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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

How I Made $83 an Hour

First, let me say this, I was super reluctant to take this route. Really, there are some things for which I don't like to compromise my comfort or convenience. When traveling by air, I like the convenience of arriving at the airport by my own car, which entails the expense of high parking rates at the airport. Nonetheless, I am willing to pay for parking, either at the airport proper or at a discounted, off-site parking location, just so I can be more comfortable getting there.

I recently went out of town for a few days. My departing flight was super early in the morning, and my returning flight was late at night. I am especially not a fan of the off-site parking joints when it means I have to get up extra early for a flight or be there long after dark (kinda sketchy area near the airport). So, I had talked myself into paying the full rate at the airport, which would have cost about $140 for the days that my car sat parked. A few days before leaving town, my car began acting up. I didn't have time to get it looked at, and I was very concerned about driving the hour and fifteen each way to the airport. In addition, I didn't have anyone that I could ask for a ride. (Due to the distance, I consider a ride to the airport to be a pretty big favor.) I looked into shuttle possibilities, but as both of my daughters were coming with me, a shuttle would have cost close to $200. After spending a weekend on the fence about driving, taking a shuttle, or daring the public transit, I made a last-minute decision to take a series of 2 public buses and 1 stretch on light-rail for my transport to and from the airport. We had to walk a mile to the bus stop (with heavy backpacks, and yes, it was uphill part of the way) and ride public transportation, which took 2 hours. However, it was worth it, as our cost was $25.50 in total for the 3 of us to get to and from the airport, yielding a savings of $114.50. The additional time, compared to driving to/from, was about one and a half hours. Going on these figures, I estimate my hourly savings' rate at about $76.33. But wait, it gets better. Gas for my car to get to and from the airport would have cost about $10, giving me a total savings of $124.50 or $83/ hour for my time. Of course, I had to get both daughters on board with this crazy plan. So I offered each of them an incentive, $25 to spend any way they wanted while we were out of town. When you're young, beautiful, and broke, $25 sounds pretty enticing (or at least it did for my two daughters). They said, "let's go for it," and we did. With "sharing" that awesome hourly rate (bribing offering an incentive of $50 total to my daughters), my hourly rate for a little inconvenience dropped to $49.67. That's not bad, and I think it was worth the inconvenience.

I also like to remind myself that when I "earn" money by saving what I had planned on spending, those "earnings" are not subject to income taxes. If I had taken a paid job for that same amount of money, income taxes would have eaten into the earnings, and I would have had to work more hours to earn that sum. And truth be told, my area of expertise is in a very un-lucrative field. Convincing someone into paying me $83 per hour would be a tough sell.

Who knows, maybe my car would have made it to the airport and back, or maybe it wouldn't have. I'm glad I didn't chance it. It's in the shop now, and I'm hoping the repairs are not too exorbitant. The good news, though -- now that I've done the bus and rail to the airport, and discovered it wasn't bad at all, I will take this route again. The bonus is we all got a bit of exercise before sitting on a plane for a few hours.

You know, when we travel, I think nothing of taking public transit in other cities. And I take the bus whenever I want to go into Seattle. So, I'm kind of surprised that it took me this long to take transit to and from the airport. I guess I just need a little push in the right direction every now and then.

How about you? Has there been something that you've were reluctant to try, but you did and were glad for the push to get you into that experience?


  1. I think it was smart of you not to trust your car to hold up. Think of the stress you would have had if it had broken down on your way to the airport (or home from the airport)! Plus the cost of towing ....! I'm always hesitant about public transportation when you have to transfer to a different bus/train/plane. I feel like my public transportation skills are very rusty. Good for you for being brave!

    1. Hi Kris,
      That is what I was worried about -- stranded by the side of the road, sweating the prospect of missing our flight. I didn't sleep well for a couple of nights, as I worked out the various scenarios. We made the right choice for us. If we weren't strong and healthy, maybe the shuttle would have been the better deal. Have a good evening, Kris!

  2. I like the way you got your daughters on board with the plan. I'm sure it wasn't very attractive to begin with, but it became an adventure.

    Today I was talking with a friend who will taking an airplane trip with her husband who has health issues. She decided to hire a car to pick them up and drop them off at the airport. From there, the airlines are going to help with wheelchairs, etc. She was willing to pay the extra expense for a hired car (limo) because that's what they needed. However, it turns out that it's not going to cost any more than parking was going to cost them. She might do it every time now for the convenience whether or not her husband still needs it.

    It pays to shop around for the alternatives as you did.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I think your friend did the smart thing. Their transitions between limo and terminal were probably a lot smoother than self-parking, given the help that airlines offer with wheelchairs once at the doorstep of the terminal. The real bonus for them is discovering this is a cost-effective way to get to the airport and home again. Enjoy your evening, live and learn!

  3. This just no way I'd pay for parking in Sydney's airports - they are exorbitant. Even if picking someone up take for than 10mins you get stung a fee! And then teh train is higher priced as the airport component is private, and therefore the price isn't regulated like the rest of the city's train fares. Nonetheless, I use the train. Recently I took the public bus and then uber the last 2 kms.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      The bus then Uber sounds like a good solution for your situation. Airport parking can be outrageously expensive. Having Uber as an option for the last part of the way is helpful.


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