Excuses

I’m really good at coming up with excuses not to run. Like today, for example, my legs hurt and it is raining. So, I couldn’t run today; that’d be absurd.

I’m doing my warm up walk as I write this. I think it’s time to start ignoring myself. My excuses are lame.

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I don’t have a post.

But this made me laugh at lunch today…

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$300 Car Repair for $20

Almost 2 years ago, I took my car to the local dealership/mechanic because my “check engine light” was on. They charged me over $130 just to plug in the computer and read the code! I didn’t know at the time that I could just go to any auto parts store and they would read it for free, but that’s besides the point. They told me what the error was and that it would be another $170 or so to fix it, otherwise my car would continue running fine despite the light and it might just fail to start on occasion. So if I had it fixed, it would have cost me over $300 all together. I opted to drive it with the error light.

For just $40 more than they charge to read an error code, my friend just bought a (very nice) code reader. We plugged it in the other day and saw that it was a bad “EGR Pressure Feedback Sensor”. That part can be replaced for as little as $20  and 5 minutes of your time. No tools required even! So, we swapped it out and turned off the error light. No problems since. (I paid $40 for the part, a $20 lazy tax, because a $40 model is what the local parts store had on hand and I didn’t want to wait for shipping from the online retailers. Luckily I’ve been saving $20 a week by not driving to work!)

A big thank you to my friend! I owe him lunch. 🙂

Now for that stupid window regulator…

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Commute Cost Calculator Edits

Just a quick update here… I tweaked the Commute Cost Calculator a tiny bit. Now the Cost of Commute column also shows how much money was saved for days that were biked. As you can see below, this is depicted by a negative dollar value. The other benefit that comes from this is that the Total Saved Biking value is much more accurate because it is calculated using the varying daily gas prices instead of the monthly average.

The newest version can be found here on my skydrive.

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Updated Commute Cost Calculator

Today I updated my cost calculator to support daily gas price updates.

As you can see below, I added 2 new columns. In the gas price column, you just enter the price of gas that day when you enter your transportation mode. The second new column, Cost of Commute will calculate the cost of driving on that day.

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Other things that were effected by this are the Average Gas Price, and the Total Cost of Driving. Average Gas Price is no longer an input because it is calculated by the numbers in the cost column. It didn’t occur to me to move it from the input section until now. Smile Total cost of driving is now calculated by the Cost column as well, instead of by the average.

The only problem I have with it right now is that the “Total Saved by Packing a lunch”, and “Total Saved by Biking” are not as accurate as the “total cost of driving” because they are still calculating by the average gas price. You can see in the example above that “Total saved by packing lunch” is 5 cents lower than the total cost, but since everyday this month that I drove, I brought a lunch, it should be the same. It’s not a huge difference now, but on the year end review these discrepancies will add up. It’s still a great visual, I think and will help me immensely.

If you only drive to work, and never drive home for lunch breaks, the “total saved by packing a lunch” figure will not matter to you anyways. I figure that’s one of the pieces of this that is kind of custom tailored to me.

My most current update of this workbook can be found here: Commute Calculator Type- Microsoft Excel Workbook Size- 119.6 KB
NOTE: This is an Excel file, and I used data validation on it so it cannot be opened on Excel web services (in your web browser). You would need to download it and use the full version of Excel. I don’t know if it will work in OpenOffice I have not tried that.

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Commute Cost Calculator

Last night I was re-computing how much money I would save if I continued to bike because gas prices went up.

As I did so, I thought it would be cool if I had a log of how much I had spent driving to work vs. saved by biking. So, I set to work making a yearly log.

Each month has it’s own tab. On that tab, I have a list of 31 days and I enter either a B (for biked), D (for drove and went home for lunch), or L (for drove, and packed a lunch). Then, in the cream colored boxes I enter the average gas price that month, the distance (one way) to work, and my vehicle’s approximate gas mileage for my commute.

Then the sheet will calculate my total cost of driving, how much I saved by packing a lunch on driving days, and how much I saved by biking. It will also make a pie chart of how much I did each.

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On the “Year” tab, I display a summary of my statistics from the year. Including total cost of driving, total amount saved by biking, a graph of gas prices each month, and my costs each month.

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It’s really motivating for me to see the dollar values add up as I’m trying hard to bike to work on a more daily basis.

I’ll erase my data from this workbook, and post a blank one here in case anyone is interested in using it also. It is somewhat custom to my preferred methods of transportation, biking and driving, but it’s not real complex and you could adapt it to accommodate public transportation and others forms of transport as well. I’m also using monthly average gas prices to calculate cost. I might change it so that I’d enter the current gas price each day for a more accurate cost estimate.

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