Long-Term Cost of Taxi Rides

Today was a cold, rainy, and windy day in Tokyo. I hit the snooze button too many times on my alarm and so I was running a little late. I take the train to work and normally I walk from my house to the nearest train station, which takes me about 12 minutes in flats and forever in heels.

After leaving the house this morning, I quickly found my umbrella useless. I was wet by the time I rounded the corner. So as soon as I caught sight of a taxi, I flagged it down. For the short distance between my house and the train station, I paid the minimum fare of 710 JPY, which is roughly 7.60 USD in today’s exchange rate.

This isn’t the first time I’ve taken the taxi to the station. There were a few weeks last year where I would take it almost every day. That was before we started budgeting.

My husband pointed out that if I took a taxi once a day for every workday in the week (5 days x 54 weeks = 270 days), I would spend 191,700 JPY in a year, which is over 2,000 USD in today’s exchange rate. If I took a taxi once a week, that would amount to 38,340 JPY in one year, which is over 400 USD.

It’s an expensive habit. Here’s how I rationalized it:

  • This was a small percentage of my income.
  • I was not cold/wet/sweaty by the time I got to the office (depending on the season).
  • It saved me ~7 minutes each time.

These were the counter arguments presented by my husband:

  • 2,000 USD is still a good amount of money – it can cover round-trip tickets from Japan to the U.S. plus some.
  • The brisk walking was good exercise for me.
  • It was 35 minutes of exercise in a week, which actually saved me a trip to the gym.

With these in mind, I’ve tried to stick to walking. Hopefully, today was a one-off and I don’t ruin our April budget by taking unplanned taxi rides for the rest of this month!

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