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Monday, April 17, 2006

Question of the Week: How do Gas Prices Affect You?

Today we live on the edge. Gasoline prices are rising and may reach levels higher than we saw last year. In order to combat the growing increase, I have made certain personal decisions like consolidating trips, making sure my tire pressure is correct, and keeping in mind where the locations are of the cheapest gas. While these are some of the measures that I take to reduce my gas consumption, I have also found it necessary to reduce costs in other aspects of my life.

For instance, if I go out I bring my own cooler for drinks and a lunch if I go out for a day trip. Drinks can cost a 1.25 at a store, but I can buy sodas by the case and it cost me 18 cents a piece. The cheapest sandwich at McDonalds is a dollar, but I can make my own sandwich that is better and it costs me about 20 cents. These may seem like small compromises, but they save a lot of money. (If you buy one soda a day at 1.25 you spend 37.50 per month, buying one soda at .18 per day you spend only 5.40 per month)

Now, my question is how is the gas crunch affecting you? With fuel taking a larger bite out of your personal budgets has this changed your spending habits and if so how? Perhaps I can learn something about how to save more.


At 10:01 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Bob, this is a great question and something affecting the lives of all of us right now considering we are paying almost twice for gas what we were paying year or so ago.

We live 1/2 hour from everywhere. 1/2 hour from Lynchburg, 1/2 hour from Bedford, 1/2 hour from we already were big consolidators on our trips, not just because of gas, but because of time...who wants to spend all their time driving?

We have now just cut out trips entirely. I didn't attend a church board meeting last week. My son has played soccer this year at all, my daughter hasn't done gymnastics (not just because of the gaoline needed to get there, but the fact that the gasoline needed to get to other places has taken up the money we had for the lessons). I have designed this week so that we only are going out one day and if it wasn't for library books that had to be returned and some groceries we needed we wouldn't be going then.

We also pack our lunches on trips, bring our own snacks and I have less money available to buy things for our household which means we hit the Goodwill and yard sales for clothes (which I enjoy the treasure hunt), we go to book sales for books, we buy our bread at the bread store, and we are making very good use of the library. None of these things are bad, but if my discretionary funds hadn't been eaten into so by gasoline prices, we would be making different choices.

It has affected my income as well. I sell old books and collectibles on Ebay. Ebay sales are down except for necessities (like clothes). As people's fun money gets transferred to their gas budget and rising necessity prices (which rise along with gas prices), they aren't able to buy the extras. When they don't buy the extras, I don't get income and I have to curtail my spending more. A friend of mine owns a beauty shop and she said she may have to get a second job. Apparently, hair cuts are not necessities and people start cutting their own hair at home when money is tight.

We are all so interconnected and the rising gas prices affect way more than just how much we pay at the pump.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Mappo said...

I have an idea....let's attack Iran (you know the ones who are pursuing nuclear energy as guaranteed them by the Non Proliferation Treaty (you know, the one that Israel has NOT signed)). That will do wonders for gas prices.


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