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Category: Saving Your Money Podcast

Thoughts on Denver RTD MyRide Program

myride-card

 

 

 

The start of 2016 marks many changes for the mode of transportation I use for work for over the last 20 years. Four new rail lines will go-live later this year, which may allow me to leave my car at home for commuting to work.  But eh first change for me happened the first of the year with the introduction of the Flatiron Flyer.  This route replace many of the express and regional routes between Boulder and Denver. Also for me, the change in fare structure has reduced my cost of commuting by about one third.

Late last year, I signed up for and was accepted to a pilot program called “The My Ride Stored Value Card”. This is basically a prepaid ride card where the fare is deducted from the card when it is tapped on a card reader. Using the card gives me a $.25 per ride discount on the regular fare.  The card also allows for a three hour window to use a transfer onto another bus route. Outside of a rough start, I think this program will be a keeper.

Experiences over the first two weeks:

January 4 – Today was the first day of the new Flatiron Flyer route.  These are buses that run between downtown Denver and Boulder on 15 minute intervals.  The rides on this route were free today!!  I brought my voucher to the customer service desk to obtain my new MyRide card.

This is where the fun begins.

Clerk #1 (as I hand her the voucher) – What is this?

Me – a voucher to participate in your new My Ride program.

Clerk # 2 talks to Clerk #1 and points to boxes on the back table. Clerk #1 grabs items from boxes and returns to station.  She starts typing.

Clerk #1 – What is your name.

Clerk #2 -everything you need is written on the voucher.

Me – rolls eyes

After another 10 minutes, I had a card with an initial deposit of $100. Ready to go for Tuesday.

January 5 – I boarded the bus to go downtown.  The card reader read “Regional”. I asked the driver to downgrade the fare to local.

<sound of crickets> The driver stares at his console, not sure of what to do. As the line to board grows impatient in front of me, the driver waves me in. Card balance $100. I wrote an email to RTD and was told not all the drivers had been trained on the My Ride card program.

Evening ride – card reader is broken. Card balance $100

January 6 – morning ride – card reader broken $100 balance. Evening ride – card reader broken $100 balance.

I’m starting to think I may never pay for a bus ride again.

January 7 – Finally. a working card reader, withe the correct local fare showing. Card Balance $97.65

Evening ride – no issues. Card balance $95.30

January 8 – no issues on either trip Card Balance at end of week $90.60

January 11 –  no issues. Balance $85.90

January 12 – no issues. Balance $81.20

January 13 – no issues inbound. Balance $78.85 Outbound – driver did not know how to downgrade fare (still?) Balance $78.85

January 14 – inbound – no issues Balance $76.50 Outbound  -card reader broken

January 15 – no issues either trip. Card balance $71.80

Thoughts: The kinks of the first two weeks will work themselves out.   The ‘pay as I use’ will actually cost me less then the monthly passes ($99 for a local pass).  I would like to see enhancements such as self-service through the website, as the only time I know my remaining balance is after I scan the card. Also a way for the bus to calculate the fare based on route and location would be helpful and could reduce boarding delays as the program goes wide.

 

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Saving Your Money Podcast #006 – Lessons From College

MortarBoardMoneySaving Your Money Podcast returns after a long hiatus. Art and Karen discuss what has gone on in their lives since the last episode. Thanks for listening.

Sending college kids back to school.

Things at college cost more
lots of cost saving if a car trip returns your son or daughter to college
Things to stock up on.
toiletries
cleaning supplies
cold remedies and tissues
stationary and printer supplies
stable food items ie. instant Mac n Cheese, soup, peanut butter, cookies

Text books Amazon , Textbook.com Barnes & Noble and the college book store
Amazon Student offers 2 day free shipping on books (this in not Amazon Prime)
consider renting, used or ebooks instead of traditional new textbook purchase.
B&N has a college kick start package that includes access to SparkCharts, Kaplan Study strategies and Nook college survival guides.
frequently the workbooks are cheapest at the school
software is often available with discounts through the colleges and universities although not all recognize Jr and community colleges with the best discounts.

notebooks with the college logo are often overpriced. But a school calendar planner may be a good buy to keep up with the college events and dates of closures.

Meal plans are sometimes required and often a good deal. The most comprehensive meal plan including 19 meals a week (brunch and Dinner only on weekends) is a bargain over the other plans. This one allows only one card swipe per dining service (cannot share with friends) but covers all the meals. I have yet to hear of a student at any college who is completely thrilled with their meal plan but there are ways to help that. Boredom is often the complaint, I suggest that you try new foods. Just because Mom’s Meatloaf never did much for you it does not mean that the school recipe is the same. you might find you like the seasoning that you get on roast chicken on campus.
Get up early enough to eat breakfast and be sure to find a way to get all of your meals even if your class schedule is tight.
Even if you live off campus you may find a partial dining plan both convenient and cost effective

In the real world people pay big bucks to join a fitness club. Check out what is available at the athletic center or rec center on campus. Just a few games of hoops or table tennis will help to keep you alert. often there is great equipment to use, a pool or ice rink.

Campuses are known for great libraries. Sometimes multiple ones. A school with a great music or theater department may well have a great library in that area as well.

If you spent your first semester avoiding on campus activities now is your time to check them out. YOu are likely find new friends and additions to your mug and t-shirt collections.

Take advantage of school sponsored tutoring, resume assistance, job placement.

Explore the options of other schools nearby for inexpensive haircuts, food or even auto repair.

Campus sponsored concerts, plays and movies are not only great gathering places but often easy on the wallet

collect up the on campus coupon books that seem to be everywhere for big savings. It is no longer fashionable to pay full price needlessly.

 

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SYM Show #5 – Grow Your Own (54:11)

Today, Art and Karen talk about growing your own.

 

From Frugallysustainable.com
23 ways to save money

12 things that are less expensive in 2012  

home made cleaners from Mother Earth News
Mrs Meyers cleaners
making your own surface cleaner
3 parts water
1part Vinegar
Dash of dish soap
couple of drops of essential oil (expensive but a few drops go a long way) cuts the vinegar smell.

What you can grow from your food scraps
celery
green onions
garlic
sweet potato
ginger root

Freebies
Wi Fi internet save your cell phone data fees by using free internet available at public libraries, coffee shops and book shops. if you have an iPhone you will get a screen letting you know what is out there not all are locked.

Save your Photos on a free account on a site like Picasa or Flickr. Some services such as rotation of photos and sizing are free. Paid account have additional features.

VistaPrint.com has an offer online for 250 free business cards. Cards for sale are reasonably priced.

Box.net offers 50gigabytes of free on line storage in the cloud.( If you download the smartphone app first)
Dropbox – 2GB with additional 250 MB for recruiting others and special accomplishments

If you are looking for holiday or seasonal freebies search google St Patricks Day Coupons. You will find contests, downloads for kid friendly activities, and free offers.

Gas prices at Gasbuddy.com

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Saving Your Money Podcast #004 – Merry Christmas (24:42)

Christmas is but 11 months away.

Yes, its time to get ready for Christmas 2012. Getting in front of your expenditures will give you control over your financial life.

Avoid layaway – some people got lucky this year with the layaway lottery.

Pay off 2011 debt. Do those presents look as good with payments hanging over them.

Just as you have finished one holiday season, Karen and Art tell you its time to prepare for the 2012 holiday.

Look at your 2011 expenditures – count number of weeks to early November. Divide expenditures to determine how much to save each week. Physically set aside the funds, consider 6 mo CD

Examine this year’s festivities. What announcements were made, Baby on the way, Wedding, Retirement, Moving. Plan for these expenditures as well.

What type of gifts will you purchase or make for recipients holiday 2012. The situation may dictate the gift.
teen going to college
someone joining the service
moving, moving out of Mom and Dad’s place
retirement
Making gifts Plan Accordingly (that afghan is not going to be whipped up in a few days, nor are you going to want to do it in mid-July)

Purchase the perfect gifts as you go.

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We would love to hear from you. There are a number of options to contact

Email: feedback@mrsbeasleyomnimedia.com

Phone: 720.279.4365

Traditional mail:

Mrs. Beasley Omnimedia, Inc.

PO Box 745472

Arvada, CO 80006

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Saving Your Money Podcast #003 – Happy New Year! (30:53)

Karen and Art wish everyone a prosperous and safe new year.

Eating right this holiday season has a lot of benefits

If one of your New Years Resolutions is to learn something new check out iTunes U.  Free lectures on gardening, economics and even video classes on baking.

 

Organizers will tell you that the best place to shop first is from your own stash. If you doubt this look to see how many things you have in your closet that are similar. Several identical white shirts and how many pairs of yoga pants or jeans do you need? Clean out a closet and save yourself some money.

If you are not going to use or wear something immediately don’t open or take the tags off of it. Particularly if you did not get a fabulous deal on the item. My daughter has a hard time finding jeans that she likes and that fit really well, when she does they are not often on sale. when they do turn up on sale ten days later the sales slip and jeans with the tags on them are very easily price matched.

Netflix,Hulu Plus, Blockbuster, Amazon Prime and premium cable stations.

Hulu Plus is limited as to content and has lots of advertisement. Hulu Plus is $7.99 a month with no contract, there are still some commercials. Current shows, movies without commercials and availability on a variety of devices including tablets iPhones.

Blockbuster 1 DVD $9.99/ 2 DVDs $14.99/ 3 DVDs $19.99 for new release movies

Amazon Prime $79.99 a year,  2 day shipping for purchases, Instant movies and TV shows, Kindle books loan ability

Netflix $7.99 a month for streaming TV and Movies

 

 

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Saving Your Money Podcast #002 – Time to consider a CSA (55:24)

 $100 Outback giftcard purchase $20 one free

Noodles and CO $25 gift card get free noodle sandwich duo

All those gimmes on credit cards, Are they Worth it?
A one year warranty one purchases, saving on insurance when renting a car, shopping discounts
the average savings is 65 cents. or .65% I bet your interest rate is a whole lot more than that. Save yourself the aggravation shop with cash. Nov 5, 2011 Parade  Magazine Ramit Sethi author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich.

Now is the time to stock up on pantry supplies. Baking supplies are rarely any less expensive than they are just before Thanksgiving. The sale prices will usually beat the Warehouse stores 50 pound bag prices.

In addition to baking supplies paper goods are also on sale and there are coupons about for them. This is in response to the holiday parties.

buy a $25 gift card from Annie’s heirloom seeds and get a $5 certificate for yourself

Murdochs buy a $30 gift card for $25 gift cards can only be used after 12/25

Applebee’s $10 gift card for $50 purchase

4 $5 Starbucks cards qualified you for an additional $5 card. purchase online.

4% gas points King Soopers 20 gallons about $8
Safeway $10 GC for a $100 purchase of cards and 1% $2 plus $10 = $12

Walgreens Jingle cash is back
$5 for $30
$10 for $50
$15 for $75
$20 FOR $100

Eating seasonally
What is in the store today Root veggies, leading to soups not salads, Greens are out of season
Time to Consider a CSA Community Supported Agriculture
Links EatAbbo.com, Miller Farms, Grant farms
Check out CSA in your area. Local Harvest
A fixed price gave us a season of produce that we ate and put up. We are eating these now an have evened out our grocery bill as a result.
Purchasing a side of beef, a pig or a sheep is another option. That and a freezer will let you even out your grocery bills while giving your family great food that has not been processed to death.
the only thing that we now purchase on a regular basis is dairy in the grocery store as everything from bread to Salsa can be made at home.

local dirt Buy, Sell, and Find local food

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Saving Your Money Podcast #001 – Welcome (21:42)

Join Karen and Art as we explore how to save a finite resource that we all seem to waste – MONEY

 

Tips and tricks on how to keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket.
This Podcast is being done from the Denver Area so prices and policies may vary by region. We will cover Online and Brick-n-Mortar stores. Coupon savings, great policies and cautions while you shop. Your experiences will help all of us save some money.This holiday season there are some great sales. Many are Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday only.
Best Buy, Sears and Wal-marthave ads online.Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts has a 25% coupon for this weekend. some exclusions apply.
Michaels and Hobby Lobbyweekly ads have a 40% off coupon for one item. Check and see if your local craft stores will accept competitors couponsMany online stores offer free shipping with a minium purchase price. LL Bean chanced there policy a while back giving you free shipping everyday.Many Sales particularly in clothing are offering BOGO 50% off. Remember that the maximum savings here on the 2 items is 25% each assuming that you buy Items of the exact same price.The greater the price spread between the items the lower the over all savings percentage is.Check out you local newspapers for Store coupons. Safeway currently has a flyer Good through US Thanksgiving Day. You can add manufacturer coupons for additional savings. Recently noted are ones from Target and Walgreens.

Panda Express – Buy a $25 gift card and get a free two item meal.

BFads.net  and BlackFriday.Info are great sites to keep you up to date on the Holiday sales. It is good to subscribe to them and always check out the ads as soon as you see notification that they are available as sometimes they need to remove the ads from their sites to keep the companies happy.

Feedback line 720-279-4365   web http://www.MrsBeasleyOmnimedia.com

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