I’m really sick of all the stuff with gas prices. There’s no reason for it except for the fact that both the oil companies and the OPEC nations can do it to us… because they know we’ll pay. Also, I’m sick of the comparisons saying “Gas in America is cheap compared to England.” Who cares. That’s not even a fair comparison because of the use of public transportation and how few miles (or kilometers) an Englishman actually drives per year.
Anyway… it is my estimation that the average person is being hit with about an extra $300-$500 per month because of the rise in the cost of gas. For me personally, I’m paying about $50 extra per month at the pump, and another $400 per month in increased expenses at the grocery store, postage, my utilities, and just about every cost is going up to accomodate increased fuel expenses.
Most people can’t absorb that. So what are you gonna do?
Let me give you two options: 1) decrease your monthly expenses by about $400, or 2) increase your monthly income by about $400.
First, here are some ideas (real ideas) that you can do to DECREASE your monthly expenses… without giving up safety or riding your bike to work. These could be permanent, or temporary. These will add up to about $400 in savings per month.
1) Step down one level with your Cable or Satellite TV provider. Decrease the number of channels you are subscribed to and/or cut out the premium movie channels. That could easily save you about $30-$40 per month.
2) Step down one level on your cell phone plan. That may be from 2000 minutes to 1300 minutes. For some families… that would be tight… but get real, everyone needs to sacrifice a little here. That could easily save you about $30-$40 per month.
3) Are you still getting the newspaper. Stop!! Read the news for free on the internet. This will save you $25 per month.
4) Cut out going out to eat one time per month. For my family of five, going to a place like Chili’s, that would save me about $45 per month… just cutting out one restaurant per month.
5) Audit your monthly subscriptions. One of the things that can really get you is all the stuff companies do to get you to take a monthly subscription of something. It could be from Freecreditreport.com (which isn’t really “free” by the way) for $10/month, Netflix, all those lame credit card protection fees, an unused gym membership, or whatever. I personally cut out 3 monthly memberships totalling $100. You can easily find $30-$40 worth of stuff to eliminate.
6) Go flourescent. You don’t have to go nutso here. But, add some flourescent light bulbs in places like bathrooms, hallways, closets, kid’s bedrooms, and other places where lights tend to get left on. We did this 2 years ago and began saving about $20 per month.
7) Go to the library instead of buying the book. I buy several books a month along with magazines. Probably $100 month easily. My taxes are paying for the library, and I found that my library carries about 75% of the books and magazines I read, and they are willing to get the other 25%. For some people, this could save another $30 per month… me much more than that.
8 ) You don’t have to buy all the new DVD releases. Some people have dozens and dozens, even hundreds of hundreds of DVD’s. How many times did you watch those? Here’s what you do. Go to the library and rent them for FREE, or go to your neighbor or friend who buys them all, and borrow from them. Bake your friend some hot chocolate chip cookies every 6 weeks and he’ll loan you anything you want. This can save you $30-$60 per month.
9) This is a good time to diet! The last thing you need to do is start eating crappy food. That’s how you get fat… all those high-carb, high-fat cheap foods you find for a fraction of the price at Walmart. Instead, keep buying the same high quality food, but maybe cut back on an extra item here and there. It could add up to maybe a couple hundred calories less per day… adding up to several thousand less calories per month. I’m not dietician, but stay away from the junky, crappy, cheapo food and just buy a little less of what you already do. Your whole family will live with one less pack of Oreos per month and eating more reasonable meals.
10) Stay away from the malls! This is a habit that you will have to cut back on or something. People go walk the malls and browse through stores and mysteriously end up with $50-$100 in stuff. Plan your shopping trips, but at least cut back one of those “I’m bored – let’s go to the mall” trips per month.
So that’s it. Cut back. Decrease spending. Not horribly painful… unless you have teenage daughters who are a threat to max out your cell phone minutes. It could be worse…. doing less wise things like raising deductibles on insurance, dropping insurance, driving underinsured, cancelling your burglar alarm, dropping out of school, turning off the A/C in July, etc.
Don’t panic. Be smart. And, certainly don’t wait on the government to fix it. They’re in bed with the oil companies anyway (see who the top contributors are to EVERY congressman, presidential canidate, etc. – The oil companies sleep with both the democrats and republicans – they don’t play favorites.) And, if you’re waiting on Obama or Clinton to be your gas price savior… you better think again.
Personal responsibility is the answer here. You have everything within your reach to solve this thing on your own.
I’ll be back in a few days to finish this post on the second half… increasing income (an “no” I’m not talking about MLM either).
I’ve just posted the conclusion to this. Go read it here: Fight Gas Prices