Seven Months with Uber, Five Years with One Car

Before I rode with a helmet, the earliest days of the bike commute.

Before I rode with a helmet, the earliest days of the bike commute.

May 26 marked seven months with Uber. Those months represent my time using Uber as my car. In that time, I’ve spent $358.62 on Uber rides, a substantial sum of money, yet still less than the monthly car payment for our beloved Subaru Forester. Add on the cost of insurance, the gas, and maintenance, and that sum looks even better.

We’ve been a one-car household for five plus years now. We sold Sara’s car, a 2006 Nissan Sentra, in March 2011, I think. Since then, we’ve had one car for our family of two (now three, soon to be four). In 2011, we were trying to eliminate expenses, as we eyed other goals of ours (being homeowners, paying for Sara’s grad school, paying off my student loans and other debt). When we said goodbye to the Sentra, we also said goodbye to its car payment and insurance payment.

Before that, we, like normal working adults in car-centric locales, had a car each. Our parents had ensured this was the case, supporting us to some degree with insurance, making car payments, paying for gas, maintenance, and tires while we were in school and working our way toward being self-sufficient.

Going to one car seemed edgy—if not altogether crazy—yet justifiable. We lived in a rural town when we made the jump, and I had an office job a mile from our house. Sara freelanced from home.

We ride for fun, too.

We ride for fun, too.

We made it work, not always gloriously. Some days I needed to travel out of town for work, and I’d need our one car. Other times, Sara would travel, and I’d be without my regular ride. At times, I was fortunate to be able to use an office car with permission of a benevolent boss, who didn’t seem to think having one car was crazy (he never told me he thought so, that is).

To this day, nearly every workday, we have to communicate about who is going to use the car when. Here in The Woodlands, we chose where we live so that I could (and do) ride my bike to work. I can even walk if I desire. My commute has become my primary outlet for exercise.

I am privileged that our family could make such a choice about where we live, that we could almost view a second car as a luxury. This would not work for everyone, and I am not convinced that it will always work for us. But for now, I am content to avoid an expense, to enjoy a scenic commute, and to think twice about what I once, sort of unquestionably, considered a need.