Frugal Living: Keep the family moving with just one car

Frugal Living: Keep the family moving with just one car »Play Video

Alyssa and Kevin Phair, admittedly, are in debt.

“When we first got married, we were stupid,” said Alyssa Phair with a laugh.  “We looked at our finances and realized that we were paying like $500 a month towards credit cards. It was crazy.”

In all, the young Beaverton family is $18,000 in debt, not including student loans.

They are far from alone.

The average American household carries more than $10,000 in credit card debt.

But the Phairs are biting the bullet and making drastic changes.
They’ve moved to an apartment half the size of their previous home. Their three daughters now share one room with the older girls sleeping in bunk beds and the baby sleeping in a crib in the closet.

But their biggest sacrifice?  The family has sold their second car, a spacious mini-van, and kept their compact Toyota Yaris.

All three children and all three car seats now squeeze in the back seat.

“On this one,” said Kevin Phair referring to the Yaris, “we get about 36 miles to the gallon.”

In addition to $120 in gas, the Phairs save $78 per month on insurance and $428 per month in car payments for a total savings of $7,515 per year.

If they stick to their plan, they'll be free of all their credit card debt by next April.

“I think it takes a lot of humility to say, ok don't really need that even though everyone else has it,” said Alyssa Phair.

But the short-term inconvenience has been worth the long-term sense of security.

When asked if they wish they’d made these changes sooner, the couple answered with an emphatic, “Yes!”

They encourage everyone to balance their needs versus their wants on the road to financial stability.

For more stories in Shellie's "Frugal Living" series, visit the KATU Problem Solvers page