Monday, November 7, 2011

3 Keys to Sharing a Car

by Jade Evans

One of the major incentives to becoming a one car household is not just that it greatly reduces your carbon footprint, but that it also saves you a huge amount of money - an estimated $60K over just 5 years, actually, which includes gas, insurance, maintenance and repair, among other factors.

But I've got to be honest, becoming a one car family is not for everyone. There are a lot of factors that you need to take into consideration when you're sharing a car, like the availability (and closeness) of public transport, what kind of commute you and your significant other have to take for work, and how compatible your schedules are. You also need to commit! Don't keep that second car around "for emergencies" - go whole hog, and sell the thing!

From friends that have become a one car household, one of the biggest (intangible) positives about only having one car is that you get to spend more time with your significant other - and your family, if that's applicable.

For those that are considering becoming a one car household, honestly, it is simply a new habit, and people are quite adaptable. Sharing a car isn't as difficult as it seems - it's mostly a matter of keeping organized and being open to asking others for help.

1. Organization and Communication

Now that we have cell phones, coordinating schedules on the fly is not nearly as difficult as it used to be. One of the key things with only having one, well, you only have one car. So if the two of you work an unwalkable or unbikeable distance to work and prefer driving over any kind of public transportation, then you'll have to keep to a schedule. When are you both done with work? When do you start? If these are too disparate, it would probably be best to work out for one of you to carpool with co-workers.

It may seem daunting to schedule out your days so rigorously, but don't you do it already? We all (vaguely) plan when we will need to buy groceries, when we get dinner with our girlfriends, (hopefully) a date it's just taking all of that into consideration a little bit more in advance so that your standard planning for the week can be balanced with more last minute plans that might require a car.

2. Accommodate

Does your partner want to grab drinks with friends after work? Offer to be the DD. Know that they want to have a guys night at a more out of the way restaurant? Let them have the car and make plans to do something at home, or invite some girlfriends over. With one car, a schedule is of much greater importance, and it's like you have a second marriage to your car - it's all about give and take.

And if you ask to carpool with friends or family - always be gracious and work around their schedule, not yours!

3. Simplify

Being a one car household might complicate things in the beginning, but in the long run, it simplifies your life and begins the process of allowing you to trim the unnecessary things out of your life in other ways. You may no longer see the worth of upgrading that computer that you only bought two years ago or question if you really need three TV's...reducing to a one car household gets your mind ticking in other ways as well.

You spend more time with each other, and find ways to enjoy your time without having to drive somewhere. The challenges that you may face are small in comparison to the benefits that you will reap from moving to a one-car lifestyle.

Jade Evans lives in a one car household (as it is only herself!) but makes every effort to walk or bike rather than drive. She is a freelance writer who works with an online shipping company that can work with you if you're moving cross country with their long distance movers and various other shipping services. She's been writing for years, but only recently started doing so professionally.

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