So here we are, on the last day of Q1, and technically the last day of our Q1 Car Challenge. In case you missed our announcement of the challenge, here was the basic idea.
We have 2 cars, but were rarely using them both at the same time. To see if it would be possible to transition to being a one car household, we sought to only ever use one car duing the first three months of 2014 (Q1). (That is, one car at a time. We didn’t want the Jeep to go bad from lack of use, so Mr PoP drove it around for errands on the weekends every week or two.)
How Did It Go?
Pretty well on the whole. It wasn’t so effortless that we didn’t notice that we were doing the challenge, but we learned as we went along and made it through without any arguments or major inconveniences to each other. But there were some key themes that we learned along the way that made being a one-car household work for us.
1. Having Backup Transportation Besides Your Feet.
For Mr PoP, there’s nothing worse than being stuck somewhere without wheels, and he’s a bit too tall to borrow my bike. So it was an absolute necessity that we bought him a bike – and a bike that he likes! – to give him a way to hop to the grocery store or hardware store or something if I’m out with the car.
2. Planning In Advance Is A Necessity.
More than just knowing where and when we each had to be somewhere, we also had to plan in advance how we were going to get there. Car, bike, carpool with someone else… Sounds like a minor thing, and it was kindof, but it was a new step that we hadn’t really ever had to do before. But once forced to, it wasn’t hard. Heck, I even biked to drop all of our tax information off with our tax guy (at his office 10+ miles from our house). I had to plan when to do it to make it efficient and so I wouldn’t show up gross and sweaty, but it worked!
3. But Communicating Plans Is Even More Important.
Mr PoP and I aren’t the kind of dual income married couple that sit down and have a lavishly prepared meal together every night. (Do these people really exist?) So in the past, we might not always mention if we had plans after work – whether to work out or meet up with a friend for coffee or drinks. We’d catch up later. But now… we tell each other these things in advance as much as possible. And when it means a quick switch of the car, we put calendar invites on each other’s calendars so we know that we can’t put anything else in that time slot. Weird, and slightly corporate, but it works for us.
4. Find More Convenient Alternatives.
Some of the habits that we had acquired throughout our marriage weren’t really all that convenient or very conducive to becoming a one-car household, so we found alternatives. Instead of taking the car for 4+ hours every Saturday morning for yoga, I found a new yoga studio I like better that I can bike to! Instead of needing to drive to work (instead of biking) every month or two so I could pick up dry cleaning at the cleaner’s near my office, we’re sending the dry cleaning out through a service that picks up from Mr PoP’s office. We’re even looking into changing some of our doctors so as many as possible are right near our house. (They come highly recommended, so I don’t think we’ll be sacrificing patient care.)
5. Mostly, It Requires Being A Little Flexible.
Being willing to change, willing to communicate, and willing to adjust the order of agenda items, especially on the weekends.
Where Do We Go From Here?
We’ll be getting the Jeep ready for sale, which requires some major clean-up both inside and out, but hope to sell it in either April or May.
Have you ever been a one-car household? What are some things that you did that made it work?