There is he in all his beauty.

My wee little 1997 Nissan, Donatello (because he looks like a Ninja Turtle of course, can’t you tell?)

My Donatello, up for sale

Getting rid of the old friend is going to be difficult in some respects as we have simply got accustomed to having a car each. Like most people in our home town of Auckland, New Zealand, we rely on cars to get around. However, with Miss Health getting a new job where a train commute is possible when she isn’t cycling to work, there is simply no need to own two cars. So after much debate, Miss Health and Mr Wealth have decided to become a one car couple! As Miss Health already owns a more modern 2013 Toyota Corolla (Carol) below, this will provide everything we need above and beyond our bikes and public transport.

Carol, our one car couple all in one transport vehicle

So how did we reach this decision and what and the benefits and downsides of becoming a one car couple?

Let’s start with the benefits of becoming a one car couple:

Save on Cost-

Running a car on a yearly basis isn’t cheap. Especially when you weigh up the fact that it would be sitting idle 99% of the year like our second car would be. You have to take into account;

  • yearly registration fees ($200)
  • twice yearly vehicle safety inspections called Warrant of Fitness ($150)
  • yearly car service and twice yearly oil change ($300)
  • insurance ($250)
  • repairs and maintenance ($300)
  • depreciation ($600) however depending on your car this could run into the thousands yearly. I bought this car for $4900 in 2012 and figured I’d sell it for $1900

For owning a real beater of a car which is over 20 years old, we are paying a conservative figure of $1800 yearly to own something we would now hardly ever use. This was a major influence in swaying us to sell it and move down to sharing one car.

Better for the environment-

By only having one car, we are reducing the need for petrol, vehicle oils and lubricants and cleaning chemicals going into the water or landfill. As we are now less reliant on cars as our main mode of transport, we are becoming more purposeful with our use of the car. We are combining trips and planning ahead. For example, I’ll use it to commute to work which also doubles as dropping my clothes off for my cycle commute, picking up the groceries and picking up any library books we have ordered, rather than me commuting then doing other trips with the car in the weekends.

Better for our health-

By not relying on both having cars, it is making us think about other transport options. Miss Health either cycles to work or walks to and from the train station to get into the city for her work. I’m cycling to work 3-4 times per week instead of driving every day. Even in the weekends now, we look at options instead of defaulting to using the car. Deciding to go down to one car has made us much more aware and purposeful with each trip we use it for. This is making us cycle more or even walk or run down to the shops if need be or to see friends close by.

Better for our relationship-

Going down to one car says something about your relationship. It’s the next big step in our relationship and shows how far we have grown as a couple since meeting in early 2016. Sharing one car means we are becoming more interdependent on each other and we are also communicating and doing things together. We still have our independence, but going down to a one car couple shows you are serious to the other person and that you are willing to work towards shared agendas and a way of life together. Silly as it sounds, making the decision to move down to a one car couple has made us stronger as a couple.

Less stress-

Selling the second car just gives us one less thing to worry about. Worrying about having to park it on the street (as we only have one off street parking space) overnight is one thing that I worry about. Since owning I’ve had the car windows smashed twice, which is money being paid out of my pocket each time as we have only got it covered for third party. There is also less stress about whether it is going to pass it’s next safety check or how much the repair bill is going to cost.

Since it is 20 years old, the safety features in the car are minimal, meaning if we were to be in a crash with another vehicle, our chances of survival are increased substantially. We feel uncomfortable driving it on country roads, where as the Corolla, is the opposite of these, with great five star safety features and great handling.

What about the downsides?

The only downside I could see from this is that in the bizarre circumstance where we both need a car to drive to opposite sides of the city (or country) at the exact same time, we wouldn’t be able to do it. I figure this would be a once a year situation and if it came to it, a $40 Uber ride or a $50 bus trip to the next city would tie us over easily.

In that sense, I couldn’t see any downsides, so the choice is easy.

What should you consider if you also want to become a one car couple?

If you both commute to different sides of the city and public transport or cycling are not viable options, then going down to a one car couple might be difficult to pull off. Likewise if one of you needs to commute to work with it and the other picks the children up from school and takes them to sports, etc. Even if you have two cars, you can still go through the thinking of being more purposeful with your car trips and trying to combine errands, such as picking up the groceries on your way home one weeknight as opposed to the weekend.

Our decision was clear, the one car couple lifestyle was definitely for us

The question is…

Will you join us?