Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Want to get out of debt? Drive less!

We got our new Costco Connection magazine yesterday.  As is usually the case with the January edition, it's chock full of advice - and products, of course! - to improve your lifestyle, give up bad habits and start good habits, etc.  (Do people read this stuff on New Year's morning, and are suffering so badly from the night before that they're serious about changing things?)

An article caught my eye - "Dump that Debt."  I try to live a debt-free lifestyle, because I've experienced the heavy burden of debt and want to avoid it.  It's always valuable to get some suggestions on how to remain out of debt.

One of author Terri Cetina's suggestions is Drive less - much less.  She quotes blogger "Mr. Money Mustache": "Pretend that gas is $17.50 per gallon and a full tank costs $262.  This is the actual cost of driving ... don't fire up that money shredder unless absolutely necessary."

I like Mr. Mustache!  I'd never heard of him... he claims to have retired comfortably at age 30, through financially-responsible living and wise investing.  A quick review of his blog proves how smart he is - he's a dedicated transportation cyclist!  I found an interesting column on his blog: "Curing your Clown-Like Car Habit."  It's written with budget in mind... he emphasizes doing a cost/benefit analysis of each motor vehicle trip...

Mustache: "People drive to the school to pick up and drop off kids. To the grocery store. To the restaurants. To the gym. To each other’s houses. Back and forth on Main Street to show off. Every road sees plenty of cars and personal trucks, some of them in dangerous numbers. And inside, every vehicle is equipped with a La-Z-boy recliner, upon which a tragic clown sits, pushing the soft-touch pedals, turning the power-assisted wheel, and talking on some sort of Clownophone."

"The clowns have to wait in line when the traffic light turns red. They have to bumble though the parking lots and wait for each other to back out of parking spaces, because their machines are so bulky that two cannot pass each other in a space less than 20 feet wide. They line up at special events and fight for places to park on the streets. Then they line up at the gas station and the car wash and the oil change shop. And the machines make them fatter and poorer every time they use them."

And this: "Mustachians like you and I view an idling engine like a bleeding wound or an overflowing toilet. It’s something to be alarmed at, and to correct immediately. But Car Clowns actually idle deliberately, sometimes to get something as ridiculous as a cup of expensive coffee in a disposable paper cup. When I see these lines of Drive-Thru Clowns, I find the urge to get off my bike and walk down the lineup systematically PUNCHING EACH DRIVER IN THE FACE through their open window to be almost overwhelming."

Mr. Mustache uses some "adult" language and biting satire to get his point across, but I sure agree with the point he's trying to make.  Golly!  There's a treasure-trove of good info out there on the WWW, gems hidden among the politics/celebrity swill.  I hereby resolve to read more Mr. Mustache next year.  It's too late for me to retire at 30... I was older than 30 when I took up transportation cycling.  But maybe I can retire someday, if I keep on pedaling...

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