A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about being a one car household in the rural countryside. I never thought I’d recieve so many comments about how having one car to share between two working adults just isn’t feasible when there isn’t access to public transportation. I guess I didn’t make the point of that post clear enough:
Having one car to share between two working adults who must both commute to work is entirely doable. Even without public transportation.
Let me repeat that: There is absolutely no public transportation to be had in my rural community, yet my fiance and I still manage to make it work, day in and day out. Some days it’s annoying, but most days it’s not. In fact, most days I thank my lucky stars that we’ve made it work with one car, because cars are freaking expensive. Having one is bad enough, two would set me back on my debt free journey significantly.
Now, we both live way beyond walking distance to our respective workplaces, so we’ve had to resort to some pretty creative ways of getting around. Here are a few:
I live eight kilometres from work, and while I ran that distance a few times while training for my 10k road race last spring, it’s a bit far (not to mention hilly) to bike. I work in an office without a shower so showing up all sweaty from an invigorating bike ride wouldn’t be the best strategy to get ahead in my workplace. My fiance, on the other hand, only lives 1.6km from a coworker, so on the days when I don’t drop him off in the morning, he bikes up there and hitches a ride into work.
While we haven’t purchased one yet, I would absolutely love to have a scooter. Fuel efficient, affordable, and perfect for driving alone, I’ve been drooling over a scooter for awhile. Living in a rural community and being so damn far from everything, a regular bike isn’t really the best option for getting around, but a scooter? Count me in! In my last post on this topic, some of the readers mentioned not being able to convince their husbands to give up the second car, maybe floating the idea of replacing it with a motorcycle will sweeten the deal?
My fiance and I carpool almost everyday, whether it’s me driving him to work, or him taking the car and dropping me off at work before taking off to do his thing (he’s an entrepreneur so his work hours and location are more erratic), we always make sure to coordinate our schedules. Beyond that, I often carpool to work with my own colleagues (one of whom lives around the corner from my house for part of the year), and he with his. Sometimes I worry that my coworkers might get annoyed with this, so I always make sure to offer to pay my fair share of the fuel costs, and I’m always prompt and ready at the designated pick up and drop off times.
Coordinating Work Hours
I work a typical 8-5 day, and in the summer so does my fiance. His business is seasonal, however, and in the winter he often finds extra work to keep busy. Since we only have one car, and the nearest city (read: source of jobs) is 30km away, he makes sure to only apply for positions with hours that won’t conflict with mine.
Working from Home
Finally, I’ve worked hard to show my employer the value of having me work from home. Having the flexibility to be able to stay home and work on my laptop allows me to forego having to arrange transportation completely for the day. I can just sit back on my couch in my pyjamas and not have to worry. Working from home has the added benefit of not having to navigate the treacherous winter road conditions that are often present in my rural community during the colder months – having two cars is expensive, but so is going off the road!
It’s Doable, You Just Have to Want It
Having one car in a rural area with no public transportation isn’t an ideal situation. In fact, attempting it with two working adults and children would probably be downright impossible, but as young professionals without children, we’ve found ways to avoid the ridiculous costs that come along with owning a second vehicle. I’ve actually discovered some hidden benefits including improved communication with each other and a better relationship with neighbours and coworkers. I’m serious about getting out of debt and that means eliminating every single unnecessary expense in order to throw more money at debt. A second car is unnecessary to us, and not having one has helped me pay off almost $13,000 of debt in ten months.
What huge expenses did you think were totally necessary only to find out you could live without them?
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