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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dealing with gas prices: little book, etc

Rising gas prices
Last year, I put myself on a gasoline diet. I determined I was only going to spend $20 each week on gas, no matter what! With the rise in gas prices, this is going to be rough. However, my resolve has not weakened on this decision. Parsimony will serve me well. So, maybe you call it cheap or frugal?

Little book
I have a day planner that I can use, but other items are in there. Doctor appointments, hair appointments, things that don't need to clutter a book about money spent. It had to be small and thin to fit into my purse. The perfect book appeared, a perfect little book only 20 pages thick. The cover is plastic. The pages are like a little book with staples in the centerfold. My plan is to make the inside next year and use the plastic cover if it holds up.

Recorded gas purchase
On Tuesday, March 1, I bought $20 of gas, received 6.06 gallons, and paid $3.29/gallon. This record is a hard and firm reminder of what I am doing with gasoline and my money. Correction: I paid $3.29 for gasoline, not $2.29! I wish.

Recorded food expenditures
On March 2, I took $100 and put it in a change purse for groceries this month. I have another $50 to use also. I have not recorded my food purchases for the remainder of the week. But, the receipts are inside the little plastic cover. Even if I don't record the food purchases, I will still stop buying food when I run out of money in the little zippered, red, leather coin purse where I keep grocery money.

Recorded sales
My goal is to make at least $50 from items I sell. The items can be antiques, my stuff I don't want or need, or things I buy to sell. One person exclaimed that my goals were certainly low. No, I want attainable goals. I cannot sell or haul things around all the time. So far, I have sold and recorded $120 of items from my house in the first two months of the year.  That makes me $20 into March goals. I need to sell another $30 of my things to meet the goal for March.

It is so easy to forget things, so I want to be certain I have a backup for my memory.

Writing on the 22nd is bleed-through. I will use a different pen.

Not driving
I am not working, so this is attainable. I go out when the traffic is lightest during the day. That way, I don't have to sit through too many lights. I went to the bank and immediately drove to the outside window--no waiting. I turned off the car for the duration of the transaction. If there were a line, I would have gone inside. I can also go late at night for some things, avoiding traffic altogether.

Just stay home?
I will get cabin fever this way! Seriously, I need to be out some. However, I talked to a friend to determine when their church has a game night. In the meantime, she told me a mutual friend had lost her husband. She wants us to get together and play Monopoly at the mutual friend's home. Or, was it Scrabble. I like both. It's a long drive (8 miles), but will keep my urge to go anywhere at bay.

Since I need a major car repair, going to visit friends in Huntsville or Birmingham has not been prudent.

Yes, I can invite friends over and have plans.

Drive prudently
I never make jackrabbit starts from red lights, and try to time lights so I can roll up to them without using the gas and then the brakes for the last ten feet. If you think about it, you, like I, can plan routes to avoid congested areas, known time-wasters. Since I live in a small town (19,000), I can drive in a sane manner and not have someone shoot me. I try to move at a steady pace instead of repeatedly using the gas too much only to have to slam on the brakes. I have always driven this way.

I know, I know
The gas will evaporate if I don't fill it each time. Yes, and it will disappear if I get too cocky, thinking I have gas and blow it too soon. We all need markers. This is mine. $20 in the tank....  At some point, I might start putting in $40 every two weeks. But, I really like the idea of keeping the schedule weekly. Plus, the hand moving to E on the gauge will be a deterrent to driving.

Accountability
The book will keep me on course and honest and in the black.

Other modes of transportation
We have no mass transit. I don't have a bike and am not sure I could ride it for the length of time. I would need to even if it were safe and possible. Sidewalks are not consistent. Riding or walking in weeds, mud, or without a shoulder are some of the choices.  The town is not walkable. This town has two major highways intersecting it. I can walk to boutiques, the courthouse, and attorneys' offices. If I could walk that far, I could walk to the farmer's market--5 blocks.

Batching car chores
I already do this, but will have to redouble my efforts. Some days I do go out for one chore and later drive for another. No more.

Your turn
Do you have a new or creative way to handle the rising gas prices? How do you handle the situation?

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