Friday, June 6, 2008

Frugal Friday

It's rainy and miserable. But here's a photo of the pot of mint that's waiting for Mojito's if when the sun comes out again.

Yesterday I paid $4.31 a gallon to fill up my car. It's ridiculous!

Our gas bill for May was, however, only $125 compared to $183 in March and $223 in April. It'll probably be higher in June because gas prices have gone up by almost a dollar a gallon, but I think we're doing pretty well.

I will list a couple of things we do. I'm aware that not everyone has the options available to us but maybe one or two of these will help.

Combine errands
This is by far the biggest fuel saver.

Currently it costs about 50c a mile to drive my car, excluding depreciation and car payments. There are some good stats for car ownership costs here. To calculate your cost per mile in fuel only the formula is as follows: (Price per gallon of fuel) / (Avg. mpg)

I have a list with columns for Home Depot, Costco, Trader Joe's, the fabric store (of course), etc. - all the stores I visit regularly. When a need comes up, I (1) ask myself if it's urgent, (2) if not, write it down on the list. When the lists gets pretty long or I have to get something NOW (like fabric), I visit the stores all in one trip.

Keep your tires inflated correctly
Every pound-per-inch under the manufacturer's recommendation for your tires loses you one mile per gallon per fill-up. Really.

Drive like an old lady (almost)
Don't pull away from the traffic light like Jeff Gordon at the start of a Nascar race. Don't race the guy next to you to try and get to the lane merge first.
DON'T, however, do 30mph in the 45mph zone or 40mph in the fast lane on the freeway. That would be taking it over the top.

Shop around for gas will give you up to date gas prices for stations in your area. Don't make a special trip out of your way for cheaper gas, but if you're in the neighborhood of a cheaper gas station while running your errands, it may be an option. Prices around here differ up to 25c a gallon, which, in my car is about $4 a fill-up. Nothing to sneeze at.
I am picky about where I fill up because I fully believe that I get better gas mileage at Shell, Chevron, or 76 than at ARCO, for instance.

Use public transportation
Here we are lucky. The public transport system is great. My husband has always taken the bus to work and his company pays for the bus pass. It takes longer, but allows him to get some work done, reduces the stress of sitting in traffic, and saves gas and parking.


  1. Gas is outrageous but I guess it makes us do things we should have already been doing. I am carpooling to work now. And its good. I should have been doing this for a while.

  2. thanks for the great tips, you should try gas prices here in the UK - our most expensive gas station - the nearest has gas for $10.49 per gallon..........

  3. Hurry up and stop raining - I'm heading on over for one of those they sound terrific! Petrol and diesel prices here in the UK are phenomenal - it used to cost be about £50 to fill my tank from so empty it was running on fumes now its nearer £65 and that's only in a few weeks

  4. ouch...that's a lot to pay for gas. I am enjoying your frugal friday tips. :) my husband starts a longer commute next monday...but he will be carpooling, and for that I am thankful. I'm also very thankful for his job, and that it allows me to stay home with the kids, so I can't complain.

  5. After living in the UK I was pretty disappointed in the public transportation here in California. To be honest, one of its main disadvantages is the people who ride it. After a couple of nervous trips, I now avoid it. I wish they would realise that's the real reason people won't use it then maybe they would make the right improvements...

    I do walk / cycle often and combine errands on trips too far to haul the kids in the bike trailer, though.

  6. I am so with you on combining errands! If I don't have to do it right away, I don't and will save it for when I can do it with other errands. I also shop around for my gas as well and generally know where the cheapest is, however CT has one of the highest rates per gallon in the states. Regular starting at around $4.29 per gallon. We also have the privilege of having the highest gas taxes in the nation. It is definitely a double whammy. Where as in NJ, it can be up to $.35 cheaper per gallon and they pump your gas for you. It is against NJ law to pump your gas. So go figure, they pay employees to pump and their gas is still cheaper??!!

  7. LOVE mojitos. Do you have a great recipe?

    Thanks for tips. With gas just having gone up to $4.51 locally (for the cheapest) anything will help.

  8. Thanks for the gas saving tips! Here in the Phoenix-Metro area the public transportation system is horrible! For example, next year I am putting my son at a better high school than the one he is supposed to be attending. I was hoping the bus could get him there and back, the city bus, that is. Nope, doesn't go out there LOL. Sheesh! So guess what mom will be doing next year? Yep, 7 miles there, 7 miles back daily I'll be transporting. I should get a mom's taxi bumper sticker LOL.

  9. great tips. I'm lucky in that the grocery store is less than a mile away and on our way home from work. DH and I carpool to save money and redmond has that great incentive thing on their commute website (is your DH signed up?)

    if it wasn't for the time factor, we'd definitely use that great bus system more.