Savings of a Car Free Weekend

Scored a solid (and free!) side table while following
signs to a garage sale.
For the first time in a long time, we managed to go through a weekend without using the car. If you count the evening shopping trips wifey and I made on Thursday and Friday, we did pretty well.

Thursday night, we biked 12km to Walmart. The in-laws were running out of moisturizer and wifey felt like she wanted muffins. While I don't eat muffins, last time I heard, muffins at Tim Hortons were going for $1.29. Yikes!

We found a 4-pack of muffins at Walmart for $1. It might be cheaper to bake muffins ourselves (as if we know how), but it sure beats the $1.29 (or $1.35 if you include the sales tax) muffins at Tim Hortons.

Friday night, we biked 7km for groceries. In doing so, we brought back a 4L bag of milk, two tubs of ice cream, one carton of orange juice, one tub of yogurt, and some sausages.

Saturday morning, we biked 18km to two grocery stores. We got lost trying to find a route between the two stores and essentially ended up at the first store. Fortunately, we figured out where to go, but the detour ended up adding 6km to our trip. Overall, it wasn't too bad. We learned the ideal route to take between the two stores and we got some extra exercise in the process. On our way back home, we followed some signs to a garage sale when we found someone had discarded perfectly good side table. It was fairly solid and it had a glass insert on the top. Someone was kind enough to leave a 'FREE' sign on it, so we knew it could be taken. Unfortunately, it was fairly heavy and there was no way to balance the table on the bike. As a result, wifey stayed put to call dibs and I biked home. Fortunately, our house was only a couple streets over. After parking the bike at home, I walked back to wifey and carried the side table home. I had to take a break in between (did I mention it was heavy?) but it was worth it.

The side table was a little dirty, but nothing some water and elbow grease couldn't solve. The mother-in-law* was delighted as she wanted a side table of sorts to display some of her plants. That solved the question of where to put it. We first put it outside on our deck to clean and I let the mother-in-law handle the rest.

Unfortunately, mother-in-law had an accident while attempting to carry the side table on her own (no idea why she didn't ask for help. She says that father-in-law was taking a nap. No idea why she couldn't wait for him to wake up or even ask me for help). She underestimated the weight of the side table greatly and poked a small hole in the screen of our storm door (she's all right, luckily).

The reason we installed the storm doors was to allow the air to circulate through the house while keeping the insects out**. Now that there was a hole in the screen, we needed to fix it right away.

I didn't notice the hole until Sunday morning (I also have no idea why mother-in-law didn't tell us about the hole until we asked about it). After a quick Google search on repairing the screen of a storm door, I found a YouTube video that showed the basic steps. I searched the Home Depot website to see if they had what we needed and they did. Since wifey wanted to wear a summer dress, instead of biking we walked the 3.5km (7km there and back) to Home Depot and got what we needed.

The total of all the kilometres we biked and walked was 44. The fuel consumption when I drive our car is 8.2L/100km (I know this because of the metre/monitor built into our car). This means we saved approximately 3.6L of gas (8.2L divided by 100km multiplied by 44km). That doesn't really say much on its own. However, if we factor in the current gas price in the Toronto area of 142.9 cents/L, that means we saved $5.16 by not driving the car on the weekend to get groceries. That's not counting the wear on the car or whatever else. That's just gas.

Not impressed? Well, if we manage have a car fee weekend for 52 weeks (unlikely, as we will need to drive to see family for special occasions or possibly go to Canadian Tire to pick up something or another), that's $268 a year!

Still not impressed? $268 is nothing? Fine. Keep driving your car 3.5 km to the grocery store. Just stop complaining about the $135 price*** to fill up your tank.

Meanwhile, I'm not factoring in the savings of finding a solid wood side table for free. I'm not good with prices of these things (I'm Loonie IT Guy, not Loonie Furniture Guy), but I think something like this you can get for at least $50. I don't really know. I tried looking at Kijiji to see what these things go for. Prices range from $30 to over $200! I'll just estimate a conservative $50 and call it a night.

If we drove the car, we wouldn't have made the detour to look for the garage sale. Subsequently, we would not have scored a free side table. Yes, the side table caused the mother-in-law to make a hole in a screen of our storm door and repairing it on our own cost $25. However, hiring someone to fix it for us would have cost us the materials and labour. Additionally, now I have the tools and know-how to fix future holes in any of our screens. Still a net positive overall.

*Wifey's parents live with us. They are just visiting and will be leaving on Labour Day. They will likely be back as wifey is their only child and life is good in Canada.

**Wifey also likes the feeling of freshness by circulating the air through the house. When we first moved in, we tried leaving the door open, but that invited all sorts of insects inside the house. We tried a hanging mesh product, but that fell apart fairly quickly. We ended up installing storm doors just before our second summer at the house. In the summer, we're one of the few houses in our neighbourhood that has the windows and doors open. We also try not to use the air conditioner in the summer. Having these storm doors and allowing the air to circulate through the house reduced our reliance on air conditioning.

***When the Toronto area gas prices recently set a record high, media outlets gobbled that up and interviewed people at the pumps to gauge their reactions. Apparently, someone there filled up and the bill was at least $135! Yikes!


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