Author Topic: What is the Mustachian way to take advantage of this weird work perk?  (Read 5367 times)

MDash

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So the Mrs. MDash just got a nice little promotion at work, and a sort of strange perk came with it.  The perk is that they will pay for all the gasoline she uses with her own car, whether it is used to get to work, or personal use, cross-country drive, whatever.  If it is her car, then they pay for the gas. 

She drives an old but reliable corolla, fully paid for of course.  Gets really good gas mileage.  So this puts us in a Mustachian dilemma.  Car driving = bad, bad for wallet (wear and tear on car), environment, personal health.  But free gas good!  And freedom to travel anywhere by car without having to worry about the largest expense of car travel is pretty cool. 

We are partially inclined to just swap the corolla for a huge but reliable gas guzzler, and use it to travel all about on weekends.  Fun but maybe a little evil?  But also I am wondering if there is some other profitable way we can use this odd perk.  Something to help us with our 'stashe?    What would you do? 

Thanks for your ideas!! 

Joet

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siphon gas from your tank and sell it on craigslist or at a roadside near a gas station?

Another Reader

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In your shoes I would thank her employer, and continue to use the car exactly how you would use it without the free gas.  Redirect the saved money into investments or savings.  Consider it a bonus.

sheepstache

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I like the siphon idea :)  I'd think you could just find someone in your neighborhood who would be happy to pay half price for their weekly fill up.  They could just drive you to the gas station where you would use your card. 

Less morally suspect: Offer taxi services.  Depending what's already set up in your area you could list yourself on craigslist or if there's a dispatcher listed in the white pages, give them a call and see if they're looking for extra cars and let them know your availability.

mustachianteacher

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Not sure if you have kids, but of you do, you could use this perk to "pay it forward" and always volunteer to be the driver for field trips. Offer the seniors in your neighborhood a ride if they need one. Stuff like that.

Or, just assume you're still paying the same amount you've always paid for gas, and redirect that money into a savings account for a very specific goal.

MDash

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Thanks for the ideas so far.  I am not sure I am comfortable going outside the implied rules of the perk.  I.e. siphoning gas and/or selling gas that was supposedly for use in Mrs. MDash's car.  I basically want to stick to the rules.  We can use the car.

Taxi service seems like a very interesting idea.  Though I am worried that operating an unlicensed taxi might be illegal.  I guess I'll have to look into that.

Helping out neighbors and other families seems like a very Mustachian thing to do.  Perhaps that is the way.

Thanks for your ideas so far!

BPA

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In your shoes I would thank her employer, and continue to use the car exactly how you would use it without the free gas.  Redirect the saved money into investments or savings.  Consider it a bonus.

I agree with this.  Besides, you really have to decide if more wear and tear on the car is worth it.

KingMe

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This perk seems odd, unless she works for an oil company or something. I hope the siphoning and taxi ideas are jokes! If they were to find out that she, you, or others were profiting off of their grand gesture, the perk could be pulled and your spouse's job could be in jeopardy.

The idea of getting a guzzler to have for years to come because of a perk that could be taken away t any time seems...shortsighted. Just put an extra $__ into savings that usually went to gasoline.

Forgive my lack of humor-I fight corruption for a living.


Zoot Allures

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I have a weird work perk, too. My employer pays for my health care. I was thinking of letting strangers use my health record number to receive medical services. Then they could just pay me in cash. I would give them a good deal, so it would work out well for everyone. Another idea is that I could become severely diabetic so that I could get more value from this excellent health insurance package that I don't otherwise use very much.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 09:46:40 PM by Spine »

kkbmustang

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I have a weird work perk, too. My employer pays for my health care. I was thinking of letting strangers use my health record number to receive medical services. Then they could just pay me in cash. I would give them a good deal, so it would work out well for everyone. Another idea is that I could become severely diabetic so that I could get more value from this excellent health insurance package that I don't otherwise use very much.

Thoughts?

Seriously. Thank you. The thought of someone stealing gas from their employer makes me cringe.

Bigote

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I can't imagine choosing to spend more time in a car over your normal activities just because its subsidized.  I would drive only what you do now and save the old gas money.

Self-employed-swami

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I work for oil companies, and I've only ever got free gas ONCE and it was only 3/4 of a tank.

I'd keep on doing what you do now, but if you have opportunities to volunteer more (like meals on wheels) I'd do that.  I wouldn't buy a more expensive car.

When I'm spending my employers money, I try to think of it as my own, so I try to be economical about it (I stay at the best western, not the hyatt for example).

Neat perk though, I'd like to know where she works.

StetsTerhune

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So I think you need to make sure that you're not thinking in terms of maximizing the value of this perk, but in terms of how this perk changes the math for your life choices.

The cost of driving for me = depreciation per mile + average maintenance per mile + personal carbon guilt tax + gallon of gas/31

The cost of driving for you = depreciation per mile + average maintenance per mile + personal carbon guilt tax

I honestly have no idea what those two things cost (and the third is 100% personal), but I suspect that depreciation per mile is enough lower with her current (old) car to more than make up for the (possibly) lower maintenance costs of a new car. Look into it, but especially since you don't know if you'll always have this deal, I think keeping the old car has to be a better deal.

Your driving costs are lower now of course, but you need to figure out if they're enough lower to make it worthwhile to actually drive more. Without doing the math, I can be quite certain that I would drive more and do more weekend camping trips with the car. But just that's based on how much I enjoy those things.

MDash

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So I think you need to make sure that you're not thinking in terms of maximizing the value of this perk, but in terms of how this perk changes the math for your life choices.


So yeah, I think this is more of what I was hoping to get in terms of ideas.  I should not have really considered anything that really goes against the spirit of the perk such as even taxi-ing or anything like that.  Let alone anything illegal and immoral like stealing gas.  Instead I think that maybe this does change the math a little.  Like maybe we shop at a different store that is farther away but has lower prices, where we wouldn't have before because the cost in gas would have made up for those prices.  Maybe I am just wondering if there is anything else creative that this slight difference in the math equation changes, or if I just have to suck it up and run the numbers and see where rather than how our spending habits should change.

I guess mostly this perk won't change much for us.  For example today I am going to the local grocery store to get a few things we are out of.  I plan on riding my bike. 



herisff

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I would check the wording of the perk before you make any decisions. Usually gas reimbursement is in the form of so many cents per miles driven, which must be documented on some type of receipt or form. So while you could say the gas is "paid for", in this instance it is only partially reimbursed.

Personally I would not change my habits, except to keep & submit the relevant receipts. Why change your life for something that could easily be changed at the whim of her employer?

menorman

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Thanks for the ideas so far.  I am not sure I am comfortable going outside the implied rules of the perk.  I.e. siphoning gas and/or selling gas that was supposedly for use in Mrs. MDash's car.  I basically want to stick to the rules.  We can use the car.

Taxi service seems like a very interesting idea.  Though I am worried that operating an unlicensed taxi might be illegal.  I guess I'll have to look into that.

Helping out neighbors and other families seems like a very Mustachian thing to do.  Perhaps that is the way.

Thanks for your ideas so far!

Actually, there's a whole crop of ride share apps (such as SideCar, SAP, etc.) popping up that connect someone needing a ride with a nearby driver going their direction. If one of them has launched in your area, it could be worth checking out. From what I've seen/heard, riders are encouraged, though not required, to 'tip' the driver for the 'free' ride. The companies claim they're just a digital thumb, but taxi companies have (understandably) sued and SFO even banned their use at the airport. Still, could be worth checking out even if the boss isn't paying for gas.

dragoncar

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I get a cool perk too.  If I poop at work, I get all the toilet paper I want.  I'm thinking about eating more fiber at work.  What do you guys think?

Seriously though, you should not make any life choices based on this perk.  Unless you are sure she will have the job for the life of a car, i wouldn't get a gas guzzler.  The perk is so uncommon, if she goes elsewhere, you will be stuck holding the bag.  The program probably can end at any time too (just guessing its not contractual) so if gas prices rise too much they could end it.

The only thing I might do is volunteer to drive friends on more road trips.  I love road trips!