British gas prices, American gas prices, world gas prices… All gas prices are high right now. Middle class families simply can’t keep living a normal lifestyle and deal with the increased prices at the pump. If you’re anything like our family, an extra $150 to $200 a month in fuel really puts a crimp in extra activities you’d like to enjoy.
Gas Prices and Trips to the Store
One way to cut down gas prices is by reducing the number of trips you make to the store each week. In a typical week, Crabby Housewife makes her weekly shopping trip, a trip to the mall with one of my daughters for something or other, a mid-week stop at Wal-mart for things I forgot to get on my Friday shopping trip. This adds up to three trips a week instead of one.
As the gas prices rise up and up and up, I am looking at how to cut down those trips even more. Here are some questions I am asking myself that you may want to ask yourself too. I’ve also included my own personal answers, but yours may be different.
Question: Can I get by with going to the store every other week?
Crabby Housewife Answer (CH): Yes, if I plan ahead a little better, I can easily hit the store every other week. This will also save a little money at the store as I will buy some things in bulk. It will save on gas, because it is about 24 miles round trip to and from the nearest store.
Question: What items am I most likely to run out of in two weeks?
CH: Milk, bread, eggs, snacks, cereal
Question: Is there a local source for those where I wouldn’t have to drive so far to replenish my supply?
CH: There is a small Family Dollar store in my town. The costs are a bit more, however. Milk usually has an expiration date of two weeks away, so I may need to just buy more than normal. Since milk is usually double here the cost here in town, it makes sense to buy more. Bread can be found at the local grocery store fairly cheaply as can eggs. The snacks are a problem. I will buy ahead and put them in my freezer in the garage, which I can lock.
Question: How will I keep the family from eating up all the snacks the first week?
CH: I have a couple of options here. I can hide them/lock them up. The other option is to let them eat up all their snacks a couple of times and learn that it means they don’t have any all during the next week.
Question: How can I prevent those last minute school project trips?
CH: Both Michaels and Hobby Lobby have 40% off one item coupons about every other week. During my store trips, I will begin to stockpile items like markers, poster paint, poster board, felt, glue and other things used for most school projects. It may not completely eliminate those trips, but it should help. In addition, I’ll save 40% on those items.
Does your car guzzle gas? I had a Ford Explorer. I absolutely adored the car, but didn’t adore the gas mileage. I traded it in ages ago for a cute little Ford Focus. It’s been an adjustment with two teen girls, but the money we’ve saved in gas has really helped. I get about 38 miles to the gallon on the interstate and around 32 in the city (if I drive the right way).
Even if you are unable to trade your car in or get a second car that gets good mileage, you can save a little. When you make that trip to the store, drive slower. Come to stops gradually and start off the same way. Drive at a steady speed limit and coast down hills. I have a little gauge in my car that tracks mileage efficiency. It is surprising how small changes can help you get better mileage. With gas at about $4.00 a gallon in my area, even gaining a few more miles per gallon helps.
Whether the problem is the gas supply or something else, the fact is that gas prices seem to be trending up with some news media outlets estimating it could be as high as $5.00 a gallon by summer. Families everywhere are figuring out ways to conserve gas, spend less money and watching as prices across the board rise once again.
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