Monday, October 08, 2007

Getting my money's worth

After buying a stroller I really didn't need, I set out to justify its purchase. I can walk two miles roundtrip to my local library and grocery shop on the way home. My husband offered to calculate the mileage on his way to work.

Oh, the huffing, puffing, and sweating that followed our first trip there! I walk every day, but not pushing a 70-pound-loaded stroller up hills. We had to stop at a fast food restaurant for air conditioning and ice. (I'll be brutally honest: chicken nuggets and ten minutes at Playland, too.)

Not an auspicious start to my money-saving, mommy-slimming plan!

The stroller did make loading our library books a breeze and easily held two additional sacks of groceries. I can't imagine why I got so many strange looks on the way home.

Depending on the calculation, one trip to the library and back saves LESS than a dollar in gas mileage. At that rate, I'll need over 35 trips to "earn" the double stroller.

38 comments:

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

Don't forget to calculate in the money it would take to exercise for that amount of time at the gym or Curves....and the priceless time spent walking and chatting with your children. (Using my formula, I think the stroller is paid for!)

julie said...

hi meredith! i am a long time reader and first time commenter. :)i hope you won't mind my putting my 2 cents worth in here....some things ( and i know you already "know" this...) simply can't be calculated. i think your buy of the double stroller was a sound one if you will actually use it to walk to the market, library, mcdonald's playland etc. walking is more than just physical exercise. for me it is mental and emotional exercise. plus it is a great way to show your children that exercise doesn'thave to consist of a gym membership and/or include a ball. i enjoy your blog so much! blessings to you! julie harris

Cindee said...

I agree with the commenters above. Maybe you save less than a dollar on the gas, but the exercise and potential weight-loss? Priceless.

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Meredith, I hope you don't mind that I laughed at your calculation as to how long it will take to "pay" for the stroller. Maybe because it sounds like what I would say or do. The pumpkin on the left looks like it weighs at least as much as the pumpkin on the right. When you're walking, maybe you might like to purchase small, light things? :)

Anonymous said...

I can understand the strange looks!

But it's still not as strange a sight as I saw one day ... an elderly male walking with an earpiece -- and a homemade tinfoil headband. (I assume the hat was for better radio reception.)

BTW, is there any ELEVATION change between your home and the library? We have one steep hill to conquer on our walk ... it's a real deterrent to lugging books home.

Jora

Anonymous said...

Meredith,
Thanks so your post! I would have bought the stroller because it's an investment when you have more than one child. My four year old rides at times with my two year old when we go to parks, zoos, fairs, ect.

I think you ought to wait until it's a little cooler to get the remaining 35 trips in.

Misty said...

oh my goodness! this is a great idea. you have completely challenged my way of thinking. Thank you!

hsgbdmama said...

Remember too to figure in the wear and tear on the car (you're not starting the engine either -- at least twice), and that is worth something.

Both pumpkins are cute! ;-)

BessieJoy said...

Oh, but you'll have such an adventure every day that you do this! I bet your children enjoyed it, didn't they?!

Keep us posted as to how your future trips turn out!

SongBirdy said...

lol, I do the same thing. Currently I am tracking how many mending job's I've done till I've paid for the trade up on my sewing machine.

It is hard, sometimes, not to feel a little foolish over purchases. It is hard to explain exactly why something was a good purchase.

And it is hard to remember that you are still paying off something and really can't afford another bargain purchase because technically you still "owe" money on the last purchase.

I had that this past week. Eventually I decided to be good and turn down the purchase but it is hard because I could easily reason why making the purchase would have been good!

Carol said...

Hi Meredith,

I'm a first time commenter, long time reader. :)

That picture is too cute. I'm sure the stroller will pay for itself over and over through precious memories from your outings.

Thanks for the smile.

Amy said...

Isn't it funny how we think about things like this? I am always calculating if I get my money's worth out of items...particularly when I am trying to justify my purchases :) The pumpkins are darling!

Ruthie said...

Meredith ~

Walking to and from the library =

1. Save on gas and wear and tear on car.

2. Exercise

3. Fresh air and vitamin D from the sunlight

4. Conversations with your children. You can spread a lot more wisdom on a 30 minute walk than you could in a 5 minute car ride.

5. Helping the environment, I'm not sure how much you care about this, but almost all of your treasures are recycled, which is eco-friendly too!

6. A chance to meet your neighbors and share conversations that would never have taken place if you were both in a car.

7. A chance to explore and discover for your children. New flowers and plants, neighborhood dogs and cats, funny shaped clouds, birds, bugs and the changing colors of the trees would be things they'd never notice in the automobile.

8. Mindful living. Walking is very meditative once you get past the huffing and puffing and cursing part. It's an opportunity to clear your head and sort things out. It helps you focus on the here and now and make sense of the past and the future.

9. Learning and showing that walking is a perfectly good way to get from one place to another. It's quite empowering to get to a place you normally go without ever turning the key in the ignition.

Good luck, I think you made a great find. :-)

Anonymous said...

Now that I reread this ... I wonder what I could use to carry my milk home if my kids are too big for a stroller.

Would it look wierd dragging a wagon?

Jora

HopewellMomSchool said...

I remember a long-ag [70s] article in one of my Mom's "Ladies magazines" in which a family went down to just "one" car--their "other" car was an old stroller!! The photo had a lot in common with the one in your post!

And, as long as you had water or a diet drink, you do know the calories from those nuggest won't count--right? LOL...

Anonymous said...

Oh,no no no...the stroller IS a bargain. All that huffing & puffing uphill was for free, instead of paying a health club to huff & puff on their machines!

Brenda

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of the above!! My sons are all grown up now and I have great memories of pulling the wagon to the library and anywhere else we had to go. Also, when they were old enough we each biked with a backpack. It took careful packing of the books leaving the library so the yougest had the lightest load! Have fun with your children -they are grown before you know it! Blessings, dee

artgirlATL said...

love the picture!

Annie said...

That picture made me laugh!

Stephanie @ ATime4Everything.com said...

I remember stroller days...the downside was by the time I got home, the little one had napped and was rearing to go but I was exhausted! Now my youngest can ride his bike while I walk and he gets tuckered out too! Then we can both come home and cuddle up for nap time!

Scribbit said...

Cute picture though, and I've heard about a picture being worth a 1000 words, maybe it's also worth a few dollars :)

The Mom said...

Be thankful you can drive :-) that way you have the *option* of using the stroller.

I don't drive, so I have to walk everywhere I go. It wasn't easy for the first ten yrs of children

Very much enjoying the blog
Love
H

Marianne said...

What a cute picture. Your daughter is getting so big! Time to change the picture on your blog.

bonnie: said...

Warning* Unrelated to post question!

I really want a KitchenAid mixer. A store here sells them refurbished for $179, with a 6 mo warranty...

Do you have one? I think I'd use it all the time. I don't have any sort of mixer other than a blender (from the 70's), but I'd sure have to bake alot of bread/muffins/cookies to pay for it!

frugalmom said...

I used my jogging stroller to haul a 50 lb bag of feed to my chicken coop, so I think the pumpkin-hauling is quite appropriate!

I wish I lived within walking/biking distance of the store or library. But then I wouldn't have the house and land we have. Trade-offs!

I really enjoy your blog. Thanks!

Carrien said...

HI Meridith,

I've been doing this for years, and getting funny looks for years, especially when I bring home 25 lb bags of gravel for my planters on one seat.

I don't have a car, and my husband works crazy hours so I have been doing ALL of my errands on foot for well, 6 years now, my boy is almost 6. It does help you to get in shape. My double stroller is a jogger. The big tires make those hills much easier to handle with 80 lbs of groceries and two kids in my stroller. I also make a game out of walking up the hills. My kids just think that jumping up and running up the hill as fast as they can so the stroller is lighter is a lot of fun. My almost 6 year old and 3 year old can handle walking a mile to the library/farmers market and then walking home again without a stroller now, they're used to it now. When we take friends with us, even if they aren't used to walking, most little kids can walk that distance without complaining, they think it's fun to do it together, and their parents are usually shocked to see how strong they are. Anyway, if you plan on making this a long term habit I suggest you keep your eyes open for a stroller with big tires as it's easier to push.

To anonymous Jora, they sell shopping carts on wheels, on amazon, at Target, at bed bath and beyond, they are little cart that have two wheel and a handle. My mother bought me one and I use it to take laundry to the laundromat, I use it to carry groceries and terracotta pots and anything else I need to bring home when I don't have the stroller, or is too big for the stroller. You usually see old grannies using them at the grocery store, but I like to remind myself that all of the chic young French housewives use them all the time, and walk everywhere, and so I pretend I'm chic. :)LOL

Hope that helps.

nea said...

i am so envious. i have been looking for this exact stroller and around here, this will set you back a minimum of at least $90, unless you settle for a much older with all the "extras" (sun canopies, etc) stripped. i got my single maclaren for $35, which was a total steal around here.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Ruthie and all the others supporting you! Also going to share these comments with my sister who is 32, doesn't drive and expecting her first baby.

Alison said...

oops that was me!

geekswife said...

No worries. I bought my douyble stroller and had ahard time justifing it until I realized just how much I used my last one. Until it wore out. I too walk to the library and grocery store. I just think of the trip and time my husband doesn't have o take to go with me (I don't drive) plus you have the time to play at the park when you visit the library. Just remember to bring a couple water bottles of ice water. :) The store I go to by the library also carried local produce, so I save money that way too. :) There are allot of little things you gain and save when you think about it. :)

Kate said...

I love where I live, but I sort of wish I could walk to the store and the library. To get to a gas station alone is a 10 minute drive.

Lisa@Take90West said...

I think that cute picture alone was just about worth the price of the stroller! Two pumpkins!

It's a Mom Thing said...

I know the route you are walking and I say, "You go girl." You actually have the opportunity to walk to the grocery, restuarants, and the library. Many in the suburbs do not. I think it's great that you are taking advantage of it. It will benefit you and your kiddos. But that hill back to your house...woo-wee. That's a doozy.

Lu said...

You did way more than just save on less than a dollars worth of gas... You taught your children something, you got exercise, you saved on "polluting"...You go girl!

Cara said...

That's just adorable :) We live in the country, nothing in walking distance, so we don't use a stroller. If we walk, she's on my back in the ergo. If we did live in the city, though, I'd want a double stroller for sure :) It is nice to do errands that way, money savings or not :)

malia said...

Well, the weather is finally(!) cooling down, so the sweatiness will not be as much of problem! And even though it may take you awhile to "payback" your stroller, I'm sure you'll see physical benefits even sooner if you keep this up!!

Debbie M said...

If I had that picture, I would frame it and display it every autumn.

I'm afraid I would say you lost money on that stroller today, because I suspect those chicken nuggets cost more than a dollar. However, it was your first trip. In the future, you can bring some water with you and start scoping out other places to take a break. As you get in better shape, you may not even need a break (besides for water).

Meredith said...

The kids split the chicken nuggets.

I was there for the air conditioning.