In the past, I’ve both nicely and not so nicely disagreed with what certain bloggers have had to say. I’m not afraid to bring down the gauntlet of mocking to a post that deserves it. You’ll notice I never insult the blogger themselves, but I have no problem taking it to the steamer of their idea. We’re all friends, I know. But friends don’t let friends write stupid blog posts.
Saying that, there one particular blog that stands out in its ability to consistently bore us with the most basic of frugality tips, the most pedantic of writing styles and the ability to not be the least bit entertaining, even by accident. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this particular writer farmed out all his content to Mumbai.
And yet, I continue to consume his content. Admit it, you do too. Yes, I’m talking about The Simple Dollar.
I’ve crapped on Trent many times before. I made fun of his stance on ads. I pointed out the flaws of his investment strategy. My dislike of his blog is apparent, at least to long term readers. Nothing new to see here, but feel free to click some of the links if you’re a newer reader.
Anyway, just when I thought Trenty couldn’t outdo himself, along came his latest
steaming turd series of blog posts. A few years ago, Trent wrote a book called “365 Ways To Live Cheap” and for some reason a publisher decided it would be a good idea to go ahead with it. So, instead of actual content, Trent is rehashing these 365 tips, one per day, for the entire day.
And let me tell you, 96% of it is pure comedy gold. Let’s take a look at a few samples, shall we:
Several months ago, I was curious about how much heat was lost when I opened up the oven to inspect a dish cooking in there. I put an oven thermometer in the oven, waited until the dish I was cooking was almost finished (a casserole cooking at 400 F), then opened the oven door for about ten seconds to inspect it.
During those ten seconds, the thermometer dropped almost 20 degrees. When I closed the door, the temperature slowly returned to 400 F, but during that period, the oven had to put in some extra work to return that heat.
How much? It’s really difficult to exactly calculate that without a meter running specifically for the oven. My best estimate, using a lot of math and thermodynamics, is that you lose about $0.02 worth of energy every time you open the oven door.
Come on people! Do you not know the reason why you’re all poor? Because I do. Personally, I’ve opened the oven door at least twice per month for the past 5 years. AT LEAST! At 2 cents per opening, I’ve literally wasted $1.50. Over a 5 year span. No wonder I’m not rich yet.
Gee, I wonder how much food I’ve thrown out in that 5 year span. WHO CARES! I’M SAVING LITERALLY PENNIES A WEEK!
Oh, there’s more. Have you ever thought of how you’re affecting your gas mileage by the stuff you carry in your trunk? Yeah, me neither. Still, Trent’s got you covered.
For example, let’s say you’re matching the extra weight that a friend of mine (who we’ll call Cathy) carries in her car. She consistently carries (mostly) unused car seats in the back seat of your car, plus she hauls around a box of books in the trunk along with a few other excess items. The sum total of that extra load is about 70 pounds.
That means, depending on the model, Cathy is burning an extra 0.7 to 1.4% in gas just due to this extra weight. Let’s say it’s 1%.
If her car gets 20 miles to the gallon with the weight in it and she commutes, putting 20,000 miles on it per year, she’s burning 9.9 extra gallons of gas per year just due to carrying the extra junk.
Say goodbye to $33 or so a year in just fuel costs, Cathy.
Man, don’t you all just hate Cathy? Why wouldn’t she take out those car seats? I’m sure her kids don’t really need them anyway.
Did you notice how Trent used pretty much the worst case scenario to prove his point? Who only gets 20 MPG anymore, unless you’re driving a big-ass SUV or pickup truck? 20,000 miles per year? But the average American only drives 13,000 miles.
Even the worst case scenario means you lose an entire $33 per year. Don’t you people get it? That’s literally tens of dollars. How long would it take Cathy to take out those car seats all the time? WHO CARES! THERE’S SAVINGS AT STAKE!
But wait, there’s more. Ever wonder about the cost savings of keeping your tires properly inflated? Of course you haven’t. Take it away Trentster.
Right next to the gas station is a free air pump, which I use about once a month or so. After I fill up, I drive over to the air pump, pull out my air gauge, check the pressure in each tire, and fill it up to the maximum recommended pressure as suggested in my car’s manual (see – there’s that car manual mentioned again).
Quite often, I’ll stop there before dropping off my daughter. She’ll get out of the vehicle with me, talk to me while I’m airing up the tires (she doesn’t quite have the finger strength to actually air them up, though we’ve tried), and often she’ll help me pull the air tube around to the proper position so that I can air up each tire.
It’s a bit of father-daughter bonding, sure, but it’s also saving me some money and subtly teaching her about a really valuable tip for auto maintenance.
Look, I’m no parent, at least I think. Nothing’s been proven, anyway. So take this with a grain of salt. But Trent’s daughter is all of 3 years old. He’s dropping her off at preschool. The last 3 year old I met could barely put together an entire sentence. They, as a group, still crap their pants occasionally. And yet he’s teaching her about basic car maintenance? Stay tuned for his next post, teaching his kids the fine points of dating. (2-1 coupons and plenty of free picnics in the park. And condoms? A waste of money, and you can easily make your own using discarded balloons.)
Oh, and also, if there’s a small leak in your tires if you’re needing to fill them up once a month.
There’s more, but let’s not go nuts. Next Friday, the thrilling conclusion.