Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Being a rural pastor's wife post #5

I'm on a roll with practical tips! We are going to talk about your car/cars today.
When we moved here we had one SUV and no children and no second car. I wasn't planning on working and I was ok with one car. When I was pregnant with Lamb 1 we decided to purchase a second SUV. This worked well until I was pregnant with Lamb 2 and we decided to trade in one SUV and get one minivan. A couple of years ago we traded in the second SUV and got a car.
1. Reasons why have 2 cars-The biggest reason that we have two cars is so I can take the Lambs to Sunday School at one church while Ram is doing the other two church services. If your house is close to the church this wouldn't be necessary. We chose to take the Lambs to the church in our tri-parish that had children close in age to ours.
I also was concerned that sometime we would have an emergency or someone would be sick when Ram had another commitment or possibly was out of town. Since we live 7 miles from the hospital unless it was life threatening to move them it would be faster to take someone to the emergency room ourselves than to wait for the ambulance. When I was little we just had one car, but it would have been possible to walk to the doctor if we would have had to or to get a ride from a friend. I know this was one of my mom's biggest worries about only having one car-what if we got sick while my dad had the car?
I occasionally do take the minivan with the Lambs to the grocery store 7 miles away or to the school for an event while Ram is doing something else where he drives his car. But that is not very often and I could get by with one car if I needed to for this reason.
2. Reasons why we have a minivan and a car-When the whole family goes we take the minivan, when just Ram or Ewe go with one child we take the car. We are trying to be as economical with gas as possible since we drive over 30,000 miles per year.
3. Winter/summer cars-I know some people that have a car that they mainly use in the summer and an SUV or similar car that they mainly use in the winter. Perhaps this would be an option for your family if you live where there is a rough winter in order to use the car more economically.
4. Replacing the car-We drive so much that we wear out cars quickly. I would estimate Ram drives 12,000 miles a year for the church and we drive over 2,000 miles a year to go to the doctor. Add in 14 miles round trip to go to the bank or small grocery or get gas and the miles add up quickly. We have one credit card for gas. When Ram gets his check for mileage each month from the church, I try to use it to pay off that credit card for gas. If there is any left I try to put it in savings. I had the idea to directly put all the checks we got for mileage into savings but that hasn't always worked. But somehow you need to be prepared to buy a car because yours is going to wear out fast if you live in a rural area. Plus it is really expensive to tow the car to the town with a car repair shop because it is way farther than the AAA allowed amount. You need a dependable car.
I know that you probably can't afford to get the car/cars that would be ideal for your situation right now. But when the time comes to replace one of your cars, I hope you think about some of what I posted here. What would be the ideal car/cars for where you live? Think of your family size. Think of when you need or use two cars. Can you get by with just one car? What is the most economical for gas that would work in your situation (car, minivan, etc.)? Realize that you are going to put a lot of miles on your car if you live rural. Where I live it is not possible to walk anywhere besides the local cafe or the post office! There is no "city" bus either.
Please leave a comment if you have something to add about cars and rural living.
Come back tomorrow for another practical tip about being a rural pastor's wife.

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