Monthly Archives: May 2008

How Much Gasoline We Used On Our Vacation

With all of the talk about high gasoline prices, I thought that it might be interesting to track how much gasoline we used while on vacation.

Distance

Estimate (according to Google Maps): 287 miles

Actual distance going to the Condo: 283.9 miles

Actual distance returning from the Condo: 277.10 miles

On the way, we traveled mostly on Interstates. On the way back, we used a couple of side-road, so there is a slight difference in actual mileages.

Speed

Estimated travel speeds (prior to trip): 60-80 mph

Actual average speed going to the Condo: 69.9 mph

Actual average returning from the Condo: 68.4 mph

Travel Time

Estimated travel time (prior to trip): 287 miles / 70 mph = 4 hours and 6 minutes

Actual travel time going to the Condo: 283.3 miles / 69.9 mph = 4 hours 4 minutes

Actual travel time returning from the Condo: 277.10 / 68.4 mph = 4 hours and 4 minutes

Amazingly, according to our GPS, it took EXACTLY the same amount of time to travel to and from the condo. The trip home was actually 15 minutes longer, due to the fact that we stopped to eat supper. The times above represent ‘actual time driving in the car’.

Gasoline Usage

Estimated gallons of gas to be used (prior to trip) = 287 miles / 21 mpg = 13.66 gallons

Estimated cost of a gallon of gasoline (prior to trip) = $3.80

Estimated gasoline cost to go to the Condo (prior to trip) = 13.66 gallons = $51.91

Actual gallons of gasoline used to travel to the Condo: 283.3 miles / 21.9 mpg = 12.94 gallons

Actual cost of a gallon of gasoline used to travel to the Condo: $3.80

Actual gasoline cost to go to the Condo: 12.94 gallons = $49.17

Actual gallons of gasoline used to return to the Condo: 277.10 miles / 21.4 mpg = 12.95 gallons

Actual cost of a gallon of gasoline used to return from the Condo: $3.89

Actual gasoline cost to return from to the Condo: 12.95 gallons = $50.38

Totals

Our trip, to the Condo and back, covered 560.40 miles and our van used $99.55 worth of gasoline. Surprisingly, we actual had better gas mileage on our way to the Condo, even though our average speed was slightly higher. I’d would attribute this to the fact that on the way back, we had more items in our van. Plus, we faced a lot more stop-and-go traffic.

All-in-all, $100 isn’t a lot to spend, if the trip is worth it. And, I couldn’t have been more happy with our condominium or our trip as a whole. The kids had a blast and the weather was amazing.

As a side note: We used a minimal amount of gasoline while at the condominium, but I didn’t want to spend my whole week, tracking gasoline usage. I’m a nerd, but not THAT much of a nerd! Also, gasoline in Florida, at least along the roads we traveled, seemed a bit higher than gasoline in Georgia. Of course, this could be due to the fact that we were in a more ‘touristy’ area.

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Home From Vacation With A New Episode Of The NCN Podcast

We are home from a wonderful week of vacation.  We stayed in Palm Coast, Florida.  The weather was amazing, our condominium exceeded our expectations, and the kids had a blast.  As for me, I feel like a new man.  But, I did miss two things – blogging and podcasting!

I hope you’ll take the time to check out my podcast – over at No Credit Needed Podcast.  I’ve just recorded and released a new episode: No Credit Needed Podcast Episode 7 Of 2008.  In the episode, I talk a little about a new, secret-for-now project that I’m working on.  I want to thank so many of you for listening to the podcast and subscribing the the podcast feed.  As of today, there are over 700 subscribers and the last episode was downloaded more than 1200 times!

Late Saturday or early Sunday, I’ll have more information about the new project.  Suffice to say, I’m excited about trying something new and I can hardly wait to share it with my readers and listeners.

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Rejuvenated And Ready To Rock: 10 Steps For Getting Back On Track

After taking a couple of days to relax and and enjoying some time with the family, I’m rested, rejuvenated, and ready to rock. They’ll be no more talk of ‘losing focus‘. Instead, I’m ready to move forward with renewed desire.

Step One: I had a long conversation with my wife – about our finances and my lack of focus. I also asked for her help with my weight loss issues, and she agreed to be supportive and help me when I’m tempted to ‘eat for the sake of eating’. My wife is awesome.

Step Two: I updated my No Credit Needed Network Chart. In the past, I’ve included every single dime that I had in my checking accounts, saving accounts, and brokerage accounts, when calculating my Non-Retirement Savings. From now on, I’m only going to count the money in my ING Direct Savings Account. I don’t want to feel like I’m padding my statistics. And, the NCN Network Mini-Chart has returned to my sidebar!

Step Three: I sat down and revisited my financial goals for 2008. So far, we have fully-funded my Roth IRA for 2008. We need to fully-fund my wife’s Roth IRA for 2008 and my daughter’s ESA and my son’s ESA. I am making monthly pre-tax contributions to my 403b account and my wife’s pension plan. It feels good to know that by the end of 2008, we will have contributed over $30,000 to various retirement and educations savings accounts.

Step Four: I obtained a copy of the latest and greatest version of the You Need A Budget budgeting software. For a long time, I’ve been using the earlier, spreadsheet based version. Now, I’ve upgraded to the YNAB Pro version and I’ll be using it from now on. By the way, Jesse, the creator of the software has asked me to participate in an online ‘webinar’ in August. I’ll have more information about the webinar in coming months – and a review of the Pro version next month.

Step Five: I logged into all of my accounts and updated my Financial Inventory. At first, I created this as a resource that my wife could use, if something were to happen to me. But, now I use it as a reference document for myself, when checking all of my accounts and moving money from one account to another.

Step Six: I spent quiet a bit of time, alone, in prayer, asking for guidance (in a lot of areas of my life). I tend to go through cycles of ‘being up’ and ‘being down’ – and it always feels good just to get away, close the door, and talk to Father.

Step Seven: I went through my Google Reader and unsubscribed to several feeds. I went through my email and deleted several old emails. I went through my bookmarks and deleted several old feeds. I went through the files on my computer and deleted several unnecessary files. In other words, I needed to get rid of a bunch of stuff that was cluttering up my life.

Step Eight: I called my Dad and had a long conversation about retirement, life, money, etc. He reminded me of all of the good things that I’ve done over the past 3+ years – and he encouraged me to continue to move forward. I’ve mentioned it several times before, but I have a super awesome Dad.

Step Nine: I spent several hours with my oldest daughter and my son, just hanging out. We went to the beach, we swam in the pool, we played putt putt. We had a great time. I was reminded, for the one millionth time, how much I love them, and how much I want to bless them. And, when I am being responsible with my finances, I’m setting a good example for them.

Step Ten: I wrote this blog post. I cannot express, adequately, how much this blog and my readers, mean to me. It always helps to have a group of people, in my case, my readers, with whom one can connect.

One side note: Recently, I signed up for FriendFeed. If you have a FriendFeed account, of if you decide to create one, feel free to add me as your friend: Friend Feed for NCN

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Confession Time: I Lost My Focus And I Am Ready To Get It Back

Every day, I write about personal finance.

Every day, I think about personal finance.

Every day, I check my blog stats, link to my fellow personal finance writers, answer emails from readers, and think about ways to motivate, inform, and inspire.

But, recently, I haven’t been focusing on my own finances.

I’ve been paying my bills and funding my retirement accounts, but I haven’t been paying much attention to my budget, I haven’t been looking for opportunities to save and/or make more money, and I haven’t been sitting down regularly with my wife to talk about our finances.

I’ve been in a ‘personal finance funk’ and it’s past time that I break out of it!

As of right now, I’m back in the game, big time –

I made a mid-month transfer to my savings account, something I haven’t done in four months.

I just logged into all of my retirement accounts and recorded my current balances.

I just opened my favorite budgeting software – You Need A Budget – and created an ultra-specific budget for June.

I wrote a list of items to sell on eBay, once we get home from vacation.

I just ordered Investing For Dummies – a book I’ve been meaning to buy.

I’ve been on a bit of a ‘spending spree’ – and I’m tired of wasting money.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t purchased anything that wasn’t in our budget, but I have purchased a lot of things without which I could have done.  And, now that we are on vacation, I’m reminded of my desire to retire and live at the beach.  The decisions that I am making today will go a long way towards determining where I end up, financially, in the future.

If you are like me, you might be in a mid-year slump.  So, instead of looking back and making excuses, let’s all decide to gather ourselves and move forward!

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