Top tips for minimising your household’s number of cars
With working from home becoming more prevalent and the current eco-conscious mindset, there may be people considering minimising how many cars they have at home. For people in that situation, this article offers some top tips on how to do so. From buying a new environmentally-friendly vehicle that is perfect for all drivers in your household to part-exchanging old inefficient vehicles, there are lots of ways to make a success of this change.
Carefully consider your current vehicles
First things first, before making any decisions, carefully consider the vehicles that currently belong to your household. Sit down with other drivers in the family and discuss what changes could be made. Perhaps your current cars are no longer fit for purpose, perhaps you have realised that you could get away with two cars instead of three. You might have realised that your cars are not very environmentally-friendly and would like to upgrade to something a little more appropriate. Don’t just get rid of a vehicle or two for no reason, think about your lifestyle and requirements then make a sensible decision that works for your family.
Buy a new vehicle
If you have decided that minimising your household’s number of cars is right for you, one of the best ways to do so is by part-exchanging your current vehicles – especially if they were purchased used – and buy your household a brand-new car in exchange. By finding new Ford cars for sale, for example, you can secure your family a vehicle with cutting edge technology, that is eco-conscious, and which will last you for many years to come.
You don’t have to reduce your number of vehicles to one, of course, it’s up to you how much you want to downsize and what you can work with. But a new car that is rooted in environmental friendliness will be a great avenue to go down and certainly a better option than keeping a couple of inefficient old cars.
You could even do what financial blogger Mad Money Monster has done. She and her husband have decided to keep two cars but only use one of them regularly and the other one in emergencies - a nice compromise: “We made a pact to only use both cars at one time if it is absolutely necessary. Essentially, we have become a one-car family while remaining a two-car household. Not only does this decision provide us with what we need to operate safely and conveniently, it also isn’t costing us an enormous amount of money.”
Find a car that all will love to drive
The key to being happy with a reduced number of household cars, especially if you are only going to stick with one, is finding a car that every driver in your family will love to drive. So, when searching for your new car, make sure everyone who will be driving it is involved in the decision. Make a checklist of everyone’s wants and desires and start looking for a vehicle together. As this will be the primary mode of transport for every driver in your household, its important everyone is completely happy and can see themselves using the car in their daily lives. Think about the number of seats, boot space, gadgets, and of course, comfort. Having everyone test drive the vehicle is certainly a good idea.
Remember, not every adult needs their own car
Holly, from the money-saving and travel blog Club Thrifty, told us about her top advice for reducing household cars: “Look for ways to ensure you can remain a one-car family, whether that includes planning kids’ activities around one mode of transportation or having one spouse work at home. Also, don't buy into the idea that you absolutely have to have a car for every adult in your home. People tell us all the time they cannot fathom sharing a car, but we do just fine.”
Holly also spoke to us about the benefits of being a one-car family from her own experience, something which is important to remember when going through the process: “There are many benefits to being a one-car family. First, we only have cash tied up into the one paid-off car we have. We only pay for insurance for one vehicle, and we only have to worry about upkeep and maintenance for one car. It's also nice to have more room in the garage when we park indoors during the winter since we only need space for one car instead of two.”
Create a diary system
Planning schedules, requirements, and driving habits amongst your household will also be key when reducing the number of cars. For example, if two people are going to be sharing one vehicle, it’s important that it never becomes double booked. The last thing you want is for the vehicle not to be available for your dentist or doctor’s appointment because of a lack of communication.
Maintaining clear communication with other drivers is something that the husband and father who runs the blog Brave New Life found very important as part of a one-car family: “In my case, I make sure I communicate any needs for the car well in advance. If I’m setting up an appointment, I’ll check with my wife first to make sure she doesn’t already have plans to use the car. And obviously, I wouldn’t set up the appointment at the same time that I know she’ll be taking the kids to school, sports, etc.”
With all this in mind, you could even consider creating a diary system where all involved write down when they will need the car and for how long. This way you can check the diary at the start of each week, make alternate plans if need be, and compromise with the other driver who needs the vehicle but without any last-minute disappointment.
When reducing the number of cars in your household, you will also want to travel together as much as possible, eliminating the need for that extra vehicle. With a little organisation and planning, you can give each other lifts to various appointments and errands. Perhaps one spouse could be dropped off at work on the way to taking the kids to school, perhaps haircuts can be arranged to coincide with someone else’s trip to the shops.
There are lots of ways of going about it and it has the big benefit of meaning you can spend more time together. Many couples, for example, find that separate time on the road really impacts the amount of time spent in each other’s company, so sharing a car could be an added blessing in this regard.
This is a perk that Joan from the financial blog Man vs Debt has found as a great surprise in her own life sharing a car with her partner Chris: “This wasn’t something that factored into our decision-making, but it’s turned out to be a great added benefit. Chris and I spend a good amount of time driving each other places. ‘I’ll take you to taekwondo, then go to the library, then pick you back up.’ That sort of thing. That gives us time to talk, and just to be in each other’s space. With two cars, we’d spend a lot of time doing the ‘you go your way, I’ll go mine’ thing.”
Advice for reducing your household’s number of cars
- Carefully consider your current vehicles
- Buy a new vehicle
- Find a car that all will love to drive
- Remember, not every adult needs their own car
- Create a diary system
- Travel together
As you can see, there are a number of ways that you can make a success of minimising your household’s number of cars. Making this decision can be a really beneficial move, not just for the planet but on the part of your family with a little planning and organisation.
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