What kind of sacrifices do you have to make in your daily life in order to keep a quality frugal lifestyle? And at what cost? Is it socially embarrassing at times? Do you decline invitations to eat out because you don’t want to waste the money, even if you have it? Maybe you intentionally skip the movie theater to wait for it to be “free” on Netflix. Or one of my personal favorites–refusing to pay for parking when you go out. I will drive around however long it takes until I find that street spot. Or take the subway if it’s easier.”Valet? No way!” I just made that up! Spread it. And I might add, LA makes it very easy to valet–we have them everywhere. Including The Container Store, people. It’s no joke. The pressure is on. Everyone has techniques they use to save money and at times, it can be a huge sacrifice. Sharing one car is that for us.
Let me tell you folks, it isn’t easy. I’ve mentioned a few times that we’ve had a recent switch up with my husband’s job which requires him to commute to an office now. It has created a huge change in our car sharing dynamic. He will take it to work however many days a week he can unless I have some particular thing planned. Some of the time I’ll drop him off or pick him up because it’s very close, but the rest of the time he’ll take the bus. It’s a bit more of a trek for him to get to the office once off the bus than his last job, but it’s still doable. That creates a great amount of guilt in me on the days I use the car, so I try to limit it if I can. But the flip side of that is being stuck at home all day and only doing things within walking distance unless I want to PT it. That’s slang for “public transportation”. Spread it.
Besides the occasional “poor you” looks we get from people when we say we share a car (it was a choice!!) or having to coordinate with friends, (“Oh sorry, I don’t have the car today…can you come to me or are you free next Thursday and I can come to you?”) can be a pain. And it makes me feel bad because I certainly don’t want my friends making sacrifices because we chose this lifestyle. Most people are understanding–or just don’t care at all. I have to remind myself that this is the financially responsible choice that we made together. It wouldn’t work for everyone, but it does for us, even if it’s hard. Sometimes I see a friend’s picture on social media and I actually think to myself, “she could leave right now and go to Target if she wanted”. That’s when you know you’ve gone a little stir crazy.
In light of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to add up our estimated annual savings for those of you who have more than one car and may be persuaded to downsize. The good outweighs the bad most of the time. Because I’m incredibly math savvy, I have simply doubled the expenses associated with one car to predict what it would be for two. I’m sure there are instances where this is inaccurate. For example, I don’t know how much gas I would use if I had the car all to myself every day of the week. But this will give you at least a general idea of potential savings.
- Car insurance for one car and two drivers is $130 with State Farm. This includes renter’s insurance. Car insurance for two would be $260.
- Gas per month is $220 on average for us. Gas for two cars would be $440. We are lucky that my husband’s job is only three miles away, so even the days he drives haven’t really made a difference to what we were spending when he worked from home.
- Maintenance is about $60 every three months. So let’s call that $20 a month for funsies. $40 if we had two cars. We get our oil changed every 3,000 miles and have yet to have any major work done because our car is still fairly new. This would obviously be different for anyone who drives something much older and needs new brakes, tires or a battery–none of which have popped up for us yet. Either way, everyone has to get an oil change and so we are still saving half the amount. And when the time comes to replace parts, that will be half as much as well.
- Parking. In the city life, we have this wonderful thing called “street cleaning” that apparently keeps our neighborhood looking nice… When we had two cars, one was able to park in the driveway, but the other had to be on the street. There was one week where despite our driveway spot, both my husband and I got tickets for parking during street sweeping. Don’t ask me how we did it, but $152 later, we only need the driveway spot for one car. I don’t know how to calculate the savings of the possibility of a ticket decreasing, but just know that I’m getting rich slowly off of it.
- AAA membership is $73 annually. I believe this would not change as you and your spouse can be on the same plan regardless of whether or not it’s for the same car. I actually added my husband to my membership before we were married because he didn’t have one and the cost hasn’t gone up or down since.
Our annual savings for one car is $4440, or $370 a month. These are all the payments we make that come to mind, which are surprisingly few. And that is without factoring in bigger maintenance or accidents. Some people spend this amount in car payments alone. Is that you? Do you need to make a change? What other areas do you sacrifice in order to save some major cash? Can you see the value in it despite the difficulties? Am I talking too fast? It doesn’t have to be savings in the thousands to be worth it. Try making your own list today and see if you’re pleasantly surprised.