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Cost of Driving to Work

January 24th, 2008 2 comments

I am still unsure of whether it makes sense or not to drive the back roads to get to work. In order to figure this out, I’m going to run some math.

If I drive the toll roads, I have to pay $1.50 off the bat. My truck gets 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. The length of the trip is 21.2 miles, with 13.6 of those miles bing pure highway driving (with no traffic). Roughly %64 of the drive is highway. Totaling this up, I get .75 gallons of gas for the highway, and .54 gallons of gas for the city. If I use $3.00 as the price of a gallon of gas, the total comes to $2.25 (highway) plus $1.64 (city) plus $1.50 tolls, giving me a grand total of $5.39. If I drive this both ways, each day will total $10.78.

If I drive the back roads, there are no tolls, and it is a little bit shorter of a drive. The total distance is 18.5 miles and there are some stretches where there aren’t any traffic lights, so I would say %10 is actually more like highway driving. 1.85 miles on the highway, and 16.65 miles in the city. This equates to .1 gallons on the highway and 1.19 gallons for the city. Gas for the highway is $.30 and $3.57 for the city, totaling $3.87. If I drive this both ways, it comes out to $7.74.

There you have it, it is actually cheaper to drive the back roads. Of course this doesn’t count the extra time (although it’s not worth much anyways :) I spend in the car.

Over the course of the year, I could save approx $760 by only driving the back roads.

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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).

Totals:

  • 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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The Stagnation Curve

December 13th, 2007 No comments

At the company I work for, I’ve noticed something pretty weird. Amazingly smart engineers, who have been with the company for a very long time, are given incentives to leave the company.

This reminded me of the “Vitality Curve”. This was a topic taught in one of my MBA classes, and showed how to create an excellent team. The basics of it is that every year, you get rid of the worst performing members of the team, and replace them with new ones. Every year you do this, the team will get a little better, assuming the new ones you hired were better than the ones you let go.

It seems my company is kind of doing the opposite. When we go through “reductions in force” (ie: layoffs), many times some of the more senior engineers and managers will volunteer to leave. This is really nice of them, because it means someone else doesn’t have to lose their job. In reality though, the company pays them 4 weeks of pay, plus 2 weeks for every year they’ve been with the company. For example, a senior manager who has been with the company for 15 years is probably making around $150,000 (at the minimum), so the company will pay them $95,000 to resign.

Now, if someone offered me $95,000 to quit my job… Hell Yes! I could take a nice vacation and start looking for a more exciting job (at my leisure) that probably pays a little more.

Unfortunately, the company has just given someone a huge payout to leave. The team is now a little worse than it was before, morale is down because of layoffs, and the company’s earnings are going to be lower because of the big payout. Lack of motivation because of low morale and a low stock price just feeds into this whole mess, and most likely causes the productivity to drop. All due to layoffs.

I right here and now, dub this the Stagnation Curve. By giving incentives to loyal and important workers to leave, you only make things worse for the future.

I’m not sure if anyone who makes the decisions about layoffs is aware of this, but surely it doesn’t make sense to pay good employees to leave. Why not layoff the poor performing employees? When people who aren’t pulling their own weight get laid off, I would think it would provide more of an incentive for everyone else to make sure they won’t be next .

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