- Gas prices have risen tremendously in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.
- I've changed my driving habits and filled up my car more strategically in light of that.
All of these have been really necessary.
As someone who lives deep in suburbia, I rely on my car pretty often. This isn't to say that I don't walk places when I can. My children and I walk for over a mile to get to school on non-rainy mornings (both for the exercise and to avoid parking wars), and I frequently visit the supermarket on foot when I'm picking up a handful of grocery items.
But for the most part, I can't avoid driving. A number of my kids' after-school activities aren't within walking distance, and when I do a supermarket stock-up, I need my car because I can't carry 12 bags of food home with me.
In the past number of weeks, like many people, I've seen my costs rise exponentially at the pump as soaring gas prices plague the nation. Gas prices have been higher since the start of the Ukraine crisis, and while the Biden administration is taking steps to address sky-high gas costs, so far, I haven't seen prices come down all that much. That's why I've made these specific adjustments to compensate.
1. I've been filling up my car at Costco
I have two Costco locations in relatively close proximity to my home, and it's a store I tend to shop at once a week. These days, I specifically make a point to fill up my car at Costco because its gas prices are the cheapest I've found in the area.
Sometimes, that means having to change the day I go to Costco because my tank is running low. But it's an adjustment I'm willing to make if it saves me money at the pump.
2. I've started paying cash for gas
While I've been mostly filling up my car at Costco, I can't always do that. But to make up for that, I've started paying cash for gas at non-Costco pumps where fuel costs are higher.
In my area, it's common practice for gas stations to offer a discount on cash fill-ups. If I'm being honest, before prices started soaring, I commonly used my credit card for fill-ups due to the convenience factor, thinking that the cash back I'd be getting would help make up for the higher price per gallon. But nowadays, I'm carrying more cash so that when I can't fill up at Costco, I can save money on fill-ups elsewhere.
3. I'm trying to cut down on driving in general
My family and I enjoy getting out and about for hikes on weekends. But lately, we've made a point to stick to trails that are closer to home. That way, we don't have to drive as far and spend quite as much money to fill up the car.
So far, this has been a pretty easy adjustment to make. And it's allowed us to explore different parks of our local parks system.
A lot of people are struggling these days due to soaring gas costs. Thankfully, I'm not at the point where higher prices at the pump are making it hard to cover my bills. But I am making changes to spend less money on gas -- especially at a time when all of my expenses are way up.
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