Skip The Second Car To Save Money

Skip The Second Car To Save Money

In couples or families, the need for two cars is often taken for granted. If you really want to save money, consider the nuclear option: get rid of your second vehicle.

Photo by jaimekop

As financial blog 20 Something Finance points out, getting rid of your second car can save you thousands of dollars. Moreover, if you live close to work or if your schedules can accommodate it, you can skip the second vehicle with minimal inconvenience to your daily schedule:

5 years after giving up a car, I haven’t looked back at all. We never have to play “musical cars” in the driveway, we’ve saved time on maintenance and cleaning, I’ve rediscovered my love for biking, I’m in much better shape and have found a good stress release in biking, and we’ve been able to easily coordinate transportation needs to the point that an occasional scheduling conflict has never had us seriously re-consider the the move.

But the best part of all has been the cost savings. In fact, I cannot think of another cost cutting measure I’ve made that has saved me more money than getting rid of a second car.

The author estimates (very roughly) that skipping the second car can save a few thousand dollars per year, assuming that the amount of driving doesn’t change at all. Of course, if you end up cycling or walking instead, you will actually reduce travel costs. It may not be for everyone, but if at least one member of a two-person household lives near work or can use public transport, that second car may be more of a burden than it’s worth.

Serious About Savings? Get Rid of your Car [20 Something Finance]


  • This is exactly what I’m in the process of doing. I’ve estimated that my car costs around $5000/year (about $100/week) to keep.

  • I am considering this as well – comparing the higher rent it would cost to live closer to work (aiming for a 10-15 min bike ride) to the current cost for rego/insurance/repairs and I think I will come out ahead.

  • I would consider this if riding to work was an option, but living 40km from work creates limitations.

  • Serious about saving money, cutting down commute times and having a shedload of fun?

    Do what I did: get an Alfa 147 Ti second-hand (bargain basement prices on these things), put your significant other behind the wheel, then pick up a motorbike (I bought two for a combined total of $3500) and ride to work.

    Riding to work is just faster; even if you don’t lane-split or filter, you can still use bus lanes and T2 / T3 transit lanes – a definite advantage over driving yourself around in a car!

    Even with an inner-Sydney apartment, we can fit both bikes and the Alfa in our designated car space, so we never play ‘musical cars’, although that does sound like fun if you really think about it. I have never found an instance where we both need the car at the same time that couldn’t be solved by me saddling up on the bike or getting a lift with a mate. An even better scenario would be for us both to have bike licences, then she could ride the CBR and I could ride the Kawasaki, leaving the Alfa for lovely roads trips and the like.

    • Yep, tried the solution one car plus motorbike before. It worked very well for 12 months, until a driver making a right turn didnt see me coming. That accident left me injured and without skin on my hands and knees. Had a ‘shedload of fun’ when wiping my a** in the weeks afterwards.
      Never touching a motorbike again…

      • Yes, I can see how that puts a dent in the whole ‘shedload of fun’ I promised.

        Were you, by any chance, wearing motorcycle-specific leathers, gloves, jeans, boots or armour?

        I once had a fantastic barrel-roll through a roundabout in full gear; I got up without a single scratch on me and, because I was wearing knee-high motorbike boots, even when the bike tried to pin my left leg to the ground as I high-sided, I didn’t break any bones or damage cartilage, tendons or ligaments.

        It won’t save you from your or other people’s stupidity, but it can definitely mitigate some of that wiping pain you described.

        • Well I love the idea of no second car because the price of a second car with rego and insurance and fuel is a killer. HOWEVER reading through posts I agree and disagree with lots. I am in a wheelchair and I am also am amputee from a motor bike accident. It sucks that i had ALL the right safety gear and yet I have spent 7 years in and out of hospital.
          I wish there were better options for transport but my husband works 12 hour shifts and I have 2 children. We have no public transport and although I live in a city well sadly it is regional with not many public services. We have been fighting for bus services throughout the city but it seems a never ending battle. BUT I need that second car sadly and the fuel nearly kills us because I am unable to work at the moment and my girls need to be transported and I have lots of medical appointments. I really wish this was an option. 🙁

    • There’s a reason why second hand Alfas are so cheap. They’re not exactly the most reliable things in the world, and can cost a hell of a lot to fix, which would defeat the purpose of saving money.

      • I’d contend that second-hand Alfa Romeos suffer poor resale due to the popular misconception that even modern Alfas are unreliable rust buckets.

        There are hundreds of Alfas from the 147, 156 and 159 model lines that are still traipsing all over the place despite sale ‘values’ starting at just $2500 for a 2.0-litre 156.

        This makes for very cost-effective purchasing for what is essentially an Italian luxury car. I will concede that servicing European cars can get quite expensive, but with a little initiative and research you can complete minor services on the car yourself – for a fraction of the mechanic’s rates. I did an oil flush, filter change and oil replacement on my 147 with a single spanner and an hour free on my weekend. Total cost including synthetic 10w 60 oil: $85.

  • Family with two kids and never had a second car. Always found the combination of one car, four push bikes, bus/train pass and renting another vehicle for special occasions (moving things, having guests from overseas, etc) absolutely sufficient.

  • i have found having 1 car easy enough with a partner for a couple of years, however the 2 things that make it easier, 1) someone has to take an alternative transport to work either ride, run or PT as trying to line up work schedules is difficult. 2) we don’t have kids its a lot easier to go for a ride or PT (15 minute walk away) when its just us.

    Occasionally one of us has to catch a cab and generally speaking we are a little more planned because of it but overall it hasn’t been a hassle. Lots of my friends and family are in the same boat.

  • I’m actually going to do the opposite.
    After having sold the second car 4 months ago, I’m now looking at buying another in the new year.
    Yeah, it was a savings, but the sheer hassle of public transport and the other passengers…
    It takes about 20 minutes to work by car, it takes about an hour by bus.
    Bus, about $5 a day
    Old car, about $6.50 a day for rego and fuel
    New car, about $3.90 a day for Rego and fuel.

    As far as fitness goes, I’d be walking far more by car, as the free parking a ways away.

    I won’t have to put up with people singing along to their headphones, buses being late or not showing up, being afraid that the bus is going to hit cyclists and so on.

    • Have you also factored into those calculations insurance, parking, servicing and tyre wear?

      • Free parking, I do my own servicing.
        How do I account for tyre wear?
        Haven’t checked insurance, but even that cost will pale next to the joy of not having to put up with bus people.

  • We’ve also survived just fine on one car, but have a Flexicar membership just in case… If you live in the inner city and have one nearby, the $70 gives you flexibility for occasional use.

  • I know of a lot of people who don’t have the finances for one car much less 2 and they get along alright!

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