Sharing economy friend or foe?

I’ve been wanting to try Uber Eats for a while now.  I don’t even use Uber, or I might have used it once or twice in the past. However, every time we’d drive or walk past McDonald’s I’d notice that Uber Eats delivery sign in the window.

For those who might not be familiar with Uber Eats, it’s basically a delivery service for food. However, it includes many places that have not traditionally offered delivery. Basically, place your order online or on the app and they charge you $4.99 for the delivery. You can then giddily watch the little car traverse the map until it reaches your front door.

The other day I told my wife that “I wanted to test it out” to see how it “worked”.  (The things we tell ourselves)  Anyway, it worked out and was all yummy.  That’s not the point of this post.  While I’ve ordered “delivery” many time in the past, this new service is much broader in scope and distance than ever before.   In fact, Amazon’s food delivery service will come to me from restaurants 15+ miles away and includes some fairly high end New York City restaurants. Uber eats

Not only food

For the last couple years, I’ve had some moderate lower back pain.  In general I feel great, but I just can’t walk as far or as fast as I used to.

Traditionally, even though we live in a taxi-laden city, we never really hailed a cab ride home, only on the most extreme cases.

However, with my back issue and with the deterioation of the reliablity of the NYC Subway system, we’ve been using more ridesharing apps.  Personally, we use an app called Juno, because it shares a larger percentage with the drivers and allowed for tipping before Uber offered that.

Sharing economy receipts

I love the efficiency of using ride sharing apps.  Before, if we would use a car service, we’d never know when it was going to show up, and we might even have to call back several times.  We probably averaged a half hour of standing out front of our apartment waiting for our car.  Now I can be brushing my teeth and say “let’s roll” to the wife after he turns onto our block.  It’s an efficiency experts dream.  I actually love it.  Now we’ll get a car to save the walking on half of a round trip, like get a car to the supermarket and then walk back. (sometimes)

For the last 4 months, we’ve been using it so much, that while in my checking account the other day, I filtered the charges for the service, and on average, the cost has been about $100 per month.

That’s definitely money that I wasn’t spending before.   Some of this is simply a shift to a different mode of transportation.  Since both me and my wife work from home, our monthly subway expenses have been drastically reduced.

Trading one expense for another?

I see most of this as more similar to the argument that automation will create new and different jobs. These new expenses are simply shifting expenses from one tool to another.  More importantly, they are filling a new need for me that wasn’t previously available.  However, I’m still hyper-aware of the budget pie and where I’m spending my money.

Do you have a new expense area that was never on your radar in the past?

Is the sharing economy derailing your budget?