It is starting again. According to CNN Money, gas prices are up 45% from last March and still rising. Prices may not reach the record high of $4.114 per gallon as reported by AAA on July 17, 2008, but people are nevertheless rumbling, “Gas prices are rising through the ceiling and there is nothing I can do about it.”
I disagree. Maybe we can’t lower gas prices, but we can minimize the impact these prices have in our lives. The following suggestions should help:
1. Adjust your budget.
How much money do you spend on gasoline every month? If you answered, “I don’t know” then you have just confessed that you don’t have a working budget. If you know the answer, then you must cut back on another item as you spend more on gasoline. Hint: If you drive 1000 miles a month at 20 MPG, you are currently spending $150 a month if gasoline is $3 a gallon.
2. Establish your priorities.
Non-negotiables in any budget are food, transportation, housing and utilities. How about eating out? Going to movies? Saving for that Hawaiian vacation? Driving a luxury car? Cable TV? Starbucks coffee? These may seem important, don’t get your wants confused with your needs. Take care of needs first, prioritize your wants and cut the ones you can’t afford.
3. Manage your miles.
Driving to work is a necessity (unless you can car pool…and you should if you can) but think of other driving as a luxury. Be selective and plan ahead so you can multi-task your trips.
4. Consider a more fuel efficient car.
Although gasoline has risen 45% in the past year, the actual increase in the average budget is only about $50 a month (assuming 1000 miles a month at 20 MPG). Face reality, make adjustments and enjoy life. You can cope.
How do you cope with rising gas prices?