How Many Cars Does Your Family Need?
Car’s aren’t cheap. Even in Malaysia which has a wide selection of locally-made cars to choose from, each one represents a significant investment on the buyer’s part regardless of what their income might look like.
This is especially true if you have a family and you’re already spending a lot of money to fulfill the many needs a family may have. When it comes to choosing a family car, there are many important technical considerations to make such as fuel efficiency, safety, and of course the amount of space available to fit a whole family and whatever luggage they may be carrying.
Some families ease their daily routines by owning multiple cars. Perhaps there’s one car for dad, one for mum, and if the kids are old enough to drive, sometimes a family may also buy cars for them to drive to college or work every day.
While it may be convenient for each licensed family member to have a car of their own, for most families the costs of doing that may greatly outweigh the benefits. So this begs the question: how many cars does a family truly need?
As with most things in life, the answer can be quite subjective. To figure out your own answer to that question, here are a few things you’ll need to think about.
The pros and cons of having just one car
Having a single family car means that all of the family’s automotive expenses are only needed for that car. This includes servicing and repairs, petrol, the annual road tax payment, and of course, automotive insurance. This could work smoothly if the family uses it as a ‘carpool’ vehicle, which means that one person acts as the designated driver and taking everyone else around every day; dropping your spouse off at work, and then dropping the kids off at school or at their other daily activities.
However, this is also the same as putting all of your eggs in just one basket. If that car was to break down or be unusable for whatever reason, everyone in the family will have their daily routine interrupted. No one will be able to get to where they need to be for as long as that one family car remains immobile.
Also, everyone’s schedules will be reliant upon one another. This would require the family to maintain a more rigid schedule to ensure that everyone gets to where they need to be, on time.
The pros and cons of having multiple cars
Having multiple cars for a family is much more convenient. Everyone can move at their own pace, and in the event that one of those cars can’t be driven, there’s always the opportunity to rely on someone else in the family to drive you to where you need to be. Doing things this way would ensure a lot of freedom and flexibility when it comes to getting around, and everyone would have their own car to suit their needs, and their personal style!
However, having multiple cars means multiplying the automotive spending for the family. Each car needs insurance, road tax, maintenance, parking costs and fuel; all of which can prove to be quite a burden when lumped together. Flexibility and freedom comes at a cost!
Whether you decide that your family should own a single car or a few of them, there are other ways to reduce your costs.
Used cars are cheaper
Firstly, remember that pre-owned or used cars are much cheaper than brand new ones and they’ll still get you from Point A to Point B. Some people may believe in the negative stigma of used cars, but as long as you do your homework and make sure that the car is in good working condition, it will probably serve you and your family well for many years to come.
Or, you can also get creative and mix things up. Your family’s primary car may be brand new, but you could always invest in pre-owned cars for the rest. Remember: figuring out the car situation for your family is not an all-or-nothing affair; some people even have a brand new car for family outings, while also owning a motorcycle that lets them get to work quickly every day.
What’s important here is to carefully understand your family’s needs and budgets and match it to the best combination of solutions.
That unique combination of transportation for your family could also include options like ridesharing or public transportation. For instance, if you’re working right in the city centre, using a car every day could be very burdensome. The costs for monthly parking and the stress of being caught up in Kuala Lumpur’s traffic jams every day may not be worth it for you, so you may find it best to include the use of trains to get to work every day; while either parking at the train station’s park-and-ride facilities or taking a rideshare there!
At the end of it all, the decision to purchase a new car or not is a very personal one, but it's a decision that comes with a significant commitment on your part. The most important thing to do is be honest about what you actually need and what you’re realistically able to afford. Once you’ve done that, finding the best combination of transportation solutions for your family is easy!