Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Adventures of a Single-Vehicle Family in the Suburbs...

So, I'd be lying if I didn't say that part of me is very excited to now be a single-vehicle family. Yes, we still have the motorcycle (for at least a little while longer) that Jason can ride solo to and from places that he needs to be, but only when the weather is fair. The past few days has been rather spring-like and full of rain. While the rain is wonderful for our garden, it's also forced us to adjust rather quickly to life with one vehicle.

First, let's get the logistics out of the way. Each day now, we're all rising early and leaving the house by 7am. Okay, more like 7:10--we don't have it down to a science yet! I drive Jason and the older girls to school and return home with the younger kids to have their second breakfast (yes, we are raising Hobbits, I'm afraid!) and regroup before we go about the activities of our day. After school, the little kids and I get back into the van, and drive back to school to pick up the older girls and Jason at the end of their day. What if one of us has an evening or weekend event to attend? Well, whoever needs to go does, and the other stays home with the kid(s) who are not attending. So far, it seems like a pretty simple plan.

While many families who live either more urban or rural lives thrive on having a single vehicle for their family, having two (or more) vehicles per family is the norm in the suburbs where we live. However, we've determined that at this stage in our life it's not a necessity. Jason works a fairly predictable schedule. I am not currently employed outside of the home. We generally do things together as a family more often than we do things separately. On the rare occasion that we need a second vehicle, there is a rental car company just a mile or so up the street that we can rent a car for the day from, while still benefitting from life with a single vehicle.

Benefitting? Yes. Benefitting.

There are A LOT of benefits to our new one-car situation. While it didn't make sense for us to sell a car that we owned outright in favor of being a single-vehicle family in the past, now that we are transitioning to living life on the road full-time in a couple of months, I'm excited to reap the benefits. First of all, we have cut our vehicle insurance and registration fees in half! We've cut our gas expenses by about 1/3-1/2 (we'll find out the real number at the end of this month). We have significantly reduced our vehicle maintenance costs. Since our van is still covered under both the manufacturer warranties and the Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance Program, we have had $0 vehicle maintenance costs on our van in 2.5 years, compared to the cost of routine maintenance on our Saab. Not to mention the stress relief of having one more large item liquidated from our lives and opening wider the door for us to move forward toward our dream.

Monetary benefits aside, the greatest benefits for our family to come from living with a single vehicle are many. We will spend more time together as we travel en masse to and from places, even if just one or two family members need to be at the destination. We are forced to make more decisions for the greater good. Just because someone would "like" to go somewhere, we can't just drop everything and go without consideration of everyone else's schedules and needs. Finally, being forced to consider one another's needs and best interests and increasing communication between spouses and children can only lead to a better marriage and family experience.

I'm optimistic about the days, months and potentially years ahead as a single-vehicle family! It likely won't be this way forever, and someday we'll likely need a second car in our lives, but I will cherish these special days while they are here.


  1. Hi Stephanie, I am enjoying your blog so much! We are a family of six in the planning stages of full timing. Your family is a beautiful inspiration. Thanks for sharing your ideas and experiences :)

    1. Thank you, Gina! It's worth the work to get out here. Hope to see you and your family down the road!