How to Save Money » Frugal Living

How dropping to one car can save you $5000 a year

Becoming a one-car family has been on my mind a lot lately. Currently, we own 2 cars My husband needs a car for his job, and until recently, so did I. However, I will be starting a job very close to my house soon and don’t really need a vehicle.

For these reasons, we have been examining the benefits of dropping to one car. I knew our cars cost us a lot, but I didn’t truly grasp the extent of it until we did this experiment!

How dropping to one car can save you $5000 a year

One Car Family

Here are my top 6 financial reasons for dropping to one family car:

1. Car payments or repairs

If you have car payments, the monthly savings are very clear when you drop to one car instead of two. We own our car but still spend a lot on car repairs. Our car seems to run smoothly for quite some time – and then – boom – an $800 repair.

We budget $100 monthly to pay for these repairs. $100 per month is a very large savings right there!

2. Insurance

Insurance is very expensive. We have gone through a few providers and found a reasonably well-priced insurer through my work, however, it’s still a large chunk of money each month. For us, it’s just over $100 monthly.

3. Gasoline

The price of gas has been on the rise for some time, and there are no signs that it will be declining. I fill the tank once every other week. And our van sure takes a lot of gas! That cost is $80 a fill or $160 a month. I could easily take a cab on rainy days and pay substantially less than the cost of gas alone.

Save Money with One Car

4. Oil changes and fluids

Regularly scheduled maintenance is a must to keep your vehicle running well and to save yourself money in the long run. It’s certainly not something you want to skip. An oil change every three months, windshield washer fluid when needed, and the other necessary regular maintenance run us about $60 every three months, or $20 monthly.

5. Shopping and errands

I would save my family a ton of money by shopping one day only. Since right now I am home with my boys, I am always running (well, driving) to grab something at the dollar store, for a great deal I saw online, or to grab a coffee while I drive my littlest around to get him to sleep.

If I was forced to be organized and only shop once a week (when I had the car on the weekend), we would save a ton. Not to mention I would have to really, really want a coffee to walk or bike to the coffee shop. Without any stretch, this would easily save my family $50 a month (and that is being very conservative).

6. Health benefits

By biking or walking to work every single day, I would be much healthier. Biking 5km every day would certainly keep me fit and healthy, making me less susceptible to many illnesses. This means less time off work and less money spent on expensive medicines and prescriptions.

Not to mention a gym membership would be absolutely unnecessary. Priceless.

Biking to Work

These add up to a savings of $430 a month for my family. In one year, we would save $5,160! And this is without a car payment – imagine the savings if you chose to pay for, as well.

So, will we be dropping to one car? I must tell you, that number is much larger than I expected. That would be a HUGE saving. I’m thinking we may just have to take the plunge…

Are you a one or two-car household?


  1. Heather R

    We’re a one car household and always have been. It was easy before my husband and I had kids and we both worked full time and lived in the city. he drove the car to work and I took public transit. It has become more of a challenge since moving to the outskirts and not having pubic transportation, with myself staying at home with our two children full time. However, we do make it work. At times if I need the car my husband pays someone who lives in our area to drive him. Sometimes the kids and I have to drive a half hour to pick him up after work, but its not often and we save so much money as a result. Once a week I make up our meal plan, make up the grocery list and my husband picks up the grocceries one night after work. This works for us, but I certainly have lots of people in my life that are constantly asking when we’re getting another vehicle. They couldn’t imagine living that way. We plan on taking the kids on a big trip next year, and if we had a second car, we wouldn’t be able to do that, so its worth it to us.

  2. Jessica

    I’ve considered many times going back to a one car family, but realistically here in BC it would not be beneficial for us. Numerous times when one of our vehicles has broken down we’ve needed the other, the extra gas money to spend driving my husband to and from work to be able to take my kids to school would be excessive (there school isn’t close enough to walk). If we went down to a one car family the only thing wed be saving is the potential extra cost of an extra vehicle breaking down. Our gas money would be double what our insurance would be on both vehicles.

    But of you can do it, that’s AWESOME!!

  3. Jamie

    We’ve almost always had just one car.We briefly had 2, when we bought a fair cheap used car for my husband, but after a couple months we decided the convenience of 2 cars wasn’t worth the cost of having 2 on the road. Sometimes it’s frustrating trying to coordinate everything with just one vehicle, but in the end the cost isn’t really worth it to have two.

  4. aLaNa

    Living in a rural area, 2 cars is a must for our family! If we lived in the city, we would definitely be a one car family. We also save money on insuring our vehicles because we live away from the city(Manitoba).

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