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A few weeks ago, Target had their ‘Baby Sale' where baby related items were on sale.  We had been looking into a second car seat and found one that we really liked and had pretty good ratings.

Our primary car seat is in my wife's car along with a base for the baby carrier.  The car seat holds our 2-year old son, and the baby goes in the carrier.

Until recently, there wasn't really a need for a car seat in my car, as my wife took the kids places most of the time and the kids were together.  On top of that, most places we went involved a stroller.  The single stroller we have barely fits in my car, and the double stroller does not fit at all.

Lately, though, we're finding that our behaviors are a bit different.  We're splitting up the kids more often, or we're going places where we can get by without a stroller.  In this case, we figured that more trips in my car would be achievable.  My wife drives a Buick SUV and I drive a Pontiac sedan, so the big difference here:

Better mileage in the Pontiac.

My car averages around 25 MPG and my wife's car averages around 16 MPG.

If gas averages $3.50, this means that the cost per mile in gas is as follows:

Pontiac: $0.14
Buick: $0.21875

This means that on a 50 mile round trip, we're saving $3.9375 in gas.  That's a pretty huge difference.

The all-in price of the car seat was $105.72.

This means that it would take 1,342 miles switched to my car before the car seat completely pays for itself.

With our driving habits, this is certainly something I think we'll cross without much effort.  Trips to my in-laws are around 45 miles round trip and since we see them once or twice a month, that will add up pretty quickly.  We recently had a couple of birthday parties, each around 50 miles round trip.  Neither of these required a stroller, so it was off in my car.  Even trips to my parents house, who live much closer (about 15 miles around trip) still save a small amount, and will add up.

Eventually we'll have to get a second seat for my wife's car when the baby can no longer fit into the carrier.  At that point we would have to decide whether to look into a second seat for my car as well (we certainly could move seats back and forth but this isn't practical).  We'll probably see how our habits play out and whether it makes sense.

You always hear about things that pay for themselves.  In the case of this car seat, I believe it will completely pay for itself before it's all said and done.

Have you ever had an item that has proven to pay for itself over time?