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How much did efficient driving save us in 2013?

January 7th, 2014 at 08:38 am

In 2013, we drove ~9,000 miles.

The EPA est. fuel economy of our vehicle is 27/33/30 MPG (city/highway/combined). We drove mostly city miles.

Our end-year average fuel economy was 33.4 MPG.

Taking the highs and lows from

Text is this chart and Link is http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_retail_price_chart.aspx?time=24
this chart for our area (no link for area), the average price per gallon was $3.65.

9000 / 33.4 = 269.5 gallons
269.5 * 3.65 = $983.5 spent in 2013 on fuel.

9000 / 30 = 300 gallons
300 * 3.65 = $1,095 spent if attaining only EPA est. MPG

Total saved = $111.5.

This may not sound like much. However, keep in mind: I do not make many behavior modifications to my driving. It simply consists of accelerating slower, staying at or under the speed limit, and turning the car off whenever you would normally idle, and slowing down much sooner for stops.

If you want to learn more, visit
Text is CleanMPG.com and Link is http://cleanmpg.com/
CleanMPG.com

Little Updates

April 24th, 2013 at 08:58 am

Our car insurance is going up by $20/mo in June, due to a speeding ticket I received. I contested it so that it, and won, but somehow it is still on my record. No idea.

Anyways, we decided to drop Collision coverage, as our deductible was 1/5 of what we paid for the car. We also opted to lower our Comprehensive deductible from $500 to $250 for only $12 more per 6 months. And considering that we have had a couple break-ins on cars at the property this year, this is a good idea.


In less than two weeks, my wife and I are ditching our kiddo with her parents (driving in from out-of-state) for some much-needed us time! Heading down to Portland to enjoy some fine coffee, beautiful scenery, and some vegan/vegetarian cuisine!

Rent On the Rise - Where to Trim the Fat?

April 9th, 2013 at 09:48 am

Our rent is due to go up by $20 in June. I received a $.36 raise this year ($57/mo) and as a result, our food assistance dropped by $50/mo. Makes sense. But now rent is on the rise as well. The $20 won't break us, as I will still come out $80/mo ahead (before including ~$80/mo commission), but it is still a set-back.

Our expenses are almost as bare-minimum as it gets. Prepaid phones (actually, my phone is on a family plan with my parents, but only costs $2/mo more than prepaid), slowest Internet, no cable, only $40/mo in fuel (no commuting), etc. We even slashed our electric bill by about $15/mo by line-drying our clothes inside rather than using the dryer. We only contribute $80/mo of our own cash to groceries ($230/mo for two adults and one child after assistance).

The only unnecessary expense is $30/mo in coffee.

Water/Sewer/Garbage is through the roof at $80-110/mo. No idea how to avoid that, being on a rented boiler system, an having to pay for other residents leaving crap everywhere.

So, that brings me to car insurance. We recently paid off our car, and still carry full coverage at $140/mo. This is the cheapest. We have looked around. If we drop all but the necessary coverages, it goes down to about $65/mo. Our car cost $5,500 at the time. In order for a downgrade to pay for itself to fund another vehicle, it would take six years to save $5,500.

What to do...

Fell off the wagon.

April 7th, 2013 at 10:47 am

March, and so far April as well, we have not done very well in the way of finances. Mind you, we have no troubles paying bills and all, but I have not been mindful about setting anything aside.
I am still paying bills on set days of the month, and have a month's worth of expenses in checking, but we have dipped below that a bit, and haven't made any deposits in savings.
Since March 1st, we have spent $304 in unbudgeted purchases.
$45 of that was for my wife's blog (which has the potential to have an income in the future).
$85 to dining out (no excuse).
$122 was for outdoor adventuring gear (all on clearance - $272 worth).
$26 was for coffee gear ($72 worth - $46 came from credit card rewards).
$22 for photography gear (potential to make money in future).
$4 for audio equipment (trying to fix record player).
Not sure how we got so off-target. The outdoor gear was foresee, but I did not set a savings goal for it when I foresaw the expense last year.
It has to stop. Almost two months of bad financial behaviour. Well, no more! Back on the right path!

Junk Pile Finds

February 21st, 2013 at 11:39 pm

There are some perks to my job. One of those being the stuff that people throw into the 'junk pile' that we have set up for furniture and donation items.

The following is a list of all of the items that I have found and brought home, with their retail values:

Vintage custom Mid-Century Sleeper Sofa by Seattle Mattress Co. (~$2,000 retail)
Canon D60 camera body (traded for espresso machine) (~$700 retail, ~$200 current market)
Outdoor table & chairs
iPod Nano ($200 retail)
Insignia iPod player ($150 retail)
Charbroil gas grille, large (~$300 retail)
Car Roof Rack (sold for $120)($200 retail)
Trunk-mount bicycle rack ($100 retail)
KitchenAid blender ($8 fix)($150 retail)
Bissell SpotBot ($200 retail)
ShopVac
Dyson DC-14 animal ($500 retail)
Bissell ProHeat 2 carpet machine ($250 retail)
Litter box, large
IKEA rug ($150 retail)

At least $4,400 worth in items that we have actually needed. Smile

Decrease auto insurance coverage?

February 19th, 2013 at 09:44 am

I have seen some financial advise articles say to get the least amount of coverage with the highest deductibles you can. They say that you will end up being able to save more in the long-run even if you end up having to replace your car for $1,500.

Our insurance is currently as follows:
BI 25/50
410.90
PD 50
UMBI 25/50
50.30
COMP Ded: 500
70.20
COLL Ded: 1000
269.30
Full Glass Yes
Total
800.70 six month premium

At $133/mo, I think we could see this go down a bit. What's everyone think?

Debt Payoffs! [Update]

February 18th, 2013 at 01:03 pm

We ended up with $674 after all was said and done (original estimation was $405, if you take a look at my last blog entry). The crib mattress ended up being $50 cheaper, and we had more in Checking than planned.

That went straight to Savings. And we can start contributing more-than-before to Savings starting next paycheck! Smile

---

Questions.

Some of you use the method of having one-month's worth of expenses in your Checking account at all times. I am starting this, and have already made one-half of the month's expense payments.

When do you refill your Checking to the original balance?

Here is what I plan on doing: Once I am paid, transfer it to Savings, less what I need to keep my running balance (not bank's balance shown) at the appropriate level ($1,761). Is this what everyone does? Every paycheck? Or just once per month?

Debt Payoffs!

February 11th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

We received our tax returns today. $4,848. We are doing the following:
$2,318 to payoff auto loan. Woohoo!
$900 to payoff credit card balance from moving last year for new job. (No more credit card balances!)
$445 to payoff BillMeLater for camera and gear I purchased for side-work.
$600 to Checking Account to keep one month of expenses in Checking, while income gets direct-deposited to Savings. (Thanks to the community for recommending this method!)
$180 to IKEA for two dressers, one for wife and I, one for kiddo (currently stacking things on shelves; quite hectic!), and new crib mattress (either from IKEA or Target).
$405 remaining for our anniversary trip to Portland, OR in May.

Paying off these items will free up quite a bit monthly for extra savings. Smile Which is great, because we have a few savings goals that we have yet to start on. They are:
Savings for future business.
Medical care savings.
Future car savings. (We probably won't need one for quite a few years; only have 49,000 miles on our 2007.)
College savings for the kiddo.
Cushion savings!

A depressing realization.

February 7th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Today, I turned 25. I also realized today that I only earned $25,000 last year. (Actually, I realized this on February 2nd, when we filed our returns.) That means that I only earned $1,000 annually for each annum I have been alive.

Then, however, I realized some other things...
- I only worked 11 months of the year.
- The year before, we only made $11,000 total between the both of us.
- We went from over $12,000 in debt to less than $4,200 in less than a year. This will go down to $1,900 after paying off our auto loan this month when we receive our tax returns.
- My credit score has gone up 104 points in a year!

My coworkers are in-awe of our living situation and our finances. They don't understand how I can make so little, support a wife and child, and have money to save. Not only that, but we can afford little amenities here and there. If you looked around at our house, or even how we dress and hold ourselves, you probably would not guess that we "make so little money." Maybe this is because we never pay full price for things, or just because we save money. Or, even, because we don't make large purchases often (only large ones have all been paid with parts of tax returns). Maybe because we don't complain or say, "Oh, sorry, we can't. We don't have money." Rather, when asked, we talk about how happy we are, what we enjoy, and not complaining all the time about weather or politics or why we deserve this or don't deserve that. When asked to go out to a movie or something that we have not budgeted for, we simply reply, "No, sorry, maybe next time? Just give me more of a heads-up first."

At the same time, people also seem to think we put up some sort of facade. As if we make more than we do. For the same exact reasons that others are in-awe. "Look at your clothes!" or "Look at your computer!" or "Didn't you just get a new coffee maker? So what's a $12 movie?!" It does sometimes get annoying, but we just have to smile and understand that they operate on a different spectrum than we do.

We are definitely looking forward to the rest of this year! Things are looking great! The future is bright! We have lots of plans. Smile Can't wait to share them, as I am sure there will be plenty of questions to go along with them.