[A]fter stripping away the excess and learning to embrace simple living, our family has successfully converted a super small suburban backyard into a year-round food producing machine — complete with raised beds, fruit trees, an edible landscape, and chickens. We have now begun to shift our focus toward energy elements and we’re learning to combat higher utility costs. The natural next step seems to be looking for alternatives to the rising prices of transportation and gasoline.
With gas prices hitting an all-time high — for the month of February — and forecasts predicting $4-$5 per gallon petrol by summer, it’s time to seriously reconsider the way we do things.
Tips to Help You Save Money at the Pump
Everyone will feel the impact of increased fuel costs. So how then can we learn to stretch each and every tank of gas?
Consider these money-saving tips:
- Use the car less. That’s it…I’ve said enough 🙂 No seriously, I feel like I could just stop right here. When I think about how much I used to drive 2-3 years ago compared to now, wow! There are very few “I need to run out for something” trips and
we’veI’ve learned how to be content saying home. This is truly the only sustainable option.
- Start batching errands. When there are errands to run, try combining multiple stops into one trip. You could also plan your route in advance thereby driving the fewest miles possible. In my current home, the nearest grocery store, gas station, and bank are 10 minutes out. I could spend a lot of time and money driving back and forth, but instead every time I think of something I need I write it down and wait — it helps with impulse buys too!
- Become a one car family. Sell that extra car or two and become a one car family. There’s no better way to reduce the temptation of using the car when you don’t have one to use. It may take extra planning, but why not sit down as a couple and discuss the possibility of only owning one car?
- Walk. Walking to the store and walking to work just isn’t an option for many Americans. The way our cities are laid out and with the urban and suburban sprawl…walking everywhere simply is not functional for everyone. But I’ll tell you what we love to do…when we plan vacations, every one of our favorite spots is a park and walk destination. Every chance we have to park the car and walk, we take.
- Ride a bike. Just like walking, riding a bike everywhere isn’t functional for everyone — but if you live in an urban area, do it! A few times I’ve made the 14 mile round trip trek to the store — complete with baby trailer and all. It sure makes staying home and batching errands look pretty good!
- Ride-share and carpool. We often hear about this related to the work setting, but my biggest concern as a mother of active children is finding ways to save while driving them to and from all the places they want to be. I’m so thankful for my family and friends who are willing to take turns driving the children to and from sports activities, church functions, and sleep-overs. Sometimes all you have to do is ask! I’m finding that other Moms are way more open to the idea now than they were before. Take a chance and see about starting a carpooling co-op.
- Plan a stay-cation. We have made to commitment to pay off all of our debt this year, so I see the rising gas prices as a sign that we need to forgo our multiple, money guzzling out-of-town trips and put all that cash toward financial freedom instead. That doesn’t mean that we won’t take a vacation or deny our values as a family…but I’ve realized in our efforts to experience areas far from home, that we’ve missed out on some pretty cool places right where we are!
- Work from home. Just think of all the money you would save if you worked from home — not only would you save on gasoline, but so many other areas of spending would be effected and reduced. Ask your employer about working from home options or possibly consolidating the work week into 4 days instead of 5. You could also look into starting a home-based business, doing what you love.
- Make your own biodiesel. Did you know that making your own biodiesel is something that has been talked about and done for years, yet it only seems to get attention when gas prices rise 🙂 Just do a simple Internet search for “homemade biodiesel” and you’ll uncover artilces giving step-by-step instructions and YouTube videos like this one. There are reputable online supply stores and even local biodiesel co-ops popping up all over the place. By no means am I suggesting that biodiesel is the answer to our dependence on foreign oil…in fact I see it only as a band-aid. But…it is most definitely a viable option.
- Our four-legged friends. Now you might start to think that I’m really crazy 🙂 But for those of us living in rural areas, our four-legged friends could help us out a lot…just sayin’! I never really considered this option until last summer when we purchased a tract of land in western Wisconsin and we had the opportunity to meet one of our neighbors. He’s an older gentleman and during the course of his nearly 80 years that sweet man has never had his drivers license or owned a car! He’s relied solely on his self-sufficient lifestyle, car-pooling with neighbors, and his horse in order to meet all of his needs. Extreme? Sure! Possible? You betcha! Desperate times call for desperate measures 🙂
So what about you? What do you do to save money on gasoline?
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