When my husband changed career paths at the end of last year, ultimately deciding to go back to school, we realized that our expenses were a bit more than our day-to-day jobs could provide for. We sat down and took a close look at our budget. Which expenses were necessary? Or could be negotiated? Or even cut out completely?
After determining we for sure needed to keep a house and groceries on our must-have list, we realized that the cable bill and second car expenses added up to what we needed to recoup. Once we saw it on paper, it made the decision a lot easier.
First, cable was cut. We called the cable company and after a back and forth conversation of, "No, we really do want to cut it," and "No, we don't want an upgrade," and "No, we really do just want internet," and "No, we're not crazy," it was cut, saving us at least $100 a month. (We had a similar conversation when DirectTV knocked on our door one evening trying to sell us a package. They didn't know how to respond when we said we actually chose not to have cable.)
Second, we listed the car. What we realized when looking at our budget was that a car is much more than just the car payments; it's the car payment, car insurance, maintenance and gas, all rolled into one. By cutting out the one car, we were saving at least $500 more a month. And once we saw that number, it seemed completely necessary to let it go.
Once the car sold, it was kind of surreal to only have the one option. I work full-time five days a week, and Chris works three night shifts a week with class two days a week. Trying to juggle who has the car when was (and still is) the trickiest part of it all.
But you know what surprised us the most?
Having one car has been incredibly beneficial for our family life.
We go places together now - like, all the time. Because we HAVE to. And if you choose not to, then you're stuck at home alone. Liam and I take Chris to work on the nights he is scheduled, and he takes me to work on the days he has off. On the weekend, when there are errands to run, we all jump in the car and get out together. (Because, like I said, you're stuck if you don't.)
Chris has even become friends with the Metro system, taking full advantage of the bus and light rail on the mornings he has class and I have to head to work. And I have even tied up my tennis shoes and walked down to the park with Liam on the weekends Chris is working, braving heat and mosquitoes. (Seriously, y'all. What is up with the mosquitoes?)
It's our new normal. And it's a much more simple normal than either of us ever expected.