2 cars is frugal

Frugal people have no car, or they have 1. We have 2. How the hell can that help us on the road to FI?

Not so long ago, the Mustachian Post ran a question round on FI bloggers and their cars. I was asked as weel. It got me thinking on how we can have 2 cars and still consider us frugal. Here is what I wrote

We are a frugal family and we have 2 cars. What is wrong? Is the second car really a need? Or is it a want to show off to the neighbours? Given that we drive a Skoda and a very modest second hand Ford Fiesta, it is not to show off…. For a long time, we got along fine with just one car. Now that our kids grow older, their activities increase, we decided that a second car would make our life so much easier.

What does that mean? To me, it means that cars are not important to us. They are a need, not a want. Why? Would they be a want, I would be driving another car. The Skoda is actually a company car. I could easily get a nice AUDI or BMW. In stead, I opted for a cheaper, modest car and a train subscription. I bike to work and then I can relax on the train. It allows me to drive the kids to school by bike – they love it and the bike ride in the evening makes all the stress go away

One of my hobbies is to take photography roadtrips with friends. We often meet far away from where I live, at hours that public transport is not an alternative. I then take the car. When the kids have their weekend activities, or my wife wants to go to see family of friends, the second car makes it easy for us. Public transport can not help us here, unless you want to travel for 70 minutes for a 20km distance. Not us.

These roadtrips mean a lot to me. They are a way to be out in new places, get an adrenaline rush every now and then and hang around with friends.

In the morning, I bike to school with the kids and then to the train station. When one of the kids gets sick, I need to bring the sick one to my mother. With the bike, that would be 1,5 hours ride. Not ideal.

Just the other week, our youngest woke up with a fever. I was very very happy to have the second car around to drive her to my mother to take care of her.

As we minimize our car rides, we have the option to take a small, cheaper car (and also cheap taxes and  gaz consumption). We even minimize insurance buy taking out one that has reduction when bought online and when you do a limited amount of mileage.

As FI is not our main goal, happiness is, having 2 cars does contribute to our main objective. And we do it as frugal as possible.

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22 thoughts on “2 cars is frugal

  1. I hate cars. I see them as a waste of money, but they are necessary today. We have 1 car in Stalflare’s household, we try to use the “rental car by the minute” that seem to have picked up quite a lot in italy and indeed save you a lot of money. Owning a car here is terrible there are just too many taxes on them, so even if you don’t use it all that much between taxes and insurance, if you get a good rate, you are looking at 1000/1500 euro per year easily, and that’s just for the pleasure of owning it. But the are necessary so in the end I keep my old faithful hybrid toyota and try to economize on fuel consumption too, not always easy but I try to keep the cost tally to a minimum..
    Ciao ciao
    Stal

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So actually you ‘own” 1 car. Cause the company car really isn’t yours.
    I have a company car too and it is way too expensive and fancy, but we at present do not have the option to downgrade and opt for other means of transportation.
    You actually are doing that, which proves that you WALK your TALK.
    Great stuff. Byt the way, I looove your photo’s

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Technically, we own one car. We do pay for 2 cars via the taxes on company cars. I am very fortunate to have a flexible car policy so we can spend our where we get the most value.
      I before had a Mercedes for 4 years, It did not make more happy than the Skoda. It was :ore expensive.that makes it an easy call.

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  3. Nice article ATL. I came to Germany in 2003 and purchased a second hand VW golf only in 2016. Main reason was kids. Also sometimes on weekends we needed car. I remember going to a swimming pool only 7 min by car but it took us 45 min to reach by walking, bus and tram. We had a double kinderwagen for 2 kids, 2 umbrellas as it was raining and 3 swimming pool bags with stuff and toys. That day I decided to end this pain and I am very happy with my decision. I was also a member of car pool company but just to fix 2 kids seat, adjust to a new car every time, set the navi etc was a hurdle.

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  4. For the first time in years, we are down to one car. Thus far the experiment has gone very well for us, but we do see why some families may require two cars. We’ll see how well this works for us moving forward. 🙂

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  5. Having kids and jobs and activities makes it really hard to have just one car. The great thing is that you have your priorities set and you are not in an FI “rush” – so why not have very modest/frugal cars and enjoy yourself. I think you’ve made a smart decision based on your values.

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  6. We couldn’t go without a car, but hopefully we can keep it at 1 at a time. With no kids that’s easy to say though. As long as you don’t go overboard, two cars doesn’t have to limit your journey to FI.

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  7. We are operating as a 1.5 car household. My partner’s car is less reliable than mine and currently the battery is dead. We don’t need his car for our every day life, but if one of us ever wants to leave town, it’s nice to give the other an option of having a car.
    For a daily lives, though, we depend on my car way too much. We live in a highly walkable town and now that the weather is more pleasant I am trying to limit the use of the car and start to walk more.

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  8. It sounds like you need the second car only for your fancy hobby, which is as “want” as it gets.

    If somebody else would say they really need to go out to dinner twice a week because “it means a lot to them” and “it is a nice way to be out in new places”, or “to hang around with friends”?

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  9. Posted too soon:
    If somebody else would say they really need to go out to dinner twice a week because “it means a lot to them” and “it is a nice way to be out in new places”, or “to hang around with friends” would you consider them frugal?
    It’s ok to spend on things that you like, but call it a guilty pleasure.

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    1. The second car is used about 10 pt for the hobby, 20 pct for sick kids transport and 70 pct for work moments that requires both me and my wife to have a car for work.
      Other than that, having a hobby is part of ùmy vision of life where I want to have fun with friends, even at a cost. Not having that would make me unhappy.
      The frugal element is more in the way we implement a 2 car household: no brag off cars, second hand where possible, not bigger than needed.

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  10. It’s great to see some pics of the urban fotography roadtrips on your blog. The cherry on the interesting cake.
    I really like the cooling tower. I little touch of HDR and not to much.

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  11. My wife and I have two cars as well. While we could probably get away with just one car if we really tried. It’s really nice having the convenience of two cars. Plus they’re paid for and not that expensive to maintain. So definitely worth it to us as well 🙂

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