Kyle and I have been sharing one car for about four months now and I think it’s high time to give you an update in how that decision has impacted us.
Financially, we’re not not-spending nearly as much money as we projected.
Relationally, sharing a car has enhanced our marriage.
Logistically, going down to one car hasn’t been much of a challenge, but at times it has caused stress.
I projected that we would not-spend a little less than $1,000 by dropping the second car, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case.
Fixed expenses: My estimates for the DMV-related costs remain the same as I have no new information in that area. For some reason our new 6-month insurance price was $418.47 instead of the $380 I was told verbally. (I should really call to figure out why that changed…) Our parking permit price is increasing from $274 to $303 next year so not buying the second one will be a bit more not-spending than we expected.
Variable expenses: It’s difficult to tell if we are spending any less money on gas. I haven’t been confident enough in that to reduce our gas budget from $120. A couple months recently we spent only about $90 on gas in a month, but other months (like last month) we went over our budget. It will take a longer baseline to see if there is any difference, but I’m fairly confident if there is any savings it is minimal. This is a surprising outcome since we are carpooling to work now, when we weren’t doing that consistently before (but we only drive 3 miles to get there).
Instead of spending $972 less per year than we had been, I expect to spend about $681 or about 30% less than I projected.
I had no idea how much sharing a car would improve our relationship! I mean, I didn’t really know our relationship had a lot of room for improvement (that could reasonably be affected by sharing a car), honestly, but I was wrong. We are spending a lot more time together: walking and driving on our commute, running errands together, and additional time at home due to our sleep schedules being better synched. Going to sleep and waking up closer in time has eliminated a great degree of conflict in our relationship. Since I am a quality time person, I love all the additional hours spend together talking and joking around.
We still have had only a small number of true conflicts that would necessitate the second car, though we have made compromises on driving times frequently. I’ve had to ask for a ride from a friend on two or three occasions, which Kyle is very reluctant to do. Mostly it has worked out fine, and we do have public transport and Zipcar options if it ever comes to that.
The only downside of sharing a car now is that having any trouble with our primary car becomes much more stressful. In advance of our trip to Chicago we got the car checked out to see if there was anything amiss and we ended up getting the oil change, the brakes replaced/cleaned, and the A/C fixed. We were able to use the bus system to get back and forth from work that day, which went smoothly, but not having the second car to fall back on in those situations inserts a degree of uncertainty. How many days would we be without the car? How much would the repair cost? There is now no recourse like we had with my car to elect to not repair it right away.
In conclusion, this exercise of sharing a car has been wildly successful in a largely unexpected manner – improving our marriage. Logistically it’s been easier, though more stressful, than we imagined it would be, and we’re not saving as much as we had expected.
Have you ever shared a car for an extended period of time? How did that choice affect your relationship with your co-owner/user and your life generally?
Filed under: cars