In many Western countries like the United States and Canada, it’s the norm for middle class families to have two cars. And even if a family doesn’t have two cars, they feel deprived, like having two cars is a requirement. Does your family really need two cars? The truth is that although it may be a bit harder, many families cope perfectly fine with just one car or even without a car at all.

If you’re having issues with money, realize that having two cars costs twice as much. Unlike those ‘buy one, get one free’ sales at stores, having two cars means double the price tag, insurance payments, gas and maintenance fees. But some people justify the cost in their head, because what happens if the first car is out of commission? Their pattern of thinking goes something like this: their single car breaks down; they are forced to rent another car for an extended period of time and it’s so expensive that instead of paying all that money for rentals, they should spend it on a new car. However, this thinking if flawed. Sure, breakdowns happen. But they don’t happen frequently enough that this type of thinking is warranted. Renting a car once in a while is cheaper than maintaining a car indefinitely.

Having two cars will cause you to use up more gas. This isn’t just because using two cars obviously uses up more gas – it’s because drivers who have access to two cars have a different state of mind than those with just one car. For example, let’s say you need to run some errands. If you have two cars and thus have a greater access to cars, you may do some errands on one day and some on the next, even though they’re all located near each other and it would be more gas efficient to do them all at once. With one car and limited access, you are forced to rethink where and when you drive. You have to lay out your routes more carefully and schedule your shopping more efficiently, because you may not always have access. People don’t realize just how much gas they waste by aimlessly driving around or making additional and ultimately unnecessary trips.

In order to come to the realization that you and your family will be just fine without two cars, you need to realize just how deeply ingrained this idea of two cars is in our culture. Many people own two cars not because they need them, but because they were raised with two cars and are used to it. You do not need to have two cars for different occasions, such as a big car so you’ll have room for all your stuff on ski trips and a small car for local trips to the grocery store – the big car will do just fine full time.

Trevor Stuart writes for the car insurance website Complete Insurance. Click here to visit his site now.