How I (Almost) Spent Only $40 on Gas This Month

This month, I continued my goal to spend only $100 on gasoline for the entire month. I’d barely managed in in May, and this month I didn’t have to drop off and pick up a husband at the San Francisco airport. On the other hand, gas prices jumped (roughly averaged) from about $3.90/gallon in May to $4.48/gallon now which meant that $100 was going to buy me a lot less miles.

I was pretty hardcore in my efforts, though not yet to the extent of giving up my car altogether. While Neil’s elementary school was still in session, I took two hour walks just to pick him up and lead him home. I’ve become familiar enough with the public transportation system near me to know the frequency and even the schedule of the lines near my house. I carefully plan and schedule any driving so if it’s possible to combine errands along the same route, I do. And I’ve stayed close to home, so the longest trip I’ve taken was to the County Educational Center 11 miles away, and excursions with the kids has generally consisted of going downtown or to a local park.

Honestly, it hasn’t always been fun or easy to be on a gas strike. A heat wave hit just before Neil’s school ended, and I looked so bedraggled on the last leg home that a passer-by worried about my welfare. (I drove for the last few days, taking that as a sign that it was just too d**n hot.) Yesterday, I walked to a store and it didn’t have what I wanted, so I wasted two hours on what might normally have been a 20-minute task. Riding public transport, walking, and even biking do take up hours I would be doing something else, like, um, blogging.

However, my ascetic frugality paid off far better than I expected it to. On June 2, I bought $40 worth of gasoline at $4.18 a gallon, which seemed outrageous enough at the time. My “you need gasoline” light didn’t come on in my car until last Friday. I might be able to stretch the gasoline through the end of the month, since there are only 3 neccessary driving trips left, which at most comes to 23 miles of driving, which will consume less than a gallon of gas. Alas, I’ll fill up anyway, because I don’t want to risk being out of gas and stranded. So I can’t keep the bragging rights of only keeping to $40 in a month. But it hasn’t been that impossible to drastically reduce my gas consumption, and it’s my only weapon against the skyrocketing prices.

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