Posted in Money, Showing My Age

Driving is Fun Again

OK, I’m probably showing my age here, but…

Is it just me or has the freefall in gas prices made driving fun again.

Yesterday I filled up for $1.46/gal. Just over two months ago I filled up—at the same station—for $4.86/gal.

That’s a 70% drop in two months.

At $4.86 driving was a constant stress. With 4 kids I never had enough money left over to fill the tank, so I was always checking mileage, riding with no air conditioning, keeping the speed around 50 even on the highway—hoping I had enough gas until I got paid on Friday.

But now with prices back to 2002 levels, driving isn’t nearly as stressful. I can afford to run errands again, instead of letting them bunch up and taking care of all of them at Wal-Mart (the closest business to my home).

My first real car (aside from the puke-green Pinto that lasted six weeks) was a diesel VW Rabbit. I used to fill that up for $10 and drive for a week and a half, and that was with my college and home across the city from each other. So the lower gas bills are giving driving a very nostalgic feel right now.

I know the economy is doing badly right now, and I really do feel for the people who are struggling—hell, I’m one of them. But this silver lining is awfully…silver.

Posted in Irony, Money

I’ve Never Been More Glad I’m Poor

Have you been watching the markets lately? Of course you have. It seems everyone has.

I know few people at work, because not only am I a contractor, but I’ve also been there a fairly short period of time. But that gives me great freedom to just listen to other’s conversations.

I don’t eavesdrop per se, but my desk is just one cubicle wall separated from a prime loafing and chit-chat zone. And the last few weeks it seems no one is talking about anything but how much money they’re losing.

I just keep my mouth shut. Because you see, I was poor to start with, so the economic downturn isn’t hurting me so bad.

I have no stocks or 401k to wither along with Wall Street. Well I do technically have 1 measly little 401k from a previous employer, but when this whole thing started it wouldn’t have paid for an average laptop, so a 20% loss doesn’t hurt all that much.

I rent, so plummeting home values simply makes it more likely that I’ll be able to buy in the next few years—or it may just be safer to continue renting

And for those of us with little to lose, there is another benefit. Gas is downright cheap again.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t revel in the losses of my co-workers, friends and family. But don’t expect me to cry when your risky investments come crashing down and suddenly you have to live my lifestyle for a year or two.