It all started with one little dog eating a huge amount of pancakes. I was less than excited about the unexpected $140 vet bill I found myself paying and eager to cut back in other ways so that I wouldn't feel the higher credit card bill at the end of the billing period (the 15th). The idea to cut back on my gas usage came to me once I had to spend another $60 at the gas pump on the way home. As a 2-per-month person, if I could bring my driving down to one tank per month, I'd fight rising gas prices and save an additional $50-60 off of my normal budgeted expenses!
Now, I'm three days away from hitting my goal and I'm shocked at how easy it was to cut back by simply applying my thrifty thinking towards my driving. Here's what I've done to cut back:
2. I lucked out in having a short commute to work. I understand that a lot of people have to drive a certain number of miles per day and it really helps that I live close to work. On most weekdays, work was the only place I drove my car.
It wasn't until this month that I really did the math on how much a long commute can affect the gas budget. I imagined living far enough from work to spend an average of $200+ on gas for commuting alone... Knowing that for each additional $10,000 on a home price the monthly mortgage payments will go up by around $60, I realized that just living closer to work can add around $30,000 in buying power towards a home!
3. I mooched off of Nate's more efficient car. We've definitely decided to see the future cars as "our cars." One car will be more efficient and better for longer drives around town and the other will be slightly bigger for hauling a more people and/or materials for home improvement projects.
4. I planned my trips for the week like I plan my meals at the grocery store. Just as the goal with groceries is to buy no more food than what we're going to eat, the goal with gas is to drive no more than I need to for the week. At the beginning of the week or weekend, I'd think about the errands that I needed to run and planned my driving time in order to combine as many trips as I could. I was so proud last weekend when I noticed Nate was going to get his hair cut in the same shopping center as a store I had plans to go to later that day. I went ahead and rearranged my plans to head out and do my shopping with him. It was super easy and saved 1/2 off on gas!
How do you find ways to cut back on gas?