Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Gas Money Metaphor

I believe that a car's fuel gauge is coincidentally accurate at depicting personal finance habits. Like a checking account, the contents of your gas tank fluctuate. If you just filled up on payday, the sky is the limit and money grows on trees. But towards the end of the pay period, you might be praying not to run out of gas, while trying to locate change in the seat cushions.

Most of us have experienced both extremes, but we usually have a low gas comfort limit before refueling. Below are some typical limits and my interpretations of correlating spending habits. How long do you wait before refilling on average?

Rolling on Fumes
If you're known for coasting up to the pump in neutral on the cars last breath of gas, than you probably also known for blowing your paycheck within a few days, and find youself scrounging until next payday. Don't worry you're are not alone.

No need to stop for gas, there's still a quarter tank
You probably pay you bills on time, and can manage your day to day expenses, but you still live paycheck to paycheck, and have little to no savings. Congratulations you are part of the majority.

I've got a half tank but who knows how far to the next station
Not only are you in complete control of your finances, but you also have a little nest egg of savings. You are better at managing your finances than most, and could probably teach others a thing or two.

I'm already at three quarters of a tank, I thought I just filled up?
You live well below your means and in addition to savings, you have a little spending money for hobbies and capital ventures.You are part of an elite group of well balanced personal finance aficionados.

Its a rental..... filled to the brim or else they'll charge me
You're a paranoid penny pincher, you save all of your money and don't do anything fun for yourself. You may even plan your routes on Gasbuddy.com to maximize every refueling. Its nice to have a full tank, but feel free to let your hair down.

There's an extra gas can fastened to the bumper
In addition to the other limits, there are those uber prepared who carry an extra gas can for emergencies. Carrying an extra gas can shows your willingness to be prepared for the unknown, but does not guarantee that you are financially responsible.

Again these are only my observations. Feel free to comment on how you drive, and whether I'm on target or out in left field.

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