Before moving to Mt. Lebanon, we were a one-car family. We lived in Atlanta, and chose our home based on its proximity to their train. Living with one car was a very odd choice for Atlanta, but we loved the cost savings and benefits of owning only one car.
Not many families choose to live with one car in the Pittsburgh area, either. For most of the city and suburbs, it’s just not a great option. The No. 2 reason my husband and I moved our family to Mt. Lebanon was the access to public transportation to get downtown quickly (the No. 1 reason was our schools). Initially, we looked most seriously at homes that were within a few blocks of a T stop so we could remain a one-car family, but we didn’t find anything perfect. We settled on a home a little less than a mile from the Dormont stop, and also resigned ourselves to buying a second car. Due to my husband’s work schedule, it just wasn’t practical for him to be walking that far after his typical 10 to 12 hour workday. And with the birth of our second child, it was just that much harder to coordinate pick up and drop off times at the train.
But, for many that sort of distance is not a bad walk–and even if you think it is too long, when you add up the savings you might be willing to do it anyway!
Potential savings include the obvious: car payments, insurance on the car, maintenance, registration/inspection fees, gas. But from our experience in Atlanta, I can tell you that one of the biggest sources of savings is that only ONE person can be out spending money and using up gas at a time. If my husband took the car to go golfing, my options for entertainment were limited, and vice versa. Going to the mall, or even just the grocery store, seems much less appealing if you have to hoof it or get there via public transportation. Much easier to stay home and get some work done, play outside or take a walk, all of which have their own bonuses!
So if you are looking for a way to trim your budget, take a look at your transportation situation. You might be surprised at how little it would affect your life, and that if it does, it could very well be a positive change overall!
Does anyone live as a one car family? Have you found it to be a positive or negative experience overall in Mt. Lebanon?