One Family Vehicle

Here is a link to my blog post on the subject.

In December  2015 Karen and I talked about downsizing to one family car. Our situation was she is retired but might want to work a part time job close to home. I am assigned a company car for work. As I’m on call one week a month I drive the company car everywhere during that week as well.  We own three vehicles. An older truck, luxury car and a sedan which is the newest of the three. The annual combined mileage for our three cars this past four years was under 12,000.

We considered what the three cars were costing us and how we would handle going to one car.  Our answer was to budget to rent a car for the rare times a second is needed such as if one of leaves town without the other.

Some time ago we also talked about if we would keep a second car once we have the truck for the fifth wheel.  Several of the blogs I read include those that keep a second car for running around. Some claim the cost is a break-even when you consider the savings of not driving the more expensive truck when the fifth wheel is parked.  Others, including us, like to travel together in one vehicle rather than having the other follow in a car. As of December 2015 we plan to travel in one truck while fulltiming. We learned this when we rented an RV. There would only be one engine to maintain and the life expectancy of a diesel engine is long.

We came up with three options to consider as to how we would handle going to one family car from three. We considered the cost of each option which included insurance, taxes, maintenance and licensing fees. We did not consider what we are loosing in each vehicle in terms of depreciation:

  1. Sell all three cars and buy a 4×4 SUV capable of hauling our exiting 5×10 utility trailer.  This would actually cost us more per year in the long run. Although the annual savings from insurance, taxes and such is $1,776, we would have to spend maybe $8,000 more on the new vehicle after we trade in the three we have.  I used very conservative estimates on the value of our current three vehicles and what the new one would cost.
  2. Sell two of our current vehicles (old truck and luxury car) and keep the car with the lowest miles.  The remaining car (Ford Fusion) is nice to drive it cannot pull a utility trailer. We live on a few acres and have stuff we haul with the trailer. In this option we would not be buying the newer large SUV.  Annual savings would be about $830 net.  By net savings I mean we budgeted to rent another car (or truck to pull the utility trailer) at times.  We would also be putting a chunk of money in the bank to be used later to buy our diesel truck for the fifth wheel.  Karen likes this option the most.
  3. Sell all three and buy a smaller SUV that is not capable of pulling the utility trailer. The purchase price of the smaller SUV would be less than the larger SUV in option one. I’m of the opinion this would only be a good option if we decided to keep it as a second vehicle once we have the larger truck for our future fifth wheel.

(Update as of 9/18/16): We sold off our old truck but still have two cars. Karen decided she wanted a part-time job now that she is “retired.” Her work is just down the street from the house a couple blocks. We are selling off stuff that requires expenses such as maintenance and insurance.   This year the boat and truck are gone. Next spring we are selling off the motorcycle and then revisiting the idea of going to one car. The theory is that we would have a couple years before leaving in an RV to save more by having reduced expenses. Just another benefit of long-term planning.