Budget Life List

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It’s an odorous activity that demands a sacrifice in the form of money. As a car owner, I know all too well the price of gas. Similar to a stinky version of the stock market, gas prices dump and crest but always increase. I can’t stop the march of time or inflation, but I have developed a few hacks to counteract pumping green into someone else’s wallet.

Position Mission

Among the many nuances of finding a place to live, Mr. BuLL and I try to find homes close to work. Since we move frequently, we get plenty of practice.

Our current home is nestled in small-town America and sits proudly on the north end of town. Our home is in a prime location – a hill. A natural barrier to those pesky 500-year floods and a mere five-mile jaunt over the river and up the other hill to work. A short, scenic commute won’t drive down gas prices, but it does make the brief ride less rage-inducing.

I work the standard American metric of five days a week, which looks and feels like spending more time at work than home. Daily commutes add up to daily costs even if I am looking forward to the baked goods my coworker’s wife gifts as a consolation prize for shipping her husband off to us every day.

If I can shave off mileage by living closer to work, I’ll cash in the savings. Even if there are affordable McMansions thirty minutes from town. The house may be worth it, but the commute is not!

App Attack

Like banking, music, and how to milk a cow – there is an app for that.

I have been using GasBuddy to find cheap gas for years.

Use GasBuddy or other gas price comparison tools. These are simple websites and apps that allow you to quickly check gas prices at stations near you. They use your current location and list locations nearby in order of price, so you can choose the lowest-priced station at which to refill. The data in these apps is constantly updated by users, so while it isn’t always exactly correct down to the minute, it will almost always guide you to the best nearby prices.

US News

I know all the cheap gas stations six miles from my house. When traveling it becomes much more questionable and Mad Max-like. Especially in the west where I don’t leave town unless I have at least a half tank of gas because it could be a couple of hours before I whiff another station.

I stack savings by joining the station’s reward program where I get .05 off every gallon in exchange for a phone number. Just another way to keep my bank account green and growing.

Hatching & Batching

I have a flurry of locations I plan to visit, from the prim and proper library and post office to the wild and free ranging candy shop and grocery store but I batch all these errands to save on gas, time, and road rage.

A plan and list of locations before I set out is how I prefer to set my adulting destinations. I journey from one store to the next and make a large loop of stops that ends with the ultimate treasure, returning home for the prize of uninterrupted reading time. It’s an odd-looking map, but I try to make stops quickly while avoiding the pitfalls of backtracking.

Maximize your regular routes. Take a careful look at the 10 places you most frequently visit and see whether or not there are more efficient ways to get to those places. Look at your workplaces, the stores where you shop most frequently and people you visit most often in your car and use mapping apps such as Google Maps and Waze to determine if you’re using the most efficient route to get to those places. Shaving a mile and a minute off a route you take once a week can save an hour and several dollars over a year.

US News

Cruising on Caution

I am graded for driving.

In my car, there is a little beacon that is tracking my every move from acceleration to phone usage. Compliments of the car insurance company. It’s a creepy little thing in my glove box that is small and easily forgotten in the chaos of napkins and manuals. Every time I brake hard or hear something tumbling around, I know my grade will reflect that poor decision.

The tracker is minuscule and rarely seen, but it has the presence of a haunted Victorian child watching and judging my every driving decision.

The savings is still worth it.

Accelerating slowly from a green light and stopping gradually for a red light cut fuel consumption for someone driving a Land Rover by more than 35% and for a Mustang more than 27%. 

Forbes

Leached Savings

Saving in one area tends to breed saving in others like food, utility use, and hobbies. Luckily, with less odor.

The ultimate way to save on gas is to get rid of a car, but until small-town America has better public transportation, this car owner will be searching for ways to delay trips to the pump.

With gas prices on the rise, what hacks do you use to save money on gas?

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