How to Save Money as a One-Car Household (and Make It Work)

A few months ago, we sold my husband’s car and downsized to become a one-car family. I’ve always said that my husband and I would ultimately drive both of our cars into the ground before getting a new one. Well, his car ultimately kicked the bucket first once it hit over 200,000 miles and became too expensive to maintain or repair. This has caused our dream of beginning to save money as a one-car household a reality.

Becoming a one-car family has always been something I’ve considered since it is becoming very expensive to own two cars in many areas of the country. While it is slightly inconvenient to share a car, we are saving a lot more money that can now go to different areas of the budget. Here are just some of the ways we’ve been able to save money as a one-car household.

Gas

Gas prices have been rising steadily so far this year. So I’m pretty pleased that we only have one tank to fill up for the time being. Before, my husband was spending about $80 to $100 to fuel up his car each month. Now, that money goes back into our budget. It may not sound like a lot, but $80 can easily pay up one of our smaller bills for the month or go into savings.

Plus, we’re driving a lot less these days so there are savings all around in this area.

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Tolls

Since we don’t drive a ton, our toll costs are never super high. They do add up when we visit our families occasionally though. My husband’s parents live right off a toll road and my dad lives in a neighboring state. So we keep a tollway pass in my car and pay it online. When we had two cars, there were two toll passes to consider and we obviously spent more money refilling out tollway passes online.

Repairs and Maintenance

This is where I imagine we will save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. When we both had cars, we spent at least $400 each on new brakes each year. Plus, my husband’s car had a lot of problems. Last year we spent well over $1,000 on repairs for his car only and since we bought it for only about $5,000, the car was quickly becoming more expensive to fix than it was worth.

Now that we share my car, we only have one vehicle to maintain and since my car is a little newer it doesn’t require nearly as many repairs. I set a little money aside each month to help cover repairs and maintenance. Then, I am also going to start setting money aside to buy a new car in the future. With two cars to maintain, it was nearly impossible for us to set aside money for a future vehicle to prepare for when our current car stopped working. I’m grateful to have a lot more breathing room now.

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Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is another area that allows us to save money as a one-car household. As soon as we sold my husband’s car, I encouraged him to call our auto insurance company and drop the vehicle from our coverage plan. They ended up not charging us a premium the following month, then cut what we were paying in half for all future months.

Again, this is money to go back into our pockets and cover other expenses and bills.

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Annual Registration

Annual registration fees in my state were increased about a year ago. The annual registration fee is now $150 so we were paying $300 for two cars. Downsizing to a one-car family split our costs in this area in half.

Overall, I think we’re saving well over $2,500 per year by having one car instead of two. We have busy schedules but it’s worth the minor sacrifice to me. If you’re thinking about how you can save money as a one-car household, here are some ways that we’re making it work.

Here are just some of the ways we've been able to save money as a one-car household. Click To Tweet

How to Save Money as a One-Car Household (and Make It Work)

First off, I feel having one car would be extremely difficult if at least one of us didn’t work from home. I’ve been working from home for the past 5 years. Over that time I’ve realized I don’t drive my car much aside from errands and school drop-offs. Errands can always be moved around.Since I’m homeschooling our son this year, there are no school drop-offs so having two cars wasn’t really necessary.

Even though I am thinking of sending him back to a school next year, I am keeping an eye out for extended car services offered by the school in case we need to drop him off earlier or pick him up a little later.

Another thing that helps us manage with one car is that my husband’s current job provides him with a vehicle. Granted, he can only use it when he’s working, it still leaves me with a car at home if I need it (which is rare during the day).

Finally, we have had to get really good at planning our schedules and communicating our plans for the day. When someone goes to the store or runs another errand. We try to make sure we make a clear list of everything that’s needed while that person is out. That way, we cut down on errands and trips to the store in general. I also do a good share of ordering items online, too.

Summary

So far, going from two cars to one has been a pretty smooth transition. It encourages us to plan ahead and go more places together as a family. We haven’t had to use it yet, but public transit is an option in our area. Even though it is somewhat limited. Overall, we’re able to save money as a one-car household and stash more away which is what’s most important.

Would you ever consider becoming a one-car household? Why or why not?