You know, I love our house. It’s awesome, has great finishes, is exactly what Kristin and I wanted. There is plenty of room for visitors – and we just close the rooms off and shut the vents to keep utility costs on the space down.
Our neighborhood is pretty awesome, too. It’s quiet, but we’ve got good friends who live close by. For all of the awesomeness, however, there’s one major drawback.
I currently commute 26 miles to and from work each day.
Yeah you read that right – 26 miles. The distance itself wouldn’t be so bad if it were just me, but Kristin and I share a car. (actually, it WOULD be that bad, but it’s even more painful now)
How We Became a One Car Family
When we moved from California, we packed up all of our belongings into our two cars. All of our possessions, crammed into my Hyundai Sonata, and Kristin’s smaller Elentra.
My dad flew out to help with the drive (Kristin just flew up later) and we hopped into the cars, and off we went. The first night we made it to Grand Junction, CO. After a few hours of sleep, we hit the road for the home stretch to Minneapolis.
Our apartment in Minnesota was close to work – so close that I didn’t use my car. It was a short mile and a half walk, and so Kristin would drop me off in the morning and I’d walk home in the afternoon.
We quickly realized that having two cars in this situation didn’t make any sense. Kristin had gotten her car on a lease (decided before I met her, before y’all groan about this haha) so when her lease was up, we simply returned her car.
Thus, we became a one car family.
Balancing One Car
For a long time, one car worked for us. Even in the winter, a mile and a half wasn’t horrible. On the few days where it got below 0 degrees, I’d call an Uber/Lyft. It’s amazing how easy it is to walk a mile and a half in the cold.
Things were great – and then I got laid off.
In addition to worrying about financing for our house (we’d already had money saved up), my mind immediately went to thinking about our vehicle situation.
If I wasn’t able to find a job either in the same direction as Kristin’s work (opposite of downtown where there’s a higher concentration of jobs) or something on a bus line, we’d have to fork up money for another car.
Thankfully about a month later I landed a job that was on the light rail line. An $85 bus pass lasted a month, and got me right to where I needed in just under an hour. Not ideal, but at least I could read on the bus and the light rail.
The Slow Move to Inconvenience
Slowly our one-car situation has become more and more inconvenient. We moved in early summer to a different apartment to save some money while our house was being built. The new apartment wasn’t on a bus line.
That meant dropping Kristin off at work (about 40 minutes early) and then picking her up at the end of the day after I was done working.
But Kristin also works out after she’s done working. I would run back to our apartment about 5 minutes away and work on the blog during that time. It was inconvenient – sometimes I’d be totally in the zone writing and then have to just stop and leave.
Other times I would never get in the zone because I knew my time was limited.
The Farther Move to Inconvenience
Things for the past two months since we moved into our home have really tested my patience. What used to be a 5 minute drive from our temporary apartment to Kristin’s work is now a 20 minute drive. That means that going home afterward isn’t really an option.
Thankfully one of Kristin’s coworkers started working out with her, and can drive her on Mondays and Wednesdays. Tuesdays are Kristin’s late day, so I typically will work late.
Here’s how we balance our Mondays and Wednesdays:
6:45am – Leave for work. Drop Kristin off, and then I take the car.
7:30am – Get in to work
4:15pm – Leave work and go home. Work on the blog
6:10pm – Pick Kristin up
7:00pm – Get home, make dinner, etc.
Please, nobody break into our house now that you know our schedule.
Tuesdays I’ll sometimes work late and just pick Kristin up and go home.
Thursday and Friday still pose challenges. These are the days where I need to both pick Kristin up from work as well as from working out. That means no working late for me, no going home.
I’m trying to find a balance and something productive to do during this hour+ of downtime. If we’ve got errands to run – like grocery shopping or some Christmas shopping (even though I don’t want to do gifts like, ever again) – then it’s easy to kill an hour.
But those times when we have nothing in particular to do? That’s the down time that used to be filled with blogging.
Why We’re Staying With One Car
This is inconvenient but it’s not the end of the world. I need to get a new laptop at some point and will be able to leech Wifi at a coffee shop and write. In the meantime it’s just not worth the cost of another car to make this situation less sucky for me.
The cost of another car would make it pretty tough for us to just live off one income. It’d make it more difficult to hit our goals of paying off our house. We’d have no problem saving some money, but may need to rethink how long we’re planning (hoping) to work.
It’s an inconvenience now, to be sure, but I’d rather deal with some temporary inconveniences than not hit the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
I thought that after we moved, being a one car family would be really tough, but in reality it’s not too bad. The key is finding things to occupy any sort of down time while you wait for the other person.
And worst case, if we absolutely need to get somewhere immediately? Just call an Uber/Lyft. If that’s less expensive than owning a car is on average, we come out ahead.
What should I do with my downtime until I get a laptop? Does anybody else share a car with someone?