Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fuel Costs and Lost Time: How Much Are You Really Paying for Those Lessons?

The Real Cost of Music Lessons at a Studio

So you found great, inexpensive lessons at a studio twenty minutes away.  This teacher is charging $12 less a month than the teacher in your own town.  So it begs the question...are you really saving that much after your driving costs?

Frugal Folks Want to Know!

I did a little investigating to see how much it would cost me to drive to the neighboring town of Lovettsville, where my son used to take drum lessons.  His instructor was reasonable...about $3 per lesson under the going rate for half-hour lessons in my area.  Using Gas Buddy, I went online to calculate the cost of this trip each week.  Gas Buddy is great because it factors in the make, model, and year of your car to determine your vehicle's mpg.  Gas Buddy knows the average price per gallon in your area, so you don't have to figure that out.

At the current gas price average of $2.29 per gallon, I was paying $2.82 per week to drive out there and back...not much, but it adds up to $11.28 per month.  That was just my fuel cost, not including oil, insurance, and wear-and-tear on my car.  Here is the breakdown:

Source: $30 is an example of a low-priced half-hour lesson.  Fuel cost based on $2.30 per gallon.

What About Lost Time?
Each day I had to drive to Lovettsville for drum lessons, I was in the car for 40 minutes and sitting outside the lesson in my car for another 30 minutes.  That's 70 minutes of time I couldn't be very productive.   I was losing time to make dinner, catch up household duties, and complete work tasks for my small business.  As the old adage goes, time is money!  Sometimes I found myself stopping on the way home for food or snacks, too...only adding to the lesson bill!  

So don't assume the costs of studio lessons are all you're dealing with.  Commuting to music lessons two or three towns away through harrowing rush-hour traffic has a lot of hidden costs!