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I have been drawn into two conversations in as many days, asking for my opinion. Be careful what you ask because I will give it to you the way I see it. Both these conversations centered on saving money, something I feel deeply about. Without watching my money I couldn’t live as I do. I thought I would let you weigh in with your opinions on these two subjects as well.
Let’s buy a hybrid to save money
The first subject concerned the purchase of a new automobile. This person has decided he wants to purchase a brand-new Toyota Prius. Let me give you a little background. This man is 78 years old as is his wife. Both are in poor health, and have a wonderful car that gets them around in a dependable manner.
He wants a Prius because he wants to save on the cost of gasoline. He does very little stop-n-go driving as he lives in a rural area. Now I’m all for saving on gasoline. But here is where the issue goes astray for me. He is putting a little bit away each month trying to save $28,000 to purchase his new Prius with cash, in the meantime his current car gets 30 miles to the gallon on the highway and in rural driving, 28 in the city. A new Prius (the sedan model) is reported to get 35 highway and 40 city.
Since he doesn’t do much city driving he would only be getting 5 miles more per gallon in a hybrid. Let’s say he drives 20,000 miles a year (I think this might be high, but based on his age and health I want to give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his actual savings) At 30 miles per gallon he would be purchasing 666 gallons of gas per year, using the current cost of gasoline here now of $3.65 he would spend $2457.54 per year in gasoline costs. At 35 miles per gallon he would be purchasing 571 gallons per year. Using the same figures this would cost him $2084.15. Purchasing the new car he would save $373.39 per year in gasoline. Or to break it down further he would save a total of $7.18 per week.
Let’s say that he keeps his car for 10 years and drives the same amount every year he would see a total savings of $3733.90. If he pays $28,000 for the new car (even without financing which he doesn’t plan to use) he will be out $24,266.10 after 10 years. To break it down further it will cost him $110.30 more per week over ten years than if he kept his current car. That figure doesn’t take into account the increase in his insurance costs for a newer vehicle either. So is the decision to purchase a new hybrid car a good one?
Some times we need to break it down to these simple figures to see where we will truly save money in the long run. Now for this person the possibility that he will drive 10 more years is stretching it. As much as I love this man I fear he may not be capable of driving that long.
So on to the second discussion I was drawn into the very next day. This conversation was centered on the subject of cable television. First, if you don’t know already, I don’t own a television so that probably tells you where I landed on the issue of the cable bill. Here was the gist of the conversation. My good friend is having a hard time paying bills right now. Medical bills are piling up, he dreams of being able to purchase his own home, someday, so he is storing everything he owns in two large storage lockers he pays for monthly. I should add he is 68 years old.
He loves television yet the bill keeps going up. The last time I paid for cable tv my boys were in their teens and I paid $19.98 per month. He informed me he pays $75. per month. I know this is true. Our local cable company charges $45. per month for internet, $75 for cable, and $102 for combined internet and television.
My good friend informed me that he can’t live without his TV. I get that, but then I countered that I can watch any TV programming I want online. I feel that while I don’t have a large flat screen to watch a program on the $30 per month I save is a good trade off. For him to get the internet he would first have to buy a computer, so that would have to be taken into account. For me I didn’t buy my computer, my son built it from parts he collected from old computers people gave him. My neighbor bought his TV. So I saved on the cost of the computer, and then I save $360 per year by only paying for the internet, instead of cable.
Even I spend money I don’t need to spend
Today, I made a choice that affected my finances, even if it was slight. I stopped at the store to pick up eggs. I happened to spot two shopping carts filled with pasta, spaghetti sauce, and even parmesan cheese along with a few other things. Frozen vegetables were on sale for .99 a bag. While I went into the store for one thing I had $10 on me so I purchased all this.
I ended up bringing home 2 jars of spaghetti sauce, 2 packages of pasta, 1 bag of frozen peas, my dozen eggs, and just because it was next to the peas I picked up a package of soy long grain rice. My total spent came to $9.54 and will give me at least 10 servings plus the meals I will make with the eggs. I came home and called my daughter-in-law to let her know so she could stock up as well.
It’s all about how we define our needs.
We all make our choices in what we feel we need to live in a way that makes us feel comfortable and not deprived. The purchase of a new car when you already own a good reliable car for me would mean having to work more to afford it. Television, well it’s not something I need or get pleasure out of, but I want my internet to feel connected to the outside world. Do I need the internet? No, I know it’s a want so I save money in other places to afford it without giving up my freedom to work less.
This leads me to gratitude, and today’s quote:
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~~
William Arthur Ward