Showing posts with label plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plan. Show all posts

February 18, 2008

More about the Green Cash at Home

Buon Giorno. I've been thinking about money again. What, do you think I work for the joy of it? Not bloody likely. I have businesses and, uh, projects that have money as the end result. The only thing I'm doing for free is this bit of information and entertainment for you readers. So when it comes to cash, I look to keep as much of it in my hot hands as I can.

In my excitement to write the other piece about spending (and in the interest of keeping it from getting too lengthy), I did not put in some information about trip consolidation. The boys and I share rides all the time when we have evidence to hide upstate or to do some other jobs. Sharing rides is a good idea. (Good teenage girls accepting car rides from Nicky is not a good idea.) But sharing rides is not always practical, especially when you get the urge to do some errands.

Fueling up is expensive. Here in the state of New York, sixty cents of every gallon purchased is in taxes. See what kind of losers keep getting elected here?

What should I do? Glad you asked.

  • First, plan your timing.Where are you going, and when? Try to avoid rush hour.

  • If it's just one stop, can it wait? If you put your trips together and do them all in one shot, you're saving money; separate trips cost more in fuel and aggravation.

  • Plan your route itself. I try to make a loop of sorts in my travels. A right turn into the men's club, a right turn and go further down the road to the gun shop, a right turn into one of my offices, a left turn into my favorite babe's apartment complex, a right turn... Capice?

  • Avoid driving in reverse. Going backwards uses more fuel, or so I'm told. Since I don't like backing up in the first place, I'll pull through... I don't know about the rest of the world, but the US has parking places that look like an H, good for two vehicles. I pull through the first one so I don't have to back out later. Just drive out.

  • Take your time going into stops. If you see a traffic light, stop sign or whatever, you can usually take your foot off the accelerator. That is, don't have the hammer down all the way to a stop that you expect. It uses more fuel, and puts more wear on the brakes.
  • Maybe you can make a stop on the way home after work or school.

  • Don't rely on the cheap stuff. In the US, there are usually three grades of fuel available. Using the cheapest one gives you poorer performance, so you spend more in the long run. The mid-grade (often called "special") is plenty. Premium is for the high-end cars. Super premium is a gimmick.
  • Is it worth the drive? Sometimes it's silly to drive six blocks further to save a few grotzits when you'll spend more in fuel than you'll save on the item in question. And if it's something significant, maybe mail order is better than driving to the mall where it costs more anyway. But factor in the shipping.

  • Basic vehicle maintenance. This should be obvious, but some people don't think about it. Good spark plugs, tune up, tire pressure and so forth.
The main thing is to think it through.

OK, play time is over. I have to go pick up a cake and take it to the club. See you next time.

January 4, 2008

The Green Green Cash at Home

Buon giorno, girls and gorillas. Let's take a moment to say, "Happy Birthday" to Christina. She's there in the back, looking embarrassed. Give us a wave, Teenie. Thanks. Stop staring, Nicki. She's too young.

One thing that the boys and I know about is money. We like to get it more than give it, of course, but sometimes you have to part with it. Even though we have quite a bit of it, we don't like to part with any more than we have to.

Let me tell you about some stupid spending. Freakin' idiotic, really. I know a weasel that spends money like nobody's business. (Well, it's not her money, it's from the hardworking taxpayers or from sponging off her mother. That's why it's fun for her to spend it.) But for those of us who have to work for a living, we try to be careful with what we do with our cash.

Spend smart. Weasel girl doesn't do this. She loads the icebox with pre-packaged goodies and convenience foods that are not only unhealthy but very expensive. Sure, there's a time for convenience foods, but it's much more economical to buy a block of cheese, for instance, and cut it up, store it in small-serving plastic bags and then grab one to throw in your lunch on the way to work or school. The same with those dreadful "juice boxes". If you really have to pollute yourself with that stuff, get a big bottle and pour some into a small, portable bottle. Capice? The savings add up.

Resist the impulses. Sure, I like to buy a new gun on occasion. But I look at whether or not I really need it, the extras like the cost of ammo and a carrying case, etc. And do I need the pearl-handled revolver, really? Something a little plainer will work just as well. But if I do decide to be extravagant, I plan for a while, think things through, add the costs, and budget for it. Listen, if I buy something too quickly, I won't have money for something else later on. Can I live with that? Besides, something may go on sale.

Consider the off-brands. Go ahead, try the store brands. Little Weaselette refuses to buy anything but the name-brand stuff because it must be better. Wrong-o, Cupcake. I've found that off brands are often at least as good as the name brands, sometimes better. But you have to take a chance, try a few things. Sometimes, you'll find that a certain name brand is better for you and you can't do without it. Fine, you tried.

"But Uncle Bob, the doctor said I should use Motrin!" Shaddap! Think for a minute. He said that for name recognition. Most doctors don't tell their patients to use acetaminophen, but that's what Tylenol is. Doctors don't say ibuprofen, either, so they say Motrin or Advil. Listen, for a drug to be marketed generically, the law says that it has to be chemically identical to the name brand. I get acetaminophen and ibuprofen for half or even a quarter of the cost of the name brands. You just have to keep alert.

Don't be too cheap. I know, I know, it sounds like a contradiction to what I just said. The fact is that sometimes you have to pay more for something good. This whole thing is a learning experience. Or a game. Just keep at it and learn that there are some things you have to spend more to get because some stuff is made so cheaply that you'll wind up replacing it and spending more money in the long run. Use your judgement.

The bottom line is to think about what you're doing. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to tell Nicki that he can't have Christina's e-mail address. Hey, Bastardo!

Addendum: The continuation of this article is about saving fuel and can be found here.

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