Trim the Fat Tuesday: The In-Town Transportation

Summer is coming, and warm days have finally returned to our neck of the woods. This is the perfect opportunity to save a little money (and enjoy ourselves while doing it!) by

Eliminating in-town drives for six months of the year.

The six months I am proposing are, of course, the snow-free ones: May 1 through October 31. We can count on half of the year here to have reasonable weather for walking and biking, and the whole family has quality rain gear to get through the wet days. In fact, our kids walk to school every single day, in all kinds of weather, so it's only fair that the adults get on board with this too. 

Our town is small, and end to end it's only 8.7 miles, or a 45-minute bike ride:

We live conveniently right in the middle, so no single ride in-town is likely to be more than 20 or 30 minutes anyway. 

So all those baseball practices, piano lessons, and errand runs that are in town? We're walking or biking there for half the year. 

I should mention that, as a teacher, this is all eminently doable during summer vacation — we have a lot of freedom to plan around the weather and our moods when there's no school or work. Your convenience factor may vary. To keep us honest, I am levying a $5 fine when we mess up (due to laziness, rain, whatever). The fine will come out of our entertainment budget, and leave us with less fun money for pizza and ice cream.

Since my car has a very handy built-in calculator that lets you know how much you spent on gas for any given trip, I am able to estimate that the typical round-trip car ride in Newburyport costs between 25 and 50 cents. Assuming an average of 50 cents per day in shuttling kids to and from an activity or making a grocery run, we can multiply that by 30 days per month to find a savings of $15 per month. But since we are only counting on ditching the car for half of the year, the prorated savings are $7.50 per month.

I don't have a calculation for the benefits of fresh air and exercise, but those are some pretty excellent bonuses!

Savings per month: $7.50

Total savings for May: $640 (this month's new savings plus the savings already in place from previous months!)

Total savings in 2014: $1,884


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