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Two For Tuesdays #16: The Vice Edition

Posted by billspaced | 12:01 AM | , , , , | 0 comments »

Two for Tuesdays: Special Vice Edition
We've come a long way, haven't we? We've covered saving money by using the library, by not buying bottled water, and by using the sites available on the web. Today, we're going to talk about two addictions we have that we should curtail, and, by doing so, save a wad of cash (or credit, whatever your preference).


Americans love to drive. Especially by themselves. I'm not really sure why, either. I know I do. I sometimes enter a Zen-like state when driving. This is probably not a good idea, though, considering that we drive (at least) a two-ton beast that can kill dozens of people at a time if the conditions are wrong.

What I'm about to suggest is carpooling. Hey, wait, come back! Please?

According to this ABC News story, only 8 percent of the US commuting public uses carpooling (click here for the full report). That means around 90 percent drive solo to work, for an average commute distance of 32 miles round-trip. What a difference this would make if just each person paired up with another. I mean, we're all going somewhere, and we must be going to work where other people work, right?

Out here, in the so-called Bay Area, people are moving 50 miles or more away from their workplace just to be able to afford a house. That was okay a couple of years ago when gasoline was $1.60 a gallon, but now, at nearly $4.00? That's about $16 a day in gas for a 25MPG car in a 100 mile round-trip. Yikes. Might as well live in the Bay Area. Plus, you'll save time and the often-forgotten wear-and-tear on your car. You'll have to buy another car much sooner at the rate of 100 miles per day.

Check out for a site that matches potential car poolers based on where they start and end their commutes. It may be time well-spent to find a driving partner. If you travel the same distance, you'll save 50 percent per month, or about $175 a month. That's after-taxes money, too. You'd have to get about a $3,000 annual raise to make up for that.

Remember, becoming financially secure means earning more than you spend, as I like to say it, or conversely, spending less than you earn (Personal Finance Commandment #1).


I'd call commuting alone to work a vice. It's something you don't necessarily need, but rather, you want it. It's like an addiction. So, too, is cigarette smoking, drinking, and gambling (which includes the perennial Lotto players).

Quit them. All of them. Go cold-turkey if you must. Or try a bit at a time. I don't know about you, but those things bring zero value to my life and they cost a literal fortune. What are cigarettes nowadays, $4 or $5 a pack?

A pack a day = $73,000 over a lifetime (here's the good part: You won't live as long so you will not have spent as much. The calculation is based on smoking from 20 to 60. You may live longer. Bless you. But it's a double-edged sword: The longer you live, the more money you will have wasted.)

Suit yourself. Same goes for the other vices listed, which, by the way, includes soda/junk food and Starbucks.

Quit. Now. Put all the money you would have spent on that cappuccino into an investment account. If it grows per the average, you will have accrued about a fortune (about $500,000).

Isn't that obscene?

Here's one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite bands: "Had to start smoking to get off Nicorette." That's about the only reason to start smoking. There are many reasons to stop, least important of all is the financial piece. Live to see your grand children.

That concludes this special Vice edition of Two for Tuesdays. Come back next week for 2 more money-saving tips.

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