The What-Ifs of Living with Less

John MacAdam
3 min readAug 17, 2020
Photo by Frederik Højfeldt Nielsen

For as long as I can remember my family has owned two cars. One for my wife and one for me. We recently decided to get rid of my car. We are officially a one-car family. When making this decision, a lot of what-ifs tried to stop us.

What if our only car breaks down?

What if we both need to go somewhere important?

What if I have to return to the office?

What if there is an emergency and we need a vehicle right away?

These what-ifs are mostly emotionally driven. Fear based. Our mind running towards comfort — towards blending in with those around us. We were not going to get rid of a vehicle without addressing the what-ifs. So, we consciously answered them, one by one.

What if our only car breaks down? We can buy a new one.

What if we need to go somewhere important? Uber.

What if I have to return to the office? My wife and I can discuss it once this happens. We would have a few creative options to make it work.

What if there is an emergency and we need a vehicle right away? “Just in case” is not a great reason to keep anything in life. There are lots of neighbors or nearby family that would lend us their vehicle in a true emergency.

Even still, truth be told, our life would not be much different if we had kept the second car. We did not owe any money on the vehicle. We had room to park it in the garage. It still had the ability to get us from point A to point B.

But getting rid of our second car did have some advantages:

  • There are financial advantages such as gas, insurance, and maintenance costs.
  • It forces us to consider taking fewer trips.
  • We no longer need to worry about when it might break down.
  • We are spending more time together as a family.
  • We are more likely to walk or bike instead of jump in the car.

You only need to be duped by one what-if to keep unnecessary things too long. When considering getting rid of a major item, it might be better to ask a different set of what-ifs:

  • What if I realize some financial benefits after getting rid of this?
  • What if I could donate this to somebody else?
  • What if I had the extra space in my house?
  • What if owning less gives me fewer things to worry about?
  • What if making this decision, despite the what-ifs, gives me the confidence to make decisions for myself instead of blending in with those around me?

What if?

About The Author

John MacAdam is a Professional Engineer and mobile app developer from Columbus, Ohio. He is currently writing about Living with less and Growing a side business. Join the private email list to be notified of new posts.

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John MacAdam

Professional Transportation Engineer and IT Consultant from Columbus, Ohio. Helping companies deliver and understand technology.