The Arithmetic behind the decision about why I drive to work instead of taking the bus is ridiculously simple to calculate, yet I ignore the obvious savings that I would make taking the bus, why (you may well ask)?
Take The Bus
In Ottawa, if I got a monthly pass it could cost $91.50 or I could splurge and get an Express Pass for $114.00, there is also a $5 yearly charge for a new picture pass, that we can ignore. That’s the entire cost (monetarily) of taking the bus for me, but wait, remember that this is also a tax deductible expense so the actual after tax cost of this pass is lower than the above two prices (and I can get a yearly pass for even less).
That’s the bottom line in terms of cost, I won’t get esoteric and throw in cost of newspapers to read on the bus, or interesting Podcast subscription costs, that doesn’t really count either.
Take My Car
The costs here add up rather quickly, but let’s go at them one at a time:
- My car is actually paid off, but given what it cost me, I could assume about a $250 a month charge to buy the car, but in this little experiment, let’s just leave out that cost (but keep it in mind, remember it’s total cost).
- My weekly gas charges are about $25 a week, and that is going to go up with gas currently at $1.10 a liter in Ottawa, so that translates to about $112.50 a month in gas costs (being liberal).
- To insure my car it costs about $700 a year, so that makes for about $60 a month in insurance charges
- Here is the real tipping point, I have to pay for parking at work, currently $6 a day (I can’t get a monthly pass yet, I am on a waiting list), given there is about 22 working days in a month, I am paying $132.00 in parking a month.
- Maintenance? It’s a pretty well behaved beast for now, but I am paying about $80 a month in maintenance charges for the year (I had a brake job done, and it is a 7 year old car).
- If I ignore (1) then I should take into account the dropping value of my car? I never understand that so we’ll leave that out of the calculations too.
So, that means I am spending $384 a month to run my car to work, and that is After Tax money, and it is not (in any way shape or form) tax deductible (and I have not even included the cost of buying the car).
It’s Obvious Right?
Nope, because I end up weighing the fact that my drive to work takes 30 minutes usually, and I can go to work and return from work, whenever I want. I don’t have to stand next to snarfing or coughing folk, picking up the latest flu, and I have my own environment around me (i.e. listen to whatever music I want).
If I take the bus, the trip might take anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on whether I make my connections, and I must go when the bus runs, and if I miss a connection, it could take even longer.
I know I should take the bus, and I may eventually relent and do that, but for now I continue to take my car to work, but convenience and how I value my time must be factored into this (anyone wishing ti Kibitz on these numbers feel free) decision point. I don’t have that many vices left in my life: I don’t smoke, I don’t drink lattes, and I don’t drink in bars, but is this just me rationalizing a bad financial decision, I am mature enough to say, Maybe.
This again proves that on this blog, the catchphrase to remember is Do as I SAY, not as I DO!