Is it worth it?


Today, just for fun, I was thinking about ways that I can cut costs, in case I feel as though my "needs" are causing me to spend too much money when I start the fast.  Of all my "needs budgeting" I was surprised to see that I had budgeted the most money for gas!  I don't drive a very gas-friendly car, but it's paid off, so I'm not willing to trade it in or sell it for something more economical.  I work just less than 3 miles from my house, and then possible other driving (church, visit family, visit boyfriend who lives across town - grr)... so I really don't use a ton of gas.  I do need to fill up my tank once every pay period, and that alone can get expensive, especially when the average price per gallon in my city is just under $4.00! 

I recently considered riding a bicycle to and from work each day.  The weather is so lovely in the early mornings here and the entire ride to work is downhill.  The downside is something my mom brought to my attention.  The route home is 3 miles of uphill torture, now, throw in 120°+ temperature...  It might save money, but I might end up spending more money, like when I get sent to the hospital for heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration. Plus, have you actually stood outside in the sun when it's that hot?  I can take about five minute before I start looking for shade and water.  Another 10 and I'm ready to head back inside.

Last night, I checked into my City's public transit system.  Now, anyone who lives in my city will say, "what transit system?"  And they're right.  For being such a big city that thrives on [tourists] getting around, we don't have a subway or anything like it.  But, we do have a bus system.  My community is not exactly "friendly" for people who have to take the bus, and in the 20 years I've lived here I can honestly say that I have never seen one within a 5 mile radius of my house.  My community caters to people with money, people with expensive cars, people who are not going to do a Spending Fast.

I was pleased to find that there were in fact two bus stops within walking distance of my house.  I found the route to and from work, and it's almost the straight shot I drive everyday.  I would arrive at work 15 minutes early, and have to stay 15 late. (Umm, hello overtime pay, meet the Spending Fast!) 

I'm not thrilled about riding the bus, but that could just be pride talking.  I did it in the 3rd grade and hated it.  When it droped me off at school in the "bus unloading zone," rather than walk through the gate to the playground, I would often walk around the entire field to the "parent drop off zone" so that people wouldn't know I rode the bus... Plus I've heard stories about public busses, eww.

So why do I mention any of this?  Well, as with anything dealing with time & money, there is always a trade off, so when it comes to taking the bus:

The Pros:
  • It would cut my gas costs in half, saving me over $720 a year
  • I would have free time on the way home to relax, read a book, or whatever.
  • Nearly 3 hours of extra overtime each week!  Time and half = Yes please!

The Cons:
  • Time.  It takes me 8 minutes to drive to/from work everyday.  If I took the bus I would have to allot 30 minutes of just travel time.
  • In the mornings, I would have to walk quite a ways to the bus stop.  Google maps estimates the walk to take 17 minutes.  And in the evenings I would have to walk home (estimated 10 minutes).  With the 30 minutes of actual bus time each way, my normal 15 minute round trip to work would take me nearly an hour and a half every day.
  • No sleeping in!
So what do you think?  Is the saving money worth taking the extra time?


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