> Guest Blogs > Ask Stay at Home Mum > Can a Family Survive with One Car?

Can a Family Survive with One Car?

Can a Family Survive with One Car? 

We had an email from one of our fans today with a question she’d like a bit of help with. Instead of us answering her, we thought we’d put it to all of you to see if you can give her some practical advice and share your experiences with her. Here’s her question :


I would love to get your feedback and the followers on whether or not a family
can survive with one car as we are considering doing this. The main reason
for this is to clear debt and get ahead. We own both cars but by selling one
we would have $12,000 and have worked out we could save $3,000 a year just
on fuel, insurance and rego (more if we included servicing and repairs). We
live two blocks from town centre (we are in the country), partner works
fulltime and I work casually at nights and weekend which I could walk to if
needed or ride a bike (bonus of exercise). We have a toddler and another one
due in December but have been thinking of ways to free up money and take the
pressure off. Our debt is isn’t huge and the money left over would be put on
the mortgage and away for savings. The main issue for us is we are use to
having two cars and the ease of that but that aside that all I could see are
the pros. I also dream of a simple life where money and things aren’t that

Would love to hear from people who have done this, who are doing this and if
people this we are mad!!

Thanks Sarah.”

What would your advice to Sarah be?

  • Penny Marley

    With a saving of $3000+ a year you could always catch a taxi on those few occasions you needed transport.

  • Nicole

    Yes! We did it for over a year! It is hard and takes some juggling, but it can work (we have a daughter and my two step sons). We have recently traded our one car in for a motorbike and a car (which costs the same), with the only reason being that I would like to return to work after having our daughter and have had trouble finding employment close to public transport, so I think as long as you are both able to get to work, it is worth it and with a little planning and forethought, it is pretty easy to juggle at other times.

  • Jennifer

    I think it’s a great idea especially if u dont need it to get to work. My husband and I have 2 girls age 15 months and 4 months and it worked great for us. We have 2 cars again now but only because my husband was given a work cat so we dont pay a cent

  • http://brendonshares.blogspot.co.nz/ Brendon Anderson

    Hi Sarah

    My wife and I, along with our 14 month old, only have one car. We have chosen to do this for the exact same reasons as you have outlined above – to save money. I live 2 blocks away from my work. I am a school teacher and sometimes have to lug books and a laptop in my bag on my shoulder while biking. Some of the time, especially on wet days, it gets a bit tough, but we cope – I usually get my wife to give me a lift or because I live so close to work, i dodge showers in kind of a man vs nature way. We cope because we realise we are saving money and that we actually don’t need two cars. It is a pleasure riding to work each morning. I arrive at work feeling refreshed, energised and it’s simply a great way to start the morning. So aside from wet days, and the odd day when I’m tired, its absolutely fine. I say go for it, after a while you will get used to it and find you get fitter and healthier from all the extra walking and biking. You’ll also wonder why you ever had two cars! Hope that helps.


  • Amy

    Hi Sarah,
    We recently have gone back to living with one car after moving to Perth. My husband generally rides to work on his bike or he catches the bus so I have the car for running around with the kids. You do save heaps and I say go for it especially if you work locally. It does take a bit to get used to and sometimes you do need to organise yourself when it comes to sharing but really it’s not an inconvenience at all.

  • Denise Coscia

    My hubby and I with one 2 year old have had one car for over 2 years. I’m still frustrated about this fact as there have been times recently where 2 cars would be handy – we both work full time with daughter in child care. However, some how, is working. We are lucky as we have nana if we met stuck but other wise we are ok. I walk to work and hubby does rchild care in the morning. If you can tough it out for 12 months initially then review your need, you’d knock that debt off in no time

  • Amber

    Hi Sarah. Yes, a family CAN survive with just one car! We have a 4 and an 8 month old. My husband works full time about 10 kms from home and needs car and I work part time 12 kms the other direction and can get there by train. On days I work all 4 of us get in the car and get to daycare by 7:30, my husband drives on to work then after I settle the kids at daycare I walk to nearby train station to catch train to work. On weekdays that I am home with kids, we stay in or walk to local parks or jump on the bus to go to library storytime, play dates, etc. I do online grocery shopping to save lugging around heavy bags with a pram. On weekends of course the car is available for swimming lessons and other family expeditions. It works for us because we do have good public transport in our area and there are plenty of handy places within walking distance. We’ve only ever had the one car so our lifestyle has automatically developed around that.

  • Kitty

    Sarah, we do exactly this! The difference is we don’t have kids yet, so not sure how that would work. We also live in a small country town, and our house is 3 blocks from our local IGA. Hubby takes the car to work each day, and I use a bicycle for groceries etc and errands around town. The downside is sometimes having to cart 5kg+ of groceries home on the bike each day. It works well for the two of us though. I also enjoy the simplicity of life without a car!

  • Simone

    Hi Sarah,
    My husband & I have only ever had one car. Pre-kids, we’d share to work & now with a 3yr old & 1yr old it still works. My husband cycles or takes the bus to get to work (wouldn’t find a park anyway) so I have the car all day with the kids to run errands & get to activities. I work parttime in the evenings so take the car then.
    I’m thinking it might get a bit harder once the kids hit school age & we need to go in two different directions on a Saturday morning but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
    Give it a go. For all those savings it’ll be well worth a little extra planning to make it happen.

  • Shannon

    We’ve always been a one car family. We bought a house close to my workplace and so I walked to work. Now that we have two little ones it means a bit more organising, but while I’ve been a SAHM for 2 years, I’ve really gotten to know the ins-and-outs of our town by walking everywhere. Next year when I go back to work part-time, it’ll mean getting up a bit earlier to jog the kids to daycare in the tandem pram before work. Forced exercise regime! I do live close to my parents who are happy to give us a hand if we get stuck and need a lift somewhere. For the inconvenience it sometimes causes (rainy days are a problem, for example), we save a lot of money, and do our bit for the environment.

  • Jenna

    We have always been a one car family until six months ago when we moved states and became a no car family. Eventually we would like to get one car again as public transport here is really bad but I would like to go at least a year without a car first. We have managed to save up a deposit for a small unit by not buying a car and the weight just falls off because we walk everywhere.

  • Inez

    Yes, definitely. I am a STAH Mum with two kids and a husband who works full time, which sometimes involves shift work. We also used to live in the country and so at the time we sold one of our cars. I often drove my husband to work and picked him up or if I didnt need the car I would walk – which was a 20 minute walk into the shops. So great exercise. Twelve months ago we moved back to Brisbane and so far we have survived with still only one car. We chose to buy a house near my husbands work and close to my son’s school, which is again in walking distance. Somedays I feel as though I am constantly a taxi – picking up husband/ kids but in the long run we are saving a heap of money. In all reality we would only use the two cars for work/ school drop offs, as come weekend, we definitely only need the one car. and like someone mentioned for the odd occasion, for what you are saving, a once-off taxi fare isnt going to break the bank.

  • Adelle

    We’ve had one car for about 4 years now – we’re pre kids, and work full time about 40k from home. Things that really help are:
    - planning your week in advance so that you run errands in clusters when you have the car
    - running errands on the way to / from somewhere else
    - researching online so that you know exactly where to go to buy something
    - getting groceries delivered at least once a month – order all of your staples, non-perishables, cleaning products, drinks and other heavy stuff. Delivery is really resonable.
    - have a calendar at home with EVEYRTHING on it and then don’t commit to anything until you’ve checked the calendar – that way you haven’t both committed to be in different places on Saturday morning and then have to play ‘paper, scissors, rock’ to see who cancels

    The upside is more than just the cost savings – you prioritise and simplify your life, do more together and get more excercise.

  • Annie

    We have been a one car family for a couple years now. My hubby works in the city and catches the bus and train to work. It’s too expensive for him to drive into work everyday anyway with parking at about $18 a day. We have a 6yo and a 3yo and it has worked fine up until now. With the 6yo starting sports and having training one day, swimming another and game day on Saturday it’s getting a little much. We are looking at getting a second car soon.

  • Linda

    When my kids were little and actually all the time we only had one car, my ex rode a pushbike to work, but I didn’t drive the car if I didn’t have to due to the cost of petrol!
    I had a pram with a toddler seat and we walked everywhere.
    When I re entered the workforce it was as a Family Dayvcare mum and then there were 5 kids to walk everywhere, we wouldnt have all fitted into a car anyway but we walked and they all had great fun!!
    When the kids started school they got the bus ( we lived in a country area too and bus transport was free whilst in infants school)or we walked or sometimes I drove them.
    We survived and I am sure you will too, just think of the pennies you are saving and all the health benefits too.
    Linda :-)