So last night, I had to help a friend go pick up a trailer.  At first I didn’t think anything of it but once we kept driving for about 20 minutes I realized that this would now be at least a 40 minute trip and possibly more like an hour.     My vehicle only gets about 20 miles to the gallon and we were traveling at 70 mph so you can easily start doing the math or at least, I do in situations like this as I calculate the dollars in my head on a mile by mile basis.

40 mile trip @ 20 miles per gallon = 2 gallons.

2 gallons x $4.00/gallon = $8.00

Two tolls $2.50

SubTotal: $10.50

This is just scratching the surface too.  If I factor my hourly wage or what I value my time at, we are now into the $110.50 – $160.50 range but it gets worse!

I still haven’t factored in maintenance, insurance or other vehicle expenses into the equation.   You may say that this is irrelevant because if I’m going to own a car I have to maintain and buy insurance but I believe in the very near future, insurance plans will charge by the mile as will the gas tax eventually be replaced by a mileage tax so those factors will need to play a role.

In any event, if I forgo my labor, maintenance, insurance and other expenses, it cost me $10.50 to help a friend.    If you’re not doing these calculations when you’re doing your charity work, going to the mall to shop, or helping out friends then you may begin to understand the unknown part of your money problems.    This is also a key reason why I purchase about 80% of my stuff online at places like Amazon, Newegg, Overstock and others to avoid taxes, tolls, fuel waste and time waste.