Sunday, June 10, 2012

One Car Family

One Car Family
Family riding bikes     Have you considered changing your lifestyle and becoming a one car family? If so what do you think that would look like? What do you think the trade offs would be and do you think they would be manageable? A lot of it depends on what type of lifestyle you have and how flexible you are in that lifestyle. But, it does open up some possibilities for you and your family.
What does giving up one car do for you?
     If you only have one car you will walk and ride your bike more than you do now. What is that worth? I don't really know but I have a feeling your family will be closer and in better shape for the long haul. Do you drive your kids to school even though it's only a mile? I bet they could walk faster than you can drive them there or if that is unsafe you could walk them to school. How about shopping? Well, if you only have one car then when you need to really stock up you take that car or even better yet get yourself a cargo bike. They will carry all of your kids plus all of your groceries trust me this is doable.
What About My Commute?
     Your commute can be offset a couple of different ways. Either by carpooling if your commute is just too far to ride or you could bike commute. If your commute is a reasonable distance. Better yet if your employer provides bike lockers or some type of indoor bike storage for employees.
Let's Talk About Money
     Okay above are all the little things in life where you need that extra car or feel that you do. What are you getting out of all this extra pedaling and walking. Money is a big thing you will save a lot of money by having only one car. Let's break it down. Gas how much do you spend on each car and how much do you spend on the car that you will get rid of? I'm betting about $300.00 a month or so. Some of that will be added to the other cars monthly gas bill but I bet not half of it. License and insurance, you probably spend about $300.00 to $400.00 a year on license and about $100.00 a month on insurance. So add all that up. When I add all that up I see a savings of $4500.00 a year. Not bad right. But wait there's more. If your car is like mine occasionally it breaks down so you need to add in a little bit for a mechanic and a biannual smog certificate. I know what your thinking hey the bike will break down as well. Yes that's true but most simple bike repairs you can do yourself. Not to mention that most bike repairs cost under $50.00 whereas most car repairs are over $100 - 200.00.
Health Effects
     The heath effects of riding your bike more are well known. You will simply be in better shape than you are now. Don't believe me ask your doctor. So on top of saving money on gas you will be healthier and not have to go to the doctor as much. Not to mention you will be in better shape and have killer quads, and your wife or husband will start to look a lot better in shorts or skirts than they do now. Hey that is a plus right. Not to mention that, that long ride you do now that's so hard will become a lot easier because you do so many more short rides your heart rate and blood pressure will go down.
What About The Kids
     Trust me the kids will be okay. They will still get to all of their activities because you still have one car for the really far out things and the close in things they can ride their bikes or walk or you can put them on your cargo bike and take them if they are too small to ride or walk on their own. So you will definitely be spending more time with your kids. For them this change will probably be the easiest. Kids seem to just roll with the punches and go with the flow. Not to mention they love riding bikes.
I Want To Try Out Being a One Car Family
     If you want to try out this lifestyle I say go for it. What I would do is pick the car that you would keep if you did give up a car and then park the other one in the garage for a week. Let everyone in the family know about the project and get their input. There may be some people in your family who disagree but just tell them we are trying this for a week. Then do it. Simply ride your bike or walk or take the other car wherever you go for a week at the end of the week talk to the other family members about how much you don't or did need the other car. Don't forget to tally up how much you saved in gas that week and how much you would have saved had you actually not had the car, meaning you wouldn't have the payment or insurance or license etc. If this week is successful then continue another week. If you do this successfully for a month congratulations it's time to give up your car.
 DSCN1319.JPG, a photo by cleverchimp on Flickr.

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