Living

We Were a One-Car Family For a Year and This Is What Happened

Written by Brynn Burger

Downsizing our house was one thing,  but when we were considering going to a shared vehicle, even I thought we had lost our minds. I mean, how were we possibly going to be able to get me to work, the kids to all the things, my husband to work three evenings a week, plus his mixed martial arts class, plus the rec center, plus simple things like groceries or the post office?!

It can’t be done, I rationalized.

But we did it. And it was pretty awesome.

My husband and I have been together for 13 years, four houses, a townhouse, two family members’ basements, two kids, and countless jobs—and we’ve always had at least two vehicles, sometimes three. We’d never wanted or needed to go somewhere and not had the option to just get in a car and go.

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The idea of having only one shared vehicle had me feeling all panicky and trapped.

But what if this one breaks down?!

What if one of the kids gets hurt but I have the car at work?

What if you need to take them to co-op but we forgot and the car isn’t at home!?

I voiced a laundry list of reasons it wouldn’t work—but we did it anyway.

And guess what? We lived through it.

We bought a truck last weekend to pull our house and it is the first time in a year we have had two vehicles. It feels weird and like I miss my husband and kids more. I know, it sounds silly, but when you share a car, you see each other . . . a lot.

Guess what else? We saved thousands of dollars that year on oil changes, gas fill-ups, tires and repairs. We became a closer family that wasn’t afraid to ask for help when we needed the car for something. We depended on each other even if it meant getting up waaaayyyy before the sun to drop me off at the airport or to take someone to an appointment.

In buying this truck and expanding our “things” we both felt almost like we were doing something wrong. The added payment felt like a burden and it just felt icky having to go through the whole car-buying process complete with slick-haired car salesmen trying to peddle things we didn’t even ask for and certainly didn’t need.

Downsizing has been great for a lot of reasons, but it has really taught us what we can truly live without. So much so, having excess now almost feels wrong—and we can’t wait to sell the van so we can go back to life as it should be for us: four people with one vehicle.

About the author

Brynn Burger

I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, a friend, a writer, a lover of all things outdoors, and sometimes a shell of my former self. Parenting a child with behavior disabilities has become both my prison and my passion. I write so I can breathe. This is my therapy. I hope that my violent vulnerability and use of humor will help you to power through this with me. It is the only way I know.