Photo Credit: howuch via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: howuch via Compfight cc

Flying during wintertime isn’t always the most ideal time as weather delays are pretty likely to happen. When it comes to visiting family though sometimes there really isn’t a choice since I have family all over the US! Usually I can snag a non-stop flight and not have to worry about making a connection. Just this past December though flights were pretty pricey and I decided to make one way a one-stop flight to save a bit of mula. I wish I hadn’t done that but I also could’ve prepared myself better for a possible overnight stay in a city not of my choice.

Non-stop flights are definitely going to be my choice to save on hassle and time. It’ll cost more for sure, but after a bad experience then sometimes it’s worth it! After a nice holiday vacation spent with family I was flying back to LA with one stop. There was some lovely storm weather that made us miss our connection.

Instead of waiting in the customer service line for an hour we booked a hotel and got out of the airport for a bit. Luckily before our first flight had left we had the foresight to see if customer service could save us a spot on the first flight out in the morning just in case we missed the connection. We froze our butts off outside, got ripped off by a cabbie, 4 hours of sleep, and were back at the airport early the next day! I ended up taking the day off from work since I could barely function.

It was not the best experience ever but we didn’t just let it sit there. We contacted the airline’s customer support to see what they could do. Luckily we got vouchers for $200 each at least! Takes the sting out of losing all the mula when we were trying to save mula! Next time we’ll hopefully play it smarter!

Plan ahead for the worst
I’m really glad we have the savings to cover the amount of money we ended up spending. It was stressful enough to be stranded! One thing is to have enough cash on hand in case its needed for times like this. Another is to make sure we pack all our essentials into the carry on bags. We were lucky enough to have jackets on us, but we still weren’t dressed for the 0 degree weather in Denver!

Always ask if there’s anything the airline can do
Many airlines don’t do anything for customers if weather causes problems. In our case the weather was the primary issue, but also because our first flight was delayed because it had been held for other passengers. We also technically were able to make the flight, if all the roller bags on our flight hadn’t been gate-checked because the plane was too small. I did make it to the gate, but they closed the door in front of me and wouldn’t hold the plane for my husband who was waiting for our bag. Always ask to see if there’s anything that can be done because if you don’t ask then you definitely don’t get anything.

Spring for non-stop
I was trying to save money but after everything I lost money! It’s hard to predict when flights will be delayed but I’m going to budget in the extra money for a non-stop flight to save me from getting white hairs.

 

Did you ever try to save money on something and ended up paying more?

 


With gas prices being at a lovely $4 per gallon here in LA it’s transformed the city into one filled with Prius cars. There are definitely way more Prius cars on the West coast than anywhere in the country. Everywhere you look you can find a Prius pretty easily around here! As we all know I have one of those! Gas prices will never go down and the gas savings and earth friendliness of the car drew me in. It’s not stylish at all, but I’ve never put much stock into how a car looks. It’s really more for getting me from point to point. Lately I’ve heard rumors about how the government isn’t getting enough money from taxes on gas because of the trend toward gas efficient cars. Instead they’re thinking of taxing people per mile driven each year!!!

Everyone wants to get their share! It’s pretty infuriating because it would defeat the whole purpose of making gas efficient cars and the entire reason why I bought a Prius! High gas prices are encouraging people to get hybrids and electric cars. Which in turn spur car companies to be more innovative to develop these new technologies and further them along. Now the government wants to basically slap all of us in the face and reward gas guzzling drivers? It’s just a rumor that I’ve heard about and I really doubt it would ever pass, but weirder things have happened. It would mean a lot of progress we’ve made will be lost.

How would taxing per mile driven work?
In theory every single person with a car would have cheaper gas at the pump because it wouldn’t be taxed per gallon anymore. What we would have to do though is log our miles driven once a year and report that to the government to find out how much more tax we need to pay. Most likely this would be lumped into the annual tax season and just be another line on the form to fill out.

Potential implications
If this proposed law ever came to the ballot it would be a pretty big deal. Can’t even imagine it. California especially has been pushing its agenda for a greener environment and here it is showing it’s greed. The reason why there is a such a huge demand for hybrids and electric cars is to save money. Some people do it because it’s green, but most because they’d rather save money. I bought a Prius to use less gas, save money, and not be at the gas pump all the time. If I was taxed per mile then some of the savings would be offset. Many people who live here in LA commute long distances for a good chunk of their day. Having to pay per mile driven would just be another nail driven into the coffin.

The people who own electric cars would definitely get the shortest end of the stick. Electric cars are still pretty expensive compared to a gas powered car. They spent a lot more to not use any gas at all. Wouldn’t be very nice to then tax them per mile driven.

If the demand for hybrids and electric went down then so would any incentive for car companies to keep pushing their limits. There are laws that make them raise gas efficiency, but many car companies have far surpassed those levels because of consumer desire.

 

I hope this stays a rumor and never ever comes to light again! Instead of buying a Prius I could’ve bought a more style car instead. I made my choice though because I want to be green and save money.

Have you ever heard of taxing per mile driven before?

 


 Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks via Compfight cc

I’m not sure if every single state in the US requires smog checks as a requirement for vehicle registration. California certainly does and is the most strict out of all the states. If you have a car that is 3 years or newer then you don’t need to get smog checks but have to pay a smog abatement fee. It’s automatically tacked onto your vehicle registration fee. Once your car gets a bit older you need to get a smog check every year or two and so on. So far I’ve had a few smog checks already. Around $50 each stacked on top of the vehicle registration fee it’s not something I look forward to. It does serve a much needed purpose though to keep pollution levels low by making car owners keep their vehicles well maintained.

The purpose of a smog check is to see if the emissions coming from your vehicle meet the standard set by the state. If your car passes then great! If not then well…it’s time for some possibly costly repairs and then back to the smog testing station again. It’s definitely helped keep our pollution levels lower and the city much less smoggy. Smog check stations are pretty common and the signs for them can be seen everywhere. Smog checks are great for business!

I don’t like having to get my car checked each year but its great motivation to keep my car in good shape. Of course added to the fact that I want my car to last as long as possible too! It’s troublesome having to get an extra test every now and then but it definitely makes the air I breathe a lot sweeter.

Do you have to get smog checks for your car? Think it helps or is it just more money to pay someone?


 Photo Credit: jennydasdesign via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jennydasdesign via Compfight cc

In Los Angeles, commute times of an hour or more are actually not that uncommon. It’s sad but traffic really does lengthen your commute by a lot. Most people who live farther away try to work extremely early and leave work late. It makes for a pretty long work day. For those of us who don’t live far away from our work place, we definitely have it much easier! The shortest commute I know of was an old co-worker who lived in the apartments above her work! All she had to do was walk down a flight of stairs. Even if she overslept, it wouldn’t have been a big deal! If she forgot her lunch, it was easy enough to go get it. Or, she could just go home for the lunch hour too.

My commute to my new job is the shortest I have ever had! By driving, I can be there in 5 minutes! It’s so close! I’m intending to bike there instead to save more money. It only takes me a little bit longer and it’s much healthier for me since I spend 8 hours sitting in front of a computer all day anyway. Plus, I don’t love parallel parking, so I won’t have to do it! I’m going to work out my legs and my arms and get some sunshine. I just need to be careful because I’m biking on the street. Bicyclists and cars are supposed to share the road, but it really doesn’t work out that way.

I’m always looking for ways to get to work without having to drive. I don’t particular love being stuck in traffic and always filling up my gas tank. I’ve taken the bus before, walked, and now I’m biking! When I first started working, I would walk home instead of taking the bus to save money. The walk took 45 minutes and I saved 75 cents each time. Small change, but every penny counted when you just start working!

Change the way you use your commute
Even if you have to drive your car to work, you can make the most out of it. Audiotapes are awesome for “reading” that book you don’t have time for. You can learn a new language too. If you can take a bus, then you can watch movies or TV shows while waiting to get to your stop. Biking and walking will give you a lot more exercise and keep you healthier. If you want to do a mix of driving and taking a bus, you can switch it up and do different things.

Saving money on gas and on car maintenance
Obviously the biggest benefit to a short commute is saving a lot of money! If you can take public transportation, bike, or walk to work, then you can save even more money. Gas is one of the most expensive things to pay for. Maintaining your car is obviously harder if you drive more often. You’ll end up replacing worn out parts much sooner.

See the world differently
Taking public transportation is a lot more interesting than driving. You’re pretty much going to meet a lot of people you normally wouldn’t see, and you don’t have 2 tons of steel between you and everyone else. It makes for very good people watching if that’s your kind of thing. Biking will give you a much better appreciation of your car. It takes longer to get around and you have to work for it! If you’re lucky enough to be able to walk to work, then you’ll notice your surroundings a lot more than passing by quickly in a car. You might discover a cute little shop that you would have never seen otherwise.

 

How long is your commute to work? Do you have an alternative form of transportation you take or can take?

 


GettyHappy Friday readers!

Ever since I interned in Los Angeles I’ve been in love with the Getty Center. It’s absolutely my favorite museum to go to because it’s not just a museum. The buildings are all architecturally beautiful, there are two garden areas, plenty of look out points over the city, and they have a huge grassy area where kids commonly roll down the hill. Many times I don’t even go to view art work, I just go to relax and enjoy the grounds.

People would come to the Getty Center with a picnic basket and enjoy it sitting on the grass. Stroll through the gardens and then maybe head inside for some culture. If you don’t bring your own food they have a big cafe available with tons of food. Pretty decent food too. There’s a restaurant and a bunch of small stands throughout. It’s a place for family, art lovers, picnickers, and of course tourists!

Even better admission is free! Unfortunately you have to pay for parking. It used to be $7 when I first started coming and now its $20 for each car! Quite steep if you’re coming here by yourself. Luckily I’ve figured out which bus can take me here. At my old apartment I could literally hop onto a bus a block away, transfer once, and arrive here. It’s not as convenient anymore so I drive to the bus stop and then take it here. Total price for round-trip is $3! Much better than paying $20. I would probably be thinking of that money while walking around trying to enjoy myself. Though even at $20 a car it’s still the cheapest large museum.

If you live in Los Angeles you should definitely check out the Getty Center! The complex is built on top of a hill overlooking the 405 and guests actually ride a monorail up. It’s a beautiful place to be.