Second Car, Parking and Convenience

Home Personal Finance and Budgeting Second Car, Parking and Convenience

  • Avatar mxg67 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 82
    Joined: 11/25/2016

    I’m a new attending, currently sharing a car with my wife, a SAHM w/ one kid.  This is a car from my training days when budget was tight and one car was do-able.  My current job, we could still get by with one car but I’m wondering if I should get another for convenience or be more “grown up”.  Typically my wife drops me of and picks me up, we have a system and we’re used to it by now, drop offs are easy but pickups can be a hassle at times. I uber sometimes too.  My commute is 3mi, about 10-15mins.  Workplace parking is $2k+/yr.  Parking is what gets me the most and there aren’t any good alternatives.  The car will primarily be my weekday commute car, weekends we usually do things as a family so one car is fine, so total annual mileage will be <5k.  Annual cost, including parking, gas, maintenance and depreciation, is probably $4k or so.  Uber, which I don’t mind taking, is $10 one-way. Public transit is 45min one-way (walking plus an indirect route).

    A part of me feels silly being a doctor but getting dropped off or not driving myself.  But another part of me feels silly spending 4k/yr to drive a car 6mi a day and have it parked for most of the day.  I’m not sure if it’s quite worth it, or if I’m just being too cheap.  Anyone else in similar situations?  What would you do?

    Also, how much do you pay for parking? How much would you be willing to pay for convenience (parking, driving yourself, etc.)?

    #243896 Reply
    Avatar Peds 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4405
    Joined: 01/08/2016
    My commute is 3mi,

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    have you heard of a bike?

    be more “grown up”.

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    A part of me feels silly being a doctor but getting dropped off or not driving myself.

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    one day youll be happy doing whatever you want. until then, try practicing ignoring other people.

    #243898 Reply
    Liked by SLC OB, Lordosis
    Avatar FIREshrink 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1004
    Joined: 01/11/2017

    As a doc you can get away with being a little eccentric. I’d Uber or bike.

    #243902 Reply
    Liked by jfoxcpacfp, Kamban
    White.Beard.Doc White.Beard.Doc 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 936
    Joined: 02/06/2016

    Or maybe an eBike?  How is the weather where you live?

    Where I live we have 4 seasons but I do still tend to bike every day, even in winter.

    #243907 Reply
    Liked by ITEngineer, SLC OB
    Avatar ZZZ 
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 697
    Joined: 06/18/2018

    Move to a place where you don’t pay $2k for parking. You’ll probably get paid more outside of the urban metropolis, too.

    #243908 Reply
    Liked by Peds
    Craigy Craigy 
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 2049
    Joined: 09/16/2016

    Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my wife and kid home without a car.  But that’s up to you.

    Just get a super-cheap car.  I’d be tempted to get a used EV, for like $5k or $10k, for a 3 mile commute.  Don’t even need to put gas in it.

    Total annual out-of-pocket including parking should be just marginally more than what you’d have to pay uber everyday.

    Or sure get a bicycle.  But it sounds like you want the comfort of a car.  Otherwise a bike or vespa would do the trick.



    #243910 Reply
    Avatar Anne 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1159
    Joined: 11/07/2017

    I would be happy to be a one car family in your situation.

    If you are a runner, spouse drops off and you run home some days, Uber home when weather is bad or you don’t feel like running, is also an option. I wouldn’t get another car unless you actually want to.

    #243915 Reply
    Liked by SLC OB
    Avatar Peds 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4405
    Joined: 01/08/2016
    I’d be tempted to get a used EV,

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    this would be my second choice.

    #243918 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 3030
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    Strongly suggest you kind of ignore advice here or at work or neighbors or acquaintances.
    Probably spouse opinion counts most. When the spouse texts you “U”, that means you are on your own.
    Uber, bike or whatever. The $$ are kind of wasted sitting parked, but it’s really a hassle picking someone up. Maybe she likes it, I doubt it. You have alternatives.
    By the way, parking alone can be a PITA. I put this one in the time /convenience/stress free bucket.

    #243919 Reply
    Avatar Kamban 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2484
    Joined: 08/01/2016

    Is the parking of $2K due to parking near home or at work?

    How are the roads from home to work? Bike friendly? or shared lane with high risk of getting swiped by a car?

    I personally would not bike since the roads here are not bike friendly and I am sole breadwinner for a wife and kid. I think a used Nissan Leaf would be a good option if you can get free charging at work or can easily charge at home. Or Uber for those times that you can’t be picked up by your spouse.

    #243931 Reply
    Avatar mxg67 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 82
    Joined: 11/25/2016

    No go on a bike. Not bike friendly area and hilly.

    Also, to clarify parking cost is for my workplace, not home.

    If we were to get a car, a used leaf would be one of the options.

    #243961 Reply
    Liked by ITEngineer, Kamban
    portlandia portlandia 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 401
    Joined: 07/07/2017

    Annual cost, including parking, gas, maintenance and depreciation, is probably $4k or so

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    Are you including purchase price and insurance? $4K/year is probably on the low side if parking is $2k.

    I would avoid the second car for as long as you can due to the likely higher expense and hassle of maintaining 2 cars. But I hate the seemingly constant stream of maintenance tasks of having multiple vehicles. It seems like there is always another oil change due or a timing belt, brakes or tires that need to be replaced. And then the radiator goes. No thanks.

    If the current arrangement works well for you and the Mrs. why change?


    Edit: just saw that you are considering an EV, which would solve some of the maintenance hassle.

    #243962 Reply
    Avatar nephron 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 215
    Joined: 05/09/2019

    don’t get a bike, I don’t think that the money you save is worth the risk being hit by a car driving in the city.   I like the drop off/save the money plan as well.   You are saving more then you realize, parking/vehicle costs usually comes from after tax dollars, so another way to look at it is that you would have to make 7-8K in salary to pay for the 4K you save from being dropped off. It would be an easier decision if it wasn’t for the fact that your wife has to bring the kiddo with her dropping you off and picking you up.   That inconvenience would probably make me bite the bullet and get another car.  If your one way trips on uber are 10 dollars per trip, your cost of taking the trip everytime with uber may be less then buying a car and I might be just more inclined to take uber and only use my wife dropping me off when it was convenient and on the way.

    #244047 Reply
    Liked by Kamban, q-school
    mr_boo_jangles mr_boo_jangles 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 14
    Joined: 09/02/2019

    2.5 miles from work, Chicago.

    bought a bike from Costco…when it went on sale of course. so i bike, or walk, or run depending on my mood.  I tried to cross country ski once, bad idea.

    I have: 1 car.  2 kids. 1 wife.

    big, giant Volvo that sits in the garage, looks pretty, collects dust, waits to go to Costco, with 8500 miles in 2 years of ownership. (ugh, it pains me to say that. but it is what it is).

    but, everyone is different. we save a ton of money with one car.


    #244084 Reply
    Avatar SLC OB 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 559
    Joined: 06/23/2018
    1 wife.

    Click to expand…

    Glad you clarified that.

    #244088 Reply

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