Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to Survive with Only One Car

When my husband and I were living in Texas with our little guy we had two cars. I was able to go to church functions, mommy playgroups and appointments whenever I wanted. Having two cars was extremely convenient since we lived 15 minutes from everything and everyone. 

I kid you not, our apartment building was the only thing around for at least 5 miles on every side. We were in the middle of nothing and couldn't walk anywhere, we had to have two cars.  

A few months after we got there though, my husbands car of ten years.. died. We had just bought a new family car so we couldn't afford to just go out and buy a new one. So, for almost a whole year we lived with only 1 car. It was difficult being a stay at home mom without a car, but it wasn't impossible. When you have to, you can find a way to make things work. 

Living 15 minutes from anything (even a grocery store) with only one car was especially difficult at first. It was lonely, and boring. I felt stuck -- but quickly figured out how to make it work because I had no other choice. 

Are you trying to survive with only 1 car? With little ones at home and have no idea how to make it work? I'm here to help because I have been there! 

1. Do not be embarrassed to ask friends to pick you up - but, don't be upset if they can't. 

Having only 1 car is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you have a great group of friends they won't mind helping, if you are open and honest about your situation. If I wanted to go to church, but my husband was working, my good friend Bethany would drive 15 minutes out of her way to pick me up. 

She lived practically next to the church and she drove with her two kids 15 minutes out to pick us up and back, driving a whole hour every Sunday to pick us up. We just met maybe a month prior and those to and from church trips were something I looked forward to. She turned into such a great friend because of my family only having one car. 

However, there were times when I couldn't find a ride and wasn't able to go to a get together or something that I wanted to attend. It is upsetting to miss out but it is so generous for them to pick you up when they can, that you cannot place the expectation on them that they will always be able to pick you up. It's not fair to them or your friendship. 

2. Leave you car seat at home when your husbands at work. 

This is a good practice for any type of emergency and just in case you are able to make plans for a friend to pick you up on short notice. You will be able to just install the carseat and go. Yes, it is a pain to lug it around if you have a toddler out of the baby carrier but it is so worth it, just in case something happens and you need to get a cab or something. 

3. Get to know and be friend your neighbors. 

This goes with number 2. If there is an emergency its important to have neighbors you trust if there is an emergency you may need them to take you somewhere. 

4. Plan to take your husband to work at least once a week. 

This may not work all the time depending your husbands work schedule. When my husband worked nights it didn't work because I wasn't going to wake K in the middle of the night to pick him up. But when he worked days, we could take him to work and have the car all day long. 

5. I cannot stress enough how much creating good relationships with people you can count on. 

My husband was rear ending in an accident totaling our one and only car left. I was at church with my Bible Study stranded. My wonderful friend and her husband said that we could borrow their second car until we could get a replacement. That was SUCH a blessing because we couldn't afford for my hubby not to go to work. If we didn't have a wonderful group of friends and support I don't know what we would've done. 

6. Get out of the house every day. 

For a while our neighborhood didn't have a playground but that didn't stop us from going outside. If you are stranded at your house, secluded, feeling like a hermit crab you will get cabin fever from not being able to go anywhere. Make a plan or time everyday to go outside. And Change it up! We would lay a blanket down and play in our "front yard" or the small small portion of grass in front of our apartment, we would grab the stroller (which we left by the front door) and go for a walk. Or I would set up chairs on our porch and I would read to K. 

There is always something to do outside, weather permitting. Enjoy God's beautiful creation around you! 

7. Pick up a new hobby. 

This is especially important during winter when it is harder to get outside. If you have something to occupy your mind the time will pass much more quickly and you'll forget ever wanting to leave the house that day. 

8. Be open with how you are feeling with your husband. Always. 

If you express that you are starting to get lonely at home or need some time out, in a non complaining nails on the chalk board sort of way, I am sure you and your husband can find a time when you can just take the car and go do something for a little while. I know I took every opportunity I could to get out of the house, whether it was to run and errand or to go to Bible Study. I know that if I tell my husband that I am feeling lonely or sad or upset about something, he will do his best to find a solution so that I don't feel that any more. 

Do we still have one car? 
No, when we moved to our new place we were blessed, by family, with a second car but after going through having only one car I now am grateful for the wonderful gift a second car is and I also put some of the things I learned while having only 1 car to use, which saves us money on gas. 

Your Turn: Do You Only Have 1 Car? What are your tips? 


  1. We only had one car for a while before baby, and it was rough, but luckily public transportation is really easy!

    1. Yes! That would have made things nice! For us we didn't live anywhere near public transportation, it was so hard!

  2. #1 is so true: don't be embarrassed OR get upset! We don't have a car and I'm really happy with our decision. But it also means that we can't expect other people to drive us around places (which I actually like, 95% of the time. Walking = the best)

  3. We've always had two cars and I think it would be challenging but we could make it work if we had to with just 1.

  4. We've been lucky to have more than 1 car. However, even though we have - I always would rather take public transportation! You get to read, return calls, relax. Any day.

  5. Very good tips! And it's nice to know you were able to make this arrangement work. I'm not currently working at a "real" job, and I keep suggesting to my boyfriend that we should sell my car, but we're still on the fence about it. It makes financial sense but I'm always worried what it would "really" be like to be without transportation. Sounds like I should start baking cookies for the neighbors! :D

  6. We may have to incorporate some of these ideas. We currently have two vehicles and about to have two more drivers - our teenagers.

  7. As someone who lives in texas I agree: there's no way you can get by with one car in this state. I tried walking to the grocery store one day but it was 2 miles one way!

  8. We are in one car right now. It is hard at times but we make it work.

  9. I understand your frustrations and resolutions very easily! While I was still living in the States I actually had my CAR STOLEN ONE NIGHT! Can you believe that still happens? lol. Anyway, we knew we were moving to Costa Rica in a year's time so decided not to buy another. Now living here, we do have a car, but rarely use it, instead biking every where. More exercise for sure, but not tooooo bad : )


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