Linda Costanzo's Blog
One strategy that may help is to focus on multiple benefits, rather that just the most obvious or immediate one. A prime example is using your car less often. Although the price of gasoline isn't as steep as it used to be, daily use of your automobile could easily result in less money in your pocket (or bank account) at the end of the month. While many of us are in the habit of jumping in our car every time we need to pick up a few odds and ends at the corner drugstore or neighborhood supermarket, you'll invariably save money --and often enjoy other benefits-- if you consider alternatives to automobile use.
- Walk instead of drive. If you're fortunate enough to live relatively close to stores that you frequent, you could save money on gas and automobile maintenance by putting on your walking shoes more often and hoofing it. As a secondary benefit, you'd also be getting exercise, burning calories, getting fresh air, and taking in some essential vitamin D from the sun. By taking steps to maintain your health, you'll also have more energy, be more productive, and tend to miss fewer days of work. Not everyone lives close enough to local stores to be able to walk there on a regular basis (or at all), but for those who do, there are many advantages.
- Carpool to work. This option doesn't occur to everyone because, among other things, we're creatures of habit. We get in the well-worn habit of driving back and forth to work by ourselves, every day, and we don't stop to think that there is a money-saving alternative. When you share the cost and responsibility of driving, you're literally cutting your commuting expenses in half. You're also getting a break from the stress and tedium of commuting in rush-hour traffic. Having someone to talk to during the drive can also make the trip go by much faster -- assuming you enjoy the company of your carpooling companion(s)!
- Public transportation may be a viable alternative. If you happen to live and work in an urban environment, you may already be availing yourself of the benefits of public transportation. In addition to saving money on gas and avoiding driving-related stress, there's the added benefit of being able to read a book, listen to relaxing music, or prepare for a presentation on your way in.
- Telecommute whenever possible. More and more employers are helping themselves and their employees save money by offering work-from-home options. If you have the opportunity to telecommute a couple days a week, the savings in gas, wear-and-tear on your car, and the cost of lunches out can add up quickly!
If it looks like you're filling up your gas tank every time you turn around, not to mention burning through your paycheck too fast, then finding ways to reduce gas consumption may be one way to stretch your dollar farther.