Sunday, March 2, 2014

A One Truck Family

We're now a one car- or maybe make that one truck- family. Yep, we took the plunge and sold our Honda Civic.

Raise your hand if you think we're crazy! :)

Many of you know that Daniel and I have been living paycheck-to-paycheck for a looonnngggg time. What that means is that your paycheck covers all of your living expenses, but when something out of the ordinary comes up, you don't have money for it. There's no wiggle room, no extra. Car repair. Friend/Family birthday presents. Haircuts. Yeah, you just don't really have the money for it.

We've had other seasons in our marriage (mid-2012) where we've scaled back on month-to-month expenses to help get some relief, but it never was a big enough sacrifice to really change our paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

In the past two years, we've prayed for the windfall. The flood. The outpouring of money. That big lump sum that was going to be our saving grace. Or the higher raise at work that would make us feel worthwhile. We know that God is big enough to do that for us. He loves us enough to do that.

Well, we saw that time after time, that was not going to happen for us. There was no non-sacrificial option for that to happen. God could do it, but He knew (and deep down, we knew) that would never the best option for us emotionally or spiritually.

Recently I started researching how families lived on one income. There are so many couples we know that live on one income. How on earth do they do it?! What's their secret?

With just browsing the internet, I discovered that many families try to get their rent or mortgage down to $500 a month. Ummm.. what? Yep, they recommended that your monthly food budget be about the same as your monthly housing budget.

I was crushed.

We bought a house in 2012, and while our monthly mortgage payment is great, it's not $500 great. So, shoot, maybe we can't be a one-income family. Maybe we can't get out of debt. Oh, do I feel like the hamster on the wheel.......

Fortunately, after enough searching around online, I did find one other secret to living on less- one car families. Yep, families that choose to have one car. Now, this I could get behind!

They described the benefits they've experienced...
  • Less money going towards car insurance
  • Spending more time as a family in the car
  • Less responsibility with managing only one car instead of two
  • More active thinking about where you are driving around to
And some challenges... 
  • Planning who gets to use the car when and where
  • Carpooling to work
  • Realizing that using one car will rack up miles and maintenance quickly
Daniel and I talked about it, prayed about it, and moved forward. We realized that we were really a one-car family anyway. We already carpool to work (which by the way- I love carpooling with him. We get to talk more each day because we're apart of each other's commute!). On the weekends, we really don't go any where. We both have bicycles (yes, bicycles) and like to ride them around our town. So, we can always use those if we need to go to the grocery store or Target, etc. Fortunately, in our town, everything is very close. 

By selling this car, we no longer have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. We will have money left over each month so that we can start saving again. Giving again. Breathing room. It's a huge relief and a great feeling. 

If you are struggling with debt and high month-to-month living costs, please know that it will get better. Let me say that again: it will get better. 

Keep in the faith and turn to God's word to comfort your spirit and show you a way out of the endless cycle. God will show you a way if you come to him with a gentle spirit and open heart. Challenge yourself to see where you can cut-back and live without. But also identify your must-have. Yes, that's not a plural. Just one must-have. For me, it was my iphone. I use that thing for so much, that I just was not ready to get ride of my smart phone. 

We've been a one car family for about a month now, and nothing feels weird or like a sacrifice. It's a huge relief to know that I'm only responsible for the maintenance of one vehicle. I love spending time with Daniel each day during our commute. 

What a wonderful and treasured gift this has become. This idea of living with less.

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