Buy the Cheap Gas (33/365)

I’ve turned the regular fluctuation of gas prices at the gas station fairly near our home (the one mentioned yesterday) into a game of sorts with my oldest son.

Simply put, we’ve started tracking the data.

We watch for the price of gas on that sign each time we drive by it, then we mention whether it has gone up or down recently.

We remember the record prices we’ve seen (sadly, he’s so young that the lowest price he can ever remember is $2.97 a gallon – I remember my parents getting almost hysterical when prices inched vaguely near a dollar a gallon),

We also talk about whether or not the price is low enough right now to stop in and fill up.

We’ve even started tracking and recording this data a bit.

We do the same thing when we see gas stations in other towns, comparing them to the prices at home.

It’s a fun little economics game, but it has some real value, too. I’m cluing him in on many of the things he needs to know in order to maximize his value at the gas pump when he’s old enough.

Buy the Cheap Gas (33/365)

If you can save $0.10 per gallon of gas, filling up a typical sixteen gallon tank saves you $1.60. Do that consistently and you’re talking about a significant difference in your annual fuel bill.

So, how do you shave off that $0.10? There are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re putting the least expensive fuel option into your tank.

For starters, know what your car needs. Very few cars need the premium fuel or can even utilize it to any degree of effectiveness. Take a peek in your car manual (see, there it is again – your manual is really useful) and see what type of gas is suggested. Most modern cars simply suggest using 87 octane gasoline, which is the “cheap” stuff at the pump in many states. Choose the gas type that’s cheapest at your pump that meets the minimum suggestion from the manual.

Never drive significantly out of your way to get cheaper gas. My rule of thumb is that I have to be saving at least a dollar in my tank for every mile out of my way that I drive. Since my vehicle has a sixteen gallon tank, I’m looking for a savings of at least $0.07 a gallon for every mile out of my way that I drive. Why? Even in perfect traffic, that’s still two miles (one each way) of driving in town, which will take at least five minutes with the risk of significantly more time, plus the gas you use to make that extra jaunt, just to save $1. You’re quickly getting below a rate of $10 per hour in savings.

Don’t be brand loyal until you’re familiar with the prices in your area. For the most part, the gas stations in your area are going to be pretty consistent with each other. If there are one or two stations that are a bit lower, they’re going to consistently be a bit lower. Spend some time studying the prices in your area, particularly along your commute, so that you know what the prices are, and consistently visit the station with the lowest prices.

After a while, you’re going to regularly find yourself using a single station or two, so get a rewards credit card associated with that station. Use it only for gas there. Typically, rewards cards associated with gas stations have really nice rewards, but only on gas bought at the stations in that chain. So, don’t use the card for anything but gas, and pay the balance in full each month. This will often get you a very nice price on gasoline.

You should also check your local warehouse club for gas offerings. The local Sam’s Club in our area offers gas prices substantially below other chains if you’re a member. Since we are, we often utilize Sam’s Club for gasoline.

If you’re a commuter, shaving a bit off of the price of a gallon of gas can help a surprising amount over the long haul. It’s one of those little changes you forget about until you find yourself breathing easier with regards to your finances.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.

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50 thoughts on “Buy the Cheap Gas (33/365)

  1. Tracy says:

    Oh god, seriously? *headdesk*

    The worst thing is, Trent, the story about your son is charming! The gas price game without all the other crap that consists of assuming your readers are stupid would have been a cute post.

    This series …. *sigh*

  2. Josh says:

    What if the price of gas never gets low enough to fill up?

    Simply put, do you just let your car run out of gas?

  3. Vanessa says:

    If my car ever suggests anything to me, I’m having myself committed.

  4. Riki says:

    Gas (and oil and propane) prices in my province are regulated. Every month on the 1st and 15th, the regulatory body sets the price that will be charged – no shopping around necessary because you pay the same amount everywhere.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are pros and cons to the system for sure, but the idea of “saving money on gas” seems really strange to me. Especially because my monthly gas costs are usually $50 at most.

  5. Riki says:

    I dislike the way you calculate the hourly rate of savings for everything as if it makes different activities comparable. It doesn’t.

  6. Kristin says:

    The gas station closest to where I used to live had the cheapest gas around, but it was lower quality than stations that cost a bit more, even for regular unleaded. I used to think that it was all the same product, but it’s not. Do you ever compare the miles/gal that you get with the gas station that you buy from?

  7. Kevin says:

    @2 Josh – I almost choked on my Diet Dr Pepper when I read your comment. Good one.

  8. Carl says:

    Try gasbuddy.com. Neat little tool to compare prices without driving around. (For those livng in the States.)

  9. K Ann says:

    My grandparents owned a gas station when I was growing up, and I worked there during the summers of my junior and senior years in high school. It was the mid 1970′s and I remember my grandfather telling people…”Mark my words. Gas is going to go up to 65 cents a gallon.” Well, gas at the time was 26 cents a gallon and everyone just laughed at him. As I reminisce about his predictions in general, I find that he was right about a lot more things than just the price of gas. Perhaps few of us recognize the wisdom of our elders until we’re closer to being elders ourselves.

    Nice photo today.

  10. valleycat1 says:

    I usually fill my car’s 12-13 gallon tank once a month. So my bill is less than $40/month.

    #6 Kristin: I’ve been brand loyal to a more expensive name brand gasoline for almost 30 years because it burns cleaner and we get significantly better gas mileage and wear on the engine in my car than on my spouse’s, who shops by price. Average mpg in my car is always a good bit higher than the car’s official rating.

    Bottom line I probably spend $2-$3/month more on gas by doing this, which we can afford; my losses so far are probably around $1000 over 30 years – but I have other areas of my life that compensate for that. And yes, I know that many of the less expensive stations probably get their gas out of the same giant storage tank, but I don’t know how you can determine which stations that might be.

    Not to mention that in our town, the cheapest gas is usually found at convenience stores in less than safe areas of town – not worth risking my safety to save a few bucks.

  11. Telephus44 says:

    Maybe this is regional, but around here (New England) most grocery stores have partnered with a gas station so that for everyone $100 in groceries you buy at store X, you get $.10 off per gallon at Y gas station. That’s one of the easiest ways to save money on gas. Another tactic I use is to go on the right day – most gas stations here offer $.05 off on Mondays, or $.07 on Wednesday, etc. So I try and get in the habit of stopping at a particular station on the right day.

  12. Tracy says:

    @Telephus44

    It may be regional, but the grocery stores around me (midwest) do the same thing. Not that it really affects my gas bill much, because it takes me a LOT longer to spend $100 at the grocery store than it does to need to fill up my tank. (More because I use CSAs for my produce and meat purchases than because I drive a ton)

  13. kc says:

    Agree the story is nice, other than the “recording the data” bit, which seems way over the top for a kid who’s what, five or six?

    All things in moderation, Trent. No pun intended.

  14. Kirk Bond says:

    There are more costs to driving out of the way for gas than just the gas costs. As well as time costs. The IRS gives approx a 0.55 / mile credit right now. That is because of aggregate costs on what it really costs to drive a mile. Be very cautious of this.

  15. Sandy says:

    It must be so easy to get ahead in the USA….from what I can gather, everything is so cheap! For instance, we pay around $2 per litre for petrol.

  16. Tracy says:

    @Sandy – don’t worry, we more than make up the difference in health care costs.

  17. jim says:

    Sandy, In the USA the taxes on gasoline are relatively low. Thats the key reason our gas is so cheap compared to most places. In Europe the taxes are often >50% of the cost at the pump.

    For goods in general our prices do tend to be lower. We also have no VAT and our sales taxes vary from 0-10%. Plus I think the high volume of sales helps keep the prices in the US lower.

  18. jim says:

    Trent is right.

    With rare exception gasoline is all thee same and the differences between brands are virtually meaningless. Gas comes from the same refineries and is the same quality. The difference is in some additives of debatable value.
    Consumer Reports magazine tested gasoline brands in 1995, and found no differences significant enough to make recommendations. That is enough evidence for me. If different brands really had significant impact then it would be easily tested and widely reported.

  19. lurker carl says:

    Gasoline has ethanol added, the actual percentage depends upon locale AND gas station. This means your mileage can vary according to where you purchase fuel.

  20. thisisbeth says:

    I actually have brand loyalty. There’s one station in my area of the world that still offers free air (i.e., air compressor). While I now have an air compressor at home, I still am willing to pay whatever to go to that gas station. I want to support that perk. (And that chain is always competitive in pricing, so I’m usually paying the same as another chain; sometimes more, sometimes less, but never outrageously in either direction.)

    As a kid, my parents kept–and probably still do–a gas log of ever y time we filled up. It was my “job” to record it most of the time. It was something I enjoyed doing, because it was cool to see the numbers. So, this is probably a good exercise for your son, and he probably does enjoy it!

  21. Kyle says:

    Studies show that where gas stations are close together, the gas is cheaper, because people can easily switch to the cheaper station. If you just look for intersections with multiple gas stations, you will probably be close to the cheapest gas in the area.

  22. Steven says:

    Is there anything you *don’t* track? No wonder it’s difficult for you to find time to accomplish your fitness goals.

  23. @2 Josh and 7 Kevin, Yes, you really could do that. I haven’t driven for 2 1/2 years now. Much longer than I thought I could go. I ride the bus to and from work and pay a family member for the limited rides I do need. Not only do I save on gas but also insurance and car maintenance.

    @Trent. Wow. Some of your readers are brutal. My mom used to say “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” The world would sure get quiet in a hurry!

  24. Sandy says:

    @ Tracy – you have me on that one – my American husband was paying a fortune in healthcare before he moved here..
    @ Jim – thank you for explaining that. I appreciate it :*
    And yes you are right – prices ( apart from healthcare ) are a lot lower in the USA. It is very hard to get ahead here ( NZ ), especially for families.

  25. moom says:

    Here in Australia the deal at supermarkets is if you spend more than $30 you get 4 cents per litre off at the co-branded petrol station. And if you buy something for more than $3 in the petrol station store you get 8 cents per litre off. That’s actually for once a better deal than in the US! :) Petrol currently costs about $1.45 a litre here (that’s actually USD 1.55 a litre)

  26. tentaculistic says:

    #1 Tracy “The gas price game without all the other crap that consists of assuming your readers are stupid would have been a cute post”

    Seriously, that is a lot of needless antagonism for a free blog that you sought out, and can stop reading at any time. Especially since what he said was pretty unobjectionable: keep track of prices, shop around but don’t get obsessed (note: if he hadn’t said that, you and many others would have jumped all over him), and train your kids in how to track money. Ooh, I can feel the condescension now! How dare he?!

    For the sake of your blood pressure – and those of us who REALLY don’t want to deal with your negativity – please feel free either to stop reading, or to stop posting. At a minimum, stop posting needless negativity, and either provide a cogent argument, or your own idea. In other words, contribute something other than an unspecific complaint to the discussion.

    I know that I’m being negative about negativity, but for God’s sake people, dial it down a notch!! We’re talking about frugality, folks — not pedophilia, human trafficking, or old men wearing Speedos at the beach (all of which subjects more than deserve vitriol).

    I love reading the comments for the good input, but man sometimes I just can’t handle all the pointless negativity, nitpicking, and pointless naysaying.

  27. AmyG says:

    Gas Buddy’s mobile app on my phone (US) is an excellent planning tool. I go to the map view function and scan along the roads where I’ll be driving on a particular day. Occasionally, there may be the confluence of a price war in one spot and rising prices in another, so it’s entirely possible to see 20-25 cent a gallon price variations. Mostly it’s just a dime or so difference, but it only takes a minute to check so it’s worth it for every fill up.

    We have Kroger gas rewards and we try to use those, too, searching out the best Kroger gas station prices and pairing it with 10 and 20 cent discounts for spending $100 or 200 in groceries. But I agree that it’s not worth the drive unless it you can pair it with other activities in the area. You can drive your savings right out of the tank if you go 10-15 miles just to save a few cents a gallon. I try to consolidate my activities so driving home from work I take care of several errands at once along the way. Driving less seems to save us the most, whether we pay $3.49 or $3.39 a gallon ;0)

  28. tentaculistic says:

    I find it interesting that gasoline is one of the few items that get fixed incredibly firmly in our heads at decades-old prices, and people really bemoan the high cost of gas in comparison to their childhood, without realizing that inflation has often made that comparison completely off.

    So for instance, Trent talks about how gas was under $1 when he was a kid as opposed to $2.97 now – I’m guesstimating he was a kid in roughly 1982, which an inflation calculator shows that 1982 $1 to be worth $2.33 in 2011. So it is a difference, but not the 1:3 ratio he set up in the article. Even if under $1 referred to something like $0.80 in 1982, that is still $1.86 in 2011 dollars.

    #9 KAnn mentioned the incredibly high price of gas in the mid-1970s at $0.65, which in 2011 dollars is actually $2.72. In other words, that’s today’s kind of prices. The low price of $0.26 is $1.09 in 2011 dollars, which actually IS pretty darn low.

    I wonder what psychological phenomenon this is, that most of us can let go of all kinds of other prices from our childhood, but gas prices are indelibly etched in our brains at that old uninflation-adjusted price? Is it because the signs are so big (unlike say a price tag on a shirt?) and you drive by them so often? I don’t know, but it’s a fascinating quirk in human brains!

  29. Tracy says:

    @tentaculistic

    There’s no need to concern-troll my comment, my health is fine! Feel free to skip reading my free comments at any time though, I totally don’t mind!

    Or if you do read my comments, read ‘em a little more carefully – I never implied his advice was objectional, I said it assumed his readers are stupid, which is completely different.

  30. Jane says:

    I mostly buy our gas at the Costco which is in a cheaper part of town than where we live. So, it is routinely about 10 cents a gallon cheaper. Of course, this only works because I am already out there at my parent’s house several times a week. Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to drive that far to get cheaper gas. We more than make up the cost of the annual Costco membership, and that doesn’t include the food we save on as well.

    We also have a Sam’s club membership closer to our house, but the prices don’t tend to be as good. Also, if you are planning on getting a car wash, you tend to “save” some cents per gallon, but of course you are spending more on the car wash.

    I imagine if you have an extra large vehicle or drive a lot, you could also save on the gas credit cards that places offer. I imagine they have an annual fee, though, and you have to be loyal to that station.

  31. Peggy says:

    This is Trent’s blog. Why be so insulting?

    If you disagree, can you not do it in an intelligent way, that points at what you disagree with instead of belittling the person?

    Here, let me show you how.

    Trent, My vehicle is over 10 years old. I use non- ethanol to keep build up out of the valves.

    Now, there you go. I told him I disagreed, and why. I disagreed without taking it so personally, and getting ugly.

    Try this in other aspects of your life as well.

  32. thisisbeth says:

    @ 28, regarding inflation and gas prices… The gas prices are posted all over the streets, so anytime as a kid we went anywhere, we saw them many times. The bread prices were lost amongst the many other prices in the grocery stores, so we don’t remember what they were. This is why we always resort to gas prices when thinking about the good old days of our childhood. (And we probably had no idea how much our parents made, so we can’t compare salaries!)

  33. jim says:

    Sandy, Contrary to popular view, it is not really so easy to get ahead in America either. Wealth mobility between generations is lower in the USA than most industrialized nations. That means that from genration to generation people are more likely to stay in their social class here than not. The ‘rags to riches’ story happens more often in Europe than in the USA.

  34. Diffus says:

    This quarter, Chase’s Freedom Rewards card is offering a 5% rebate on gas purchases. When possible, we try to do what others do (I’m in Texas) and use the grocery-store rewards at Tom Thumb to lower its pump price by 10 cents per gallon. Combine the two, and, this quarter, that’s about 25 cents a gallon.

    Generally, Sam’s has the cheapest gas around, and my wife fills up about every two weeks when she shops there.

    I don’t do this too often, but: Because I have a Chase checking account, the Chase Freedom card gives me 10 cents in rebates every time I use the card. Sometimes, when time is not at a premium, I’ll buy $1 worth of gas three times, effectively lowering my cost for about a gallon by about 30 cents.

  35. Kerry D. says:

    No one is talking about about quality differences… we used to buy the cheap gas, and our car died an early death, most likely from debris getting into the engine… Our mechanic (very trustworthy) has suggested strongly that name brand gas is more direct from supplier to gas station, whereas some of the cheap stations get odd lots and ends of tanks that may contain debris. Losing a car engine early cost us a whole lot more than we saved on cheap gas, if that is true.

  36. SLCCOM says:

    Carol, when you don’t drive for extended periods, you mind loses the ability to track the traffic data. We lived in NYC for 11 years, and I didn’t drive during that time. When we moved and I first tried to merge onto a freeway, I saw the cars whizzing by and couldn’t figure out when it was safe to go. I finally took a deep breath and headed out, but it was beyond scary.

    I would suggest that you do some driving from time to time for your own safety, and that of your passengers. Obviously, I relearned, but I should have taken turns driving when my husband and I went out on vacations during those years.

    Sandy, the U.S. is a whole lot bigger than the country you live in. In many places, driving is NOT optional. We don’t have the population density to make public transit economically viable. Even if we had to pay $2 a liter for gas, we would still have to do it.

  37. SLCCOM says:

    Kroger and Safeway offer 50 points per prescription filled. That gets us to the rewards in a hurry.

    Steven, Trent is not in robust good health. As I battle my own autoimmune disease, I am finding that the fatigue is an amazingly devastating opponent.

  38. Joan says:

    Two items I’d like to add to the comments. If you see a gas truck replensing the gas station it is a good idea to wait several hours for the debrie that is stirred up in the tanks to settle back down so that you aren’t pumping that debrie into your gas tank. I have been filling up my tank from two different gas stations. One is from 5c to 7c cheaper. I keep a record of how many miles I drive and how many gallons of gas it takes to fill up each time. I found that I get at least three miles more per gallon from the higher price station. I now use only the higher price station because I figure the gas must be better all the way around for my car.

  39. SwingCheese says:

    @Tentaculistic: you know, that is interesting. I never stopped to think about it, but I can’t recall milk prices from my childhood (I do recall the price of a pair of Guess jeans, though). I suspect I recall it because my parents talked about it frequently, in a way they didn’t discuss other prices. So that may play into my memory, too.

  40. Steven says:

    @SLCCOM: Trent might have health challenges, but he’s also said that fitness is going to be a focus (again this year after more or less ignoring it (from all that I can tell from what he posted) all last year.) If fitness is his goal, and lack of time is his excuse, then he must prioritize. As best I can tell, Trent tracks nearly every mundane thing that is trackable. If he’d focus less time and energy on such insignificant things, he’d have plenty of time to accomplish other things that actually matter.

    And if he’s going to ignore his fitness goals in the face of poor health, I can only see that choice leading to further problems down the road. Again, it’s really a matter or priorities. He (and you) has (have) challenges that “normal” people don’t have, and that makes it more difficult to find the motivation, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t push through…

    Just my opinion.

  41. SLCCOM says:

    The concept that it is desirable to “push through” fatigue is just plain wrong in many cases. The mantra is no longer “move it or lose it,” it is “conserve it to preserve it” for neuromuscular diseases.

  42. Steven says:

    I’ll admit that I don’t know anything about Trent’s ailment, but I wonder if not exercising is hurting him more in the long run. I know someone who injured his knee (obviously not the same as what Trent is going through) and has spent the last couple years “conserving it to preserve it” and as a result has seen his leg muscle atrophy to the point of dysfunction. Had he exercised it despite the pain, he’d no doubt have nowhere near the problems today as he does. But because he had the attitude that he needed to “conserve” it, he’s worse off for it.

    Not trying to start an argument here, just offering my thoughts. I know different people face different challenges, but I also know Trent starts out every year saying that this year is going to be the year he gets into shape, etc. It’s also a fairly well-known phenomenon that people who exercise have far more energy than those who don’t. It might help with fatigue to exercise more than “conserving” the energy by not exercising. I could be wrong. I probably am.

  43. SLCCOM says:

    A knee injury is not a neuromuscular problem, as you acknowledge. I’m not sure that is Trent’s problem, either; I believe it is a metabolic issue, but what I’m trying to say pushing through fatigue is rather often a bad idea. People think exercise is some sort of magical elixir that will fix everything. It is also quite possible that your friend had a far more serious injury than anyone properly diagnosed, and that was his underlying issue. I hope he pursued a better diagnosis. Or some pain meds to get him through the rehab period.

  44. Kenny says:

    You guys have a lot to think about from this article:

    1. Are you an economizer to save money? If you are, you are going to like this article, as I do. If not, then fill up premium, pay cash/credit, go only to name-brand-stations and continue driving.

    2. If you are an economizer, then you drive a used car of some sort, and saving $1 or more per tank is useful, as it for me. We have 4 cars in our family, although my wife is the one that drives 27 miles one way to work. She is the one that got us onto watching the pennies PER gallon.

    3. With prices over $3 for a while, we tell each other in the family where the best prices, are esp. when prices jump up 20c to 40c at a time (it’s Iran this time!). When we fill gas, it is NEVER a full tank. Even then it is saving us a lot.

    4. We are always using a 3% gas discount card at a minimum, upto 5% discount when the quarterly promo permits us. So, this has brought us $100 to $200 every 3 months on various cards for many of our purchase.

    5. Applying for new credit cards that provides 10c-20c off or 10% off is something we do from time to time.

    6. EVERYTHING in life is $ per hour. Someone hates you for doing that (in one of the replies above). I guess they do not want to compute it, so they might drive 10miles for 2c off, or may not drive 1/2 mile to get 20c off. They just have no way to measure when to spend time to save, and when not to do so.

    7. Finally, keep the simple dollar savings ideas coming, since we have a finite time on earth, have lots of things to accomplish in life, and for all those who have kids, watch out for those college bills, which also includes buying cars for kids, which leads right to buying gas for those 3rd and 4th cars in the family for teenagers. And, maybe some parents won’t have buy those cars, and keep over-using their 2 family cars. Regardless, gas usage is part of our lives today, until we get cars that plug in every night (the Indiana plant making those cars now has 2 employees, with a Russian owner!). Electric cars are still too far away from full scale production with a reasonable price (Volt is too expensive, and eats 7 years of savings before you even buy it!!!!!!) < No Thank You.

    Thanks for great articles, and keep them coming.

    Kenny

  45. T'POL says:

    There had been insulting comments on this blog for quiet a while but ever since we found out that Trent sold it and made quite a bit of money (although we do not know how much), it seems like insulting comments have increased.

    I read this blog and some others because I like them generally. I do not expect the writers to be 100% precise and perfect. There were some blogs I used to read and when I decided I did not really like them, I jut stopped reading them. Trent is very patient.

  46. Riki says:

    Um, when did I say anything about “hating” Trent for calculating savings in $ per hours? I really don’t get this disagreeing = hating business.

    I said I disagree with him on its usefulness. And I do. And other people do too. I’ve said this before: the internet is not an echo chamber where everybody needs to say comforting platitudes to protect Trent’s delicate ego.

  47. jim says:

    T’pol, I also think the comments have taken a more negative turn lately. To me it seemed more a reaction to this 365 days series plus some extra criticism about the photos.

  48. Kai says:

    “T’POL @ 4:53 am February 5th, 2012
    There had been insulting comments on this blog for quiet a while but ever since we found out that Trent sold it and made quite a bit of money (although we do not know how much), it seems like insulting comments have increased.”

    You might want to look for the cause in the middle that links those two…

  49. Maggie says:

    Some of the posters always say that the 365 tips are dumb or Trent is dumbing them down. But I have a young son just out on his own and some of these comments I forward on to him and he likes learning of them. So, just because some of you are all-knowing of these tips, not everyone is and your negativity is not necessary. If you start to read and think it doesn’t apply to you, move on. The rest of us might like a reminder that there are things we could do differently.

  50. tentaculistic says:

    #46 Riki “Um, when did I say anything about “hating” Trent for calculating savings in $ per hours? I really don’t get this disagreeing = hating business.”

    For what my opinion is worth (since I stirred up this argument, maybe something?), I did not find your comments objectionable or negative. Based on your comments in this thread, you’re fine. You seem to be one of the kind of people who pipe up with something helpful to the rest of us… the back-and-forth in the comments section really adds value, much of the time.

    I objected to #1 Tracy, who railed against “all the other crap that consists of assuming your readers are stupid” – which I do find objectionable in itself (it’s rude to Trent, and it’s rude to us apparently “stupid” readers who actually found this article helpful), but also because it was not supported in any way by an actual argument. Comments that boil down to “you’re stupid” — either of Trent or his readers — are not really helpful, are needlessly insulting, and are plain mean.

    Riki, your comments, in contrast, held up another model of how things work where you are (unlike where Trent lives) for contrast, and made a valid point about boiling everything down to an hourly rate — which has been echoed, and argued, many times on these boards, so you’re far from alone in that statement.

    So in summary: disagreeing is not a problem, and often adds value. Throwing out an objection without actually explaining what you’re objecting to is not helpful. Being pointlessly mean isn’t cool, and I’m going to step up and discourage it where I see it.

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