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First day of the month

September 1, 2011

Guess what today is! The first day of a new month. There are a few things that I always look forward to on the first day of the month:

1) Flipping my calendars at work and spending a few minutes writing all of the things coming up that month (these are the calendars in my office, though I haven’t yet written anything down for this month!)

2) The release of Matchbook Magazine! This is my FAVORITE free online publication! Their tagline is “your field guide to a charmed life,” how could not want to make your life more charming in every way?

3) But most importantly, I get to put money on my SmarTrip card using my SmartBenefits!

SmartBenefits allows employers to provide money that is automatically available each month for employees to put on their metro cards. Basically, it is FREE money that can only be used on transportation. (I suppose I work 40 a week for it, so it isn’t technically freeeeee, but it is not a part of my salary so I view it as an extra perk!)

Commuting on the metro is expensive these days with the peak rush hour prices (and don’t even get me started on the peak of the peak prices!!!), which is why I always try to take the bus. With a SmarTrip card the bus is $1.50 any time of day, no matter how far you go. You also get a free transfer or ride if it is within two hours of your initial swipe. This cuts my commuting cost by half. If I took the metro to and from work every day, I would have to add more of my own money to my card. Since I have learned to take the bus to work almost everywhere I go, I have not had to add money from my pocket in OVER A YEAR! This includes anywhere I go after work or on the weekends too. I guess should take into account that I also live in a very central location, so I can walk many places that I am going; while I don’t spend money walking places, I do spend A LOT of money on the rent that allows me to walk places…so yeah…. not sure if I am willing to consider walking places as a money saver in my situation.

I think many people are scared of the bus, and I admit it can be intimidating and confusing. It is not as user friendly as the metro, but that means there are hardly any tourists! (Please don’t take that the wrong way tourists- DC wouldn’t be they city it is without you visiting, but sometimes it is nice to have a tourist free commute!) Once you learn what buses that go to places you often go, there are many great things about it. Such as….

  • sunlight!
  • the stops are closer together so you can get off and on closer to your destination and starting point
  • you can get a free return trip if you come back within 2 hours of leaving
  • cheaper & no rush hour prices
  • the people are nicer! They say hello and thank you to the drivers, they actually get up when someone needs to sit in the easily assescible seats, and they converse with each other. I would always assume that people are happier in the sunlight than underground, right?

There are great things about the metro too, I am not anti-metro. I just much prefer the bus because it is, in my opinion, a more pleasant and cheaper mode of transportation.

There are some things I don’t like about the first of the month like know it is time to calculate and asses my finances for the previous month. Ugh! I guess I better get started…wish me luck! I will let you know how it goes!

What are your favorite extra perks of your job?

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