## Take a deeper look at your spending and save big!

I'm going to show you how I manifested \$360, and how you can too. This system (if we can call it that) is also tested to do the job for thousands of dollars.  For real.  Here's how it works and the basic calculations that makes it all possible.

San Francisco not long ago introduced Clipper Cards for its travelers, which are pre-pay, pay-as-you-go.  Initially, our bus agency, Muni (rhymes with puny and is short of Municipal), gave out Fast Passes that were valid for unlimited rides per month.  It sure beat having to tackle exact change or transfers that run out after a few hours.

The first Fast Pass I ever bought back in school cost me \$30.  I figured, the cost was \$1 one way and I had class pretty much each weekday, which would cost me about \$40 monthly.

Math: \$1 x 2 rides per school day x 5 days a week x 4 weeks per month = \$40.

So,  it was pretty straight forward.  I would save \$10+ monthly (uh, assuming I went to all my classes).  Afterward, if my memory serves me correctly, the Fast Pass was eventually raised to \$45 and each ride went up to \$1.50.  At this time I was no longer in college, but was still commuting to different places for employment and assorted projects.  The fare increase bugged me but again, I made the calculations and it still looked economical to choose the Fast Pass.

Math: \$45 = 30 rides per month x \$1.5, comparable travel cost as the prior fare.

And as economy would have it, the rate was raised again, this time to \$70 with one-way fares costing \$2.

The underhanded math: \$70 divided by \$2 fare = 35 rides, in other words every commuter would now have to ride 5 more times than previously in order to break even.

Still having been psychologically trained to loathe it yet get it anyway, I did exactly that.  That is, until the Clipper Cards launched not too long ago.  Muni is still providing Fast Passes, but as a study, I purchased one of the new cards to find out exactly how much I was actually wasting on transit.  Lately, I work regularly from home, I choose to buy my groceries on the net in addition to office necessities and books, and I have charitable buddies who have vehicles for those occasions when I might need to lug around oversized objects or commute through heavy rain.  It appears that I'm only riding the bus approximately twenty times per month - that's \$40.  Nuts. I was wasting \$30 monthly and didn't even consider it. Nor did I feel any constraint or difficulty when I "tightened my belt." I didn't lay off anyone, multiply my workload, or scale down my quality of life. As a matter of fact, I was liberated and, in fact, I have extended my budget.

Math: \$70 Fast Pass - \$40 Clipper Card = \$30 savings every month.

I have since switched over completely (until potential future circumstances shall determine otherwise) and I'm now saving a total of more or less \$360 each year on this one trick by itself.  I didn't know till I tested.

So is this post really about saving a couple hundred bucks on commuting? Not at all. This is really about your either healthy or unhealthy association with moolah - or "wealth consciousness" as some masters might call it.  It's not about being miserly or on the reverse side, supporting an out-of-control spending spree.  It is about learning to employ the dollars that you do save.

What can someone do with \$360?  I could get an iPhone, a digital camera, a new printer, or a much-needed external hard drive.  I could enroll in a full semester of lessons at a local junior college, pay for registration to a seminar, or cover airfare for a business trip to any American city.  I could throw an appreciation party for loved partners and clients, hire a helper for a short-term project, hire a graphic designer, or purchase web applications to help out with the optimization or analytics of my sites.

Maybe you're also doing it - spending unknowingly and out of habit. What auto-payments or contracts do you have that you can renegotiate, cut down or clear away entirely?  Do you have cable television you hardly make use of?  A barely-used gym membership?  Is your residence still using incandescent light bulbs?  You too could very well have hundreds, even thousands, of dollars seeping out of your bank account.  Visualize what you could perhaps be able to do, how you could enhance your education, organization, or online business, and how saving that money could subsequently help you make more money, thereby permitting you to be more nimble, both personally and professionally.

Consider this- In the 80s, former leader of American Airlines, Bob Crandall, notably eliminated a single olive from its salads.  No customers complained.  I don't think anyone even noticed!  It was an effortless move that he thought might save a couple dollars.  And he was right, the airline saved \$40,000 a year. I'd take a peek around for such financial savings if I were you.  You are likely to gladly startle yourself.