home without a car this week, it was my day off and had no serious plans to leave the house. I had the option to stay home without the car or drive all the way to Fairfax to run errands so I opted to stay home and hubby took the car on his lunch break to run his errands.

Aside: Now I know some of you dedicated SAHWs will cuss me out over email for not running his errands on MY days off but understand that my days off are not for appointments or running errands. I do all of that on the days I actually leave the house. I try not to clutter my free days with appointments, errands, cleaning and the like because I like my ME time. And, in turn, I don’t harass him with “honey-dos” if he is off during the week or working from home. My house is run like a well oiled machine <insert evil laugh>

But don’t you like the freedom of just being able to get up and go without planning your trips?

It’s really second nature and not something we think about. Hubby is really a hermit unless he is hanging out with his frat brothers, family or I drag him to some event or dinner. What usually happens is, since I am MS Social I always have something planned for the weekend, I take the car and he’s usually home hanging with friends. If he needs something while Im gone, he’ll call and ask me to pick it up on my way back OR he’ll get it himself. We work well independently and collaboratively with each other so we rarely clash around who needs the car at any one time.

Now, when my FIL lived with us I was forced to rent a ZIP CAR a few times because of the trips back and forth to NJ that I did not accompany my husband. So I needed to rent the car to get back and forth to my internship because that location is actually off the beaten path.

What are your thoughts on car sharing?  Do you think it’s something you could get used to?

  • ???

    Thanks a lot for sharing. Your article is truly relevant to my study at this moment, and I am really happy I discovered your website.

  • Riedl

    Private Krankenversicherung Vergleich (PKV) und gesetzliche Krankenkassen bei! Clever vergleichen und sparen!

  • Car Insurance Guru

    Lucky for those who work within the same general area, but not for us, we work in opposite direction so we have 2 cars, but for them it's good to have just 1 car but I doubt they don't have conflicts. Thanks for the post

  • NJ Girl

    The title of thsi site makes me chuckle, and yes, some good comments about narrowing down the vehicles to just one. The savings are noticable, not just in gas saved, but also in lower insurance premiums. We’ve gotten by fine with one vehicle, and bikes!

  • jennydecki

    We are DI…but have two kids. We’re trying to be in a great position financially by the time they go to school so I work from home.

    When they are in school we’re going to look at paying for a car in cash so I can drive them around. Or maybe I’ll make them bike or hoof it. I still have a few years to decide.

    Great article. Thanks!

    jennydecki’s last blog post..Different Directions – No Map

  • mikki AKA AnitraClark

    I think if you live in an area with trains, subways, and good bus systems then its cool to be without a car. My cousin lives in San Francisco and everybody takes the bus and good luck if you do have a car because its hard to park lol. But I live in michigan so its not easy to be without a car unless you live close to where you work.

    I don’t have a car payment and when you look at all the savings from not having a car payment you almost want to slap yourself. When I purchase my next car it will be for cash, no more than 5,000 a lot of people think you cant find a good car for really cheap but I drive a beater now and its doing good!!!!

    mikki AKA AnitraClark’s last blog post..My Obsession (Black Engineers)