commuting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6785/all en-US 9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_cash_grass_13020597.jpg" alt="Finding hidden home money pits you don&#039;t notice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are so many expenses associated with paying the bills for a home that it is easy to miss money leaks that are costing you big dollars. Putting a plug into these leaks can make a big difference in your budget. From old-school thermostats to faulty plumbing, here are some of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pets-old-cars-and-3-other-common-money-pits" target="_blank">top money-pits</a> to watch for:</p> <h2>1. Old School Thermostats</h2> <p>I recently replaced my 1980s era thermostat with a new one for about $50. Why? Because the old thermostat was leaking money every day. My new thermostat is programmable, so I can automatically avoid heating or cooling the house when no one is home. It's paid for itself in just the first few months.</p> <h2>2. Drafty Windows</h2> <p>It may sound extreme to replace windows to save money on your heating bill, but I was paying hundreds of dollars every month for propane when I moved into an old house with drafty single pane windows. Old windows are almost as inefficient as having your windows open all winter. Replacing them will reduce your utility bill and add to the resale value of your house. If replacing windows is too big of a project, you can install clear plastic film over your windows for a few dollars each to help keep the money from flowing out.</p> <h2>3. Old HVAC Systems</h2> <p>I once lived in a house with a 40-year-old furnace. My home inspector said it was built like a tank, and I think it was about as energy efficient as a tank, too. If you plan to stay in your house for a few years, an energy efficient HVAC system can easily pay for itself through lower energy bills. Plus, the new system will increase the value of your house.</p> <h2>4. Poor Insulation</h2> <p>Don't be fooled: It can be hard to notice a poorly insulated home because the furnace can compensate for this by running more to try to maintain the desired temperature. The most effective place to upgrade your home's insulation is in the attic, since warm air is less dense than cold air and a lot of heat transfer happens through the attic and roof as warm air rises. If your floors are cold, you may benefit from adding insulation under your house, as well. Insulating walls can be a bigger project, but insulation can be often blown into the joint space in walls in a matter of just hours.</p> <h2>5. Old Appliances</h2> <p>Old appliances are energy hogs compared with newer, more efficient models &mdash; especially refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers. It may be hard to notice that old appliance sitting there quietly sucking down extra electricity all the time, but the cost adds up every month. Some utility companies offer incentives to take away old appliances in order to encourage people to replace them with energy efficient models. And you may even qualify for <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits">tax credits</a> related to energy efficient appliances.</p> <h2>6. Bad Mortgage Rates</h2> <p>When you got your mortgage, you probably shopped around and got the best rate you could find. But have you checked your rate lately? You may be paying more than you need to for interest every month. If you plan to stay in your house for a few years, refinancing your mortgage to get a better interest rate can help you hang on to more of your money each month instead of giving it to the banker.</p> <h2>7. Leaky Roof or Gutters</h2> <p>You won't get a bill right away if you have a leaky roof or gutters that don't work properly, but deferred maintenance is like a time bomb that can cost you a huge amount of money in the future in the form of repair bills and reduced property value. Take care of water leaks before they become a money pit.</p> <h2>8. Long Commutes</h2> <p>If your home is far away from work, shopping, and school, your commute is costing you time and money every day. Unfortunately, avoiding this money pit may require moving to a different house. I was able to move about 10 minutes closer to my work location, and it made a big difference.</p> <h2>9. Too Much House</h2> <p>If your house is bigger than you really need, you are paying extra every month for your mortgage, utility bills, and property taxes. Consider downsizing to avoid sinking money into paying for space you are not fully utilizing.</p> <p><em>Which of these home money pits are costing you money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">10 Ways to Save on a Long-Distance Move</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing appliances commuting energy efficient money pits money sucks mortgages thermostats wasting money Windows Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1757850 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_riding_bike_62106672.jpg" alt="Woman loving life after swapping her car for a bike" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever thought about ditching your car and finding a new way to get around? Making your bicycle your best friend may be the smartest move you can make to save money, burn calories, and generally improve your life.</p> <p>If you're searching for a reason to pull the trigger on the all-bike lifestyle, consider these nine ways that life is an amazing when you eschew the car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free?ref=seealso">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. You'll Save Money on Gas</h2> <p>Okay, so let's say you have a 30-mile roundtrip commute. And let's say you're spending $2.25 per gallon on gasoline. If you get 30 miles per gallon on your car, you're spending about $2.25 a day on gasoline. That's $11.25 a week, or more than $500 per year. Ditch your car, and that's money back in your pocket. And best of all, when gas prices spike, your commuting expenses will stay the same.</p> <h2>2. You'll Save Money on Insurance</h2> <p>No car means nothing to insure. And this means money saved. The average cost to insure even a basic sedan was $1,222 per year in 2015, according to AAA. That's a significant chunk of change back in your pocket.</p> <h2>3. You'll Save Money on Maintenance</h2> <p>A bike might need some repairs and a tuneup now and then, but the cost of this work is nothing compared to a car. AAA reports that the average <a href="http://newsroom.aaa.com/auto/your-driving-costs/">driver spends $792 annually</a> on car maintenance. Add that to the cost of gas and insurance, and you can see the thousands of dollars saved by ditching the car and going for the bike.</p> <h2>4. You'll See More</h2> <p>Whenever I ride my bike, I always end up noticing new things about my surroundings. It might be a new small business in my town, renovations to an old home, or a park in need of some cleanup. It's a rather nice feeling to see your environment unfurl itself in front of you as you ride. It's so much easier to see what's around you when you're not enclosed inside a vehicle.</p> <h2>5. You'll Shop More Locally</h2> <p>One downside to riding a bike everywhere is that you obviously can't haul a lot of stuff. This means no long trips to the Super Walmart for groceries. But, it also means that the shopping you do will be done locally, possibly to the benefit of smaller, independent stores. Proponents of the Shop Local movement claim that if you spend $100 at local small stores, $68 will stay in your community, compared to $43 for big chains.</p> <h2>6. Exercise!</h2> <p>There's no question that cycling is great for your health. According to an online calculator from bicycling.com, a one-hour bike ride at a moderate pace can lead to <a href="http://www.bicycling.com/training/weight-loss/cycling-calories-burned-calculator">more than 500 calories burned</a>, or even 1,000 if you really push the pace. Biking will help you build leg muscles, but is also good for the back and abdomen. And it's generally seen as lower impact than running. One study even suggested that women who bike to work were<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22525983">significantly less likely to fracture their wrists.</a></p> <h2>7. You'll Look Forward to Going to Work</h2> <p>Who gets excited about sitting in a car in traffic, or stuffing yourself onto a crowded subway car? By incorporating a bike into your commute, you're incorporating an enjoyable activity into your daily drudgery.</p> <h2>8. Your Employer Might Pay You</h2> <p>Good employers want their workers to be healthy, so many will incentivize bike commuting by offering cash back as a fringe benefit. The IRS allows employers to reimburse bicycle commuters up to $20 per month for bike-related expenses, such as storage, repairs, a helmet, or the purchase of a bike itself.</p> <h2>9. You Save Time</h2> <p>You might assume that biking will take longer than driving. But this isn't always the case, research shows. Kiplinger reported that half of the commuting population in the U.S. <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T012-C000-S001-cut-commuting-costs-by-biking-to-work.html#A2M2E7fbT47UL1Mm.99">travels five miles or less to work</a>, and that riding a bike that distance can often be faster than driving. As a cyclist, you have access to trails, bike lanes, and side roads that will allow you to avoid drivers and traffic jams.</p> <p><em>Have you traded in your car for a bike? How has your life improved? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-up-your-car-may-be-easier-than-you-think">Giving Up Your Car May Be Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation bike bike commute biking car car commute commuting environment exercise saving transportation Mon, 01 Aug 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1762106 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_road_trip_21640056.jpg" alt="Women finding smart ways to boost gas mileage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is just around the corner, and if you're one of the lucky ones, you'll be hittin' the road before you know it. Cut a bit of the cost from your road trip(s) by saving on gas with these fuel-efficient tips and tricks.</p> <h2>1. Switch to a More Fuel-Efficient Vehicle</h2> <p>It seems like an obvious solution, and it's certainly easier said than done to upgrade your vehicle to a more fuel-efficient model like a fully electric car or hybrid. But if it's time for a new whip, or you want to invest in a ride that will you save you dough in the long term, it's the only way to go. If nothing else, it's at least worth a trip to the dealership to see what it has to offer and <a href="http://www.afdc.energy.gov/calc/">then crunch the numbers</a>.</p> <h2>2. Lighten Your Load Before Long Hauls</h2> <p>Over-packing your car for a road trip &mdash; or, the more likely scenario, hauling around a bunch of junk on a regular basis for no reason at all &mdash; weighs down your vehicle, and that requires it work harder for all that get up-and-go, thus consuming more gas.</p> <p>&quot;Do you go to the garden center, buy several bags of topsoil, then forget to unload your car for a week?&quot; asks auto expert Richard Reina. &quot;Perhaps you have a trunk full of tools, sports equipment, or project supplies which don't need to be there. Think about this: Automotive engineers sweat the details to remove ounces of weight to improve a vehicle's EPA mileage rating. Imagine what happens if you remove several pounds. Make it a habit to only carry what needs to be in the car.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated</h2> <p>Tires low on air don't roll easily, requiring more engine power (and more fuel) to make them rotate &mdash; but tire pressure is one of the easiest checks to perform.</p> <p>&quot;Buy an inexpensive pressure gauge, keep it in your glove box, and make a habit of checking the tires at fill-ups,&quot; Reina says. &quot;Be strict about using the numbers on the vehicle's tire pressure label, usually found in the driver's door jamb. Most vehicles have the same pressure rating for all four tires; but pay attention if your label requires different pressures front and rear.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Avoid Stop-and-Go Traffic</h2> <p>You'll save on gas if you keep your car moving at a steady pace opposed to braking often in traffic. If your morning and afternoon commutes are usually sluggish, try another route. Another reason your vehicle will consume more fuel in stop-and-go traffic is because it'll run longer than if you traveled from A to B quicker. If you have the option, test out different departing times &mdash; maybe leave home/work a little earlier or later, depending on what your schedule (and boss) allows &mdash; to avoid gridlock.</p> <h2>5. Take Your Foot Off the Pedal and Coast for a While</h2> <p>Instead of driving to the absolute last second when you need to stop, take your foot off the pedal well before the light to allow your car to coast to a stop. Make this a habit and you'll start seeing the difference in how often you have to refuel.</p> <h2>6. Turn on Cruise Control to Keep an Even Speed</h2> <p>Personally, I love cruise control. Not so much for the gas-saving factor, but because my feet get tired of always being on the pedal when I'm on long drives &mdash; though the former is as good a reason as any to use it when you hop on the highway.</p> <p>&quot;The best thing you can do to increase your gas mileage is to travel where you can keep an even speed,&quot; say savings expert Paul Moyer. &quot;Most vehicles get the best mileage somewhere between 45 and 55 miles per hour. If you can maintain that speed for long periods of time, you will greatly reduce your gas usage.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Plan Your Errands About Town Efficiently</h2> <p>I'm notoriously forgetful in the morning. I run back in the house at least twice every day to get something I forgot before heading to work. But, I'm much more put together when I'm running weekend errands. I plan out my stops so I can get to one end of town and back without having to cut across roads, make any unnecessary turns, or do the back-and-forth routine. I head north and hit everything on one side of the road, then south to get the rest on the way back. Granted, your errands may not be mapped out so neatly, but there are probably ways you can make your about-town travels more efficient if you tried.</p> <h2>8. Don't Let Your Car Idle if You're Not in It</h2> <p>Even when your car is sitting idle &mdash; like when you're heating it up in the morning when it's cold out &mdash; it's still using gas. If this is your daily practice in the winter, wean yourself off of it. As an alternative, bundle up and let the car heat up gradually as you drive. I know, it's not as cozy-comfortable as getting into a toasty-hot car that's had 20 minutes to sit, but at least your wallet won't feel the burn at the pump. Plus, you'll greatly reduce the chances that your car will get stolen from your own driveway. Do you really want to tell your local law enforcement that embarrassing tale?</p> <h2>9. Take Advantage of the Weather to Heat/Cool the Car Naturally</h2> <p>When it's cold out, park your car in the sun. Vice versa, when it's hot as the dickens, park in the shade. By consciously regulating the temperature inside the car naturally, you may be able to cut down on the times you want to crank up the heat or the A/C&hellip; although the latter isn't as bad as you think it is.</p> <h2>10. Keep the Windows Up When Driving</h2> <p>As I just mentioned, using the A/C isn't the gas-guzzler you might expect it to be. No need to feel wasteful if you require more climate control than Mother Nature is providing.</p> <p>&quot;This tip may run counter to what you were taught: 'Avoid using the A/C unless necessary, because it uses gas!' While this was true 25 years ago, modern electronics have overridden this concern,&quot; Reina says. &quot;Computer controls run the A/C only when needed while still keeping you cool. Automotive aerodynamics have improved so much that driving with windows down actually creates drag. The net effect is that a vehicle gets better mileage if the windows stay up, and the A/C's effect on fuel economy is nil.&quot;</p> <h2>11. Maintain Your Vehicle Regularly to Keep the Engine Running Clean</h2> <p>Of course, the best way to ensure that your car is running clean is to get regular maintenance. Nobody likes to have their car worked on (because what are they going to find wrong with it <em>this time</em>, right?), but if you stay on top of your car's needs, like clean air filters, you'll cut down on costs across the board (not just gas) over the lifetime of the vehicle &mdash; and that's just money in the bank.</p> <h2>Bonus Tip</h2> <p>You can also save on gas purchases and earn cash back when you fill up if you pay with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">gas rewards credit card</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>What are some things you do to boost your gas mileage? I'd love to hear your travel tactics in the comments below.</em>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car">How Much Does it Cost Every Time you Get Into Your Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation commuting driving efficiency fuels costs gas mileage maintenance road trips vehicles Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1728673 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-commute-cellphone-Dollarphotoclub_69906586.jpg" alt="businessman commute phone" title="businessman commute phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's be honest: commuting stinks. I spend more than an hour each way into work every day, and I often feel like it's a waste of time. But I've also learned that the time can be very valuable, if I use it smartly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning?ref=seealso">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a>)</p> <p>If you're wondering how to fill the time between home and the office, consider these financial moves to keep you occupied and on the right money path.</p> <h2>1. Listen to Financial Podcasts</h2> <p>There are a host of podcasts centered on personal finance, and many of them are useful and entertaining. I am partial to the <a href="http://www.stackingbenjamins.com/">Stacking Benjamins</a> podcast and <a href="http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=94411890">NPR's Planet Money</a>. <a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/media/audio/podcast/podcast_itunes.xml">Dave Ramsey</a> has one of the most popular podcasts out there, and even getting caught up on financial news with podcasts from Bloomberg or CNBC will be worth listening to if you're stuck in traffic.</p> <h2>2. Monitor Gas Prices</h2> <p>If you have a long drive to and from the office, consider paying close attention to the prices at gas stations along the way. Be sure to take note of which gas stations have lower prices on certain days. By doing this, you'll be able to plan your next fill-up to nab the lowest price. Apps like <a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com/">GasBuddy</a> can also help you find the cheapest gas near you.</p> <h2>3. Do Some Banking</h2> <p>If you commute by public transit, it's easy to use your smartphone or tablet to check balances or transfer money. These days, it's even possible to deposit checks using banking apps (though it may not be a good idea to wave your paycheck around a crowded subway car.) This is also a great time to surf the web for information on interest rates and credit cards.</p> <h2>4. Read Personal Finance Blogs</h2> <p>Of course, we believe Wise Bread is the best website for getting great personal finance information. But we're humble enough to acknowledge that there are scores of other great blogs. In fact, Wise Bread <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/">maintains a helpful list of the Top 100 Personal Finance blogs</a>, based on a combination of six different metrics.</p> <h2>5. Buy and Sell Investments</h2> <p>Most online brokerages have robust apps that allow you to trade stocks and other investments using your smartphone or tablet. In most cases, it's possible to perform all of the necessary research and execute a trade without hopping on a computer or calling a live broker. Text alerts will allow you to be notified when a trade is executed or when investments hit a certain price threshold. It's also possible to transfer cash between accounts and adjust automatic contributions.</p> <h2>6. Read Stock Filings and Annual Reports</h2> <p>Admittedly, you could probably get more enjoyment out of reading a good novel or magazine. But public companies release a lot of information, much of which can be very useful to investors. In fact, some of the most savvy investors can get an edge by finding little nuggets in 10-Q or 8-K reports, or other communications. Most documents are available in PDF format on company websites, or by searching <a href="https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html">the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR portal</a>.</p> <h2>7. Search for Online Coupons</h2> <p>If you take the bus or train to work, consider taking the time to surf the web for deals on things you buy. Sites like <a href="http://www.coupons.com/">coupons.com</a> or <a href="http://thekrazycouponlady.com/">krazycoupnlady.com</a> are easy to scan. It's also worth searching for coupon apps such as <a href="https://ibotta.com/">Ibotta</a> or <a href="http://www.snipsnap.it/">SnipSnap</a>.</p> <h2>8. Review Your Spending and Budgets</h2> <p>There are several great apps that help you review your financial situation, track spending, and set up budgets. I like to use the <a href="https://www.mint.com/how-it-works/anywhere/">Mint app</a> to go over my spending and make sure things are being categorized correctly. Some apps also allow you to enter or scan receipts.</p> <h2>9. Earn Money</h2> <p>Yes, it seems odd to suggest you can earn money while commuting, but it makes sense when you think of using the time to advance a side business. Maybe you can use the commute time to call potential clients. If you have an eBay business, use the time to respond to emails and check auctions. Freelance writers may be able to write during their commutes.</p> <h2>10. Call Your Financial Advisor</h2> <p>If you've got a long drive, consider popping in your Bluetooth earpiece and setting up a call to get some financial advice. A quick review of your portfolio can be done in less than a half-hour, and this will save you from having to make that call during your lunch break or after hours.</p> <p><em>How do you put your commute to good use? Switch off talk radio and let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self">The Personal Finance Letter I&#039;d Write to My Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-wake-up-richer-tomorrow-than-you-are-today">12 Easy Ways to Wake Up Richer Tomorrow Than You Are Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance commuting investing money management saving Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1269785 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Hidden Costs of a New Job http://www.wisebread.com/12-hidden-costs-of-a-new-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-hidden-costs-of-a-new-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-night-driving-462208251-small.jpg" alt="businessman night driving" title="businessman night driving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you just got a new job offer? Congratulations! But before you accept it, here are some hidden costs you might not have considered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-when-you-get-a-new-job?ref=seealso">7 Money Moves to Make When You Get a New Job</a>)</p> <h2>1. Uncompensated Training</h2> <p>This happens frequently in tech jobs, but also in healthcare and a few other fields &mdash; you get hired with the understanding that, within a set period of time, you will complete a set of training courses or exams. In most cases, your employer will be paying for these courses, but you might want to check to see if you are going to be compensated for the time spent on the education, especially if the training course takes place outside of work hours.</p> <h2>2. Relocation Costs</h2> <p>It used to be standard for companies to pay for a new hire to relocate, but no longer.</p> <p>How much relocation will cost you depends a great deal on your living situation and your personal life. If you are single and living in a month-to-month leased apartment, moving across the country might be a bit less daunting. If you are moving back to your hometown, or relocating to a city where you already have quite a few social or familial connections, this can ease the burden as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-save-on-a-move?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Save on a Move</a>)</p> <p>However, if you own a home (that you have to sell) and have to move a spouse, kids, pets, and furniture more than a couple of dozen miles, then relocation can run you tens of thousands of dollars.</p> <p>Related to relocation are any cost-of-living increases that come from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-the-cost-of-living-when-moving-the-cost-of-living-myth">moving from a less expensive area</a> to a more expensive one. If you are moving to a pricier locale, make certain that either the salary or the opportunity is worth the added cost of housing, groceries, and child care.</p> <h2>3. Longer Commute</h2> <p>Easily the most common cost associated with a new job is a new commute. If you've recently upgraded to a job with a shorter (or non-existent commute), then you are awesome and an example to us all.</p> <p>If, however, you recently moved to the outskirts of town, only to find that all the jobs you qualify for are relocating to the center of the city, well, you are looking at some increases in costs.</p> <h3>Fuel, Wear and Tear, Parking</h3> <p>These might seem like obvious costs to calculate, but in addition to mileage, you need to consider how many hours you will spend on the road. Is your route to work a daily traffic jam, or are you lucking into a reverse commute? Consider not just distance, but time spent in the car.</p> <p>If you are driving to work, is parking provided or do you have to pay for it?</p> <h3>Increased Fares</h3> <p>If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has reliable public transportation, but now have a longer commute, you might be surprised at how much more a round trip train ride can cost.</p> <h3>Extended Child Care or Pet Care</h3> <p>Do you have kids in daycare or pets that need to be let out of the house? Is a longer commute going to extend the number of hours you have to spend away from them? Consider these costs when looking at the big picture.</p> <h3>Take Out</h3> <p>Some people are really good at planning meals and having them ready to eat by the time dinner rolls around, but if you just spent two hours in the car driving home from work, you might be too tired to cook. Take-out pizza, anyone?</p> <h2>4. Health Insurance Changes</h2> <p>Yay, your new employer offers health insurance, right? Is it an HMO or a PPO? Are the premiums or deductibles higher than what you are currently paying? Is your current medical provider covered?</p> <h2>5. Reduced Benefits</h2> <p>Does your new employer offer the same kind of vacation package that your old one did? Does your new employer offer other benefits, like a 401(k) with matching? If you already had perks like these, make sure that your new employer has a similar benefits package (or at the very least, that the job itself is worth a cut in benefits). If you want to determine solid numbers to represent your total compensation package, you can use the <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/total-compensation">CalcXML Total Compensation calculator</a> to determine the difference between your current job and a prospective new one.</p> <h2>6. Increased Travel Requirements</h2> <p>If you work in a field that requires extensive travel, you already know the drill of expensing travel costs and getting your per diem. But increased travel, even when reimbursed in a timely manner, can come with other hidden costs. Do you need a house sitter or pet sitter?</p> <h2>7. Outside-of-Work Networking</h2> <p>Some jobs or industries require plenty of off-the-clock networking. Attending social events that aren't reimbursed can eat into your paycheck, but avoiding the kinds of networking events that your coworkers (or competitors) attend can also damage your career.</p> <h2>8. New Wardrobe</h2> <p>If you are changing careers or physical locations, it could be that your business casual wardrobe no longer cuts it. For instance, if you are moving from a tech job in a San Francisco start-up to a tech job with an investment bank in New York City, you may be expected, if not required, to wear much more formal work clothing. Outside of the office environment, some workplaces require you to wear clothing that they don't pay for. (For instance, my first job ever was at a Denny's that required me to purchase two neckties, at $30 a pop, out of my first paycheck.)</p> <p>Get an early handle on the expected daily attire for a new job, and budget accordingly.</p> <p><em>Have you ever taken a new job, only to be shocked by a hidden cost associated with the new job? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-hidden-costs-of-a-new-job">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/got-a-new-job-heres-your-financial-to-do-list">Got a New Job? Here&#039;s Your Financial To-Do List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-besides-salary-to-negotiate-at-work">10 Things Besides Salary to Negotiate at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-great-jobs-that-dont-pay-much">15 Great Jobs That Don&#039;t Pay Much</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-salaries-do-you-want-to-know-how-much-your-coworkers-make">The Psychology of Salaries: Do You Want to Know How Much Your Coworkers Make?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead">Didn&#039;t Get the Raise? Ask for This, Instead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income benefits commuting hidden costs new job salary Mon, 01 Dec 2014 11:00:11 +0000 Andrea Karim 1260450 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Hidden Advantages to Getting Rid of Your Car http://www.wisebread.com/7-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/carfree.jpg" alt="Chevy Nova" title="Chevy Nova" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Chicago, we didn't bring our car. We figured we would get around to buying a new one by the end of the summer. But now, eight months have slipped past, and although we haven't pledged to remain car-free forever, we have been enjoying some of the unexpected benefits of non-car-ownership so much that we haven't felt any rush to buy one.</p> <p>The big benefit we were expecting to enjoy was, of course, saving money.</p> <p>How much money you save depends on how you look at it. If you are going car-free rather than buying a new Escalade on credit, you're saving a ton. But if you are going car-free rather than paying cash for a reliable older car, your savings are more modest. One Wise Bread writer estimated he <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-up-your-car-may-be-easier-than-you-think">saved $2,800 a year</a> by giving up one of his household's cars. I estimated that my family is <a target="_blank" href="http://chicago.frugalisticmom.com/2012/08/car-free-family-how-much-are-we-saving-by-not-buying/">saving about $500 a month by going without a car</a>.</p> <p>But what are the less obvious benefits?</p> <h2>1. Less Stress</h2> <p>When I was a broke student without a pot to cook ramen in, I was amazed by middle class adults who complained that the possessions they gained only added to the stress in their lives. But when we let go of our beloved old Subaru, I realized that there was something to the &quot;more stuff, more problems&quot; lament. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-will-never-make-you-organized">Stuff Will&nbsp;Never Make You Organized</a>)</p> <p>To a busy mom, a car is almost like another needy kid. I needed to remember whether it was parked on the street where it would get a ticket overnight. I needed to remember whether it was due for an oil change and, wait, was I supposed to go by the sticker from the oil change place or check the manual? I needed to keep the kids' bikes from encroaching on the car's space in the garage, and I needed to worry whether that tapping sound after I turned it off meant that it was about to need an expensive repair.</p> <p>Then there's the stress of driving itself &mdash; getting cut off by obnoxious drivers, getting stuck in traffic, worrying about hitting someone while backing up, etc.</p> <p>The great thing about biking and walking is that even though it takes longer than driving, the amount of time it takes is almost always predictable because traffic isn't an issue. And when I turn on the radio to hear that Bay Area highways are all backed up, but know that my husband will be on time for dinner because he's riding his bike from the ferry or train? That feeling is the opposite of stress.</p> <h2>2. More Exercise</h2> <p>Just because you own a car, no one's forcing you to drive everywhere instead of walking or biking. But the truth is, if I owned a car, I would drive on a lot of the errands I currently do on my bike. I would procrastinate leaving the house until it's too late to bike, or I would drive because it looks like rain or because the kids don't want to ride in the bike trailer, and I don't have the energy to argue with them.</p> <p>Not having the option to drive forces you to organize your life in a way that you have time to get everywhere without driving. For me that has meant more exercise and better weight management results than I got from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-legit-ways-to-use-the-gym-for-free">belonging to a gym</a>.</p> <h2>3. More Pleasant Travel</h2> <p>I underestimated how much I would enjoy traveling by bike or foot compared to driving. On the occasions I drive now, I'm surprised by how annoying it is to wait behind a line of cars to turn when I could have simply walked my bike across the crosswalk with the walk sign. Every day I take in gorgeous scenery and enjoy the feeling of the wind on my face. Of course, it helps that I'm living in a mild part of the country &mdash; I can't claim I'd enjoy riding my bike in January if I were still in Chicago!</p> <p>As a mom, I love taking a trip in which at least one of my kids is on her own bike and not strapped cheek-to-cheek with her siblings squabbling. The two little ones still squabble in the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike">bike trailer</a> together, but if I ride fast enough, the wind in my ears can drown them out. Almost.</p> <h2>4. Drive a Different Car Every Time</h2> <p>When we want to drive to take a weekend family outing, we rent a vehicle at the nearby airport. Using Hotwire and Priceline, this has been unexpectedly affordable &mdash; usually about $30 a day including fees &mdash; and we have enjoyed trying out different models of cars instead of always driving the same one.</p> <h2>5. Never Have to Clean the Car</h2> <p>With three little kids riding in the back, my car was usually a pigsty inside. With all the chores in the house, going out to the garage to vacuum it out was not high on my priority list. And washing it with the hose was fun about once a year &mdash; after that it was yet another chore.</p> <p>Now when we drive we get to drop off the dirty car at the rental return and let them deal with it. We were told &mdash; once &mdash; that the rental company may charge an extra fee if you return it <em>really</em> dirty inside, but so far that hasn't happened, not even with the minivan we kept for a month and drove across the country.</p> <h2>6. Feel Better About Your Carbon Footprint</h2> <p>I can't claim that we stopped being car owners out of a selfless concern for the environment. It was more out of desire to save money and just not feeling like car shopping. But that feeling of standing at the gas pump feeling guilty about what I'm doing to the world? It's yet another little stress I don't miss at all. And every time other families at our school see us bike somewhere that they would have thought was too far for kids or too inconvenient, I feel good that maybe we are encouraging others to take fewer car trips as well.</p> <h2>7. Appreciate Your Friends and Neighbors</h2> <p>I cannot count how many times our new neighbors have offered the use of their vehicles to us or offered to pick us up or drop us off places. We almost always politely decline, because usually we have been fine getting around on our own and don't want to save money simply by pushing our costs off onto other people. But simply getting the offer has <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-reasons-why-its-good-to-know-your-neighbors">brought us closer to new friends and neighbors</a>. And sometimes the help has really come in handy, like on the occasional day when it's pouring and another mom from our preschool is driving there, anyway. We find non-vehicular ways to repay those favors and feel our new community grow closer.</p> <p>I can't pretend there aren't also disadvantages to not owning a car. I have avoided signing up the kids for activities I know they would enjoy because they are too far to quickly bike or take public transit, and I feel like picking up a shared car would also be too much trouble with three kids in tow. Life is less spontaneous when you need to sit down and make a transportation game plan every time you want to venture off your beaten path.</p> <p>But so far for us, these hidden advantages &mdash; when added to the big advantage of saving money &mdash; have made the car-free life a worthwhile experiment.</p> <p><em>What advantages, or disadvantages, have you experienced by giving up the car?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">The good life on less energy--even in the US</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-a-walkable-neighborhood">The Benefits of a Walkable Neighborhood</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation bicycling car-free commuting frugal transportation walking Tue, 05 Feb 2013 10:36:43 +0000 Carrie Kirby 967561 at http://www.wisebread.com Do It All Car-Free With a Cargo Bike http://www.wisebread.com/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4411021923_383fc93450_z.jpg" alt="cargo bike" title="cargo bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since <a href="http://chicago.frugalisticmom.com/2012/08/car-free-family-how-much-are-we-saving-by-not-buying/">getting rid of the family car</a> four months ago, I've been looking for easy ways to get my three kids around town. We picked up a bike trailer at a rummage sale that does the job, but my two younger kids (ages 5 and 3) feel cramped in it and can't enjoy the scenery as we cruise along our bike path on San Francisco Bay. So I've been exploring the many kinds of bikes that are built to carry passengers and loads. Called cargo or utility bikes, this type of bike was previously found mostly in Holland and Portland, OR &mdash; with more basic, workhorse models appearing throughout the Third World. But these days, you can find cargo bikes in a number of urban bike shops, and, of course, online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-guide-to-becoming-a-part-time-bicycle-commuter">A Guide to Becoming a Part-Time Bicycle Commuter</a>)</p> <p>Check out the calculator at&nbsp;<a href="http://bicycleuniverse.info/">Michael Bluejay's Bicycle Universe</a>&nbsp;to figure out how much you might save by going car-free. But even if you don't get rid of your car altogether, the financial benefits of riding a bike for at least some of your errands increase as gas prices head upwards. Besides the gas savings, biking helps you keep your car newer and reduce mileage costs by cutting the weekly miles you drive. Biking also provides benefits in fitness and flat-out pleasure &mdash; my morning ride to drop my son off at preschool leaves me energized and calm, feelings that I rarely get from driving.</p> <p>On the downside, cycling may be more dangerous than driving if you live in an area without safe bike paths or lanes &mdash; this is a controversial question since it's <a href="http://www.knowledge.allianz.com/mobility/transportation_safety/?565/why-cycling-saves-lives">difficult to compare the safety of driving versus cycling</a>. But if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">feel safe cycling</a> in your area &mdash; and I do &mdash; a cargo bike can help you get more of your tasks done car-free.</p> <h2>Types of Cargo Bikes</h2> <p>Cargo bikes come in two basic types:</p> <p><strong>The Longtail</strong></p> <p>Longtail bikes are just like they sound &mdash; they're like regular bikes, only longer in back. The least expensive way to try out cargo biking is to purchase a Free Radical longtail conversion kit from Xtracycle and turn an ordinary bike into a longtail. The kits start at $224.99 for just the <a href="http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-freeradical/freeradical-base-frame.html">bare bones extension</a>, but you can pay more than $800 for a <a href="http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-freeradical/freeradical-family.html">set-up including accessories such as a baby seat and padded seating for older passengers</a>.</p> <p>I recently wrote an <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Cargo-bikes-carry-larger-loads-3936796.php">article in the San Francisco Chronicle</a> about Xtracycle and another longtail maker, <a href="http://yubaride.com/">Yuba</a>, both of which also sell complete cargo bikes for $1,000 and up. You can set up your longtail to carry just about anything, from three kids (on Xtracycle's forthcoming <a href="http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-cargo-accessories/kids-and-family/hooptie.html">Hooptie model</a>) to multiple bags of groceries to surf boards and large plants, to <a href="http://yubaride.com/yubashop/product.php?id_product=97">more bikes with Yuba's towing tray</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Long John or Bakfiets</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Long-John-Cargo-Bike/">Long john bikes</a> carry their load in front of the driver. Many parents say they prefer this style of bike when carrying children because they can see and talk with the kids.</p> <p>Liz Canning, a filmmaker who is creating a <a href="http://www.LizCanning.com">documentary about cargo bikes</a>, likes the low center of gravity of the long john she uses to take her 4-year-old twins down a steep hill to preschool. She got the bike after finding that her kids &mdash; like mine &mdash; hated riding in a trailer.</p> <p>&quot;I&nbsp;was bribing them to get into the trailer,&quot; Canning said.</p> <p>Emily Finch of Portland is famous for carrying all six of her children on a bakfiets that one writer called <a href="http://bikeportland.org/2012/06/28/with-six-kids-and-no-car-this-mom-does-it-all-by-bike-73731">&quot;a human-powered minivan.&quot;</a></p> <p>Long johns can also handle heavier loads than longtails, but they tend to cost more &mdash; upwards of $2,000. Finch's set-up &mdash; which includes a tandem bike that one of her kids pedals behind her to add extra power &mdash; cost around $4,000.</p> <h2>Adding to Your Pedal Power</h2> <p>No matter which kind of cargo bike you have, you may find that you want to add electric assist. This gives you the freedom to bike a little faster when you're in a hurry &mdash; Paul Fischer, who <a href="http://bayareacargobikes.com/">sells bakfiets bikes in San Jose</a> &mdash; says that electric assist can boost him from about 12 to 18 miles per hour. Electric motors are also a good idea if you live in hilly territory, like San Francisco, or need to carry heavy loads.</p> <p>You can even get a bike that makes smoothies. <a href="http://rockthebike.com/store/">Rock the Bike</a>, of Berkeley, sells the <a href="http://rockthebike.com/store/products/8-fender-blender-pro.html">Fender Blender Pro for $1,700</a>, mostly to companies that use the bike-powered blender for events. The bad news? The Fender Blender doesn't go &mdash; it's a stationary bike.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-the-courtesy-flush-dead">Is the courtesy flush dead?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dumpster-diving-101-6-strategies-for-success">Dumpster-Diving 101: 6 Strategies for Success</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle bicycle safety cargo bikes commuting Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:36:47 +0000 Carrie Kirby 955166 at http://www.wisebread.com Have a Great Day, Every Day: 5 Things to Do in the Morning http://www.wisebread.com/have-a-great-day-every-day-5-things-to-do-in-the-morning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/have-a-great-day-every-day-5-things-to-do-in-the-morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2536566160_e42123090e_z.jpg" alt="man and strawberry" title="man and strawberry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wake up. Shower in a rush. Brush your teeth. Rush out the door. Worry that you're going to be late. Sit down at your desk, and take a deep breath as you get ready for your work day.</p> <p>Does that sound like some type of secret recipe for a disastrous day? Or like a typical morning?</p> <p>Typically, our mood or attitude for the day is set in the first hours of the day. In fact, if you can learn to do some important activities every morning, it will make a tremendous difference not just in how your morning goes, but your entire day.</p> <p>You'll be more productive, and you'll be more pleasant to be around. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person">9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person</a>)</p> <h3>1. Lay in Bed for at Least Five Minutes After You Wake Up</h3> <p>If you are a person who prays, this is a great time to pray. If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/time-to-get-down-with-your-inner-zen">meditate</a>, then this is a great time to meditate. By having a minimum of five minutes of downtime, you remind yourself that time is not so valuable that you cannot invest in your own health. Remember, it's important to do this before checking email, Twitter, Facebook, or any other updates. By checking in, you're inviting some responsibility to negatively impact your first waking moments of the day.</p> <h3>2. Exercise</h3> <p><a href="http://www.menshealth.com/jumpstartyourday/perfect-morning-workout.php"> Morning exercise</a> should be an activity that you enjoy and something that gets your heart pumping.&nbsp;</p> <h3>3. Leave Home Five Minutes Earlier Than Necessary</h3> <p>On the highway each morning, there are two types of commuters. The first are the racecar-style drivers who weave in and out of traffic. They brake often and accelerate quickly. They hit the steering wheel when anyone costs them an extra two seconds on their commute. Then there's the driver who's got time to spare. He might arrive at work five minutes later than his speedway co-worker, but he also arrives in a better mood. Give yourself some margin for the morning commute.</p> <h3>4. Tell Your Family You Love Them</h3> <p>Give hugs and kisses all around. In our lives, we often forget to connect with the people who are most important. We think it would be a tragedy to be five minutes late to a meeting with a complete stranger, but not having even a moment to connect with family in the morning seems like a sensible trade off.</p> <h3>5. Eat at Least a Piece of Fruit, and Sit Down at the Table for a Bit</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-quick-homemade-breakfasts"> Eating something healthy</a> gives you a positive outlook on the day. And by taking some extra time to sit down, you'll relax and have time to read the paper, talk with your family, enjoy a joke, and sip a cup of tea or coffee. Just sit &mdash; the world won't end.</p> <p>As you can tell, the focus here is to slow down. Sure, that might require <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wake-up-fast-and-attack-the-day">getting up a few minutes earlier</a>, but if you could completely rewrite your day by just getting up earlier, wouldn't you? By creating a little bit of extra margin every morning, you can turn super stressful delays into mild inconveniences that won't put you in a sour mood for the rest of the day.</p> <p><em>What activities do you do in the morning that make a big difference on how the day turns out?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-a-great-day-every-day-5-things-to-do-in-the-morning">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person">9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/friends-and-goals-dont-let-a-blue-falcon-bring-you-down">Friends and Goals: Don&#039;t Let a Blue Falcon Bring You Down</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity breakfast commuting exercise morning routine relationships Fri, 03 Aug 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Craig Ford 947011 at http://www.wisebread.com Carpooling: Pros, Cons, and How to Stay Safe http://www.wisebread.com/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/423813351_ee49c0b3e7.jpg" alt="carpool sign" title="carpool sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have been an avid carpooler for nearly three years now. I carpool to and from work with colleagues each day, in addition to finding one-off travel companions for long weekend trips. I&rsquo;ve pretty much seen it all, from the intensely inspiring conversations that blossom into great friendships to the insanely inconsiderate travel mates whose idea of a good time is stinking up my car with tuna melts and forcing me to listen to hours of endless rubbish on the radio. Moreover, I&rsquo;ve learned how to stay safe while sharing the road with strangers. I&rsquo;ve decided to jot down what I have found to be the pros and cons of carpooling, followed by some <em>essential</em> safety tips if you decide to take up the hippy-tastic art of carpooling.</p> <h3>PRO: Save Some Green &ndash; In More Ways Than One!</h3> <p>I decided to carpool primarily for financial reasons. I&rsquo;d just signed a three-year lease on a Honda Civic, and I was only allowed to travel 15,000 miles a year before I&rsquo;d be charged some serious penalties upon trade-in. I ran the numbers, added in some extra miles for weekend trips, and saw that I would never come <em>close</em> to being under the 45,000 mile mark in three years. Carpooling has saved me money on my lease, but it can also save car owners money that would be spent on wear-and-tear related issues including oil changes and gasoline. And for those individuals sans-wheels, it&rsquo;s a perfect solution to get to where you need to go.</p> <p>Carpooling also helps save money on parking, tolls, and other expenditures. And it&rsquo;s wise to ask your insurance provider about discounts that you may be entitled to if you report yourself as a rideshare participant. I save a substantial amount in insurance payments this way.</p> <p>And let&rsquo;s not forget the environment &mdash; it just makes sense to limit our nasty emissions when possible. According to the Sightline Institute, the average car emits 1.10 lbs of CO2 per mile. When you carpool, an average car with two passengers decreases that number by one-half!</p> <p>Finally, my organization really encourages carpooling. Those who carpool receive a cute little decal to put on their car (a hybrid with flowers floating out of the tail pipe!) and are offered prime parking real estate right in front of the building. This really comes in handy on those cold and rainy mornings!</p> <h3>PRO: Socializing and Networking</h3> <p>If you are a social person, and I certainly am, carpooling is a great way to meet people and make new friends. I had the pleasure of meeting two of my now closest friends because of the long hours we spent on the road each and every day. It&rsquo;s so nice to pass the time in great conversation (or let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; office gossip!), and it really makes rush-hour traffic seem to disappear.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also a nice way to meet people you wouldn&rsquo;t otherwise interact with at work. A lot of us tend to get lost in our own small work teams and rarely have the opportunity to meet interesting people who sit on the other side of the building, or who are in higher or lower positions. And while you&rsquo;re at it, this can also be a great way to schmooze and network, if that&rsquo;s what you&rsquo;re into.</p> <h3>PRO: Catching Some Zzzs or Multi-Tasking</h3> <p>One of the greatest perks that I enjoy as a carpooler is the chance to catch 40 winks. I do enjoy the usual banter and chitter-chatter, but there are certainly those difficult days when you feel like your head is about to explode, and you just can&rsquo;t take it anymore. It&rsquo;s times like these when an understanding carpool buddy can take the burden off you and let you relax while you magically make your way home.</p> <p>Alternatively, if you&rsquo;re a real go-getter and hate the lack of productiveness that 40 minutes on the road brings, why not use the time to pull out your laptop and get a bit more work done? When you get home and email your boss the final draft of the memo she&rsquo;s been waiting for, she&rsquo;ll wonder when you found the time to get so much done!</p> <h3>PRO: Leave Work Early</h3> <p>Ever notice how that meeting that was supposed to end at 5:00 p.m. sometimes drags on until 5:15&hellip; 5:30&hellip; 6:00? I found people at work to be very understanding of my obligations as part of a carpooling team. &ldquo;Excuse me, I&rsquo;m really sorry, but it&rsquo;s 4:59 p.m. and my carpool buddy really gets upset if I&rsquo;m not out in the parking lot and ready to go at 5:00 p.m. sharp. I really wish I could stay all night, but I don&rsquo;t want to inconvenience him...&rdquo;</p> <h3>CON: Schedule Conflicts</h3> <p>Assuming you <em>can&rsquo;t </em>always use your strict carpool departure schedule as an excuse to get out of work on time, carpooling may not always work. There will inevitably be obligations outside of one&rsquo;s control, which may leave one or more individuals stranded late at the office. Vacations, sick days, and other events might also put a spanner in the plans as well. My advice in these circumstances is to try to plan ahead as far in advance as possible, and to always have a back-up option. Do you know anyone who has a similar route home but who you don&rsquo;t carpool with on a daily basis? Make sure to keep them in mind for those emergencies. Being aware of the public transportation schedules is also a good way to ensure you will never be stranded in a pinch.</p> <h3>Safety Tips</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s probably easier to practice safe carpooling when you&rsquo;re doing it with neighbors or colleagues. There&rsquo;s a sense of security knowing that you already have a relationship with the person, or at least a few things in common, and there is less of a risk than driving with a total stranger.</p> <p>But it&rsquo;s not always possible to drive with people that you know. What if you want to catch a lift with someone for a five-hour journey? This person is most likely not going to be someone you already know. So how do you make sure that you&rsquo;re being careful enough?</p> <p>I like to find people to carpool with on reputable sites such as <a href="http://www.zimride.com/">ZimRide.com</a> and <a href="http://www.erideshare.com/">eRideshare.com</a>, university carpool boards, and other local websites. Some of these sites show user profiles and give you a little more information about your potential travel companion. Some even show feedback from people who have already shared a ride, helping you to feel safe that others felt they were good drivers, and that they got to their final destinations in one piece. <a href="http://www.craigslist.com/">Craigslist.com</a> also has a rideshare category, which I have personally used with great success; however, it isn&rsquo;t nearly as well organized, and I urge you to be careful to avoid scams.</p> <p>I also try to have a conversation with the individual before setting out on the road. Establishing some ground rules before you decide to take the plunge with a total stranger is an absolute must. Crucial issues such as payment, how they feel about smoking, what their driving record is like, and other essential pieces of information are best to learn early on. You could also meet in a public place for lunch to get a good sense of who you&rsquo;re about to share the next several hours of your life with. I&rsquo;ve found that I&rsquo;ve had a great deal in common with individuals I&rsquo;ve met through carpooling. After all, we&rsquo;re all doing it for similar reasons and heading to the same destination, so there&rsquo;s usually enough material to fill the silence!</p> <p>But at the end of the day, you never really know for sure. When I am driving with someone whom I&rsquo;ve never met before, I always let my husband know who the person is, what time we&rsquo;re supposed to arrive at our destination, and I have him call me a few times throughout the ride. My main rule of thumb is to not ride with anyone who I don&rsquo;t feel comfortable with. If you get an initial bad vibe upon meeting someone, trust your gut and don&rsquo;t get in the car &mdash; plain and simple. They may be upset that you&rsquo;re backing out, but that&rsquo;s completely your prerogative and you should feel 100% within your rights to do so.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Higgins Bealing, an engineer by day (trying to save the planet through green initiatives) and an MBA student by night. She divides her time between West Hartford, CT and Ithaca, NY and has found many ways to pinch pennies through carpooling, renting out her home, and writing for environmentally friendly blogs.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/higgins-bealing">Higgins Bealing</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-how-to-use-a-parking-meter-serious-question">Do you know how to use a parking meter? Serious question.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keys-locked-in-the-trunk-heres-what-to-do">Keys Locked in the Trunk? Here&#039;s What to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-up-your-car-may-be-easier-than-you-think">Giving Up Your Car May Be Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disguise-your-stuff-to-prevent-car-break-ins">Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/skills-that-can-save-you-money-part-1-parallel-parking">Skills That Can Save You Money Part 1: Parallel Parking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation General Tips carpooling commuting Fri, 19 Nov 2010 13:00:08 +0000 Higgins Bealing 301911 at http://www.wisebread.com Giving Up Your Car May Be Easier Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/giving-up-your-car-may-be-easier-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/giving-up-your-car-may-be-easier-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/180647558_fbb63c3ca9_z.jpg" alt="selling vehicle" title="selling vehicle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had owned a vehicle since my junior year of high school. Like many, I considered it a birthright.</p> <p>It wasn't until two years ago when both my wife and I worked two miles from our employers that we started to question whether we both needed our own vehicle. Getting over that initial stigma of &quot;downsizing&quot; to one vehicle wasn't easy at first, but the idea gradually started to appeal more to us over time.</p> <p>And then, we did it. We sold the vehicle that we still had payments on and kept the older vehicle that was in the free and clear.</p> <p>Not only was it one of the best financial decisions I ever made, but I also feel much better about myself for not depending on a machine (that pollutes the environment) to get around. (See also: <a title="10 Cost-Conscious Commuting Options" href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cost-conscious-commuting-options">10 Cost-Conscious Commuting Options</a>)</p> <h2>Giving Up a Vehicle Requires Alternatives</h2> <p>Living two miles from work made the transition extremely easy. Living a block away from a bus route made it even easier. In order to successfully make the transition to not owning a vehicle, realistically, you'll need at least one of the following alternatives:</p> <ul> <li>Live within 2-3 miles so that you can self-power your commute through walking or biking. Note that with this option, weather will undoubtedly throw you some curve balls.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Live along a bus or other mass transit route.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work regular hours and be on a route that permits a significant other, friend, or co-worker to drop you off.</li> </ul> <p>Luckily, I had two of the three. This made my transition extremely easy.</p> <h2>The Benefits of Giving up a Vehicle</h2> <p>There are many:</p> <h3>Money, Money, Money</h3> <p>This is a personal finance blog, so we'll hit that first. I calculated that I have saved about $2800 annually. This was on a used vehicle that cost me $11k. A new, or more expensive vehicle would obviously make this number much higher. Basically add up your <a title="How Much Car Can You Afford?" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-car-can-you-afford">monthly payments</a>, insurance costs, maintenance costs, and fuel. Edmunds has a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/apps/cto/CTOintroController">true vehicle cost calculator</a> to help you figure out this number, based on your make and model. And don't forget the money you will save in parking costs if you work in an urban setting.</p> <h3>Environment</h3> <p>You can find out your CO2 impact based on the make and model you own and miles you drive at <a href="http://www.fueleconomy.gov/">fueleconomy.gov</a>.</p> <h3>Peace of Mind</h3> <p>Having one less possession &mdash; in this case probably your most expensive possession aside from a house &mdash; is very liberating. It's hard to place a value on it.</p> <h3>Space!</h3> <p>Not having to store a vehicle opens up your garage for other things.</p> <h2>The Downsides of Giving Up a Vehicle</h2> <p>The only one for me is not being able to conveniently drive long distances to get to a destination whenever I want. However, I was surprised to find out how little this actually happened. There has literally only been a handful of times in two years. And for those times, there's always the car rental outfits, your friends, or <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-11220075">Zipcar</a>.</p> <p>Over the last two years, I started to realize that owning a vehicle is truly a privilege and not a birthright, or even a necessity. If you can make the move, you won't regret it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-up-your-car-may-be-easier-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dead-car-battery-give-it-a-glass-of-red-wine">Dead car battery? Give it a glass of red wine.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-gas-free-ebook">Save money on gas + free ebook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto automotive car commuting getting rid of vehicle selling vehicle vehicle Tue, 28 Sep 2010 13:00:08 +0000 G.E. Miller 249558 at http://www.wisebread.com A Guide to Becoming a Part-Time Bicycle Commuter http://www.wisebread.com/a-guide-to-becoming-a-part-time-bicycle-commuter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-guide-to-becoming-a-part-time-bicycle-commuter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/395286329_d6510e32e0_z.jpg" alt="biking" title="biking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago, I wanted to increase my level of exercise and save money on gasoline at a time when gas prices were the highest they had been in decades. I&nbsp;realized I could accomplish both tasks through commuting to work by bicycle. In some ways, transitioning from the car to the bike was easier than I had thought. In others, however, it required me to alter my daily schedule, which was sometimes rough. In hindsight, I'm glad I was able to make the transition, even if there are times when it is only a part-time achievement. I was able to make the car to bike transition due to a few variables that I&nbsp;was able to control:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Purchasing the right gear:</strong> the bike, racks, lights<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Planning a less-trafficked route:</strong> bike lanes, residential streets, bike paths, and the ever debatable side walk riding<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Altering my schedule to make cycling more enjoyable:</strong> preparing, timing my route, breaking up my ride</li> </ul> <h2>Buying the Right Cycling Gear</h2> <p>Choosing a comfortable bike is definitely a personal choice, but a must for any journey over a couple of miles. After testing out a few models within my price range, I chose a comfort bike with multiple gears so I sit more upright, and not over the handle bars. I can shift into a low gear going uphill and a higher gear pedaling downhill. I also made sure to choose a bike with thicker, wider tires. I now feel pretty confident in my riding that I won't go tumbling off my bike if a ride over a small bump or pothole, but in the beginning any little uneven pavement would make me wobble.</p> <p><strong>The Bike</strong></p> <p>Purchasing a new bike isn't necessary; there are plenty of great used bikes to choose from. Just be sure to have someone familiar with bicycles complete a tune-up; pump up the tires, check the alignment, grease the gears, check the brake pads.</p> <p><strong>Baskets or Carriers</strong></p> <p>Once a bike is selected, you have some optional accessories you can add to your bike. Because I carry a book bag with me to work, I decided on collapsible saddle-bag style baskets. The saddle-bag style baskets attach to a small rear rack that normally doesn't come with the bike purchase, unless you're lucky enough to purchase a used bike with one of these already attached. Other basket alternatives include a front-mounted basket that mounts to the handlebars. <em>Frugal alternative</em>:&nbsp;Of course, if you decide you won't be carrying much with you on a bike, a backpack will do the job just as well.</p> <p><strong>Lighting</strong></p> <p>An accessory that I&nbsp;feel is more a necessity rather than an option is lighting. Even if you don't ride at night or at dusk, having a front and rear bicycle light helps cars see you. You also never know when it may be foggy or overcast; lights can help you be seen.</p> <h2>Finding Bike Routes</h2> <p>Many cities are becoming more bike friendly as people hop on their bikes and hit the streets. However, every city varies. I live in a city that just can't seem to make up its mind; terrific bike lanes happen to end in the most unusual places. So, I've had to get creative when planning out my route. Since bicycles are much more capable of riding through unusual spaces, like small alleyways, parking lots, and university campuses, I've been able to plan a safe route to and from work. Using an online map, I first calculated the shortest distance to work. Unfortunately, that route put me on the busiest of streets and I just didn't feel comfortable riding them. So, I started scoping out side streets. I found a slightly longer route (about a mile and a half longer) that is less-trafficked and a safer alternative. Some things to consider when plotting out your best route:</p> <p><strong>Your Safety</strong></p> <p>If you happen to live in a bicycle-friendly city, you may be in luck with clearly marked bike lanes. If not, you may have to search out side-streets, bike paths, even parks or college campuses that have very little traffic. Part of my route is through a college campus making a mile of my trip practically car-free.</p> <p><strong>Other People's Safety</strong></p> <p>I don't consider bicycles dangerous vehicles. Of course, they can cause minor injuries to you or others if you run into something or someone. Which brings me to side walk riding; sometimes the only route you have available based on traffic in your area. I&nbsp;live in an area where there is very little pedestrian foot traffic, making side walk riding completely safe. However, you will need to use your best judgment when deciding to ride on them.</p> <p><strong>Time</strong></p> <p>Choosing the route with the shortest time sounds like a no-brainer. Realistically, you may have to decide if that route is safe. My motto is safety before length. I'd much rather ride a mile out of my way than get hit by a car.</p> <h2>The Schedule</h2> <p>When I first began commuting by bike, I read that some bike commuters actually rode to work faster than when they drove their car. Though this hasn't been my experience, it also hasn't detered me from riding. Riding to work does entail altering my schedule a bit, meaning I have to make it a point to wake up 30 minutes earlier than if I&nbsp;were to drive. Though I'm not a morning person, a few things have helped me organize my time:</p> <p><strong>Preparation</strong></p> <p>Preparing the night before can be a life-saver. Since I know I can't beat the clock, I prepare my lunch and the items that need to go with me to work (like a change of shirt) the night before. I pack all my items in one book bag that fits snuggly in my basket. Being prepared means I won't forget anything as I stumble out the door half asleep. It also means I can sleep an additional 10-15 minutes later than if I waited to prepare my things the morning of my ride.</p> <p><strong>A Timed Route</strong></p> <p>The weekend before my first week as a bicycle commuter, I timed myself. I realized I needed 45 minutes to ride to work, including the time I needed to pick up my coffee. (The coffee really helps!) I can't say I've been able to shave any time off my route; I seem to pedal at an average of 9 mph no matter how long I've been riding.</p> <p><strong>A Much-Needed Break</strong></p> <p>Since my ride is a solid 6-miles, I usually take a quick 5 minute break right before I hit the point of my route where I can coast downhill a bit. Depending on how long your commute is, you might be able to do without one, or break up your ride with a bus, train, or subway ride depending on the length of your commute.</p> <p>Ultimately, distance and time play a large factor in the viability of becoming an everyday bicycle commuter. However, even part-time commuting can be an enjoyable experience with the right preparation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-guide-to-becoming-a-part-time-bicycle-commuter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car">7 Hidden Advantages to Getting Rid of Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike">Do It All Car-Free With a Cargo Bike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">The good life on less energy--even in the US</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-cars-are-not-the-answer">Better cars are not the answer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-transport-bicycling">Frugal Transport--bicycling</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living bicycling commuting less expensive reducing carbon footprint saving gas Mon, 16 Aug 2010 12:00:05 +0000 Little House 205753 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Does it Cost Every Time you Get Into Your Car? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cost of gas factor.jpg" alt="gas" title="gas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">I recently found myself living out in the <a target="_blank" href="http://freedom30.blogspot.com/2008/07/weve-died-and-gone-to-kingbilli.html">countryside</a> near Melbourne Australia. And aside from gas being referred to as &ldquo;petrol&rdquo; among other <a target="_blank" href="http://freedom30.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-things-that-make-australia-unique.html">Australian idiosyncrasies</a>, living out here could be equated with life in the countryside just about anywhere:</p> <ul> <li>Anything within 50 kilometers (31 miles) is considered &ldquo;close&rdquo;</li> <li>You have to drive to get anywhere (sometimes including your own front gate)</li> <li>The cost of living can be more expensive (depending on how judicious and creative you are)</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And last but certainly not least:</p> <ul> <li>You will spend a small fortune on gas. Petrol. Whatever.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Here in Australia, if the price of gas is much below $1.50/liter (the equivalent of about $5.68 /gallon), people practically dance in the streets with joy; it regularly hovers at a price point much higher. And so one day driving back from running some errands in town on a week when I had traveled into town more than I would have liked, I glanced down in shock at my gas gauge: empty. It seemed that I had consumed more gas in the last week than I had realized.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">This led me to a minor budgeting revelation: Every time I travel into town, I spend almost $10 in gas. This was a shock to the system; if there was a bus, I would have happily taken it to be sure. But out here, no such thing exists. (Such is the price you pay to live in the country; a price happily paid by most who live here).</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">This revelation led to an immediate change in attitude towards driving:</p> <ul> <li>Carpooling is now an active goal, if not a necessity (not only for the environment, but also better value when driving).</li> <li>A trip into town doesn&rsquo;t happen unless at least three separate and important tasks can be achieved.</li> <li>Mail order is king!</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">When I started to even more closely examine the cost of gas/petrol, I realized how much more there is to driving: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/auto-insurance">insurance</a>, maintenance, and wear &amp; tear for starters. If I averaged out the cost of these factors and added them into each trip into town, my excursion shoots up even further to approximately $13.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">$13 just to go into town; to get some groceries, make a social call, or see the dentist. That&rsquo;s not pennies. And here&rsquo;s the corker: Although I live in the country, town is not all that far away, and it is all highway driving.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">How many people who live in the city (or a bedroom community) commute 20 miles or more to work, and in stop &amp; go traffic no less (which increases the cost of gas and wear &amp; tear)?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">How many people who live in the city (and commute in their cars) actually pay higher <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/auto-insurance-rates">insurance premiums</a> to do so?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">How many people who live either in the city or the country don&rsquo;t think about all this every time they get into their car?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So the next time you say you&rsquo;ll just &ldquo;hop in the car&rdquo; to nip off somewhere, think about how much that little trip will cost you. You may decide in the end that the trip doesn&rsquo;t have to happen today, or that maybe you can kill two birds with one stone by adding another errand to your list.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">At the very least, it pays (literally) to figure out for yourself how much it costs every time you get in your car. Only then can you make a rational frugal decision as to whether or not putting the key in the ignition this time will fit into your budget, and not just a life of convenience.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-if-energy-costs-keep-rising">What if energy costs keep rising?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year">How to Save an Extra $1,094.86 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Cars and Transportation car insurance car maintenance commuting cost of gas cost of petrol driving Thu, 28 Aug 2008 02:00:10 +0000 Nora Dunn 2374 at http://www.wisebread.com Dangerous neighborhoods are safer than commuting http://www.wisebread.com/dangerous-neighborhoods-are-safer-than-commuting <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/cars-in-apartment-lot.jpg" alt="Cars in apartment parking lot" title="Cars in apartment parking lot" width="439" height="142" /></p> <p>Why do so few people live within walking--or at least bicycling--distance from where they work?</p> <p>I&#39;ve asked a lot of people this question and gotten a lot of different answers. Some people want big houses, others big lawns. A lot of people think--for reasons that they can&#39;t really articulate--that suburbs are the right place to raise kids. But one reason that you hear a lot is that people want to live somewhere safe--a low-crime area.</p> <p>The fact is, that&#39;s not a good reason to live a long way away from where you work, because a long commute is more dangerous than living in a dangerous neighborhood.</p> <p>It&#39;s one of those odd quirks of the way people&#39;s brains work that people don&#39;t recognize this immediately. People drive all the time, so driving seems safe. Violent crime, on the other hand, is rare, making it seem like a bigger danger than it is. A quick check of the statistics, though, tells the story.</p> <p>The most dangerous neighborhood I could find in a quick search on the internet was census tract 440100 in south-central Chicago. According to the <a href="http://gis.chicagopolice.org/">Chicago police department</a>, there have been 225 violent crimes, including 5 murders, this year in this neighborhood, which has a population of 9324.</p> <p>So, that&#39;s 5 murders per 9324 people per 365 days which comes to 0.00000147 murders per person per day.</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.bts.gov/">Bureau of Transportation Statistics</a>, there are 100 injuries, including 1.5 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles, which works out to 0.000000015 traffic fatalities per mile driven.</p> <p>That&#39;s all the information we need to find the commute that&#39;s as dangerous as living in the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago: 49 miles (a 98 mile round trip). </p> <p>Granted that&#39;s a long commute. On the other hand, that assumes that there&#39;s a zero percent chance of being murdered in whatever neighborhood you do live in, which is at least a little optimistic.</p> <p>Of course, there are other scary crimes that can happen in dangerous neighborhoods, but if you compare all violent crimes to all traffic injuries, the long commutes come out even worse. If your commute is 33 miles each way, you can expect to be injured in a traffic accident about as often as you&#39;d be a victim of a violent crime living in the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago.</p> <p>None of this is to suggest that you ought to live in a dangerous neighborhood. Often just moving a few blocks can make a big difference. Move a few blocks west to census tract 440200 (where there&#39;s been 4 murders in the past year and 167 violent crimes) and the equivalently dangerous commute drops to 24 miles each way. If you&#39;re driving further than that because you want to live in a safe neighborhood, either there&#39;s blood running in the streets or you haven&#39;t done the math.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dangerous-neighborhoods-are-safer-than-commuting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town">14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-buy-used">8 Things You Should Always Buy Used</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Real Estate and Housing commuting neighborhoods safety Sun, 15 Jul 2007 01:55:16 +0000 Philip Brewer 838 at http://www.wisebread.com