Thursday, April 14, 2016

Money Savings-Little Success Help Momentum


I sometimes have an odd schedule where I go into the office in the morning, but because of where a meeting is and the time, it is just silly to backtrack to the office when it is over. The back tracking wastes both work time travel, and my time driving in rush hour. When this happens, like yesterday where a meeting ended in downtown St Paul at 3:00, but my office is 20-30 minutes north (because of the start of rush hour), and I am now within 30 minutes of home, I'll head home to finish my work day.  I also needed to pick up DD#2 at school yesterday, on the opposite side of town from home, but I have one route home that takes me right by her school. 

What I really wanted to do was plant my butt firmly in a Caribou Coffee for 90 minutes and work until picking her up at 5:00. I was strong with my will power today, keeping my money in my purse. I would have loved a smoothie or a blended tea, but I  don't need to spend $5.00. A small coffee would have only set me back under $2.00, but it is a warm day and I dressed for the cool morning temps and now was dressed too hot to enjoy a coffee. Instead, I went the extra block and used the public library for my remote office. I was pretty thirsty since my car had heated up while in the meeting, but I helped myself to the free drinking fountain before I plugged and logged in. I do not drink nearly enough water in warm weather, so this was a health bonus.

Here's my rough calculations. This variation on my schedule, not counting telecommuting days, is probably three times a month. If only 1/3 of the time, I'm also making a detour stop to shuttle the kid, it's still 12 times a year I have the opportunity to make a choice to save a little money, or at least, not spend more money. Twelve times X $3.00 (average between cheap small coffee and blended drink), and I have $36.00 left in my wallet. Round trip savings on going home, then picking up my kid, 10 miles at current federal mileage rate of $ .55, at 12 times, and I've saved $66 in car wear and tear. Of course I won't have anyone handing me a check at the end of the year for $36 or $66, and might not even notice the savings, but the important point is that it is there. Finding the little ways to shave dollars off monthly expenditures, cumulatively adds up until there is actually more wallet than month come April 30, July 31, or any end of month.

There was a time when I had to think about things down to the penny, and I read a couple blogs where the writer is living on this tight edge all the time. I'm not going to get my calculator out for every  transaction, but doing the math a time or two puts some perspective in all the holes in my checkbook.  I won't give up my coffee habit completely. A cheap small coffee is a low price for a second office when the telecommuting days get to be a drag or makes for a better meeting environment than an enclosed meeting room at my office. But am I combining errands instead of haplessly jumping in the car to take care of a singleton situation? Am I taking advantage of free resources, resources I've paid through taxes to support like the library for free Internet, without the need to buy a coffee house beverage when I have time to kill? Where are there other places to plug those holes, without even thinking of them as frugal strategies, but just common behavior?
Love a good cup of Joe, but not at 3:30 in the afternoon.

5 comments:

  1. It is a true point to ponder. There are days when choosing the no cost option would be perfect for me, but there are times when I truly need the social aspect of being somewhere with busy life happening around me. ( I am one of those people who mentally feed off the energy of others). Those times I truly need creative thought and not just rote doing and processing are the days a 5 buck cup of coffee is priceless. (Though my local McDonalds now has wifi and I can grab a large coffee for $1.62. I can get the same stimulus and cheap coffee but the downside is I smell like a french fry the rest of the day.

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    1. You understand what I mean! I like the stimulus of people around, which is why sometimes working in the office, I need to go out to a more public spot when working on something a bit more creative, and why some of my telecommuting days don't feel as productive as they should, though the flexibility and time and gas savings means I don't want to give up telecommuting when I can. The difference for me is in the thoughtfulness of the moment, ad allowing the free choice, when the better choice at that time, to be taken.

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  2. I often break things down to find out how much I am wasting or saving. Sometimes, I wonder how much we could save if we went on an extreme cut back but I will probably save that one if Den ever loses his job. I'm careful with our money but I see holes every once in a while. That said, I think you should get the coffee once in a while.

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    1. The spot checking the holes is an interesting math exercise. It isn't all just about money, but the environment and fuel consumption, or weight gain with the extra treats (I like my cream in my coffee!. I'm finding that there is so much cross over rewards with making god choices. We were on the verge of needing those extreme cutbacks again, but then DH found a new job. It's good mental preparedness if the need arises.

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  3. We are relatively careful with money to fund our trips so we don't do lots of take outs or coffees out etc however the odd one is no big deal now and again. I enjoy going out for a nice meal or weekends away so am happy to give up other stuff but then I'm forever getting itchy feet so I could happily give everything up to fund my travels lol.

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