By Judy McNary
Save on Gas and Get A Lifelong Friend Out of the Deal
I got too busy with work and had to text Jack to reschedule our lunch. It was fine with him; he was slammed, too. We both know we’ll get lunch back on our calendars. We always do. After all, we’ve been friends for over 30 years now.
I want you to be financially successful and the way to do that, of course, is to spend less than you make. The Platinum Rule, right? Saving money is not the end-game, though. I don’t want you to be a grumpy old curmudgeon sitting on your pile of coin. Saving money where possible is just a great habit, and when you do it right, you will get richer in many ways.
Back when I graduated from college I got a job as a software engineer at a large high-tech company. We used state-of-the-art keypunch machines and CRTs to write computer programs. Pretty heady stuff, I know. The commute from my apartment was about a half-hour each way, and some mornings I saw a guy getting into his car about the same time. My primary focus was to avoid driving off with my coffee cup on the roof of my Honda so I didn’t pay much attention. One day as I was driving into the work parking lot, I noticed this same guy getting out of his car there. Turns out we worked in neighboring buildings. I went over and introduced myself — no, it wasn’t creepy — and asked if he wanted to carpool. He did, and from then on we split the driving. Generally we’d alternate, but about 1 day a week we’d each drive separately to run errands or whatever. Half the gas and wear and tear meant sizable savings, but the real bonus was that the drive time flew by. It was so nice to have someone to talk to about the weather, upcoming concerts, sports teams, annoying coworkers and lame bosses.
We carpooled for less than a year before the company began massive layoffs and neither of us worked there anymore, but our friendship has weathered weddings and marriages, kids, health junk, business endeavors, careers and, of course, rescheduled lunches. Jack is a talented graphic designer but he’s also an amazing musician. Check out his website here. He tours internationally quite a bit but you can look at his calendar to see if he might have an upcoming concert near you.
I want you to save money, and I also want you to enjoy life. Carpooling is a simple way to make a big dent in your transportation costs. More importantly, if you’re fortunate like me, you’ll also gain a friend for life.
I love hearing from you. Tell me what you’re doing to spend less on getting around.
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