On my way to the hardware store today, I decided I’d better check on when needed to get my car’s oil changed. It seemed like it had been months since I’d had that done, and I was right. November 11, 1999 was the last time I’d had the oil changed in my car. However, according to the odometer, I’m still just about one thousand miles short of three thousand miles driven since that oil change. That means I should be able to break an easy six months or more between oil changes. If I was still driving to work, I’d need to have the oil changed about every three months.

More about banks: I hold a checking account, savings account, and a couple of CD’s all with the same bank. The checking account requires a minimum daily combined balance between all of those accounts of several thousand dollars. If the combined balance of these accounts falls below the arbitrary threshold established by the bank, I get charged $15 per month. This is basically a fee for what banks used to do for free, but let’s pretend that I’m OK with that (no matter difficult that may be). When I opened the account, the woman who opened the account warned me that periodically I may be charged this fee, regardless of my combined daily balance and if that happened, I just had to call to have it reversed. So far, that hadn’t happened, until last month, when I was charged the fee. So, I called and asked why I had been charged the ‘Balance Fee.’ The bank’s representative: “Have you ordered checks recently? That could be a check charge.” “No, and why would it be listed as a balance fee for checks. Also, my understanding was that I got free checks with this account.” “Oh, you have a such-and-such account. You need to maintain a minimum…” “a minimum combined daily balance of xxx thousand dollars. Yes, I’m maintaining over twice that arbitrary amount.” “Oh. Umm, can you hold for a second. Sir, I can’t see any reason that you were charged that fee.” “Neither can I. When I opened the account I was told this would happen periodically. Doesn’t that seem rather stupid? Is there any way to ensure this doesn’t happen again? It’s a real waste of time to call you and have a fifteen dollar fee reversed because you can’t program your computers correctly.” “Um, there’s really nothing we can do about that. All I can do is tell you to hope it doesn’t happen that often and then I can reverse the fee in the meantime.” Why I’m surprised that a bank has computers that are unable to compare two amounts correctly (“Gee Bob, is 6 more than 3?” “No, they’re the same. “) I don’t know. Of course, this is the same bank that brought you the hits Endless Quest for Foreign Currency, the Overly Intrusive Account Opening Form, and the Twenty Minute Wait for a Teller at 10:00 AM on a Wednesday.

There is a commute calculator on the web that will tell you about how much you spend every day by driving to work. If I drove to work every day,assuming that the commute was thirty miles round trip, the bridge toll was two dollars, and that I spent seven dollars per day for parking, my commute would cost me this much:Based on your commute data:Your daily commute cost is: $16.86 Your monthly commute cost is: $354.06Your yearly commute cost is: $4,248.72 Surprised? And these are only your commute costs. These figures do not include your car ownership costs, such as your loan or lease payments, and insurance.

Starts to make that six dollars I spend every day on the ferry look pretty