Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh, The Places You Won't Go

So I have my own version of Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh, the places you won't go,
The things you won't see
When gas prices climb higher than three

It's time to stay home,
Find new things to do,
Projects and games and outside walks too.

What can you sort?
What can you do?
What can you read to thing one and thing two (and three and four and more)?

You'll find if you stretch how long you can go
Whizzing out and about
Why, wouldn't you know?
You'll save money and gas,
and even better than that...

You'll be content to be home,
You'll learn to like it like that

Many adventures await,
Many dollars are saved
When you say no to load up and go.

On a practical note, I fill up our minivan every two weeks when my husband gets paid. Gas prices where we live are just under $3 a gallon right now. It costs about $50 to fill up. This fill-up must last us until the next pay-day.

We really don't go many places during a week, and I honestly prefer it that way. Too many errands and appointments on the calendar for too many days in a row just stress me out. We have church on Wednesday night for AWANA, Sunday morning and Sunday night (Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is starting up). I take my boys to a homeschool art class on Wednesday afternoons, but it's only a half-mile from our house. There is a homeschool phys ed class on Tuesday's and Thursday's, which we attended once a week in the fall, but I'm not sure we'll continue this semester. (Besides, the boys get plenty of physical activity during the day anyway!).

Maybe you prefer your family to be involved in many activities and don't mind paying for the gas it takes to drive everyone everywhere they need to be during the week. It's a personal decision, as your budget allows. I am lucky to live in the center of town, where everything I need is quite close. But if it wasn't, and if I wanted to save money (and gas is a biggie), I would take a hard look at where we're going and if those trips are really necessary.

On a tangent, since I used to work in the media, I find it so interesting how the media is choosing not to cover the rise in gas prices. The media claims to be neutral and unbiased, but that's so not true. Their bias comes through in so many ways: in the stories they choose to cover (and not to cover), and the ways in which they cover them. During the Bush presidency, for example, the media constantly reported on how high gas prices were going and what the president was, or was not, doing to address the issue. That same media coverage seems to be absent from the Obama presidency. Sometimes I wonder if the rise in gas prices, and the apparent lack of doing anything about it, is an intentional decision by the administration to drive us all toward solar-powered vehicles.

Regardless of what the government does, or doesn't do, to affect the price of gas, I can affect how much we pay for it simply by limiting the places we go.

How are you dealing with the increase in gas prices?


  1. Living out in the country, I try to combine as many errands and appointments as I can depending on the town we are heading too...I literally live between two towns...

    When I have to go to the post office or Doctors office, then I will write a list of all the things we need from Dollar General, as they are all in Trenton (our favorite park is also here)....

    Day Care days I plan my trips to Walmart, Winn Dixie, the bank or DMV as they are all in Chiefland...

    For things like bread and milk I have hubby bring them home from work since he works at Walmart.

    I recently changed Churches and now instead of 15 minutes one way it takes only 4 minutes...This was just one of the fringe benefits of our new spiritual home.

    The hardest for me with this gas hike, is tomorrow my eldest daughter is moving to Orlando. So between the 3.5hrs drive and the toll booths it costs about $50 just in travel for a round trip, and that does not cover meals while on the road...I would love for us to visit her every couple of weeks but know it could be every couple of months and I hate that.

    I do not know if the American Government is behind these hikes to encourage ppl to turn to a greener solution, but that would be a wonderful side effect. In decades past the big oil companies have been responsible for buying the rights to the development of the green alternatives and squishing them so not to have competition, if the only way we can reach the masses and have them demand green is thru their wallets via the gas pump then so be it...Better that than our kids pay with their futures.

    Oh one last thing we do that help the gas bill is whenever the weather permits, we walk instead of drive to visit our elderly neighbors who are about 1/2 a mile down the road...This is also my exercise, takes longer so keeps the 2yr old occupied longer...I realize with 3 little boys walking that far down a busy street might now be ideal, especially with the growing belly...Congrates on that btw...Most of the time the 2yr old will agree to the stroller which I prefer, but sometimes she will insist on walking also which is not at my preferred pace lol.

    Blessings Kelsie

  2. Gas price hikes are very painful for our family. We only have one vehicle- a van. A fill-up costs us over $50 now (gas is about $3.09 right now in our part of West Virginia.) We live out in the country (town is 20 minutes away) and my husband's job is about 40 minutes away.

    To help our budget, we do several things. My husband carpools with someone that lives close by, so he only drives every other week to work. That alone saves us about $100/month. We also run all errands (Aldi, Kroger, credit union, library and Dollar General) in one (long, tiring!)trip Friday evenings. Other than that, we only regularly use the van once a week for our oldest daughter's dance class and to go to church on Sundays.

  3. Great to think about! Gas is $3.19 here in Michigan. I need to do a better job of making less trips, and should probably brain storm with my family too! Thanks for the great idea booster!
    Cindy :)

  4. Cindy, I clicked on your profile, because you looked really familiar to me, and I went to high school with a Bultema (which is probably not you) ;). I'm from Grand Rapids and went to Grandville (and then Calvin College). Small world, hugh?!

  5. We stay home a lot, regardless of the gas prices. I hate running every day, so we have always lumped our errands together. With a new baby on the way, it will mean a monthly trip to the big city (50 miles away), so I'm going to seriously look at a big once a month trip (for all the groceries and errands) and asking hubby to pick up odds and ends on his way home from work throughout the month.

  6. Cheryl, neat to read you went to Calvin...I went to Dordt (which you may have heard about if you went to Calvin :-).

    We live in central Alberta, Canada, about 20 minutes between two towns. Right now, gas prices here are $1 per litre (approx. $4 per gallon). Yikes! We drive a pick-up truck that costs $80-$100 to fill, since we need 4-wheel drive to get down our gravel road in winter which doesn't get plowed regularly. Although we pay ALOT for gas, this is how I look at it: we've chosen to live where we do because of the many benefits of living on an acreage, so we must "pay the price." I do combine errands as much as possible and do all I can to not drive if it's not necessary. However, sometimes, especially in the winter, I just NEED to get out of the house with my 1.5 year old twins to maintain some sanity on all of our parts. So I'll just load them in the truck and go for a 30-minute drive. I try not to think about what I just spent on gas and instead focus on how the drive did us some good :-).

  7. p.s. Cheryl, I've been reading your blog for a year now and have rarely commented, but want you to know how much you've blessed and encouraged me as I've adjusted to motherhood. Thank you!

  8. Gas is now $3.19 here. We live in a little valley. There is two mountains on either side of us. The only store here in town is a Giant. I have been having hubby pick up CVS deals (he works on the other side of the mtn). One round trip over the mtn will take 1/2 tank of gas in my truck.

    Like you, we've been watching where we're running. We have storytime and a book club the boys and I do here in town, and there's always Giant. I haven't had my truck over the mtn in 3 weeks. It's been rough, because I like to go go go, but when I realized I hadnt filled up my gas tank in three weeks, I was happy :)

  9. 9 years ago we made a very deliberate decision to buy a home in a walkable neighborhood with public transit service, even though the purchase price and taxes were higher than in the suburbs. It has paid off enormously in gas savings, exercise, fresh air, and social life.

    3 years ago we needed a new car and bought a hybrid. I recently wrote about our real-life experiences with a hybrid car, and I recommend the Prius to anyone looking to replace a regular-size car.