Ringing The Closing Bell at NASDAQ Today!!

Well, more like pushing a big square button! Haha… (I had no idea that’s how it was done, did you?) And actually I wont’ be doing the pushing either, I just got invited to come participate when my new friends found out I was a HUGE finance nerd and philanthropy lover! :)

They day belongs to Cooking With The Troops, a non-profit that supports our U.S. and Allied troops (and families), and provides comfort, nutrition, and hope through four major programs of theirs. They’ll be putting on a whole day’s worth of foodie fun in honor of Veteran’s Day, and it culminates in said “ringing of the bell.”  I’m SUPER excited to experience, and honored to get to be a part of it!  (Make sure to look for me at 4pm EST on Nerd TV, haha…)

Now, the only NON-cool part was figuring out HOW to get all the way up (and back) to NYC from DC in the same day!  We’re heading back home on Saturday to go visit our family, so I had to do some massive research to figure how efficient (or not) I can pull it off… in both time AND money.  Here were the 3 main options I came up with:

  1. Drive my caddy there and back ($175) — Pros:  I’m in total control and can leave and come back at any time I want.  Cons:  It’s a LOT of driving in one day – 9 hrs worth! (And that’s probably *not* with traffic).  Also, parking can suck a$$ in New York – though I’ll probably park it near a friend’s place who knows the “secrets.”  I wouldn’t be able to do any blog work either going there or back. (The total cost includes 3 fill-ups of gas + tolls)
  2. Take the bus! ($60) — Pros:  All I have to do is sit there :)  And I can do work/read/sleep all the way to town! Also, it’s cheap as hell. Cons: You’re sometimes squished w/ a lot of others and the odds someone smells and/or aggravates you are high.  At least in my experience.  Also, it’s still 9 hours worth of being on the road and praying you miss a lot of that same traffic (Plus: I’d need to ride the metro there and back to GET to the bus station)
  3. Take the train! ($250) — Pros:  Cuts my total travel by 2-3 hours!, and I can still work and read/etc while sitting down more comfortably. Also – LESS chance of traffic, and the trains seem to leave every 30-60 minutes till late night (and if I take a late night one home, I get $50 off). Cons:  HELLA EXPENSIVE!! And that rate up there is WITH the discounts :( If I were to take the super fast Acela train instead, it would cost an additional $125-$150 round trip – though it would cut the total time to about 5 and 1/2 hours than the 9 in option #1 up there… also, the metro trip to the train station and back is still in play too, bleh.

Wanna guess which one I ended up going with?  Before reading on? ;) Well, at first I was TOTALLY going with option #1 – the driving part. But after getting through the other options and REALLY thinking about it, I realized that it would probably be the most UNSAFE, as well as most ANNOYING, plan on the table.  So I scrapped that one fast.  Plus, it’s really not *that* cheap anyways – it’s right smack in the middle as far as all the other costs.

So that left us with either the bus or the train (dun dun dunnnn). Now, more often than not I’d normally take the bus hands down, based on pure cost alone, but seeing as how I have to be at certain places at certain times, and all in the span of ONE day, I decided to opt for the most convenient/un-aggitative (word?) option of them all:  The train. Yeah it’s balls expensive and not the “frugal” thing to do, but the whole point of money is to be able to spend it on the things we hold important, right?  So if I wanna spend an extra $200 for a sexy-ass trip outta town for a day, so be it. It’s my money ;)  That’s part of the “Freedom” we always talk about with smart management!  The ability to jump on things w/out having to worry if you’re gonna go in debt or not be able to pay the bills! The more money you have, the more options you have available. So that’s my reasoning behind it all, anyways…

How about you? Which option would you have chose?  Or would you have not even gone to begin with? Haha…  I know it’s not *as* exciting as some of us feel it would be, so in that case just pretend you’re going to visit a hot girl/guy instead. Which route would you choose then?

(Happy Veteran’s Day!!)

PS: Another pro of taking the train?  You can drink beer! Haha… both before-hand, and while ;)  Not that it skews my judgement, of course.

(Photo by Think London, slightly tweaked by J$ ;))

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  1. Kristia {Family Balance Sheet} November 11, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    I would have totally taken the train. I used to travel for work by train to NYC quite often out of Harrisburg or Lancaster, PA (no alcohol on that train). Of course it wasn’t my dime back then, but even now I would opt for the train over the bus. It is a far better ride, you can sleep, get work done, or just veg out.

  2. Miriam November 11, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    My first and only train ride was when I joined the military, and I barely remember it, so I definitely would have taken the train. In fact, I’ve considered the idea (in that mythical “when we have more money” time) to take a train ride around the country.

  3. Marilyn November 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Megabus!!!! If you book early enough you can get to NY and back for under 20 bucks. I use them all the time to get NYC from Baltimore. And they have wifi. So does bolt bus.

  4. @JustHeather November 11, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    This frugal gal would have made the same decision! Time is money, too, and you free up some of yours by taking the train. Being able to work during the trip would be important to me as well, and the train seems to be a better option for that.

    Have fun – I’m so excited for you!

  5. Babs November 11, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    I would have told the family to do without me for a couple days, booked a cheap hotel and taken my sweetie along for a fun weekend getaway to NYC! Forget worrying about the journey, enjoy the destination baby!

    Of course I should point out that I can commit such a thoughtless and frivolous act because sweetie and I were mildly frugal and saved our pennies back in the day….

    Oh yeah, and I could not be more jealous of you.

  6. Trinnie November 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    JMo, thank your dad for his service and sacrifices today…and thank you for being such a huge military supporter!

    and yeah, being able to drink and travel? game on!

    (see you in 2 weeks! WOOHOO!)

  7. SmartAssetTeam November 11, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    I would probably take the train. Your time is worth money too, so by saving time and taking the train, you are saving some money, especially if you can get yourself to work while on the train. When it comes to traveling, I am all about traveling less frequently and making it as convenient as possible when I do travel. I hope the train ride in was pleasant and productive. Have an awesome day!

  8. lora kathleen November 11, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    I’d totally take the train… so much more efficient than the bus, plus I find it easier to get work done on the train rather than a bus.

    Have an awesome day, it sounds like you are going to be spending it very well. Plus, who wouldn’t love to be at the closing bell for NASDAQ??

  9. bethh November 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    I would have split the difference: train to NYC since it was important to be relaxed and on time, and then the cheap-o chinatown bus or megabus back home for 20 bucks.

  10. Maria Nedeva November 11, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    This was tense; I was thinking ‘I hope he din’t take the bus and that he is not daft enough to drive there’. Glad you went on the train – I would have done the same. In fact I do it often; though trains here are very expensive and in fact it is cheaper to fly. Trains are great for dong all the stuff I don’t like doing – much work done and always some time left for rest and fun.

  11. CrystalH November 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    I normally catch the bus when I head to NYC. But I’m glad you picked the train. It sounds like a MUCH better ride and I’m pretty sure the time savings makes it worth it. Because that 2-3 hours saved is priceless! I will seriously consider the train the next time I have to head up there.

  12. David Carlson November 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I would have taken the train, as you did. Driving you can’t really do anything productive with your time, so immediately I prefer the bus or train option. Train sounds a lot more comfortable, convenient, and fast. You have to think about what you can do with that time as well (i.e. work on your laptop, sleep, read, etc.). You made the most efficient and profitable choice as far as I’m concerned ;)

  13. Sense November 13, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    TRAIN!!! I hate the actual ‘travelling’ part of travelling. I only do it because I j’adore the parts in between. :)

    I have been known to pay an extra $100-$200 for a trip that is only 24 hours long vs 26+. Boy do you feel those extra few hours at the end! Misery…

    p.s. i took spanish so that is probably the wrong way to use j’adore

  14. CanadianSaver November 13, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Too cool, J $exy!! So glad you got to do it!

  15. J. Money November 13, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    It was so cool guys!!! DEF worth the trip (even though I was barely alive when I made it back home to DC that night — I was on the train more than I was IN New york! haha…) And guess who surprised sang for us in the middle of lunch? Country singer Josh Gracin from American Idol! Haha… was pretty dope.

    Check it out: In Times Square looking at us ringing the bell! (Can you see me in the back?)

    Big BIG thanks again to both Cooking With The Troops, and Heather Solos for the invite (whose book just hit a Top 10 list in Amazon! Congrats, girl!) — y’all totally made my week :)

    @Kristia {Family Balance Sheet} – Oh yeah, and sleep/veg/work I def. did ;)
    @Miriam – Haha… that does seem to be a mythical thing, doesn’t it? :)
    @Marilyn – You know, I had thought about that but just couldn’t bring myself to take a bus in the end… wanted something more comfortable :(
    @@JustHeather – Thanks! I was able to get a lot of email work done, but not too much on the laptop as the stupid wifi didn’t work properly on it? It did on the iPhone but not the computer :( Oh well, I did a ton of reading though!
    @Babs – I tried to bring out the Mrs on the trip, but she had a class to T.A. for :( And plus we were going home to visit my family over the weekend too, but believe me – the long weekend DID cross my mind. Gonna have to do it again soon – minus the ringing of the bell ;)
    @Trinnie – Awww, thanks Trinnie! I’ll pass along your message to my dad when I talk to him next – that’s sweet of you :) The group I was with (since they have to do w/ troops and veterans) was going into the streets and pulling Marines out to come eat all our food we had in the studio – it was awesome. So nice of them… def. looking forward to FINALLY meeting you! Can’t believe it still hasn’t happened! :)
    @SmartAssetTeam – It most def. was, thanks! Hope you had a most wonderful weekend too, friend :)
    @lora kathleen – It was a site to be seen, that’s for sure :) I hope you get a chance to participate in it one day, I think you’d love it!
    @bethh – Now THAT could have been do-able… though not sure how late they ran? (Good idea though, didn’t even think about it!)
    @Maria Nedeva – I’m a big fan of trains – so relaxing :)
    @CrystalH – Yeah, if I weren’t in a rush and I was staying longer, I probably would have just drove. Or maybe taken the bus, but now that I took the train I may be spoiled and have to go that route again – it was SO EASY!
    @David Carlson – Why thank you sir, I believe I did as well :)
    @Brian – Haha, right? Good find ;)
    @Sense – You don’t enjoy that part? I actually do, to be honest with you… it’s such a lead up for the excitment to come! And sometimes I end up having more fun TRAVELING than I do when I get there! Haha… but that’s usually on road trips vs. plane trips, I agree the end of the flights are usually the worst :)
    @CanadianSaver – Thanks my friend! Hope you got into some fun too, over the weekend :)
    @Bergie Powers – And I didn’t even end up drinking any on it! Haha… though I, ofcourse, had a few in my belly to tide me over ;)

  16. Fern November 19, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    I’d have flown. Fare for one from National is $128 round trip.

  17. J. Money November 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Hmmm… didn’t think about that option actually. I feel like it would take more time though when all was said and done? I’ll have to look into that next time around, thx ;)