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Archive for November, 2020

2020 Credit Card Rewards Tally

November 30th, 2020 at 02:24 pm

2020 TALLY:

$740 Cash (Chase Sapphire Quadruple Dip, Moi) 

$ 24 Cash  (Citi Black Friday Bonus; 5% online shopping)



**In addition, various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31


Noticed some random $24 bonus today on our Citi card.  I vaguely remember singing up for 5% cash back on online shopping?  & then I completely forgot about it.

Googled it and found the details:  5% cash back on 'online shopping' between Nov. 24 & Nov. 30.  

We did about $67 in online shopping the past week.  The only other charges were $5 MH paid for some movie thing (live stream) and we paid a $410 deposit on some rodent abatement.  (This seems to be a 'once every 15 years' home maintenance expense.  We aren't sure if it's just birds or rodents, or both.  Last time we invested in some bird proofing and have to redo some of that).  Anyway, I was a little confused when I saw the dates, because was after we made some bigger splurges.  MH just bought a computer for his parents (they reimbursed us) so my first thought was we got the bonus for the larger computer purchase.  In the end, it looks like they categorized 'pest control' as online shopping.  Also, the live stream got categorized as "shopping".

I am so confused.  They gave us the bonus a few days ago, I have no idea why.  Well that was crazy fast!  It seems moot since we haven't spent any money since that date.  (Or if we have, it still shows as 'pending').  Wonder if they will give us credit for my pending electric bill payment.  The max bonus is $25.

Note to self:  Still need to sign up for $400 Capital One bonus (open checking account and do direct deposit).  <---Just putting this here so that I don't forget. 


Thanksgiving Update

November 29th, 2020 at 06:04 pm

I hesitate to even think it but...  I've had a few weeks of calm and peace.  On the work front and the home front.  At work especially, all the problems seem to be peeling away.  It's shaping up to be the dream job that it was on paper.  It just took a rough couple of years to get to this point.

I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Even all the employees who are infinitely in the hospital, are leaving.  Lost a good employee (good for her, took a much better job) and maybe that will make my life harder in the short run.  But most of me is just, "YES!!" as I seem to be moving past this jinx where everyone who works for me is mostly a medical disaster (in addition to just having a dumpster fire life, in general).  It's been completely absurd.  It's very emotionally draining, in addition to infinitely covering for absent employees.  

I think this mostly says it all:  I took Thanksgiving week off of work.  As the time off approached I felt absolutely *shrugs* about it.  Didn't feel that I needed the time off whatsoever.  This is a complete 180 from the time off I took end of September, when I was just starving for some time and space.   That's how quickly things have done a 180.

Unfortunately, Dec/Jan/Feb is my busy season and I am a little overwhelmed by work To-Do lists.  But it's very relative.  A little busy by itself is a breath of fresh air compared to the work drama of the last few years.  (& it's nothing like 'tax season' busy).

On the home/personal front, I think everyone is out of the hospital and no one is waiting for medical results.  *knock on wood*

Thanksgiving was nice.  Just kept it to our household.  MH had the idea to make corned beef and cabbage (soaked in beer in the crockpot).  We made various desserts and appetizers.  The Holiday was probably more reminiscent to my own childhood when it was just my parents, sister and I.  I think MH just doesn't care that much for traditional Thanksgiving food.  We were grateful for the peaceful Holiday at home.

The Instant Pot arrived on Friday and I did a mac & cheese test run.  It was *amazing*.  I've never been able to make good mac & cheese before.  MH was a little less impressed.  By the time you pre-heat and de-pressurize and everything, it probably wasn't any faster than our gas stove.  I can see it wouldn't be worth the hassle for such a quick/simple dish.  But if I can't re-create that on the stove top then it's going to be a Instant Pot dish.  I don't know how much of it was the *right* recipe and how much was the magic of the Instant Pot.  I expect it was more the magic of the Instant Pot.

I am going to make a corn chowder today.  It just looked good and I have all the ingredients on hand.

That reminds me, we made butternut squash soup (crockpot) for dinner last night.  YUM!  

I think this is an attempt of a sum up and a reset.  I'm never going to get around to blogging most of the insanity of the last few years.  But...  Things are calming down a bit and I would like to blog more regularly.  Just not overly optimistic that I will have the time or that life will cooperate.  But mostly I just have to start from today, or it will never happen.

I need to work on the art of the shorter blog post.  😁 


Big Picture Update

November 29th, 2020 at 03:05 pm

Net worth hit $900K last week!  

The value of our home had stagnated for quite a while.  People are strongly favoring smaller homes.  But...  a house on the street behind ours just sold for $570K, or about +$70K more than I have our home valued at.  That seems to have knocked things loose from a very long stagnation.

For now, just going to hope to end the year with $900K+ net worth, and will leave our home valuation as is.  If some more homes sell in that range, I might bump things up to $950K (when I increase home value by $50K).  Probably a 2021 adjustment.

If I ever had a timeline goal for hitting $1 mil, I don't remember what it might have been.  But I'd say that age 45 is shaping up to be a realistic goal.  

I also came across some financial projections that I made a while ago.

In 2011 I did a 10-year financial projection.  I don't remember why, but I made two financial projections.  One of them presumed that we stopped saving.  I think I was just fascinated by the power of compounding.  Probably that, and just planning for a worst case scenario.

2021 projection (with savings): $800,000 Net Worth

2021 projection (stop saving) $470,000 Net Worth

In either scenario, we'd be in good shape. 

In 2014 I revised my projection.  It was a 2022 Projection, updated for my goal to have $500K in retirement by age 45.  I'd say that was an aggressive goal, but the stock market has humored us.

2022 projection (with savings): $880,000 Net Worth**

2022 projection (stop saving) $625,000 Net Worth

**I made a note on this projection that we would need to keep a $100K mortgage to meet the $500K retirement goal.  For now, retirement savings is the bigger financial priority.

The 2022 projection is fairly spot on.  Getting close on the retirement #s, but not quite there yet.  We've been able to exceed the 2022 net worth projection (in 2020) due to home values exceeding my conservative estimate.

I decided to do a new 10-year projection, out of curiosity:

2030 projection (with savings): $1.5 Mil Net Worth

2030 projection (stop saving) $1.2 Mil Net Worth

I just went with a more conservative investment return, and the first thing that popped out was $1 mil (retirement), which is my 'financial independence' goal.  What is fascinating about that was I think I kind of just didn't want to know, as we face college years and drawing down some assets.  In the end, current retirement contributions and a fairly conservative investment return should get us there.  The $1.5 mil figure above did include spending down assets for college.  It presumed that I just did the minimum 5% for 401K match and that we maxed out our IRAs ($12K per year).  That works out to about 22% of our income going to retirement; I personally do count employer match in our retirement contribution %.

$1.5 Mil projection = $1 Mil in retirement + $100K cash/investments + paid-for home (after downsize).

This was a reminder to really sit down and do the big picture math when we make those final college decisions.  It's probably a necessary step in making those decisions.  Is just not something I had done to this point.

I think mostly we already kind of know these things.  (But... doing the math is a still an important exercise).  I expect this is why I've been thinking that MH is probably going to just retire if his job is killed by the pandemic.  Is nothing we have discussed, but it just feels like it's time.  It's not like he would turn down an opportunity or a good full-time job.  But...  I just don't think we are really going to see the point of looking for another job. I should mention that I did not include MH's income in any of these projections.  It's more than just the stock market, the extra income has also helped us meet some more aggressive financial goals.


Instant Pot Recipes?

November 27th, 2020 at 11:07 pm

Mentioned in my last post that we finally pulled the trigger on the Instant Pot.  It just arrived and we did the test run (with some water).  I already found a handful of recipes that we have ingredients on hand for.  Will probably make corn chowder this weekend.

For today, going to do a quick mac & cheese test run.

Wanted to ask if anyone had favorite recipes that they wanted to share?  TIA!

This & That

November 27th, 2020 at 07:02 pm

Christmas/Birthday stuff is very anti-climactic this year.  

I bought all my presents earlier this week.  I had already decided to get a new cell phone.  (Replacing cheapie phone bought when I considered cell phone use mostly for emergency...  Now that I am using phone more for work, podcasts, music... am buying a newer phone with 5x more storage space).  Made the decision a couple of months ago but was waiting out Black Friday deals.  MM(17) was the guniea pig and got the Pixel 4A a few months ago.  I will get the same phone.  At the last second, MH decided to just get one for DL too.  He has someone's old hand-me-down phone.  I really don't like going all in and everyone having the same device.  But I guess the price point is good ($350).  Pulled the trigger because they aren't putting these on sale for Black Friday (bummer!).

{That reminds me, there is a Capital One bonus.  $400 bonus if you open a checking account with them and haven't been a customer since 2018.  Something like that.  My plan was to pay for my phone with the bonus.  I am the only one eligible right now because it requires paycheck direct deposit.  I won't get the cash until next year, so will just add it to my 2021 reward tally}.

MH bought the phones Monday and I purchased a case.  We won't be very formal about it, MH will just ask the kids to cover the $8 as a birthday gift.  But we aren't going to bother wrapping it, I am sure.  Same with DL's phone.

Of course, the phone stuff was made complicated by Ting and is mostly why MH pulled the trigger.  I have to back up though.  Dish bought Ting a few months ago.  Ugh!  I removed the Ting referral link from my blog.  I despise Dish, I am not going to take money for referring people to them.  I don't mind passing along a good deal or a heads up, but don't want to profit from directing people to Dish.  Is just my personal hang up.  I never expected the Ting deal to last forever.  For now, is the cheapest thing I can find, so will stick with it as long as that is the case.  In the end, they just announced some new pricing/plans.  You can stay grandfathered under old plans, but the new plans will be even cheaper for us.  We are switching but we need new SIM cards.  MH sped along DL's phone purchase for that reason.  Might have at least waited for Christmas or his birthday or something like that, otherwise.  MM(17) got his phone a while ago and was transferred to the Verizon network.  Probably same for DL and I.  MH has some fancier phone and I hope he ends up on a different network.  It's just a nice perk (with Ting) that if we travel, we are on two different cell networks, so less dead spots between the two (or four) of us.  Before the new phones/plan, we were on 3 different cell networks (Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint).

The other thing on my "buy" list, but no strong need and just haven't got around to it, is a nicer and more ergonomic office chair.  Pretty much the first one I pulled up yesterday looked perfect (the arm rests flip up).  Is one reason I had never bought a nicer chair for my "office".  I just have a desk in our bedroom which is fine, but none of our nicer office chairs fit if they have armrests.  So... imagine my surprise when the first office chair that popped up had flip up arm rests.  There you go, problem solved.  Should have done this years ago.  (I was already working from home one day per week, before the pandemic.  & before that I was doing second job from home).

I told MH I found a chair on sale, he told me to just buy it.  Now that I am thinking I will work from home more in December, it will just be an early Christmas gift.  

The only Black Friday deal I am aware of that MH took advantage of was that he bought an Instantpot.  I think that was dumb because his mom has been *begging* to buy us one.   (& we both have birthdays very soon).  But whatever.  I think it could be a good dorm appliance; I think it's good we try one out before MM goes off to college.

Other doings...

Because we had some Symphony concert tickets for March (concerts canceled), we have a free subscription to the online season this year.  It's not the same, but it was nice to mix things up a bit.  We watched a concert over the weekend.

We just donated our tickets back to the Symphony, for the concert that will never be.  It's the least we can do to help them through a tough time.  They would honor the tickets for a future show, otherwise.

The art museum offered to put a freeze on our membership.  I instead renewed and picked a more expensive membership than we had before.  For this year it's in the vein of supporting them.  But I think it was a good move with a kid starting college next year.  The higher level membership gives us reciprocal membership to a *lot* of museums. 

Between that and the electric car (pennies to fuel), I think we are going to have no lack of things to do. MH and have been through "very low income" a couple of rounds before.  My maternity leaves, and our own college years.  We know the drill.  We aren't going to be sitting at home.   We always find things that fit within our means.  When our kids were small, we lived for those memberships.  But the kids were also happy to go to the same place over and over and over and over.  I think this is a more appropriate 'college years' kind of membership.  It will keep the adults entertained while pinching more pennies.   

This is just a little bit of this and that; I have a couple of other posts to get through this long weekend.


Sheets & Moving Money Around

November 8th, 2020 at 06:44 pm

I feel like all I do any more is wait for medical results (just more infinite up/down/up/down).  MH just got MRI results; all clear for another year.   My Dad and BIL seem to be on the up/down/up/down merry-go-round.  They both have biopsies this week?  I don't know, who can keep track...

In other randomness, I am very pleased with a recent purchase/upgrade. 

These were my bed sheets:

They are probably 20 years old.  (I presume, because I have pictures of my kids on these sheets when they were babies).  What I like about the sheets is that they are sturdy.  There is nothing wrong with them.

I did well with internet shopping recently and got a nice mattress protector.  I decided to just buy a second one as a backup.  I don't remember why, maybe because my sheets are 20 years old, but I was looking at sheets.  OMG, these new sheets are the best!  Not only are they cute, but they are so soft.  I don't know if they are just going to fall apart in a few years or what, but am enjoying in the here and now:

It's possible I have aged/matured a bit during the past 2 decades.  But...  I also bought these:

These are fleece sheets, I haven't tried them out yet.  They may be nice in December/January. 

The cotton sheets were so nice that I ended up buying a set for MM(17). 

We got MM(17) set up at our credit union that had 3.5% interest.  It's gone down this year, but is still over 2%.  The limit is $5,000 (for that rate) but that's about what MM(17) has to put into savings. 

That reminds me too that the kids' other credit union (where they have 7% interest accounts) is merging with some other CU.  It's official as of last week.  I was pleased to see they are keeping the 7% accounts for now, but not holding my breath.  They moved that to youth accounts only (that part is new) so MM(17) will age out of that pretty soon. 

Probably the *big* thing here is college applications.  We are maxing out MM's IRA before we start financial aid forms.  So, figuring out what to do with that.  We decided to shelter some of his gift/college money and to just leave all of his (earned) cash since we are making this decision so early.  For reference, he decided around July 2020 (extended deadlines) what he wanted to do for 2019.  We don't even know if he will have a job next summer (with the pandemic) and college is still a choice between two extremes (pennies or $$$$$).  Anyway, if he's keeping his salary (parked in savings) this year in case (for the "who knows if he will need the money" factor), we will officially move it to some higher interest rate savings.  College stuff and these decisions has been the catalyst for opening up this new bank account.

It wasn't our plan whatsoever to put his college/gift money into IRAs, but it is what it is.  It's how we are dealing with this one-off limbo year.  It's limbo all around.  Aside from the pandemic, it's complete limbo until we start to solidify a college choice.  I expect this to be entirely moot during second year of college.  If he chooses the one pricey college where it matters at all, he won't have any assets left for the second year. 

Our assets are not as important (mostly sheltered in home equity & retirement accounts), but I am going to pay our property taxes first, and pay down this big credit card bill (for reward) before we start filling out financial aid forms.  Also, we won't have any clarity on IRA contributions (how much/which kinds) until we do our taxes, which is why I always fund after we do our taxes.  I can't speed up in this case (without a lot of red tape that's just not worth it).  This is why we are doing a super early (for us) IRA contribution for MM, but are not bothering for ourselves.  Actually, there's another reason...

We hit a tax cliff, with all the extra unemployment income this year.  This puts with 50% of the extra income going to the IRS (though we are in the lowest tax brackets).  Blech.  I decided to put my entire salary to my 401K last month; rather keep (in retirement funds) than give half to the IRS.

I know that "too much cash" is a thing, but...  It's a problem I have yet to experience in my lifetime.  With kids starting college next year and an unemployed spouse, I can't say putting 33% of our income to retirement funds topped the list for this year.  But, financial efficiency for the win.  (I don't think that MH or I have it in us to spend $3K just to keep $3K in more accessible cash).

I don't even know if we will do our IRA contributions in addition to the extra in the 401k.  I suppose we most likely will because we have taxable investments we can shift over to retirement funds.  I have the luxury to make that decision next April.   I did count IRA contributions (presuming we max out) in that 33% figure.


2020 Credit Card Reward Tally

November 8th, 2020 at 06:30 pm

2020 TALLY:

$740 Cash (Chase Sapphire Quadruple Dip, Moi) 



**In addition, various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31


I logged into Chase to see if statement had closed yet (for the month) and saw that I had about $835 cash to redeem!  Woohoo!  That was fast!

I had been skeptical, given the "can choose not to give rewards any time for any reason" language they use these days.

I offset the annual fee against the reward.  In the past I've been pretty aggressive about cancelling these cards immediately and also getting the annual fee refunded.  Which I guess technically they are supposed to do anyway (or pro-rate if you keep open a little longer).  But I always asked right away.  In this case, it's such a huge reward and I already did this reward *3* times...  I am just going to let it go.   Less hassle.  Easy money.


Electric Car, Less Repairs

November 7th, 2020 at 04:00 pm

Consumer Reports put out a couple of articles recently about the lower repair costs in electric vehicles.

This was one of the articles:

**I have no idea how to do links in this new blog format**

The general conclusion is that EV cars cost half as much to maintain, versus gas vehicles.

"“It has long been well known that EVs are cheaper to maintain than their gasoline-powered counterparts,” says Chris Harto, CR’s senior analyst for transportation and energy. “But this is the first time we’ve had enough hard data from actual EV owners to prove the point.” 

I did see a couple of these articles that discussed this in terms of electric cars also being more expensive (purchase price).  I find that part to be completely N/A on the used market.  Quite the opposite.  YMMV depending on where you live.  As someone who has never bought a new car, I guess is why I don't care or hasn't come up in my blog.  One of the reasons we had been considering an electric car so seriously was because it was so inexpensive on the used market (we had seriously considered a barely used Nissan Leaf for $5,000 at some point; that was at a dealership).  These were conversations we had when our means were much smaller.  It was the small means that led us to very seriously talk about going electric.  It was the car purchase price AND the savings on fuel.  

That does remind me though, I have seen some people picking up brand new Bolts in the $20k range (I belong to a Bolt online group).  So I guess there is also that if you are a "new car only" car buyer.  Costco had some $3,000 discount on top of some $8,000 manufacturer discount, something like that. 


October Driving

November 7th, 2020 at 02:49 pm

October Miles Driven:

Teenager Gas car: ??

Hybrid Electric car: 626

All-Electric car: 712

Total fuel costs September: $33

Note: Back to lower winter electric rates.

**Note: We received 90 FREE electric miles last month.**


For reference, fuel cost in October 2019 was $110.    Savings of $77.

Fuel costs October 2017 (two gas vehicles): $196.  Savings of $163.                         

(Note: This was also when my commute was half as many miles)

Driving was mostly my commute, about 900 miles.  I did split the cars somewhat 50/50, but if MH had a 5-mile drive or wanted to get groceries, I left the electric car for him on those days.  Was not exactly 50/50, though mostly have been driving my car (hybrid) on Mondays/Tuesdays and the all-electric on Thursdays/Fridays.  Not only is this to keep both cars running and moving, but...  More to the point, we piled the miles on the hybrid during the past 2 years (30K miles in two years).  I do want to pile more miles on the all-electric and even it out a bit.  50/50 is just how it seems to be working out, for now.

These are all electric miles.   I came up with a rough estimate of fuel costs based on overnight electricity usage. 

I expect MH is frustrated with me because he is getting insane fuel efficiency on all the around town trips (taking kids to school to pick up this or that, getting groceries, etc.).  He wants to see how far one charge will go with his more normal driving.  The problem is that I expect it will go about 300-400 miles, and... it's going to take like a year to get to that...  

It's not all me and my commute messing up his test run.  He is working on a film project and did a couple of 100 mile drives (hence the higher miles on his car last month).  He did also take DL(15) to Tahoe when he had some days off of school (which is where he got a free charge).

November is probably going to be a similar miles month.  It's pretty quiet and not much going on.  But...  I am taking a week off work and imagine that we will be doing some smaller road trips.  

I didn't look at MM's car.  I just didn't get around to it yet.  I recall he did some "virtual" 5K with friends (that he drove to) and met up with his friends on Halloween.  He may have driven 10-20 miles.  


September Driving

November 7th, 2020 at 01:29 pm

September Miles Driven:

Teenager Gas car: 5

Hybrid Electric car: 214

All-Electric car: 1,556

Total fuel costs September: $43.52

Note: This was our last month of higher summer electric rates.

**Note: We received 470 FREE electric miles last month.**

I would have guessed 10 miles on the kids' car. It was a whole whopping 5 miles. That was probably just one trip to the orthodontist. We had mostly been putting miles on the hybrid, so I drove the newer car to work some, in addition to a lot of test runs and some staycation drives. It probably works out to 650 miles commute and 700 miles bigger trips. With the two Bay Area trips and the two Tahoe trips, that makes sense. I don't foresee much driving (October), aside from my commute. I will probably drive somewhat 50/50. I want to put more miles on the newer car, to make up for all the miles we piled on the hybrid the last two years. But... I don't want to drive it all the time. There are some things I like better in my car.

Pretty much I am the only one driving anywhere (more than a couple of miles here and there) so I guess it's up to me. It will probably mostly sort out 50/50. Once the pandemic is over and/or we can equalize the miles on the cars, I can see favoring my car. We abandoned his/her cars when we had kids. I can see maybe settling a bit more into his/hers with our current cars. It's easier because they are both similar and same year, so no one's going to feel "stuck with an older car" or anything like that. & they are both so similar in size and fuel costs and everything. But... Will see how we feel about that after the pandemic. For now, I have two cars to choose from. We will be fighting over the all-electric car on weekday evenings and weekends (post pandemic). Probably whoever is driving farther gets the all-electric.

We had been switching sides in the garage, to refuel the electric car during the weekend. But we quickly figured out this is unnecessary. The cord will reach over the nearest car to the other car. This will save some hassle. I charge my car when I get home every night (I plug it in and set it to charge overnight). So we just have to remember to charge the other car Saturday or Sunday night. Long term, that should be more than sufficient. Maybe extra charging if we plan a bigger trip. I think when things normalize, I will also be better able to track real fuel costs. For now, I am just doing rough estimates based on overnight electricity costs.

I believe that MH and I both gave up a Free 100 miles. or 200 miles total. I realized my last free charge was going to expire, but the air quality was too questionable to be worth the free $2. It probably sounds ridiculous to take the time/effort to go sit and recharge for 45 minutes. But... After sitting so many hours and waiting for kids in recent years, I kind of miss the forced silence. To me, it sounds nice. Just being stuck somewhere, without anything productive to do and no one vying for my time. Plus, we've only had the electric car for a month. In my mind, 100 miles costs at least $10 (gas price). I think that is more to the point. MH did end up going out of town one day, but he took DL(15) up to Tahoe and there is all free chargers on that route, so he didn't bother to go out of his way to use up his extra free charge.

I was thinking that I hadn't put any gas in the hybrid since March? That was what I was recalling and I realized I probably needed to burn off some/all of the gas. Gas will go bad over time. But I put a pin on it while the air quality has been so bad here. (Logical or not, I just figured I didn't want to suck more ash or whatever into the engine). In the end, the car made the decision for me. We did experience "maintenance mode" when looking at Volts, before we purchased. So... I knew not to freak out. But when I left work one day it went into 'maintenance mode' and started burning off gas. What I had not realized is that you can still drive while it does that. (The car salesman smartly said, "Let's just wait," because you aren't going to get the feel of driving an electric car while it is doing some all out maintenance to the engine. But it had left me with the impression that you had to wait it out). So... It was a learning experience because I didn't realize it would start after driving the car. It would have really freaked me out if I had no idea what it was doing. In the end, I chose to burn off an extra 10 miles of gas because I was going to run some errands after work, and figured might as well. I didn't have enough electric miles to hit all my errands, and it's better to burn gas on the freeway (better mpg). Clearly I have a lot of gas to dump. It feels like throwing it down the drain, but it is what it is. When the pandemic started, our inclination was to hoard up gas (filled the hybrid), just for any worst case scenario.

In the end, I started thinking that I was pretty sure we drove to the Bay Area in July. So I looked it up and we did last put gas in the tank in July. The gas is not quite as old as I thought. It still feels like pouring money down the drain, but will probably plan one out-of-town trip with the hybrid and will run through the gas (before year-end). I am probably just going to put a gallon or something in it, of new gas, after that. Will see how long it lasts. The car needs some gas to function properly. But during the pandemic and with kids home and MH unemployed, I expect one gallon will last a very long time. When things normalize, will have more reason to run through the gas. In that case I might try 3 or 4 gallons and see how long it takes to get through. It's going to be weird. I can easily see us becoming a 100% electric-fuel household, even when things normalize. We do often have stuff going on after work, but if we just take the electric car for those trips, then that was pretty much the only reason we were using gas around town. Will have to use gas once in a while, but I already feel so, "Ugh," about it. It's just wasteful and expensive at this point. I've seen a lot of hybrid owners say they haven't bought gas in months or years. I am just experiencing this side of it for the first time.

I expect it will probably make more sense to keep a little more fuel in the tank and to just burn it off within 6 months or something. It's probably more practical to throw gas down the drain every 6 months (potentially) versus leaving very little gas in the car and having to go to the gas station more often. I honestly don't remember the last time I went to a gas station. Kind of the whole point is to not go to the gas station unless going out of town. So going from, "I don't remember when I last got gas" to "maintaining just one gallon of gas" sounds like an extraordinary hassle. But I think I need to try it in the interim. The other thing we can do is add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prolong the gas. I have some homework to do on that front. It's something we should probably consider also for MM(17)'s car. Until DL(15) gets his permit and starts practicing driving...