Welcome to Frugal Club

7 Jun

An important part of my experiment in lifestyle design is to see if I can live better with less income. As I mentioned previously, for many people “life” is simply a series of tradeoffs between time and money. I find this fascinating. My current situation is forcing me to take a hard look at my spending habits and I’m planning to evaluate my financial decisions by writing a whole series of articles in the first person describing my experiences with this money / time concept. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to come up with a clever way for regular folk to save their hard-earned cash.

Take this for example: because I’ve got lots of free time, I don’t need to race all over the place when I’m driving a motor vehicle (I don’t own one but I have regular access to several cars). When one drives faster it costs more in fuel. So what I’ve done is I’ve implemented a system where I drive 90% of the posted speed limit (I’ve been doing this for about a month now). For the math challenged among you, here it is in convenient tabular form.

In my version of the movie Speed, the bus can't go above 45.

In my version of the movie Speed, the bus can’t go above 45.

And I have to say, the results have been nothing short of spectacular. As expected my fuel costs have dropped dramatically but what I wasn’t expecting was the degree of support I’ve received from my fellow motorists. I think deep down people recognize we have to start economizing in non-traditional areas if we’re going to avoid some of the problems faced by society. And not to inflate its importance but I think I might be starting something big here. Witness this:

At least four times in the past month many of the vehicles following me on single-lane highways have demonstrated their support by repeatedly honking their horns (similar to how they would behave when driving past a picket line of striking workers with whom they sympathize). I can’t even describe the feeling. These complete strangers are willing to violate several sections of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act by recklessly and unnecessarily sounding their horns to support my fuel saving decision / cause. On more than one occasion I found myself welling up.

Emotionality aside, I do understand this is not for everyone. I’m not one to judge – some people just need to drive a little faster, but even the speeders are beginning to understand. They’ll follow me on the highway for a couple of kilometres in a show of solidarity and when they eventually pass they make sure to look me right in the eye. And I look right back at them. No words are exchanged, but the message is clear: “We’re with you Jason. Not at this exact moment because we’re late for Junior’s piano recital. But you have our support.”

I know it’s a little early to call this experiment a success. But if it continues like this there’s going to be a revolution of sorts. Just remember who started it all when it comes time to erect the statue.

11 Responses to “Welcome to Frugal Club”

  1. Jesse June 7, 2013 at 16:43 #

    Love it.

    • Die Hard Three June 7, 2013 at 17:07 #

      Debbie gets credit for the title. 🙂

      • dEbs June 8, 2013 at 12:28 #

        Hehe, thanks! 😉

  2. Allison June 8, 2013 at 08:13 #

    Omg! I hope you haven’t tried this on the roads in Montreal! Ottawa might be a tad more forgiving !!

  3. Jesse June 8, 2013 at 08:44 #

    Try buying things used. Takes a little more time (which you have!) and you can often find good stuff, eg at garage sales. Used books are expecially cost effective if you read a lot. There are also a lot of sharing Facebook groups where people give things away they don’t need, often in mint condition. Also, drink tapwater and do not buy drinks from the supermarket (other than beer). Juice is a waste of money, eat fruit instead. Cheaper and less sugar. Go clubbing less often. Eat out less often.

    • Die Hard Three June 8, 2013 at 09:50 #

      Thanks Jesse. It’s all good advice. I think the biggest thing is the buying used. I found a solid wood door the other day for $39 (I talked the guy down from $40). It would have been twice that in the store. I also just found a bunch of jigsaw puzzles on kijiji and at the Great Glebe Garage Sale. Last night we stayed in and played board games instead of staying in and watching a movie.

  4. Tom June 8, 2013 at 09:30 #

    Ok J, couple of questions:
    1/ when did u get a car??
    2/ i understand the emotional reward is very important for many people, but i think the public would like to see some analysis on how much money it actually saves. So how much are u saving by doing this?
    3/ when did u get a car????

    • Die Hard Three June 8, 2013 at 09:56 #

      1, 3 I don’t own a car but I have regular access to several – from paragraph number two of this post 🙂
      2. The savings are a tradeoff. For most people who drive they also work in a high-powered office building. So their time is worth a lot more than the few dollars they save when they drive at a reasonable speed on the highway. Plus humans are incapable of relaxing (for the most part). I’m going to crunch some numbers for a later post.

      • Tom June 8, 2013 at 10:18 #

        Whoops – I was still half asleep when I wrote that 😉

  5. Informasian June 13, 2013 at 19:04 #

    They’ll erect the statue so that they can run it over repeatedly at 20 over the limit.


  1. Thank You, Kind Friends | Die Hard Three - August 15, 2014

    […] boost” to save on fuel because I don’t need the increase in speed – I always drive at 90% of the posted limit so keeping it enabled is […]

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