Maybe you’ve decided that one car is sufficient for your needs or perhaps you’re a city dweller who barely has room to park two cars. Regardless of the specific reasons, you have decided downsizing to one car is right for you, now what?
You Have Decided Downsizing to One Car is Right for You, Now What?
You’ve made your decision, but now you have to deal with the reality of having only one car.
If you have a family and a partner, this can make things tricky.
Chances are both you and your partner need to get to work in the morning and your kids need to get to school.
This will take a little planning upfront to ensure everyone can get to where they need to be during the day without too much stress.
Here are some options to make that happen.
Carpooling is an excellent option for anyone who already has a friend or family member with whom they can carpool.
If you and your partner are going in the same direction for work at about the same time, you can ride together.
It’s true that one of you might be a little put out by getting to work too early, but it can be done.
If this doesn’t work for your situation, see if there is someone you work with that lives nearby, so you can carpool.
They can drive and you can pay for the gas.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
2. Use Public Transportation
Depending on where you live and work, taking public transportation can be convenient and inexpensive.
However, if you live in an area without public transportation this won’t be an option that is viable for you.
In my small town, for example, there aren’t cabs or subways.
They do have a small bus system, but you have to schedule rides, so it really wouldn’t work to get someone to their place of employment.
3. Ride a Bicycle
Riding a bicycle can be lots of fun and is a great way to get exercise.
If you choose to ride your bike to work or school, make sure that the route is safe and secure.
You also want to make sure that your bike is in good working order and has adequate reflectors for night riding.
If you live in a really hot area, you should consider bringing an extra set of clothes in case you get all sweaty.
When I didn’t have a car at all, riding my bike was my way of getting around.
Walking is not only an excellent way to get from place to place, but it’s free.
If you live close enough to walk, this is one of the best ways to get where you need to go.
It will also free up the car for your partner, so they can get to work and the kids to school.
Car-sharing is a trend that’s quickly gaining popularity in many urban areas.
It’s essentially a co-op of individuals who share a vehicle.
Members of the co-op may reserve the car when it’s convenient for them and they pay monthly rates for their use.
6. Work From Home
Working from home is ideal for anyone who works from their computer.
If you don’t have a conventional job where you work in an office, you can consider freelancing or telecommuting.
There are a lot of benefits to working from home.
In this case, one of the best is you don’t need a car to get to work.
If you will need a vehicle during the day, you can take your partner to work and pick them back up in the evening.
That makes things convenient for everyone.
7. Maintain Your Vehicle
You’ll definitely want to make sure that your vehicle is in top-notch shape before deciding on a one-car lifestyle.
Check the pressure in each tire, check and replace brake pads, and change the oil as needed.
This effort will assure that your vehicle will be in constant working order and it may also extend the life of your car.
The last thing you want is for your car to break down.
Without a spare, this can put you in a really tough situation.
So, do what you can to keep your car in really good working order.
What to Do With the Money You Save From Getting Rid of Your Car
Now that you have downsized to one car, you should be saving a good deal of money each month, so what should you do with it?
Here are the best options.
1. Pay off Debt
If you have any outstanding debts you might consider using the money that you save from getting rid of your car to pay them off.
By paying off your debt early, you’ll not only have lower monthly payments but also build your savings faster.
2. Build Up a Monthly Emergency Fund
Having an adequate emergency fund is imperative for any individual who doesn’t want to live from paycheck to paycheck.
Experts recommend having 6 months’ worth of living expenses at hand at all times.
Even if this seems like a lot, try and start small by saving $25 or $50 each month that will help slowly build up your emergency fund.
You can also combine this money with the debt payoff money to grow both funds faster.
3. Start Investing
While this may sound intimidating, it’s really not as hard as you might think.
Investing is a great way to grow your savings and add to your income at the same time.
Just be sure to talk to a licensed professional before you start investing your money.
They can talk to you about risk and investing options.
4. Start a Business
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you can use the money that you save from getting rid of your car to start your own business or launch a new product line.
With the help of websites such as Etsy and eBay, it’s easier than ever for anyone to become an entrepreneur.
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5. Save for Retirement
You can also choose to invest the money in a retirement account.
With all the uncertainty surrounding financial markets, it’s a good idea to diversify your savings and investments while you’re young.
You’ll be glad you did down the road when it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
6. Give to Charities
If there is a charity that is close to your heart, you can take some of the money you’re saving each month and give it to your favorite charity.
This will make you feel good and also help those in need.
What To Do With Your Extra Vehicle
1. Sell It
Once your other vehicle is no longer needed, you can sell it and use the proceeds to help fund any of the plans listed above.
Not all of us have time to sell our old cars for cash, so consider creating a simple ad on Craigslist or even offer your car on Facebook.
If you’re not sure where to begin when selling your vehicle try using CarGurus or Autotrader.
Both websites have excellent resources that are easy to use and offer plenty of free tools to help you get started.
2. Donate It
If you don’t need the money then consider donating it instead.
Many organizations will pick up your car at no charge to you.
There’s a lot of good that comes from donating your vehicle, so it’s worth looking into if you don’t have the time or patience to sell it.
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To Sum it All Up:
Downsizing to one car can be a great financial decision. Even so, it will take some time to get used to living with just one car. Be sure to think through how life will be and plan ahead. That way, everyone can get to where they need to go without any major roadblocks.