Living Below Your Means
Great News! I Just Saved a Lot of Money By...

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By TwoDeep
June 24, 2005

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...switching to..., not Geico (or gecko for that matter; though I do think my leopard gecko Aladdin is darn cute!)...

...Van Pool!

It wasn't an option before (trust me, I checked every route possible, no pun intended), but two days ago, as I left my office for lunch, I noticed a rather long van in the parking lot with a placard in the window with some contact info and a few sparse details. Apparently, it leaves a park and ride less than 10 miles from my house (along the way to work nonetheless) each morning, going straight to my place of employment by 7am, then departs to return in the afternoon at 4:30 and goes right back to the pick-up point, no other stops, etc.

Here's the breakdown -

Current scenario:

1. Wife drives Ford Explorer around town; not very fuel efficient, but better than me commuting 100+ miles (round trip) daily in it.
2. I drive 2001 Ford Focus, purchased new in 11/2001, currently with over 100,000 miles! It is my commuting vehicle and has taken a beating (though is still in like-new condition mechanically and aesthetically, and runs like a champ).
3. Fuel costs for both vehicles combined averages around $289/month, not including depreciation on the Focus (which is now basically worthless on the market), etc.
4. I have a minimum of 2 hours daily of "wasted time" where I spend it sitting behind the wheel staring at the road and the bumper in front of me.

New scenario:

1. Wife drives Ford Focus around town; much more fuel efficient, we can experience some savings here
2. I drive Explorer to park and ride each morning, share this large van with 12 other folks, arrive at work earlier than I usually do, leave much, much earlier than I usually do, get home in time for dinner (haven't done that in over a year!).
3. Total cost to me for the Van Pool - $27/month!!! It's presently about $133/person/month; however, my employer will pick up $105 of it, leaving me with only a small fraction of my normal cost left to cover.
4. I can read, sleep, study, do whatever for the time we're in traffic, making this productive time rather than wasted time commuting!

So as I see it, I'm saving upwards of $200/month cash (towards my snowball of course!) *and* all the wear and tear on our vehicles which should now last darn near forever rather than need serious maintenance or replacement within a year or so! Also, this will force me to get up earlier and leave the office on time making home life a little better too (though I may need to work from home on occasion to take care of things I normally would have stayed at the office for).

Money savings and sanity savings, it doesn't get much better than that! My supervisor has already "Okayed" the more restricted schedule (i.e. "I need to leave here promptly by 4:30...") and I sign up tomorrow. Savings will probably begin July 01!!

Sometimes it just all comes together ;)

I don't think the discussion board format can adequately express just how excited I am over this development!


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