transportation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8866/all en-US Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_city_view_000064735719.jpg" alt="Man deciding if he should move to a new city to reduce costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving to a big or popular city is often associated with higher housing costs. But even so, it may be worth it when you're able to change your lifestyle for the better &mdash; while reducing overall costs elsewhere.</p> <p>This is the exact decision that my husband and I faced a few months ago when we decided to move across the country to be closer to family.</p> <p>If you're considering whether or not you should move to pursue a better career or lifestyle, here's why you may want to move to a new city <em>even</em> if rent or housing costs more. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mid-sized-cities-for-millennials">The 5 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Millennials</a>)</p> <h2>Why I Chose to Pay Double the Cost of Rent</h2> <p>Compared to our previous apartment near Dallas, TX our Boulder, CO rent is nearly double the price. Basically, the <a href="http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&amp;country2=United+States&amp;city1=Boulder%2C+CO&amp;city2=Tyler%2C+TX&amp;tracking=getDispatchComparison">average price per square foot</a>&nbsp;to buy an apartment in Texas is $100, while Colorado is as much as $383 per square foot.</p> <p>Our one bedroom rented apartment in Texas only cost $900, whereas here in Boulder it's $1,660 &mdash; not including utilities. But we looked at our budget and took <em>all</em> our lifestyle costs into account before deciding that moving was the best option. Here are four reasons we decided to move to a new city despite the higher housing costs.</p> <h3>1. Lower Utility Charges</h3> <p>One of the biggest factors to your budget, aside from rent and housing costs, are your utility costs. This can include your water, electricity, gas, Internet, TV, and other small things like trash and sewer maintenance.</p> <p>Depending on whether you live inside or outside the city limits, these costs could be quite high. Added together, my husband and I used to pay close to $400 per month towards our utility bills. But now that we live in a more cost efficient city, we're able to save nearly <em>half </em>of that each month.</p> <p>Check your utility costs against those of your potential new city by making a list of your current bills. Compare those utility costs to your potential new place. (You can compare the costs online via the utility company's website, or calling the local phone number.) Be sure to check:</p> <ul> <li>Internet</li> <li>Phone</li> <li>TV/Cable</li> <li>Electricity</li> <li>Gas</li> <li>Water/Sewer</li> <li>Trash/Recycling</li> </ul> <p>Even though we may pay a lot more in rent, the amount we save every month by having low-flow faucets and more cost effective heating/cooling is definitely worth the move to us.</p> <h3>2. Food Costs and Waste</h3> <p>Groceries are a non-fixed expense that can eat into your budget if you're not careful. In our previous city, we had limited options of grocery stores to choose from, which left us little choice of saving money on food. We could either spend a fortune at a small boutique grocery store, or sacrifice the quality by going to a big chain store. We chose to spend a bit more for organic food and had a grocery bill upwards of $800+ per month &mdash; just for the two of us!</p> <p>Since moving to Colorado, we have access to 10 different grocery stores (seriously, we counted!) and can find what we need at a <em>much</em> lower price. In the past several months we've knocked an average of $230 off our grocery bill, and it keeps declining.</p> <p>Better quality organic food at one-fourth the cost has been well worth the move to a new city. In addition, we're able to buy less food and avoid so much going to waste. Having more options has allowed us to save money while still getting the organic and healthy food we want.</p> <h3>3. Environmental Impact</h3> <p>One of the main reasons my husband and I wanted to move from Texas to Colorado was to be more environmentally aware of the impact we were making. This city has a built-in recycling program so we no longer have to take weekend trips to the recycling center.</p> <p>And because of the climate, there's no air conditioning unit in our apartment. During the cold months, we simply use a gas-powered furnace. When you compare the cost of a electric heater versus a gas furnace, prices for gas <a href="https://www.mge.com/images/PDF/Brochures/residential/RentersGasVsElec.pdf">typically cost much less</a> to operate than electric ones.</p> <p>According to the EPA, the fuel from a gas furnace comes from natural gas production, which burns much cleaner and poses less of an environmental threat. It's important to evaluate your impact on the environment, as well as your overall lifestyle costs. Consider how this change could save you money and help better the local community.</p> <h3>4. Transportation Costs</h3> <p>Since settling into our life here in Boulder, my husband and I have only filled up the car with gas twice in the past three months. Our gas and car maintenance budget used to be $250 per month, but now it's down to around $40&ndash;$50 for all our transportation costs.</p> <p>Because this new city has <a href="https://bouldercolorado.gov/goboulder/other-great-options">several different transportation choices</a>, including a bus system, carpooling, and car sharing options, we've stopped using our car as much. We now bike or walk to work or while running errands.</p> <p>This allows us to save <em>over $200 a month</em> on gas and maintenance costs for our car. In addition it allows us to put less emissions into the environment.</p> <p>All-in-all, we increased our housing costs by $760 but are currently saving $610+ in lower utility, transportation, and food costs. For us, this was definitely worth it.</p> <p><em>Are you thinking of moving to reduce lifestyle costs? What are some other things that impact your decision?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">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-16"> <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/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</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/book-review-off-the-grid">Book Review: Off the Grid</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/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</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/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</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/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent">Should you try to reduce your rent?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing environmental impact food costs housing costs rent transportation utilities Thu, 21 Jan 2016 12:01:03 +0000 Carrie Smith 1642415 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 More Fun, Affordable Train Trips http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000019051349.jpg" alt="Child on fun and affordable train trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Trains are not only a huge part of our history and economy, but they make for relaxing and scenic travel. We last gave you five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">enjoyable and reasonably priced train trips</a> for the summer. Now, try going on one of these five additional fun, affordable train trips this fall.</p> <h2>1. Cross Country: California Zephyr</h2> <p>Have you always wanted to venture out into what was the wild west of the 1800s without the horrific summer heat? The <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/california-zephyr-train">California Zephyr</a> travels on a 2,438-mile route from Chicago, IL to Emeryville, CA, passing through seven states on a journey made by western settlers during the Gold Rush and other big migrations. The terrain changes from canyons, to rivers, to mountains, to deserts, to valleys with dramatic beauty. Key sights to see: Colorado River, the Donner Pass, the Rockies, and the Painted Desert.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> As low as $163 per adult and approximately $80 per child for this 51-hour train trip.</p> <h2>2. New Hampshire: Mount Washington Cog Railway</h2> <p>New Hampshire is beautiful as the leaves turn gold and the air gets crisp. What better way to usher in the season than by riding the <a href="http://www.thecog.com/">Mount Washington Cog Railway</a>, the world's first train to climb a mountain? The historic cars are cute and photo-worthy on their own. This makes for an easy day trip, because the ride is only three hours long, which includes an hour to hang out on the top of Mount Washington and snap pictures of the view. You'll want to try this one before winter settles in, as that's when the schedule is very limited.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> $73 per adult, and $39 per child for this three-hour scenic ride.</p> <h2>3. New York: Adirondack Scenic Railroad</h2> <p>Of course, Upstate New York in the fall is quite the stunner, too. The <a href="http://www.adirondackrr.com/">Adirondack Scenic Railroad</a> is definitely not hyperbole: this train weaves from Utica to Lake Placid, through the small hamlets in between. Keep your eyes on the window for the gorgeous scenery of lakes, rivers, and the pretty peaks of the Adirondacks. Additionally, lots of deer, bears, geese and other migrant birds are plentiful and on display through the trip. Fall events on this train include beer and wine tastings and a family Halloween theme.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> Adults cost $39.50 and children cost $29.50 for this trip.</p> <h2>4. Washington State: Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad</h2> <p>If you're a fan of mountains and the Pacific Northwest, this is a must-do attraction. <a href="http://www.mrsr.com/index.html">The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum</a> happens to be the longest running steam train in the region and takes you through the forests and foothills of Mount Rainier. This two-hour train ride includes lots of information on the history of using steam locomotives for logging, the chief industry in the region in the late 19th through early 20th centuries. The MRSR also offers a <a href="http://www.mrsr.com/#!special-events/cpn1">Civil War package</a> complete with a Civil War reenactment.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> This train charges $32 per adult, $72 per child between five to 12 years old, $18 per child under three to four years, and infants under three are free.</p> <h2>5. North Carolina: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.gsmr.com/">Great Smoky Mountain Railroad</a> takes you through a uniquely pretty trail of the South. North Carolina boasts tons of indigenous beauty: 125 types of trees, 1,000 varieties of flora, and over 300 different animal species. You'll also get a chance to look inside the Great Smoky Mountains Train Museum. Like some of our other favorite train rides, this one also has various food and drink tasting voyages. For Halloween, there is a Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Halloween theme for the kids as well as a Halloween Masquerade theme for grown ups.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> For the average trip (non-themed and in family cars), adults cost $66 and children cost $38 per round trip ride.</p> <p><em>Have you ever taken any of these train rides? How was it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips">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-5"> <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/10-ways-to-enjoy-fall-camping">10 Ways to Enjoy Fall Camping</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-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</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-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</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-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</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/how-to-go-on-vacation-without-getting-behind-on-work">How to Go on Vacation Without Getting Behind on Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel America autumn fall trains transportation trips vacation Thu, 17 Sep 2015 11:00:34 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1555445 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Dangerous Mistakes Even Safe Drivers Make http://www.wisebread.com/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-driving-talking-phone-Dollarphotoclub_67350021.jpg" alt="man driving phone" title="man driving phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are bad drivers, and there are good drivers. There are reckless drivers, and safe drivers. Most of us, hopefully, fall into the latter category. But how many of us are making dangerous mistakes even though we think we're actually safe drivers?</p> <p>Take a look through some of the findings at the National Safety Council's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving-research-studies.aspx">Distracted Driving Research Studies</a>, and you might be surprised that the answer is: many of us. But are you one of them? As you look through the following list, how many of these eight dangerous mistakes are you making?</p> <h2>1. Hitting the Gas on Green</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PzlEQvRkhHc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Wait a minute; green means go, right? Well of course, but red also means stop, and that doesn't seem to make much of a difference for some very bad drivers out there. Whether they aren't paying attention, drunk, or even evading the police, thousands of drivers run red lights every year. If they happen to be very late, and you hit the gas the second the light turns green, you could&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzlEQvRkhHc">get into a major accident.</a> It's not your fault, but that doesn't make the consequences any less severe. So, when the light turns green, look left and right, and make sure the path is clear before you pull away. Blindly accelerating could be dangerous, or even deadly.</p> <h2>2. Driving Drowsy</h2> <p>I was talking to my father-in-law once about some of the long road trips he used to make, and he said he would often pull his nose or arm hair out when he was getting drowsy, and the sting would wake him up. We all laughed, but drowsy driving is no laughing matter.</p> <p>In a 2005 study, over 103 million U.S. drivers admitted to&nbsp;<a href="http://drowsydriving.org/about/facts-and-stats/">falling asleep at the wheel</a>. Fatigued driving results in around 100,000 police-reported accidents every year, with over 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and over $12.5 billion in losses. This is completely unacceptable. If you feel yourself getting sleepy while driving, you must pull your car over when it is safe to do so, and rest. Take a nap, drink something with caffeine, or even go for a walk. You need to be completely alert before continuing your journey.</p> <h2>3. Poor Mirror Positioning</h2> <p>Look in your side mirrors &mdash; what do you see? Most likely, you'll see some of your car. This is not necessary, and means you are missing some of the road; which can lead to accidents. The idea of side mirrors is obviously not to check to see if your car is still there, but to look behind you without having to take your eyes of the road for longer than necessary. By adjusting your wing mirrors so that your car is no longer visible, you can <a href="http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~gdguo/driving/BlindSpot.htm">eliminate the blind spot</a>. You also want to make sure your rear view mirror is angled correctly for you. If you share a car with someone else, this often goes out of alignment. Check it every time you drive.</p> <h2>4. Driving Too Slow in the Left Lane</h2> <p>There is a speed limit. There is also a minimum speed limit on some roads. You may think that by hitting that limit, say 55, you are being safe and have no reason to worry. But by maintaining the bare minimum speed in the left lane, you are forcing other drivers who want to go the maximum allowed speed to pass you. Any time you force people to change lanes, you are making the roads less safe, and can actually contribute to road rage if you create backed-up traffic. By all means go the safe speed you want to go, but do it in the far right lane. Or, if you see someone coming up fast in your mirror, prepare to move over safely and let them pass.</p> <h2>5. Poor Signaling Habits</h2> <p>Your indicators are there to tell other drivers what your intentions are. When you use them incorrectly, or forgetfully, you are being a poor communicator. This can lead to accidents, especially if you plan to keep going straight at a turn, and the other driver pulls out. You should be using your turn signal at least 100 feet before changing lanes or turning (it can be 200 feet in some states). Once you have completed the turn, you must turn off the signal. Loud music or forgetfulness can be at fault for signals that stay on longer than necessary, and this can lead to accidents when other drivers wrongly assume your intentions.</p> <h2>6. Driving With Loose Objects in the Car</h2> <p>Your car is not a home for books, toys, gadgets, and other devices. Yet if you take a look in your car, how many of these items are just strewn around in there? During the course of everyday driving, it's no big deal. But if you are involved in a crash, even at lower speeds, these items can become projectiles that can cause injury, or even death. You should make sure anything unnecessary for the journey is stored securely in the trunk. Pets need to be harnessed, and cell phones should be in a secured holder.</p> <h2>7. Talking on the Phone</h2> <p>You may think that you are perfectly capable of talking and driving at the same time, but you are being distracted. Some people say it's the same as listening to music, but it's not. Music is a passive experience, but a conversation is active, and the person on the other end of the phone has no idea of your surroundings. Even if you are using a hands-free set, you are not reducing the risks of an accident. Your car is there to get you from A to B. It is not a phone booth. If you must make a call, you should safely pull over and do so. Yes, it adds time to your journey, but if we all did this we'd make the roads much safer. And of course, texting is akin to drunk driving; don't even go there.</p> <h2>8. Speeding up Through Yellow Lights</h2> <p>It seems that drivers have two different interpretations of the yellow light. Some think it means &quot;prepare to stop&quot; and others think it means &quot;floor it, a red light is coming.&quot; If you are close to a traffic signal, and the light changes from green to yellow, then you are fine to keep going. But if you see the light change and have to hit the gas to scrape through it, you are being a dangerous driver. All it takes is for another driver to be a little premature on their green light (see point #1), and you have a major accident. You could also hit a pedestrian.</p> <p><em>Which of these do you do on a regular basis? Do you know any other dangerous moves that even your &quot;safest&quot; friends or relatives make? Let us know.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make">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-4"> <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/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">Bicycling Safety in the City</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/snow-patrol-winter-driving-safety-kit-must-haves">Snow Patrol: Winter Driving Safety Kit Must-Haves</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/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money</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-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone Should Know</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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Cars dangerous driving driving safety transportation Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1284839 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-4358343-small.jpg" alt="family with globe" title="family with globe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For anyone who has used a passport, coming home to the United States can feel like returning to a boring family reunion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-passport-carrying-tips">Passport Carrying Tips</a>)</p> <p>Yes, there's clean water, dependable electricity, and hopefully a job and a family to come back to, but the adventure of eating new foods, experiencing new customs, and meeting new people with different outlooks can go by the wayside after a trip overseas.</p> <p>Some countries can teach Americans a lot, as I wrote last summer after discovering first-hand how some countries save energy. Other international finds worth having at home are less life-changing and can be as frivolous as <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/vending-machines-in-japan-beer-noodles-and-anything-else/">beer vending machines</a> in Japan, crashed <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/memorial-monuments-of-the-world-motorbike-safety/">motorcycles as memorials</a> in Indonesia, and interesting foods such as <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/currywurst-berlins-and-germanys-favourite-sausage-food/">currywurst</a> in Germany and <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/camel-milk-chocolate-dubai-delicacy/">camel milk chocolate</a> in the United Arab Emirates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy">What Americans Can Learn About Saving Energy From Foreigners</a>)</p> <p>But there are bigger lessons to learn abroad &mdash; some serious and and others just plain fun &mdash; that the United States can benefit from. Here are 10 countries that the U.S. should be mimicking, at least in part.</p> <h2>Sweden: Turning Trash Into Power</h2> <p>Sweden <a href="http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/04/sweden-needs-more-trash/">burns trash to generate electricity</a>, allowing it to power most of its homes and businesses. Like its neighbor Norway, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/30/world/europe/oslo-copes-with-shortage-of-garbage-it-turns-into-energy.html?_r=0">which does the same thing</a>, Sweden <em>imports</em> trash to produce energy &mdash; not a bad problem to have. U.S. cities would have to invest heavily into infrastructure that would turn trash into electricity, and it's unlikely to meet all of America's power needs. And there's also the problem of ash, which can be more harmful to the environment than raw trash. Still, it's an idea that could be copied. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>Germany: Pedestrian-Only Areas</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.planetizen.com/node/47517">pedestrian-only shopping streets</a> are popular in many cities throughout Europe, Germany seems to be ahead of the game in giving pedestrians more room to roam, says Margo Schlossberg, who lives near Washington, D.C. and has traveled to 26 countries. They help reduce driving, encourage walking, and lower pedestrian fatalities.</p> <h2>United Kingdom: Student Loan Repayment Program</h2> <p>For college students in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, <a href="https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/repayments">a government program makes paying back</a> student loans easier and cheaper than other countries, according to <a href="http://globaliseme.com/Globalise_Me.html">Globalise Me</a>, a website that helps students worldwide decide where to study abroad. Payments and interest rates fall and rise based on a graduate's income, allowing a decent quality of life during the first years of a career instead of facing pressure from a large financial burden. If the loan can't be repaid within 30 years, it is completely written off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <h2>Denmark: Maternity Leave</h2> <p>Parents in Denmark are <a href="http://denmark.angloinfo.com/healthcare/pregnancy-birth/leave-benefits/">entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave</a>. Parents get what's called a &quot;maternity subsistence allowance,&quot; which is a full salary for public sector employees and negotiable in the private sector. The mother gets one month of leave before birth and 14 weeks after. The father also gets two weeks of leave after birth. The remaining 32 weeks can be divided between the two spouses as they wish. Many other countries <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/22/maternity-leaves-around-the-world_n_1536120.html#slide=1005251">have paid maternity leave</a> programs. The U.S. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/your-money/us-trails-much-of-the-world-in-providing-paid-family-leave.html?pagewanted=all">doesn't have a national program</a> but leaves it up to states to provide paid leave.</p> <h2>Austria: Vacation Time</h2> <p>Every country in the European Union requires at least four weeks of paid vacation per year, with <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/06/08/countries-most-vacation-days/2400193/">Austria leading giving workers the most time off</a> at 22 paid vacation days and 13 paid holidays per year at a legal minimum. The U.S. doesn't legally require paid days off, though the average private sector worker gets 16 paid vacation and holidays off each year. Some nations that do this, however, struggle with high unemployment and a poor economy, including France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.</p> <h2>France: Health Care</h2> <p>This is another area where many other countries can be a model for the U.S., including Canada, Israel, Australia, Italy, among <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/best-healthcare-systems-in-the-world-2012-6?op=1">many others</a>. The <a href="http://www.who.int/whr/2000/en/whr00_en.pdf">World Health Report 2000 listed France</a> (PDF) as the best country in the world in terms of health care, combining the private and public sectors to provide universal health coverage for all.</p> <h2>Ecuador: Rights of Nature</h2> <p>According to its national Constitution, Ecuador gives Mother Nature the same rights as people, says Susan Schenck, who has lived in Ecuador for three years and has written a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Expats-Cuenca-Ecuador-Madness-ebook/dp/B00DRITI0U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1376581066&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=cuenca+susan">book about expats there</a>. It is the first <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Constitution_of_Ecuador#Environmental_rights">Constitution</a> in the world to legally recognize ecosystem rights. It prohibits the extraction of non-renewable resources in protected areas. Schenck says a friend went to court to protect the rights of certain trees, and won.</p> <h2>Estonia: Free Wi-Fi</h2> <p>The Internet may be just another service like tap water and clean streets in most of the developed world, but in Estonia it's a symbol of democracy and freedom, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/15/estonia-ussr-shadow-internet-titan">according to a story in the Guardian</a>. Many Estonian services are managed online, including voting, signing legal documents, prescriptions from doctors, and paying by text. Known as &quot;E-stonia,&quot; Wi-Fi is free throughout the country, making working life easy for anyone with a laptop computer. Says Steven Macdonald, who works in online marketing: &quot;I've been lucky enough to have traveled the globe, but in today's Internet driven world, free Wi-Fi all over the country is truly one the best things the U.S. should have.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Frugal Advice for Gadget Addicts</a>)</p> <h2>London, England: City Train System</h2> <p>New York and Paris are often cited for having excellent metro train systems, but London's subway system seems to always come out on <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/travel/the-worlds-top-10-city-train-systems-20130103-2c6l7.html">top</a>. The London Underground, nicknamed the Tube, is celebrating 150 years of service. The New York City Subway is a strong contender, carrying 4.5 million passengers daily &mdash; the same as the London Tube carried one day during the Summer Olympics last year. For trains across the country, Portugal's <a href="http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/alfa/">Alfa</a> train is excellent at twice the speed of Amtrak's <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/acela-express-train">Acela</a> train in the U.S., says Jayme Simoes, a Concord, N.H. resident who travels to Portugal often.</p> <h2>Panama: Long Tourist Visas</h2> <p>For foreigners who want to visit Panama, the country gives them a lot of time to explore. People holding North American or EU passports, along with other countries, are given a six-month tourist visa in Panama, says Rob Harper, who has lived in Panama full time for the past six years and <a href="http://www.vacationscostarica.com/panama/">sells vacation packages</a> there. While many countries give tourists 30 days or less to visit, Panama gives six months to explore &quot;without having to worry about a specific time frame for heading back out,&quot; Harper says.</p> <p>Visitors don't have to apply before arrival, but just show up with a passport that's valid for at least six months after arrival, he says. They're then granted a &quot;visa&quot; with a simple stamp inside the passport. In the U.S., unless visitors are flagged for a possible illegality, nationals from Western Hemisphere countries can enter the country <a href="http://traveltips.usatoday.com/long-can-stay-usa-tourist-visa-62787.html">without a visa for up to 90 days</a>.</p> <p>That should be enough to get you to write your representative in Congress for some changes, or at least buy an international cookbook. I could go on and on about smaller changes that make a world of difference &mdash; single lines at grocery stores in South Africa and London, and central switches for electricity in hotel rooms in India and Australia &mdash; but it might be best to start off thinking big.</p> <p><em><what em="" from="" import="" states="" united="" the="" should="" things="" cool="" other=""></what></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">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/14-things-you-forget-to-do-before-leaving-for-vacation">14 Things You Forget to Do Before Leaving for Vacation</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-more-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 More Fun, Affordable Train Trips</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/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make">8 Dangerous Mistakes Even Safe Drivers Make</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/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">Make Your Escape With These 14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</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/how-to-go-on-vacation-without-getting-behind-on-work">How to Go on Vacation Without Getting Behind on Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Travel international relations maternity leave transportation vacation Wed, 04 Sep 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Aaron Crowe 981707 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Do You Save on Transportation? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3615452442_35a1cb6fe4_z.jpg" alt="subway station" title="subway station" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation#comment-619500">Rebecca</a>, Karen, and Debra for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Everyday travel &mdash; to work, school, or just running errands around town &mdash; can cost a pretty penny in the form of gas, bus fare, or even bicycle maintenance costs. That's why many people research frugal ways to get from Point A to Point B.</p> <p><b>How do you save on transportation?</b> Have you made any big changes to the way you travel? How have your efforts to save on transportation affected other areas of your life?</p> <p>Tell us about how you save on transportation and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <a id="rc-79857d26" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d26/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, April 8th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 8th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about how you save on transportation and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation">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/ask-the-readers-do-gift-cards-make-a-good-gift">Ask the Readers: Do Gift Cards Make a Good Gift?</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/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-would-you-ding-your-credit-to-get-out-of-debt">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: Would You Ding Your Credit to Get Out of Debt?</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/ask-the-readers-do-you-look-forward-to-tax-time-your-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Look Forward to Tax Time? (Your Chance to win $20!)</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/ask-the-readers-whats-in-your-wallet">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s In Your Wallet?</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/ask-the-readers-would-you-relocate-for-the-perfect-job-chance-to-win">Ask the Readers: Would You Relocate for the Perfect Job? (Chance to win!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers commute transportation travel Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 971590 at http://www.wisebread.com Bicycling Safety in the City http://www.wisebread.com/bicycling-safety-in-the-city <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bicycling-safety-in-the-city" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000000815498XSmall.jpg" alt="Bike commuter" title="Bike commuter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago, I transitioned over to a part-time bicycle commuter. It was a fairly smooth transition considering I live in a bicycle-unfriendly city. One of the reasons I was able to effortlessly begin riding my bike in a bustling suburb that cares very little about cyclists is that I enjoy being outdoors and <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/tuesday-tips-rehash">I really love riding my bike</a>. My passion for bike riding and general common sense as a driver helped me navigate my town's busy streets and traffic clogged arteries. Yet, there were a few safety items I had to keep in mind: <strong>routes, gear, and basic traffic knowledge</strong>.</p> <h2>Choosing Routes</h2> <h3>Most direct routes</h3> <p>I always check a map for the most direct route. <a href="http://maps.google.com/biking">Google bike map</a> is a good start, but I've noticed that it doesn't account for paths that aren't necessarily designated as a bike or traffic path. For instance, one of my more direct paths leads me through a University Campus. Google can't see the wide sidewalk path that I ride on, so it doesn't offer that as a possible route.</p> <h3>Less trafficked routes</h3> <p>If I know the area well and feel the path is too car-heavy, I select a parallel side street that will guide me in the same direction, but with less traffic. Though the route may take me a quarter-mile out of the way, I feel my safety is more important. I'd rather ride for a longer period than be terrified for a shorter one.</p> <h3>Bikes paths and lanes</h3> <p>Bike paths and lanes are sometimes the best way to safely bike around a city. Unfortunately for me, my town has very few paths that connect to one another. Often, the paths start in an unusual area and end a few blocks down the road, making it confusing for both cyclists and drivers alike.</p> <h3>And the controversial sidewalks</h3> <p>Yes, I confess, I ride on sidewalks! Technically as a bicyclist I'm supposed to follow the traffic laws and ride in the street. However, unlike a car, I lack the speed and metal armor. I do make it a point to be considerate of pedestrians; they have the right of way. I also wouldn't ever ride on the sidewalks of New York City or any city where pedestrians outnumber cars.</p> <h2>Safety Gear</h2> <h3>Lights</h3> <p>Front and rear lights are a necessity. I turn on my lights in the middle of the day; not so much for me to see the road, but for cars to see me. I do ride in the evenings and let me just say that lights have saved me on a few occasions.</p> <h3>Helmet</h3> <p>When I first started riding my bike around town, I didn't wear my helmet. Yet, now that I've come close to getting hit by a car bumper on a couple of occasions, I realize that there's nothing really protecting me from severe head injuries! Personally, I like my brain the way it is.</p> <h3>Reflectors</h3> <p>Secondary to lights, reflectors again help vehicles see me. Front, side, and rear, my reflectors give cars a heads-up.</p> <h2>Basic Bicycle Sense</h2> <h3>Intersections</h3> <p>In my opinion, intersections are the most dangerous areas for cyclists. When I ride, I have to watch for cars turning right, left, or flying through red lights. When I approach an intersection, my head is on a constant swivel: It swivels behind my left shoulder watching for right turners, it swivels slightly to the left for red-light runners, it moves straight forward for left turners heading towards me, and finally it swivels slightly to the right for approaching right-turners going the opposite direction. I'm constantly looking for people who aren't looking at me; I always make eye contact with drivers a few feet from my bike!</p> <h3>Driveways</h3> <p>Since I normally ride to the far right on a street or on side walks, I keep a look-out for cars coming out of driveways. Reverse lights are always a clue to slow down and wait to make sure a driver sees me.</p> <h3>Parked cars</h3> <p>Another hazard to street cyclists are parked cars. Not only do they occasionally pull out into traffic, but they also open doors, potentially pushing a bicycle rider into traffic. When I ride in the street, I make sure I'm a couple of feet away from parked cars and keep a close eye on tail lights; brake lights mean the car might be getting ready to move.</p> <p>As the fall weather brings cooler temperatures, I make sure to take advantage of the gorgeous weather by increasing my bike commuting. Being a highly aware bicycle rider and picking direct routes with fewer cars make biking in the city fun and safe.</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/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">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/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make">8 Dangerous Mistakes Even Safe Drivers Make</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-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone Should 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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs?</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-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Lifestyle bicycling bikes safety transportation Mon, 27 Sep 2010 12:00:16 +0000 Little House 245346 at http://www.wisebread.com Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free! http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/brokencar.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I drive a ten year old car and it has been out of warranty for quite a while.&nbsp; Over the years I have received recall notices in the mail for various parts of the car and got fixes for free.&nbsp; However, not all of these recall notices get to the appropriate car owners so it is possible that your car has a defective part.&nbsp; Fortunately, the <a href="http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/recallsearch.cfm">National Highway Traffic Safety Administration</a> has a very well organized and searchable database for all types of vehicle related recalls.&nbsp;</p> <p>All you have to do is to go to the <a href="http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/recallsearch.cfm">Recalls and Defects webpage</a> and search for your vehicle, equipment, child restraint, or tire type and you will see all the safety recalls that has happened.&nbsp; The database is updated nightly&nbsp; and it is fairly accurate.&nbsp; As an example, I searched for recalls on 1999 Honda Accords, and a list of 14 recalls came up.&nbsp; On each recall you can click the &quot;Summary&quot; link and check how you can get the part repaired.&nbsp; Usually you could just go to an authorized dealership and get your carpart fixed or switched out for free.&nbsp;</p> <p>I also found the &quot;Tires&quot; section very useful since it shows you what tires can be replaced for free due to safety recalls.&nbsp; This may be worth checking out since tire manufacturers usually have no good way to track their customers and it is unlikely you would get a recall notice from them in the mail.&nbsp; Defective tires may be very dangerous, and they should be replaced as soon as possible. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to useful recall information, the website allows consumers to file complaints about their vehicles and related equipment.&nbsp; If a problem is prevalent enough then the&nbsp; NHTSA would issue recalls to make the roads a bit safer for everyone.&nbsp;</p> <p>So next time before you fork over your cash to fix a broken car part, you should definitely check if it has been recalled.&nbsp; Also, as a preventative measure you should check if you are driving with defective parts so that your car can become safer for you and your family.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon?</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-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending">Getting by without a job, part 3--cut spending</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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs car recall transportation Sun, 01 Mar 2009 23:37:54 +0000 Xin Lu 2878 at http://www.wisebread.com Getting by without a job, part 3--cut spending http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bike-wheels.jpg" alt="Bicycle wheels" title="Bicycle Wheels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's note:&nbsp; If you recently lost your job, take a look at Wise Bread's collection of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">tips and resources for the recently laid off</a>.]</em></p> <p>With the economy tanking, more and more people will be not just losing their job, but will be finding themselves without one for an extended period. When that happens it's not good enough to just cut back a little and use debt to make ends meet until the economy recovers. Getting by without a job is possible, even for an extended period--but it requires taking drastic measures to cut spending, and it requires taking them early, while you've still got some cash.</p> <p>This is part three of a four-part series. Part 1 was on the first <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">things to do if you lose your job</a> and part 2 was on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-2-boost-income">boosting your income</a>. Part 4 is on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">getting what you need without money</a>.</p> <p>Despite the fact that it's kind of hiding here as number 3 in a four-part series, this is really the kernel of how to get by without a job--you need to get your expenses low enough that you can cover them with just the money you can earn though casual labor plus whatever you can realize from whatever assets you've managed to hang on to (interest, dividends, rents, etc.).</p> <p>Last year, when I suggested that it was possible to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">get by on a minimum wage job</a>, I drew a considerable bit of mockery, so I'm expecting much the same when I suggest ways to get by without a job at all. Let me restate what I said then: We have a name for the standard of living that results from living on a minimum wage income. We call it &quot;Living in poverty.&quot; Getting by with no job at all does not result in a higher standard of living--it is though, to my mind, an improvement. Minimum wage work is often difficult or dull (or both), and is too often dangerous as well. Eking out a meager existence on what you can earn through casual labor has the huge advantage of allowing you much greater choice in just what that labor is.</p> <p>The biggest problem when it comes to surviving without a regular job is that most households have a terribly inflexible cost structure: Their bare minimum fixed expenses exceed any income that could be earned with casual labor. There is no getting around this except to completely change the cost structure of the household.</p> <p>Most people resist this step until they've done permanent damage to their finances--run up debts that they'll never be able to pay back, had the heat and power turned off, or even been evicted.</p> <p>It's a hard step, but you're way ahead of the game if you do this early rather than late.</p> <h2>Cutting fixed expenses</h2> <p>Most of the fixed costs for a household are tied up with housing. There's the rent or mortgage, there's the utilities, and there's the insurance. If you own a house free and clear with no mortgage (or if the payments are very low), then it may make sense to stay there (even though just utilities and insurance can add up to as much as the cost of a cheap apartment). If you're renting or have a mortgage, you need to look seriously at moving to the lowest-cost housing you can find--and start looking the instant you begin to suspect that this period of unemployment won't be the sort of brief sojourn that people can generally expect during good economic times.</p> <p>The most obvious thing to do is to move in with relatives. Many people view this as the sort of ignominious defeat that's little better than ending up living in their car, but it's a step that can turn a catastrophe into just a bump in the road--if you do it early enough. If you wait until your savings are exhausted and you've run up a bunch of credit card debt, you can put yourself into a hole that you may not be able to get out of short of bankruptcy. One thing to keep in mind is that it is temporary. You're not moving in with relatives forever, just until the economy improves enough that you can find steady work again.</p> <p>If you don't have relatives (or they won't take you in), other sorts of house-sharing arrangements are possible, such as splitting costs with a roommate or renting a room in someone else's house. Last year Myscha suggested <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/twelve-ways-to-become-rent-or-mortgage-free">twelve ways to house yourself for free</a>.</p> <p>The other really large expense for a lot of people is transportation. Owning a car costs <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-you-can-afford-more-house-in-the-exurbs-think-again">thousands of dollars a year</a>--and only about half the expense is the purchase price and financing; the rest is just fuel, maintenance, taxes, and so on.</p> <p>If your car is paid off, it may make sense to keep it; it would put some opportunities to earn money within reach that wouldn't be if you had to rely on public transport or a bicycle or walking. But owing money on a car is just about untenable for someone without a job.&nbsp; (Owing money on <strong>anything</strong> is just about untenable for someone without a job; a car is simply one thing that many people buy on credit.)</p> <p>Those are the big ones. If you can reduce your cost of housing enough (and you don't have other debt that you have to make payments on), you can cover your other living expenses at some level, even with a very low income. In fact, if you live in a rich country and can find a place to live for free, you can very possibly reduce your other expenses almost to zero as well, at least temporarily.</p> <h2>Cutting variable expenses</h2> <p>My recent <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">emergency belt-tightening</a> post covered cutting variable expenses on an emergency basis, and that's a good place to start. If you're at the point of getting by without a job for an extended period, though, you actually need to ease up from those drastic measures. In an emergency you sometimes have to defer necessary expenses simply because you don't have the cash. Doing that, though, often costs more in the long run. If this isn't an emergency, but rather is the way you're going to be living for a while, you need to start taking the long view.</p> <p>Figure out what you absolutely have to have. Then figure out the absolute cheapest way to get it. Things like buying in bulk and stocking up during sales can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/huge-tax-free-investment-returns">yield large returns</a>. Wise Bread is full of tactical ideas for satisfying your needs as cheaply as possible.</p> <p>Even if you don't have a regular job, if you have some income and really cheap housing, you can fund all your needs, and still have a little left over to satisfy a few of your wants. The key is to draw the line before your spending exceeds your income. That may mean that you don't satisfy very many wants at all, but &quot;more than none&quot; is really pretty good, in the grand scheme of things.</p> <h2>Don't screw up</h2> <p>When you're getting by without a job, you have much less margin for error.</p> <p>For one thing, especially in the year after you lose a job, you have to be careful about taxes. If you don't have a regular job, you probably don't have any money being withheld. Looking on the bright side, if you're not making much money, you probably don't owe a lot. However, if you get any severance pay (especially if you get it late in the year), it can make the year in which you lose your job the highest-paid year of your life. Be sure that enough gets set aside to cover the taxes. If you dip into a tax-advantaged plan like a 401(k) or an IRA, be sure you know what the tax consequences are. If getting out of a house you can't afford involves giving it back to the bank, be aware that the IRS can treat any loan balance that the bank forgives as income.</p> <p>For another thing, you probably have a lot less stuff. Some things you sold to raise cash. Other things you gave away or donated or simply tossed when you moved into much smaller housing. Little things like breaking a dish, that used to mean that you had an eleven place setting instead of twelve, now mean that someone has to eat out of a bowl until you can scrounge up a free replacement.</p> <p>A minor car accident that used to mean dining out less for a few weeks until you'd covered the deductible, now means that you've permanently lost the interest that the deductible money would have been earning--if you haven't lost the use of the car altogether.</p> <p>In fact, though, being careful not to break stuff and using things gently so that they last is just good sense--a wise habit that will be worth preserving even when times get better.</p> <h2>Enjoy it</h2> <p>Is there any overlap between living in poverty and living large? Personally, I think there is. Being forced by hard economic times to eke out a meager existence--that's not much like living large. But <strong>choosing</strong> to eke out a meager existence, because it's the best way to live according to your own values?&nbsp; That's living about as large as you possibly can.</p> <p>Most people never think about what they most want to do with their lives. They find something that they're okay at that pays enough money to support them, and then let a rising income drive a rising standard of living with no real thought even to the <strong>possibility</strong> that there might be alternatives. In hard times, though, the alternatives may be all you've got. Fortunately, there's a good chance that one of those alternatives is actually a better choice than whatever you ended up doing.</p> <p>You can get by without a job if you cut your spending enough. And if you do that, you open up a universe of possibilities that most people don't even know is out there. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore those previously uncontemplated choices. If you don't like what you find, you can go back to working a regular job just as soon as you find one. Maybe, though, you'll find the alternatives as alluring as I do.</p> <p>Especially in rich countries, it's possible to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">get a lot of what you need without money</a>, which is the final part of this series.<br /> &nbsp;</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending">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/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-score-cheap-rent-without-annoying-roommates">5 Ways to Score Cheap Rent — Without Annoying Roommates</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> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Real Estate and Housing cheap rent cheap transport cutting expenses transportation Sun, 30 Nov 2008 22:04:38 +0000 Philip Brewer 2613 at http://www.wisebread.com It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money http://www.wisebread.com/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gasoline.jpg" alt="" title="Oh Thank Heaven!" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="225" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I get incredibly bad mileage when driving. I have an old, clunker car (well, it&#39;s not humiliatingly old, but it&#39;s old), and when I drive the way I want to drive, I get roughly 18-20 miles to the gallon. In my area, a gallon of gas costs $4.40.</p> <p>Sigh. I might as well be driving a pickup truck, for all the good it does me.</p> <p>The problem is, I&#39;m a bitch on wheels. I love speed. I love driving fast, and I adore the way my car kicks it into high gear when I floor it and zoom past all the losers going the speed limit. I love changing lanes and beating the lights. I spent my formative driving years in Manhattan, so I know a thing or two about braking, changing lanes, flipping off the jerk who just cut me off and blaring my horn all at the same time. I relish the feeling of taking off at a newly green light and leaving everyone behind me in the dust.</p> <p>God, I love driving like a total a**hole.</p> <p>But being an a**hole is expensive, petrol-wise. I keep reading well-written, thoughtful articles about how I can save money by keeping my tires inflated and my oil changed and thousands of pounds of books on my bookshelves rather than in my car&#39;s rather spacious trunk. But even with all that maintenance, the one thing that has kept me at such lousy mileage is my inability to drive with any measure of sanity. I&#39;ve got a lead foot (I&#39;m told it&#39;s genetic), and apparently, that alone was preventing me from saving a good deal of cash.</p> <p>A while back, our own Lynn <a href="/how-to-save-0-54-per-gallon-on-gas">wrote a good post</a> about how to save money by driving sanely and maintaining your automobile. She mentioned how sudden stopping and starting are often the culprits of lousy gas mileage on your car. At the time, I read the article and said, &quot;Hey, that&#39;s true. I once drove 150 at 30mph and saved a lot of gas!&quot;. Of course, driving for 150 miles at 30mph is pretty tedious. And Lynn never advocated driving that far under the speed limit.</p> <p>So, this past weekend, when I was facing another 150 mile journey (a journey that uses roughly one half of my 16-gallon tank when I drive on A**hole Setting), I decided to try driving at 55 mpg, just like we used to do back in the 1970s, before disco music was enjoyed with a sense of irony. </p> <p>I drove in the far right lane, because I&#39;m not a <strong><em>total</em></strong> jerk. I stayed behind large semi trucks. I used cruise control rather than the gas and brake pedals to alter my speed, unless I really needed to slow down or speed up fast for some reason. More importantly, I just <em>calmed the hell down</em>. I paid attention to the road, but stole glances at the beautiful scenery. I sang along to my CD player, and purposely played music that would not get my blood pressure up (think Credence Clearwater Revival rather than Dropkick Murphys). I stayed out of everyone&#39;s way, and marveled at the massive SUVs (mostly towing trailers packed with offroad bikes or boats) zooming past me at 75 mph. It was like having an out-of-body experience, or having the Ghost of Christmas Driving arrive and show me just how I look when I&#39;m barreling over the mountain highway, racing to the top and back down with other holiday revelers.</p> <p>I got close to 30 miles to the gallon on that trip, almost as much as I got when I had to drive the same route at 30mph. And the time difference is negligible - it took me roughly 30 minutes longer to get home than if I had been tearing across the pass at breakneck speed. My tank, which usually starts running on fumes at 310 miles, took me to a full 430 miles before the gas light went on.</p> <p>I tell you, I am a changed woman. No more driving like a maniac for me. I&#39;m now contently puttering along in the slow lane with the old ladies and student drivers, listening to the radio and keeping an eye out for traffic that merges at an unreasonable speed. I no longer take off like a skittish greyhound as soon as the light turns green - I just slowly apply pressure to the gas pedal and make my way into the intersection like a sane human being.</p> <p>I&#39;ve even retired my middle finger, which was developing some sort of permanent cramping from overuse. My carpooling partner is beginning to wonder if I&#39;ve lost it.</p> <p>Other drivers may be frustrated with my easy riding, but I don&#39;t care. Driving like an old woman is going to save me hundred of dollars per year - think of what I could spend that on (don&#39;t say &#39;cat food&#39;)! I&#39;m thinking of printing up some bumper stickers that say &quot;If I&#39;m going slow, I&#39;m trying to save gas. Don&#39;t hate me because I&#39;m frugiful!&quot;, but I&#39;m not sure if it&#39;s even worth the effort. I&#39;ve already noticed a number of fellow drivers practicing the same slow, steady manner of driving that I&#39;ve been trying, and I think it&#39;s catching on.</p> <p>I&#39;m pretty sure that my blood pressure is lower, too.</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/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">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-4"> <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/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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-bank-of-gasoline-0">The Bank of Gasoline</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/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make">8 Dangerous Mistakes Even Safe Drivers Make</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/8-cheap-ways-to-save-money-on-gas">8 Cheap Ways to Save Money on Gas</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/fill-your-tank">Fill your tank</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation car Cars driving gas gasoline oli prices transportation Wed, 09 Jul 2008 07:40:39 +0000 Andrea Karim 2224 at http://www.wisebread.com Refactor Your Budget Categories http://www.wisebread.com/refactor-your-budget-categories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/refactor-your-budget-categories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/finances-5269337-small.jpg" alt="budgeting" title="budgeting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of budget templates out there. Any will serve the purpose, and if you've got one that's working for you, that's a good enough reason to stick with it. If you don't have a budget, though, or if you're going to be changing your budget categories around for some other reason, I've got some thoughts on what makes a good category. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget">8 Tips for Improving or Starting a Budget</a>)</p> <p>My own thinking in this area dates back some 15 years, to when I was setting up spending categories in Quicken. The software came with some default categories, but I found they didn't suit me. I was reminded of this just recently, when (working on another post) I was looking through the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a> document that lists the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiri2007.pdf">relative weights of various categories of spending</a>. I was intrigued to find that <em>their</em> categories look a rather lot like <em>mine</em>.</p> <h2>My Categories</h2> <p>When I was designing the structure of my categories, the first change I had to make was to get rid of a top-level category for insurance. Instead, I put insurance expenses where they belong: auto insurance under transportation, health insurance under medical, and homeowner/renter insurance under housing.</p> <p>I also eliminated a top-level category for utilities. I put the power bill under housing. (I'd put heat, water, garbage, sewer, etc. there too, but those items are included in the rent where I live right now.) I put the cell phone and internet charges in a new top-level category for communications, and put postage there as well.</p> <p>In addition to putting car insurance under transportation, I made sure to put all my smaller transportation expenses there as well &mdash; not only fuel and car maintenance, but also bus tokens and bicycle maintenance. Having them all right together makes sure that I know just how much owning a car really costs compared to the alternatives. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-cut-car-ownership-costs">How to Cut Car Ownership Costs</a>)</p> <h2>Categories Matter</h2> <p>Budget categories are important &mdash; they can either illuminate or obscure our spending choices. For example, does the fitness center membership go under entertainment, or under medical? You can make a case for either. Your choice is driven by your values, and by your view of how the world works. But be aware that it will influence your future behavior. (For example, suppose you decide to cut your spending and start by looking for something to trim from the entertainment budget. Is the fitness center membership there, or safely tucked away under medical?) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a>)</p> <p>As I said, the Bureau of Labor Statistics categories turn out to look a lot like the categories that I used. In particular, they put both insurance and utilities in almost exactly the same categories where I put them, except that they had a merged top-level category for &quot;education and communication&quot; which does include phone, internet, and postage &mdash; but also has tuition, text books, child care, and nursery school.</p> <p>Because our categories match up so well, it was easy for me to see how my spending compared to the average consumer. That's not an <em>important</em> comparison &mdash; my spending is influence by my own values, so there's no particular reason that it would look especially like that of the average consumer &mdash; but for me it was an <em>interesting</em> comparison. For example, because we live in a cheap apartment, our housing budget is a much smaller fraction of our total budget than the average consumer's. Our spending on food, clothes, and entertainment, though, is roughly in line with the average consumer. My budget line-item for medical is hugely higher than average, because I'm about to go out and (try to) buy my own medical insurance, instead of getting it as an employee benefit.</p> <p>Looking at the BLS categories would be especially useful if you're creating your first budget, in that it's going to have lots of categories that you probably wouldn't think of. Many of those categories will come in at zero and should just be left out. (We don't have a line item for &quot;renting and repairing medical equipment&quot; or for &quot;moving, storage, and freight.&quot;) But it's a useful memory-jogger to see the long list of categories and think, &quot;Oh, yeah, we do need to budget a little something for new sheets and towels.&quot; The average urban consumer, for example, allocates 0.555% of the budget to &quot;Club dues and fees for participant sports and group exercises.&quot; If you do yoga or aerobics or tai chi or belong to a softball league, you'll want to have the expense as an item on your budget.</p> <p>As I say, if your budget is working for you, there's probably no good reason to change it. But if you're changing your categories anyway for reasons of your own (or making a new budget), you could do much worse than basing your categories on <a href="http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiri2007.pdf">those used by the BLS</a>.</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/refactor-your-budget-categories">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/debt-repayment-is-not-an-expense">Debt repayment is not an expense</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/too-broke-to-be-frugal">Too broke to be frugal?</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/budgeting-for-the-rest-of-us-or-how-to-follow-a-budget-without-breaking-down-in-tears">Budgeting for the rest of us, or How to follow a budget without breaking down in tears</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/plan-for-your-wants">Plan for your wants</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/financial-peace-in-hard-times">Financial Peace in Hard Times</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budget budgeting medical transportation utilities Sat, 17 May 2008 16:02:28 +0000 Philip Brewer 2099 at http://www.wisebread.com Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/behind.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since reading <a href="/how-to-save-0-54-per-gallon-on-gas" target="_blank">Lynn&#39;s article</a> on saving gas by driving slower I have been trying to apply the tip to my daily commute.  The problem is that these <a href="http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/01/30/essential-supplies-for-braving-crazy-northern-california-highways/">crazy Northern California highways</a> are not very friendly to slow drivers. What I have been doing is driving behind big trucks in the slow lane so that I do not get honked at or pulled over by the highway patrol.  Apparently driving behind big trucks also saves you gas due to something called drafting, and you can safely take advantage of this to save an additional 5 to 10% of your gas.</p> <p>The science behind drafting is closely related to why driving slower saves energy.  Basically, you have less air resistance in front of your car if a big truck has already passed through the air and your car is in the tunnel or &quot;slipstream&quot;  behind it.  A truck also blocks some of the air rushing at you. On the popular Discovery Channel show <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_(season_5)#Drafting_For_Money" target="_blank">Mythbusters</a> it was shown that if you follow a big rig by 100 feet  you can decrease your fuel consumption by 11%.  The daredevils went a bit further with the experiment and followed a truck at only 10 feet and managed to decrease fuel consumption by 40%. </p> <p>As the MythBusters crew said, it is extremely dangerous to drive too close to a giant truck because the truck driver might not see you, and you may also be pulled over for tailgating.  A safe follow distance at 55 miles per hour is about  160 feet to 240 feet since your car is travelling at approximately 80 feet per second and you want two to three seconds of reaction time to hit the brakes.  If you are travelling faster you need to give yourself even more space.  I definitely do not recommend dangerous driving behavior just for the sake of saving a bit of gas, but if you are driving slowly on a highway full of speed demons, safely following after a truck could save you gas and harassment.   </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">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-5"> <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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</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/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</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-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon?</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/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves 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/the-gasoline-pump-y2k-problem">The Gasoline Pump &quot;Y2K&quot; Problem</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Cars gasoline money saving money transportation Mon, 14 Apr 2008 20:19:05 +0000 Xin Lu 2005 at http://www.wisebread.com Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/actransit.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Berkeley I loved taking public transportation, and since I was such a bus aficionado I did not learn to drive until I was 20. I knew several bus routes by heart and traveled all around the San Francisco Bay via busses or the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Right now I live in San Mateo where the public transit is not as prevalent, and I really miss the days when I got everywhere with a bus pass. Since I am feeling nostalgic today I am going to write down why I love public transportation, and I hope I can live in a place with a lot of public transit again.</p> <p><strong>1. You see different people everyday</strong> - Maybe I am just weird, but I find watching and listening to people on the bus to be rather interesting. Sometimes I even talked to the bus driver and other random people. I guess the travel experience is just not as lonely as driving because there are other people with you. Once in a while I would see a neighbor or friend, and it was always fun to chat in person.<br /><strong><br />2. Public transit helps the environment</strong> - This is true for areas with high population density. If everyone in the Bay Area that rides the train or bus everyday drove instead then this place will probably have unbreathable air and the traffic would be even more horrendous than it already is now. When you ride the bus or train you are sharing resources with your community, and that cuts down on pollution.</p> <p><strong>3. You can use your travel time for leisure </strong>- On a bus or train you can read a book, play a game, or even chat with your friends on the computer if internet is available. When you drive you have to concentrate on driving. I read many books when I was a bus rider, and also got really familiar with the main routes of the cities around the Bay just by watching the bus routes. It is also pretty relaxing to just take a little nap.</p> <p><strong>4. Public transit makes you exercise more</strong> - I firmly believe that I gained quite a bit of weight over the last couple years because I drive everyday. In the days when I rode the bus I walked more than a mile each day to and from the bus stop or train station. Unless the bus stop is right in front of your house, you generally have to walk a little bit, and that bit of exercise could mean 10 to 15 pounds over the years.</p> <p><strong>5. Car ownership is generally more expensive</strong> - The amount of money needed to purchase a car can generally finance public transit fees for years. Many workplaces also give incentives for public transportation such as discounted passes or reimbursements. Many large companies here in the South Bay also have free bus and train passes under their EcoPass program. The savings are quite significant over months and years.</p> <p>Of course, there are many inconveniences associated with public transportation. For example, a lot of busses are often late, and go on roundabout routes. There are also crazy bus drivers that do not stop when requested, and also scary passengers that you want to get away from. Sometimes a bus could be so crowded that you can barely breathe. However, most of the times my experiences have been pleasant. I still use public transit from time to time to go to San Francisco because parking is nearly impossible in that city. I also take the BART train to the airport because it costs about 1/10 the amount of hiring a taxi. So even if you cannot part with your car, taking public transit can save you money if you take it occasionally. What about you? Are you a fan or hater of public transit?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">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/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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/what-is-keeping-you-from-a-life-of-financial-independence">What is keeping you from a life of financial independence?</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/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</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/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Cars and Transportation bus Cars public transit saving train transportation Sat, 01 Mar 2008 03:37:54 +0000 Xin Lu 1870 at http://www.wisebread.com