Admittedly, I drive a large vehicle. However, when I filled my tank this week for a grand total of $110 I almost fell over. When will the madness end?! In the meantime, most of us have no choice but to continue to drive our vehicles, so something’s gotta give when you’re maintaining a strict budget. Luckily, there are some easy, fairly painless opportunities to make some room.
While we can’t do anything to change gas prices, at least we can make sure we’re not filling up at the most expensive station in town. Before you head out for the day, check online sites like GasBuddy.com to see what local gas stations currently have the cheapest gas. Just don’t go too out of your way to get it or you defeat the purpose! In my case, a 10 cent difference means a savings of $3 per fill-up!
Food & Drink
- Coffee – make it at home and bring a travel mug with you to work
- Water – don’t buy bottled water; get a faucet filter or filtered pitcher at home and bring a refillable water bottle with you when you leave the house
- Lunch – make your lunch at home and bring to work
- Dinner – cook dinner at home; your grocery bill will be higher but you’re saving the 20% tip!
- Happy Hours/Nights Out – instead have game night, movie night, or dinner parties at home (BYOB!)
- Weekend Daytime Activities – bring a picnic to the park, go for a bike rides, look for free outdoor concerts or festivals
- Books – instead of buying, check them out for free from the library
- Groceries – resist impulse purchases; plan meals for the week and make a list…and never go to the grocery store hungry!
- Extra Purchases – before you buy, ask if it’s a “Want” or a “Need” – suspend the “Wants” for now
- “Need” Purchases – research online where to get the lowest price & check sites like Retailmenot.com for coupons before you buy
- Credit Cards – consider making only the minimum payment (only TEMPORARILY!)
- Gym membership – buy workout DVDs instead; if you need extra motivation to work out at home, have workout dates with friends
- Manicures & Pedicures – do your own at home!
- Diapers & Wipes – buy generic; or if you’re devoted to your brand, buy in bulk!
- Kids Activities – take advantage of free activities like playing at the park, story time at the library, or play dates at a friend’s house; if you have a favorite zoo, aquarium or museum, buy a season pass and get your money’s worth!
- Baby and Children Clothes – shop consignment; they outgrow it so fast anyway!
- Be Energy Conscious – turn off unneeded lights, reduce air/heat when you leave for the day
- Re-purpose Stuff – find new uses for old furniture, storage containers, shelves, etc. (Hint: there are ton of great re-purposing ideas on Pinterest and HGTV!)
- Consider Downgrading Your Cable/Satellite Service – do you really watch 500 channels?
- Consider Disconnecting Your Land Line – a matter of personal preference, but there is increasingly less justification for keeping one
Who knows if gas prices will decline anytime soon, or if this is the “new normal?” In either case, it never hurts to trim expenses. With the pace of inflation, if it isn’t gas prices, it will be something else! As the great Yogi Berra said, “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore!”
How much does it cost to fill your tank? What are you doing to make room for today’s crazy gas prices?