How many cars does a family need babycenter blog electricity production in chad

June is car month in my household — the time when our six-month insurance premiums are due, new registration stickers are needed for our license plates, and the oil change reminder pops up on our calendar. The total for these things comes to roughly $1,000 for two cars (and that’s before we’ve put in a drop of gas).

Thus, I was intrigued by a recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times on how one family of five has made a choice to only have one car. The father works in downtown Chicago, and he bikes to the train station to take public transportation to his job. The stay-at-home mother claims her kids have learned to walk or ride their bikes places (her four-year-old can do a mile!), and the family as a whole has a more relaxed pace because they don’t schedule a million activities that require running all over town.

When my husband and I first married, we were a one-car household. We lived in a college town where most things were within walking distance, and parking was so tight that a car was sometimes more of a burden than an aid. We later had Zachary and my husband found a job in Virginia, but we didn’t have the money to buy a second car. I would schedule all my errands or child-related activities requiring travel on one day of the week, drop him off at work, and pick him up later. The rest of the days, I’d plop my son in the stroller to walk to the park or the library. This worked fine until Zachary went to preschool and I needed the car everyday. We still made the one-car scenario work, but it was a bit more challenging.

Nowadays, my husband and I each have a car. While we are not big car travelers (our 6-year-old PT Cruiser is barely over the 20,000-mile mark), the convenience is addicting. With only one car, if my husband took the car each day Zachary would have to be in after-school care until his dad was ready to pick him up. If I took the car, I’d have to drop both my husband and son off and pick them up, which would not only kill a good part of my day, it would make me edgy during Chicagoland’s snowy, icy winters. We could do it, but it might not be pretty.

When we were pregnant with our third, we made the choice to stay a one-car family and buy new carseats instead of a second car. (We’ll have to buy a second car when we have another– unless we trade this one in– but it’s almost paid off so we probably won’t. And for now, we have the one, a Corolla. Yes, I have 3 carseats in the back of a Corolla. They’re Radians, the narrowest seat on the market, also nice and tall with a nice high weight limit. But I digress.)

My husband takes the car to work. We do our shopping on the weekends or after he gets home. If I need something during the day, I walk to the small ethnic grocery store nearby, the post office, or the park. Our complex has a swimming pool so we’re covered there. My husband is working toward a qualification that will allow him, by his employer’s rules, to take every other Friday off, so we can do more weekday things as a family.

It’s really not that hard. I don’t see why it has to be. If it’s a priority to save that money (and the environment), you make it work. It is almost always cheaper to buy new carseats than a new car, so even having a third child doesn’t usually mean you “have” to get a bigger car. (Four, though, does, if you have a five-passenger car like we do.)