Today I want to share why Marco and I decided to start sharing a car, in hopes that if you’re considering sharing a car, this will open up some conversation between you and your spouse!
As a financial coach, I know many of you are interested in learning creative ways to save without sacrificing your happiness or values. That’s what I’m here to teach you!
Why We Decided to Start Sharing a Car
Here’s the full story. I hope you wanted all the details, because I’m about to spill them!
In 2013, Marco and I combined our money. When we first combined our money, Marco was the saver, I was the spender. He’s always been consistent with his spending/saving habits.
I on the other hand had the mindset “if I’ve got it, I can spend it.” I remember I used to set goals like “pay off my car in six-months” or “get to $1,000 in my savings account.”
The problem with my goals wasn’t that they weren’t good goals, but that they didn’t quite align with my values. Yes, I wanted to save and I wanted to pay off my car, but as I set these goals, I didn’t quite know WHY I wanted to do those things.
Upon setting these goals I would do things like: swear off shopping; swear off eating out; swear off doing anything that felt like “extra” so I could meet my goals.
This led to a VERY up and down relationship with money (saving and spending) that I could never quite figure out. I’d get to $800 in my savings account, see that as the most money I’d ever saved, get super excited, and then spend every penny.
Today, our goals are drastically larger and drastically more in line with our values. Together, we have hit some big goals/milestones together and I am proud of our consistency and the way we steward our money.
This past year, we moved to Reno, Nevada, with the goal of buying a home. We moved on April 3, 2018 and on April 7, 2018 found our dream home. We decided to buy it and 9 months later, we moved in (new construction).
In November, upon moving in, we set a goal to do our backyard in April of 2019. Many people don’t know this but when you buy a new home (usually) you don’t get a finished backyard. Just a big ol’ plot of dirt ;-).
We weren’t 100% sure how much a backyard was going to cost, but to give you an idea, our first quote was about $50,000+. Gah! If your heart just dropped, times that by two and that’s what we felt. Haha!
We ended up getting the cost WAY down, but it was still a large investment that we wanted to pay cash for it. A lofty goal, I know! But, we did it.
A friend of mind shared this wisdom with me:
“Sometimes you have to sell beloved things to invest in other beloved things.”
Four-Wheel Campers (yes, that tiny little camper we had!) are NOT cheap. Think: $30k+ brand new. We didn’t buy ours new, but it was worth a pretty penny, and we owned it outright.
Since moving to Reno, we hadn’t used it much. Plus, in the future, we know that we want one that is a little bit bigger so that it can fit two little buggers.
And thus, we made the decision to sell our camper. (I do miss it!)
We took that money and invested it into the backyard (the backyard, the master, and the kitchen seem to be the places to invest money into your home that will amount in a return).
Not only was it an investment into our home, but it was also an investment into our values – our backyard is an area where we spend much of our free time. We have friends over weekly, the pups play back there, and we’ve had countless nights drinking wine in the rocking chairs, listening to music, and TALKING. It’s my favorite. Worth every penny.
So where does sharing a car come in?
Well, once we’d sold the trailer we were left with Marco’s truck and my new 4Runner. I did have a car payment on the 4Runner and I did not like having a car payment on the 4Runner (ha!).
If you remember when I had my Prius, I worked hard to pay that guy off. Then, it got totaled while sitting in the street. Gah! The check from that total helped me to buy my next car: the Rav4.
That said, the Rav4 was NOT 4WD. So when we moved to Reno and went through our first winter, we made the decision to take on a car payment to have a 4WD car.
Looking back, if I could do it all over again (this is where Marco will say “I told you so” – haha) I would go back and buy a nice, USED Toyota Sequoia.
Don’t get me wrong, I *love* my 4Runner, especially now that it’s all paid for (getting to this!) but had I bought the other car we would have built our savings up even more.
That said, we have a great, great car. And Marco and I are doing great sharing it. God willing, it will be in our family for a long time, take our future kiddo’s many places, and be a car that we make many memories in. For that, I’m grateful.
But for any of you who are thinking “should I go big and buy brand new?” or “get a nice used car…” those are my thoughts ;-).
Ultimately, Marco and I decided that there was no reason for us to keep his truck and that we would sell it, pay off my car, and then stick the rest into savings.
Enter in: we now share a car (and it’s all paid for – yay!).
What it’s been like for Marco and I to share a car
With me working from home, it has been incredibly easy to share a car thus far. That said, we also don’t have kids to haul around, which certainly makes it easier.
The only change is that our routine has shifted, in the best way possible.
I keep the car on Monday’s and Friday’s (I take Marco to work and pick him up) and he takes the car Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (which are the days that I work and meet with clients anyway).
I do all of our grocery shopping and errands on Monday. I use Monday to take Abby for a hike away from the neighborhood and I plan any meetings/appointments out of the house these two days.
On the weekends, we’re both home together and really, spend most of our time together, so it’s simple as can be to share a car.
Tuesday through Thursday, I expect to be hunkered down at/near the house. I take Abby on runs around the neighborhood, I work from home and I meet with clients.
Pro’s and con’s of sharing a car
- saves money on gas – overall, we just drive less!
- saves money on car insurance – one car versus two (ours didn’t cut in half, because you do usually get a deal when you have a two-car policy, but it did go down a significant amount)
- saves money PERIOD – we spend less money since everything is more strategically planned (aka, no random trips to Target when either of us “have extra time” – haha!)
- helps us to be more organized/routine
- it allows us to work together – it causes us to talk/plan together
- we get to talk on the way to work – I love this part!
- life just feels sweet and streamlined
- when I need tampons on a Tuesday (haha!) – but really, if there IS a random thing that I am not prepared to need, I have to ask for help to get it. Thankfully, Marco is a champ and got me tampons on his lunch break today (I know, I love him!)
- I mean, really… the only con is that when you need a car to do something and don’t have one, you don’t have one (but this also helps you to be better at planning)
- I can imagine there being many more cons/challenges if you have children or you both work away from home – but again, planning can save the day if you really do want to share a car!
Is sharing a car with your spouse right for you?
Do you want to share a car with your spouse? Are you looking to save money? Pay something off?
Challenge: If you have a question on this topic, post it in the comments below and I will answer it for you!
Things to consider:
- Are you willing to be organized and plan ahead?
- When will you do the grocery shopping + fill up the car?
- How much will your car insurance go down? Is it worth it?
- Who will have the car on which days?
- Are you willing to be without a car sometimes/days?
- How might you need to work together with your spouse?
- What will you do with the extra money you save from sharing the car?
I can see sharing a car being great for those of you who want to pay off debt, who are trying to save, etc.
If you are considering selling a car or going down to one car, I’d love to help you think through this decision! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your situation with me – I’ll share what I recommend.
Our long term goal
Our long term goal is to save for a future truck and camper – one that will work for a four person and one pup family.
We’re also not 100% set on never having a car payment again. But if we do have one we want it to because we’ve really considered it and having one would add MORE value to our lives than not having one. And it won’t be a big one ;-).
We are absolutely committed to saving as much as we can, sharing a car for as long as we can, and making a wise, intentional decision when we do invest in our next truck/camper set.
Ultimately, we won’t share a car forever, but we will continue to share, likely until we have kids (or until it just no longer works – which right now, it’s great as I’ve said).
Post your questions in the comments, or email your situation to email@example.com if you’d like a recommendation for a next step.