Friday, August 10, 2007

Reader Comments Inspire Update

Several comments on some of my cost comparison posts have prompted me to look at the issues in a bit more detail. Firstly, that of comparing the cost of driving to work versus taking public transit. The comment that made me re-evaluate things was this, posted by Mark:

"I think you would/should also factor into the interest/extra you might be paying for a lease, and if you own said car you need to factor in a cost associated with yearly maintenance as your asset is depreciating

As well you also should factor in such fees as insurance, license, registration, inspections etc"

Originally, my comparison was the cost of a student bus pass which is $50 to that of the gasoline cost which was $27.24. I ignored maintenance fees and other such concerns as the car wasn't a dedicated commuting vehicle. We use it for shopping and traveling back home etc... However if we make an estimate here that we put 1500 km per month on the car we can work with the percentage of use that is for work related commuting. Traveling to work every day for 20 days eats 240 km so that works out to a nice 16%.

All that remains is to work out the fees. For oil changes we get about 4 per year at $45 each so that's $180. Our insurance at the time of the original post was a ridiculous $168 per month for 12 months gives a total of $2016. I will make a high estimate that counting all extra maintenance, license fees, inspection fees, etc.. to be $600 per year. Add this up and you get $2796 annually or $37.28 per month. We have since re-negotiated the cost of our insurance to around $95 per month so that brings down the annual cost to $1920 or $25.60 per month.

Thus to commute to work every day would have cost $64.55 and now costs $52.84. So that means that right now, in a pure number comparison, it is cheaper to get the student pass at $50 per month using public transit. And if you are not a student then it is still cheaper to drive, though the difference isn't as much. However, the 90 minute commute time is still a big factor to consider when making the decision.

The best way to get to work would actually be to bike. It's a triple threat in the fact it is much cheaper than the above options, good for my body, and good for the environment. Plus it takes less time to get there than the bus!

Drive-in Regular Theater Comparison

There were two comments I'd like to address regarding this post. The first by Daniel:

"You should add "Renting a Movie" to the break down, just to beef things up. I guess it would include buying popcorn from the rental place and drinks too. Then just add the average driving distance, and voila!"

To refresh, the cost of our drive-in experience was $18.89 which included admission, the cost of homemade snacks, and commuting. The regular theater was a total of $43.89 and this included admission, snacks bought at the concession stand, and commuting.

If we were to rent a movie, we would likely get it from Jumbo Video. The price for new releases is $5.99 for one or $15.16 for three. Older movies are $4.07 each or $8.17 for three and you get them for 7 nights. These prices are with tax. If we did get the movie, we would likely not get food at the video store and would make our own goodies at home which would cost $2 (as per previous post). The Jumbo video store is roughly 2 km away so that means 8 km total (4 to get it and another 4 to return it) for a cost of $0.92 in gas.

I called Jumbo to get information on their food items and if we did happen to be silly and get stuff their we would spend $1.74* on popcorn, $3.84 on nachos, $4.07 on salsa, and $4.86 on water making the snack total $14.51.

One should note that there is a significant time factor here as well. To watch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on video, we would have to wait several months for it to come out on video as a new release ($5.99) and even longer to get it at the older movie price. Thus by saving money by renting you are sacrificing waiting time which should be considered.

That being said, rentals are your best choice for movie viewing at a cost of $8.91 for a new release or $6.99 for an older one, including home made food. So basically, you are paying the extra $10-$12 to see a movie as soon as it comes out. It is a personal decision whether saving that money is worth several months of waiting time. If we got the snacks there then it would be $19.50 - $21.42.

The final comment I would like to address is the following, left by Mark:

"And to have apples to apples you should have compared the cost of bringing your own food to both, or buying at both, or both options at each..."

I didn't pick the option to bring my own food to the theater as it is usually frowned upon and for the amount of stuff we took, it would have been incredibly obvious that we had "contraband". This would have likely resulted in us having to leave the stuff in the car or being kicked out of the theater. Be that as it may, if we were able to get everything into the show successfully the cost for the traditional theater would have been $20.30.

However we could certainly done the reverse and purchased snacks at the Drive-in concession. Let's see if the cost is as ridiculous as Empire Theaters.

An extra large popcorn would be $5.30*. Nachos would be $9.38 at $4.69 each. The Drive-in does not sell water, but if we were to get the equivalent amount in soft drinks it would cost a total of $5.40. So if we tally things up, buying concessions at the drive-in would bump the total experience to $32.28, which is still significantly cheaper that the regular theater.

Final Wrap up

Cost of Drive-in, own snacks: $18.89 purchased snacks: $32.28
Cost of Theater, own snacks: $20.30 purchased snacks: $43.89
Cost of Renting, own snacks: $7-9 purchased snacks: $19.50 - $21.42

I hope this post has cleared up the previous ones and provided people with the depth of detail they wanted.

*all prices listed include tax

1 comment:

schaef said...

Boy am I appeased.

/blue ribbon