I was disturbed today by a story I saw on Good Morning America this morning.
The story claimed that people were giving up breakfast and lunch to afford putting gas in their cars. Other people were lamenting that they had to give up things like kids’ after school activities or going to church because of gas costs.
I can’t say I’m all that surprised. The housing debacle illustrates how absolutely insane people’s logic is when it comes to personal finances. Let’s try some problem solving people!!!
I understand that many people don’t have a choice when it comes to driving. I live about 30 miles from the nearest decent-sized town, so we have to drive a car. Every trip to town is costing about $7, and I expect it will be up to $9 by the end of the summer.
But, there are things you can do so that you aren’t forced to choose between eating and driving.
First of all, re-evaluate what you drive. Maybe you don’t need to drive a giant 4×4 SUV. Maybe something smaller and more fuel efficient would work better for you.
Car pool. Ride with a co-worker. Share a ride with a neighbor. Take the bus. Ride a bike. Walk.
Combine trips. Plan your trips so that you’re traveling as little as possible. My parents live next door to us, so whenever one of us is going to town, we either ride together or we pick up things for each other.
Learn to budget! Take a good hard look at where your money is going and you might be surprised. What other things could you trim from your budget? Can you give up a few toys? Scale back your cell phone or cable TV packages? Eat out less? Give up smoking? Give up soda? Use coupons? There are hundreds of little things that you can do that will save you enough money to counteract the increasing fuel costs.
It always amazes me that many people are so quick to cut the important things in their lives rather than to take a good hard look at what stuff is cluttering their lives and destroying their finances. Food and shelter are basic needs that should come before everything else. I cannot relate to people who are willing to give up food to have a flat screen television and then cry because they can’t put a tank of gas in their Yukon.
If you have a responsible budget that you stick to, slight increases in prices shouldn’t force you to choose between gas and food.