I’ve Paid For This Twice Already…

Frugal living and debt reduction tips for a better financial future. This is one family’s story.

November 16th, 2007

A Drive Is Still A Frugal Activity

To finish up this week where the M-Network and friends focused on the issue of cars and alternative modes of transportation, I want to talk about something that people might not agree with, considering the price of gasoline, but I still feel holds true anyway.

Taking a drive is still a frugal (and fun!) family activity.

When I was a kid, once in a while my family would take a drive just to take a drive. We’d all get in the car and my dad would drive us somewhere we’d never been before, or maybe a scenic route to somewhere we had been, and once in a while, nowhere in particular at all. We went for a drive just to go for a drive and see some of the sights we might not have seen before.

I’ve retained this love of the open road and no destination into my own adulthood. I love to drive. I love to drive just to drive, even when I’m not going anywhere in particular. And in the past, I used to explore via driving on a regular basis.

Gas is expensive now, so I really haven’t been driving like I used to. But recently I’ve started taking small extra drives to explore the suburbs and land around where our house is a little more. Not every day or even every week, and not huge drives, but simply for entertainment, for me and for my kids. I look at it this way. My car gets about 25 miles to the gallon. These are back roads for the most part, and my top speed is about 35 miles an hour. So for a 45 minute drive (and usually the drive is shorter than that), I spend about a gallon of gas, which is a little bit above $3 right now. $3 for 45 minutes of entertainment might not be the cheapest pastime ever, but it is pretty inexpensive, considering I have two kids to entertain too.

And it’s fun. :)

So… crazy? What do you think? Do you ever drive just to drive?

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11 Responses to “A Drive Is Still A Frugal Activity”

  1. I had a friend who would just drive when he was angry or sad. He had a Civic (manual) which got about 45mpg highway. And gas was cheaper at that point.

    When I was going through my most depressed phrase I used to come along. We wouldn’t normally talk, just drive and ride and go around for a few hours. I won’t say those were good times, but I do something miss those drives. He’s the only person who made “going for a drive” a fun activity. I still enjoy riding and looking at leaves on our normal trips.

  2. The first few years I had my license, I loved to do this. This was right before gas jumped from 1.15 to about 2.00 (on a good day) per gallon. I think I learned more about myself and the world by doing that than a lot of other things. Now, I wish I could do so more, and explore more the new place I live, but I just can’t justify it when I’m already driving 400+ miles a week as a commute. And commuting isn’t the same as “driving.”

  3. Ooooh, I haven’t done that in years, and I miss it! Before I married, I dated a guy who loved to drive and knew the coolest off-the-beaten-path places to explore. Oddly, he was a firefighter who drove for a living, but enjoyed doing it on his downtime, too. We used to wind up on old dirt back roads out in the country, looking for deer, rabbits…once a bat that swooped in low over the windshield. Even looking for fireflies sometimes. I’m pretty much a city kid, so that was a thrill. I was a journalist, so he’d help me chew over story ideas; somehow the hum of the truck tires helped with the thinking. Classic rock on the radio, a soda or thermos of coffee, and sometimes we’d venture up to 100 miles from home….and two states away. T’was a great and carefree time.

  4. That is not very green of you! :P

  5. When my husband and I first met, we didn’t have much (as a matter of fact, we didn’t have much until about our 10th year of marriage!). For dates, we would get into his VW Rabbit (am I dating myself!) and drive. Whenever we came to an intersection, we would flip a coin, heads = left, tails = right. We loved our little adventures and we spent alot of time together. Now that our kids are older and are often out with friends, once in a while we’ll hop in the car and drive. I believe this is the secret to our 23 year successful marriage. Well worth the investment!

  6. I knew someone would mention that this is not a very green activity. ;)
    I know. I actually feel more guilty about that aspect than the financial side.

    my son rides the bus to school and I used to drive him every day – that should compensate in some way lol.

  7. My family used to like to drive around the holidays just to look at some subdivisions that had nice christmas setups. We don’t do it as much now because of the gas prices, unfortunately. But hopefully when the prices go back down, we will be able to do this once again.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. I love a nice drive, and will often take my son on local drives where he gets to navigate – “Turn here Mommy!” . It’s fun for both of us.

    As far as being green, well, we all make choices. Sometimes they’re not the greenest choice possible, but since I generally do things that are environmentally friendly I try not to feel too guilty. Being Jewish, guilt comes with everything! ;)

  9. My husband and I love to take long drives. We are very close to the mountains of NC and GA. We have a GPS unit in my truck and sometimes we put in some random town and a random address and see where the GPS unit takes us. It makes for some interesting trips and some great scenary. Although, with gas prices as they are, these are very infrequent now.

  10. I LOVE driving, but I certainly don’t do this with my truck. When my motor scooter actually worked, however (72mpg city, 82mpg highway), I sure did. In the midst of being poor as hell, I rode that pupper all the way up to Orange County NY and back, for a Where’s George? gathering. When I finally got there 6 hours after I had left and burnt to a crisp, I told the rest of the party that despite getting there 2 hours later than I had wanted to, the ride itself made the whole thing worth it – and it did. It was amazing. Certainly a heck of a lot better than whatever scenery most everyone else saw taking the interstates to get there (I was forced to take back country state highways and such for the trip, as my scooter maxes out at 55, lest I be going downhill). I saw a lot of really neat things on that trip, including a fire station that had more apparatus outside for an event of some sort than I could picture them fitting into their station. I even got to stand there next to my scooter somewhere in NJ near the PA line and watch the guy from the rest stop fill the scooter with gas for me – kind of an odd thing to be stuck in a mandatory full-service state when you’re on two wheels. All in all it cost me a few layers of skin from the wicked sunburn, 12 hours of sore ass, $12 in gambling at the gathering, 2 packs of smokes, and somewhere between 10 and 15 dollars in gas, for one hell of a weekend.


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