Archive for December, 2007

Cost of School

December 21st, 2007 No comments

So the wife yesterday decided to change her mind about going to school.  It’s funny because I told myself I wouldn’t believe she was doing it until it happened, but it still was a little bit of a shock.

She had gone to talk about leaving her job with her boss, and had seemed to have second thoughts about quitting and going back to school.  Not one to do something half hearted, she started thinking maybe she wasn’t as sure about it as she previously thought.

When she revealed this to me, I wondered how much it made sense financially.  If she worked the next 10 years instead of going back to school and building a new career, would making a doctor’s salary really make that much of a difference?

The answer to my question is “it depends”.  It really depends on how much her salary would be after she graduated.  In reality, some doctors don’t make that much money.  A family physician working shorter hours might only make $100,000/year.  I did some calculating, and it looks like she would have to make more than $200,000/year after she went to school in order to break even.

If she made $80,000/year and saved it all at 9% interest for the next 40 years, she would have roughly $30,000,000.  If she waited 10 years, started making $200,000/year and saved it all for the next 30 years, she would also have roughly $30,000,000.

I know this isn’t taking into consideration many things.  Her salary would likely be higher than $200,000, but at the same time, she is on a pretty fast track as far as promotions go at her current company, so she would likely make more than $80,000 over the next 10 years.

Anyways, for now, she isn’t going to be going to school come January.  I have images of Corvettes dancing in my head… A not so frugal move, but something I’ve wanted since I was 14.

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Traveling Frugal Style

December 20th, 2007 No comments

 Over the holidays, the wife and I will be traveling to Virginia to visit family.  We’ve made a number of conscious choices in order to save money.

First, we’re taking the smaller car we own in order to save around $150 in gas.  Usually, we take my truck since it’s larger and can easily accommodate all the random stuff we usually lug up there.

Second, we’re taking the dog with us.  It would cost around $100 to have him kept in the kennel during the few days we’ll be gone.

Third, I just received my new BP gas credit card.  This will allow us to get %10 back on any gas purchases we make on this trip.

Fourth, we’re not staying in a hotel to break the trip up.  Usually, we will hit the road in the afternoon on the last day before vacation after we get off of work.  This makes the drive a little more bearable since it spreads it over two days.  While this would be ideal, we’ll save ~$60 by getting up early the day of travel and hitting the road.

Finally, we’ll be packing a cooler for the ride.  We can easily spend around $30 each way by buying food on the drive.  This will allow us to spend $5 to $10 each way and have plenty to munch on as we move down the road.  On a side note, this will probably save us time as well.  Those workers in the fast food joints at the travel stops are usually not the brightest or fastest when it comes to taking your order and giving you the food.  Also, I’ll probably add a few months to my life expectancy by skipping a couple of meals at Dairy Queen or Arby’s.


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The Frugal Christmas Present

December 19th, 2007 2 comments

Well, you might remember me talking about the Christmas present I was making for the wife.  I hate to say it, but it didn’t go over so well.  I bought a nice wooden frame ($15) and got it printed out at Kinkos ($30) and took it home with me last night.  She’s already given me my presents for Christmas, so I thought I would go ahead and give it to her.

She thought it was weird…  She says it kind of creeps her out.  That will teach me to try and make any more presents.  At least though, I didn’t spend a couple hundred dollars on it. 

 It’s the thought that counts, right?


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Saving Cash on the Drive to Work

December 18th, 2007 1 comment

I’ve mentioned several times that I’m trying to find a new vehicle to replace the truck.  This weekend, I calculated my fuel economy, and it was 15 mpg.  Horrible!

One other thing that is costing me money though, is the tolls on the way to work.  I actually calculated how much I’m spending, and it was pretty scary.  Each way to and from work, I hit a pretty expensive toll ($1.50) and a cheaper one ($.25).


  • Each day: $3.50
  • Each week: $17.50
  • Each month: $70
  • Each year: $840

Needless to say, I’ve found a different way to get to work.  I’m going to have to get up earlier in the day if I want to drive the back roads and not be sitting in traffic.  Today I left at 6:40 AM and got to work at 7:20 AM.  This commute was 40 minutes compared to 30 if I take the toll roads.

Overall though, I need to cut down on expenses, so this extra 20 minutes each day will save me $840 over the course of the next year.

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Spending Less at the Holiday Party

December 17th, 2007 2 comments

On Saturday, the wife and I went to her corporate holiday party.  The event was huge with over 2,000 people attending.  Once we checked in, we received our drink tickets and went to town.  Nothing is better than high quality food and drink…when it’s free!

Unfortunately though, we burned through the drink tickets pretty quickly (like I’ve been known to do).  After spending $12 on the next round of drinks, my thirst didn’t seem as bad as I had previously thought.

The wife’s friends found us near the entrance we came in, and they announced they had discussed where we would be.  They realized that we probably wouldn’t pay for valet parking ($10), so we would probably come in on the side door.  They know us a little too well.

Later, I was dreading paying $6.00 for a beer, and the wife’s co-worker who put the event together, was handing out left-over drink tickets.  My pockets ended up with about 14 tickets (6 X 14 = $84)… Nice!  It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

The breakdown:

  • Not paying for valet service: $10
  • Getting free drinks: ~$40
  • Having the wife hungover the entire next day: Priceless!
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