21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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21 Days And Counting on the Same Tank of Gas

May 6th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Public TransitThe last time I filled up my tank was April 15th. It was so long ago, I had to dig in my bank statement to find out. I spent $37.02. That tank of gas would cost me $43 $45 today. That’s why I have been riding my bike and using public transit.

I admit, my results are skewed. I was without the full-time employment portion of my income strategy for 2 weeks. My current gig gets me out the door at a reasonable hour and guarantees that I can leave work promptly at the “official” end of office hours.

I’m pretty handy with the most of the Adobe Creative Suite (hint hint hint to anyone looking for freelance graphic designers). PDFs of the bus timetables and maps can be easily sliced up, organized in iPhoto, and imported to my iPod. An essential piece of public transit warrior gear can become even more useful.

Reducing one’s reliance on an expensive resource is always a smart move. Commuting by car would represent a monthly fuel cost of $64. That’s not inclusive of the total cost of driving or the personal driving that I do. I am clearly coming out ahead by riding the bus. Reducing my gas consumption to 1 tank of gas per month is a realistic goal. Taking the bus to work costs me $40/month.

Driving less also translates into higher resale or trade-in value on my car when it’s time to phase it out.

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Dad Needs to be Financially Responsible Too

March 4th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad
Photo: Valentin Mosichev, iStockphoto.com

A 21st Century Dad must also be in charge of the family finances. I’m not saying it’s a man’s duty specifically, but if it does fall on you, you better be good at it. There’s a lot more on the line than your own well being.

Guys like J.D. at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Dad and Mike over at From Mike focus on personal finance. I enjoy writing about the variety of topics that a father today is interested in.

Where Does Your Money Go?

Years ago, I did a revealing exercise. I tracked every dollar I spent, down to the penny. It wasn’t hard to do. I ended up spending less because it meant having to write it down and tabulate it later. All of a sudden, that one dollar here and there for a soda ended up becoming $40 at the end of the month.

Track your spending for a month. You’ll find there’s a lot of fat you can cut out. You may be shocked at where your money goes. The Starbucks Latte is a favorite target of personal finance gurus. It may or may not be what’s sucking you dry. When you examine your spending, you will certainly find things to cut out.

Plans and Goals

It’s called “personal finance” for a reason. Everyone’s needs are different. Based on your spending analysis and your current needs, you will need to come up with a financial strategy for your family.

  • Do you need to save up to make a down payment on a new home?
  • Do you need to pay off debt?
  • Are you making a nice chunk of money but still living paycheck to paycheck?

Where to Go From Here

We didn’t learn much about personal finance in school. I spent many of my supposedly adult years being ignorant of money matters. My own education about money started with the exercise I described earlier and reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The book taught me a few things. The most important lesson I learned was that I knew very little!

A great place to start is the blogosphere. I let my personal finance education fall off a little bit… and yes, I’m feeling the burn. I’m a little sloppy right now. These bloggers have inspired me to revisit personal finance and tighten things up.

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