Sunday, April 27, 2008
First off, I found this nifty Fuel Mileage Calculator to help me figure out how much it costs me to drive per mile. This was beneficial because I realized that my old minivan is much more efficient then I give it credit for and my per mile costs are much less than I thought. Knowledge is power, and in this case it helped me avoid a costly mistake.
I was planning on buying a bike rack for my minvan so I could cut out one school trip a day by leaving my van and riding back home on my bike. That would save me 6 miles a day. According to this calculator, it costs me about .19 a mile to drive around, so cutting 6 miles would add up to $1.14 a day. With only 30 days left in our school year that would save me $34.20.
With the cheapest bike rack I could find costing $53, I would have to use it for around 99 days to break even. If I would use the bike rack in other situations, it would be worth it. In my case, however, I will only be using the bike rack for the next 30 days. It’s cheaper for me to continue driving the extra 6 miles a day.
Over this summer I plan on using my bicycle and the bus system to save money. Right now I drive an average of 20 miles a day. That equals $3.80 a day for me to drive. That adds up to around $115 a month. That’s pretty significant over the course of the summer, not to mention the exercise I’ll be getting. I think I’ll probably shop even less then I do now since I’ll have to haul it back in my back pack or return for it with the car.
Calculate your own fuel costs so you can make informed decisions instead of knee jerk reactions like I almost did. To make it easy, simply write your odometer reading on your gas receipt every time you fill up and slip it in your wallet. Then all the info you need is right there when you need to calculate your gas costs.
I'll admit that I have my moments of worry. Every time gas prices go up I feel obligated to raise my eyebrows, puff out my cheeks and read the new price out loud to anyone in the car with me (usually my kids). In the grocery store I've started talking out loud to the 'luxury items', such as tea. "$1.60?!?" I exclaim to the boxes and tins. "A few months ago this peppermint tea was 99 cents!"
Secretly, though, I think I'm enjoying all the furor in much the same way a gossipy neighbor enjoys bad news. Saving money is one of my favorite subjects to ponder, but it used to be a lonely topic of conversation. Six months ago if I tried to bring up how to container garden using free 5 gallon buckets I would have gotten disinterested signals and a quick change of subject.
Now frugality is "in", and I suddenly find my pet topic awash in popularity. Everywhere I look it's all over the media - how to save cash, gas and utilities. Bikes are suddenly hot (who's got money to spend on a brand new hybrid?), reusable bags are the new tote in demand and refilling your drink bottles makes you a noble global consumer, not a tightwad.
Years of trying to come to grips with "being cheap" are finally paying off socially. No longer do I have to justify why I avoid convenience foods and hang my laundry. Ahhh, but being "in" feels good... as long as it doesn't cost anything extra.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
- Conserving funds - hanging my laundry, turning off electricity when not in use, walking instead of driving, no eating out (except for my recent exploits), buying nothing but the bare necessities
- Taking on extra work - house cleaning, substituting for other positions at work, doing surveys for Pinecone in my spare time, working with Adsense and Associated Content
- Trying to maximize my opportunities - I signed up with Revolution Money Exchange to get my $25 and am trying to pay attention to referrals when I can.
- Selling off all the extras-Everything we don't need must go. In return we're getting a little cash, the space and less to keep track of.
That's my update at the moment. I've found some really good articles lately, like this one that talks about why we pay sales tax on coupons. I never thought about that.
Another one I liked was Secrets of SuperStar Grocery Shoppers. A lot of common sense info that most of us are already doing, but it never hurts to go back to the basics.
And finally, I got a real kick out of reading about how a dollar saved is really $2 earned. I know I've sent this out to friends and family, but this is some good info that always makes me feel like my frugality is really making a difference.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
Later I went back for the Spa Body Wash deal and got two bottles for .50 opp and received $9.98 in ECBs. I also received a free T shirt from a music store here for walking in the door at the right time (happy surprise!) which my older son claimed.
In addition, I made a stop at Goodwill and finally found my cast iron dutch oven for $8.00! That was also all I needed to complete my blue card and be eligible for $20 free there.
On a final note, I received my $25 for signing up with Revolution Money Exchange and am debating whether to just request it in a check or keep it in there to use. I love the no fees part - much nicer then Paypal.
So all in all, it's been a pretty good week, despite starting out with such lack luster potential. I can't wait to see next week's deals!
Oh- I almost forgot! After I posted last Saturday I found this grill at a garage sale for $20! I've wanted one for a while, and this one is like new. Oh happy day! :)