We talked last week about some of the benefits of a single car family, and Jade shared her experiences as part of a one car household. She touched on some really great tips and benefits of sharing a car, and it got me thinking about my own car-sharing experience.
My husband and I have been a single car family since 2006. When we bought our house, we sold my car and used half of the money from the sale to buy a scooter and the other half to pay off credit card debt. Honestly, just paying off that debt made selling my car worth it to me! Not only do Dave and I share a car, but we have quite a few friends who do the same, so I thought I'd share some tips we've learned over the years.
Coordination is Key
Jade talked about this, and it sounds like she and her husband work a lot like Dave and I do, but another couple I know has a much more hectic schedule. For them, just communicating about the car won't cut it. Between his job and band practice and her job and side businesses, they are constantly on the go.
So, how does a super-busy family coordinate? This couple keeps a shared Google calendar, where they enter all of their appointments and whether they need the car. Since they can access the shared calendar from anywhere (including their smart phones), it's much easier to figure out when the car is free.
Most of the folks I know who share a vehicle also own or rent homes that are near a bus stop or train station, and they prioritized that on purpose when they were house- and apartment-hunting. It's much easier to be mobile if you're just a short walk or bike ride from public transit.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my husband and I also have a scooter. This is great for in town car-free trips where we can't walk or ride our bikes. We share a 50cc Honda Metropolitan. What's great about a 50cc scooter is that you don't need a motorcycle license to drive it, and you're not even required to get insurance (though sometimes I get a little nervous about not being insured).
Once you've paid for the machine, all you have to do is put gas in the thing once in a while and deal with occasional maintenance. To get an idea of how those little scoots do on gas, check out my pal Jo's piece about his Honda Metropolitan's stellar gas mileage. His experience is pretty typical - mine gets 90mpg, and 80-90mpg is what the folks I know who own 50cc scooters seem to report, too. Your mileage will depend on how well you maintain your scooter, how much you weigh, and how much heavy stuff you tote when you scoot around.
Sharing a car isn't without its frustrations and inconveniences, but honestly I love it. Even if you have to go as far as sharing a calendar to coordinate, you save so much money, and you're reducing your emissions to boot. It also really gets you thinking about whether you need the car for a particular errand, you know what I mean?
Car owners looking to insure your family car might check out car insurance quotes online.