Dad-gum-it! Gas went up another 14 cents yesterday and is now $3.58/gallon at Wal-Mart and Sam’s (usually the cheapest places in town). I’ve been thinking about how we’re going to be able to afford $4.00 (or higher) per gallon in the coming months. Lord knows I won’t be getting a raise to cover the cost of gas. So here’s the rub….Are you going to stop an activity or give up a luxury or get a second (or third) job? I’ve been mulling it over and here’s my list of things I will probably go for first.
1. Cancel cable TV and Internet at home. (I know! I hear some of you gasping out there). But, you know what? Cable alone is about 45 dollars a month and on top of that, the high speed Internet connection is also $45 to $50 a month (both provided by Cox Communications). That’s a hundred dollars a month, $1200 dollars a year. That will buy a lot of gas folks! Hubby will just have to learn to live without ESPN and get use to a digital antenna. We have Internet at work to check e-mail, so we really don’t “have to have it” at home. We’ll learn to deal with it. If you can’t give up your Internet connection, suggest sharing a wireless network with a neighbor and split the monthly fee.
2. Stop eating out (period). I know this seems trivial and really we don’t eat out much at all to begin with. When we do eat out, we share a meal and make sure we have a coupon. Still – eating out is expensive.
3. No soft drinks. Drink water or tea or kool-aid. I know, I know – but soft drinks are expensive.
4. (I don’t personally do this because I’m frugal). Stop going out for coffee! Stop buying gourmet coffee. This will save you tons. Step away from the $8.00 /lb. coffee and buy good old Maxwell House or Folgers. The cost difference for one pound just paid for a gallon of gas. $4.00 x 52 weeks a year is $208.00! Also I see the same people in line everyday at Starbucks. I’m not knocking Starbucks, however; On average a a cup of one of their concoctions will run you about $3.50. That’s $3.50 X 5 days a week X 52 weeks = $910.00 a year. Cha -Ching!
5. Do you own yard work. We’ve always mowed our own yard but I see several neighbors who pay to have their postage stamp sized yard mowed by a professional lawn service. Give it up and get off your butt! Most lawn companies charge a minimum of $50 to do basic lawn care. Average number of weeks for mowing is 24 weeks where I live. 24 weeks x $50 is $1200. Granted you’ll still need to own a lawn mower and pay for gas (unless you have an electric mower). You will still save money. (can you hear the cash flowing).
6. I stopped driving over 60 mph a long time ago. I read a study: for every 5 mph that you drive under 65 mph, you’ll save about 30 cents per gallon. The faster you drive, the faster the gas burns. Lighten up, lead foot (and get off the phone while you’re driving – that really makes me nervous.)
7. We’ve all been there. We drive to Wal-Mart to pick up some milk and end up spending WAY TOO MUCH on stuff we don’t need. How to avoid it – make a list of the items you’re going to buy and stick to it. This requires discipline and usually going to the store alone so kids do not beg and make you give in. Well, in my case it’s leaving my husband at home so we don’t buy too many cookies or fishing tackle. Plan your weekly meals, list the ingredients you’ll need to make it and don’t buy anything not on the list. Buy store brands too. They are just as good and cheaper. And, clip those coupons! Cash in those rebates!
8. Eat less meat. I know this sounds crazy, but you can eat meatless meals and be perfectly healthy.
9. Grown your own vegetables. I don’t care if you have a tiny patio. Grow some tomatoes and peppers in pots or cut holes in hay bales and plant some vegetables. It’ll be a fun project for the kids or even – you!
10. Adjust your indoor climate. Learn to be a little colder in winter and a little warmer in summer. You won’t die, just learn to adjust. Save the electricity and gas for lighting and hot water. (but wash your clothes in cold water).
11. Wash the dishes in the sink. This saves tons of water and electricity or gas depending on how your hot water is heated and the electricity to run the dish washer. Wash while you cook to keep the number of dishes down at the end of the meal. Assign family members to help with chores. Last time I checked, prune fingers never hurt anyone.
12. Limit your activities outside the home. Do your kids really need to be involved in an activity (sometimes multiple activities) every single day? Those clubs, activities are expensive – try playing at home with friends.
13. Make a list of errands and map it out and make one trip. Don’t do any unnecessary driving.
14. Turn out the lights. When you need light, use lamps with the new energy saving bulbs. Overhead (especially canned lights) use a lot of energy.
15. Open the blinds in winter to let heat in, close them in summer to keep heat out. No brain-er.
16. (edit) I thought of one more thing to add while driving to work. Hang your clothes out to dry during warmer weather! Have you seen how much energy the dryer uses? Oh My Goodness! Costs more to run your dryer than any other appliance in your house. I know, I know – some neighborhoods POAs or HOAs do not allow you to put up a clothes line. Well – put one in the garage – I did.
These are just a few things we’ve done. But I am considering a weekend job so I still put something in savings. Something is better than nothing. Maybe I’ll get a job that will give me employee discounts – even more savings. Nice!
Who was that politician who said “I feel your pain”? (yea, right – sure you do, Bill!)
So! What are you doing to pay for gas? I’d really like to know.