Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Family Car


Ok, we bought a van.  It is not the best choice in terms of gas mileage, not the greenest vehicle, but I think we are doing this in a "green way"  First of all, we are expecting a third child which makes it nearly impossible to fit 3 childrens' car seats in the back seat of our smaller cars.  (but I confess that we were getting a van even before we found out our "news")  because there have been just too many times we have had other people we wanted to include with us on trips and the smallest of economy vehicles that we have owned since "BF"  (before family) are being "overgrown" with having a now larger family unit.  (even larger come January) and our camping trips...very tricky to pack the four(soon 5) of us and our camping gear into a an economy car (even with a car top carrier)

My husband has been talking about wanting to sell his economy car for years. He hates to commute and bikes whenever he can.  With our desire to get a van, he tested out his ability to bike more often and then also to use the public transportation system.  After a fair trial, he decided he much preferred this commute than the one behind the wheel..  He gets more exercise, and when he takes the bus, he can relax, read a book, enjoy the people around him, not to mention support the PT system of our city. 
So, I also decided to sell my car, so that with the combined sales of both our cars plus a little more, we could try to get the best van we could without adding a "car payment" which we currently cannot afford.  So, for about $3900 we got ourselves a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan. 

It is nothing fancy, but it should be a good van for a long time if we take care of it and we do not have the stress of a car payment.  Granted, we may have a little more maintenance to do on it..but we don't drive a whole lot..about 10-12,000 miles a year..  I think at that rate, we may do just fine. 

So, we are a one-car family now!  And we are going to make that work.  I like the idea that we are simplifying..  There are may ways to make it work--to have one car.  especially when you have bike trails and public transportation.  So, we "dodge" the upward mobility ticket--We are not buying an "impressive" vehicle.  I want to state here and now that I am unimpressed by the "impressive"  I would much rather be happy, and simple, than rich and "impressive"  I think this "used" and "simple" way of purchasing stuff could actually become the new "black"...and I think it needs to--because buying new..or the latest...is not going to help our planet one bit..and research shows, that the higher the income(over a modest income that provides basic needs)--the lower the life satifisfaction-happiness.  Money does not equal happiness!!  (I read this in both Radical Homemaking and The Story of Stuff

The true trick to happiness is the ability to not depend on stuff for happiness..to find satisfaction with "less"  I believe this whole heartedly and it is my goal to integrate this as much as I can.  bit by bit.. 

We are perfectly happy to have our "old van"--and I feel no need or desire to have a newer one (so long as this one works well and reliably with regular maintenance).  What else do we need, really?  the latest gadgets?  (not really, those gadgets simply create more things that will break and have to be fixed and cost more $$ in the long run) 

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