The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How do rising gas prices affect your daily life?

Has the giant gas on the rise become nearly unaffordable for the average family? What is going on? Some experts say that the prices could jump as high as $12 to $15 per gallon. Yikes! This outrageous leap in price has highlighted the actual oligopoly of gas and other utilities in the world, and it is far from over. While gas skyrocketed in price, the next may very well be the electric cars and hybrids before electricity itself will join the incline and the vicious cycle.

While this incline in gas prices may be a huge nudge towards improving the pollution on our planet with the decrease of the suffocating, deadly and harmful gases, it is causing the average person to be quite outraged. Many commuters are already spending huge portions of their paychecks for gas in their travel expenses and families that live on a penny-pinching budget or pay-check to pay-check may not be able to afford to drive their vehicles for much longer.

Many of my friends are digging up their old bicycles out of their garages and even purchasing new ones, while riding instead of driving to their destinations such as work, quick grocery stops and small errands. Just recently, one of my friends has actually gone as far as selling her car and bought an electric scooter as a result of the gas increase and possible predictions of the incline. The truth here is that we have become too dependent on our vehicles to take us to our destinations. By riding our bikes and even walking to near by places, may be the beginning on improvements on our overall health even though the adjustment may not be the smoothest. Let's face it. This gas explosion may not be such a bad thing after all when we look at the overall picture.

While all of this could be a future blessing in disguise, I myself am feeling the effects of this soaring gas issue. Lately, I have consciously combined my daily errands into one weekly one and it's amazing how much money and gas I have actually saved. Walking my daughter to school has become a must now, where before I would sneak to drive her on lazy or rainy mornings. When raining, it gives us a chance to snuggle under an over-sized umbrella during our walk and spices up our mornings, while bringing us closer.
Other ways we have found a way to decrease the use of our vehicle has been less frequent grocery stops. We buy more non-perishables such as bags of powder milk, canned food, more rice and potatoes, and overall stocking up our shelves and freezer to avoid the grocery trip.

Being a mom of two toddlers my job is to ensure there is plenty of food on the table. This extra expense going towards the gas has affected us other ways too. It has taken a significant chunk out of our food expenditures for the month. I have resulted to clipping coupons and saving every possible penny that I can to offset our budget. It is actually amazing how much cash I have been saving due to clipping coupons.

From an entertainment point of view, we do our best to stay in town for movie theaters, where before we would drive the 20 minutes out of town to a big screen. I value the time I spend with my family and on the weekends we usually hop into our vehicle and drive somewhere, anywhere.

My children absolutely love going places. Our mini road trips in the summer months are almost every single weekend. We explore nature, the great lakes or the beach and the cost of the weekend is very minimal. Packing snacks and lunches means we only spend the necessary gas money and always make our way home to avoid lodging fees. This summer however, we are looking at purchasing bicycles for our entire family of four and riding to the near by trails for our outdoor exploration and picnics.

We also pay attention to the fluctuation of gas. Even a few pennies dropping overnight will nudge us to fill up our gas tank, even if it's only half full. We find ourselves driving our cars only in the essential and necessary occasions these days. While I am nervous about the entire gas issue, as a family we are also considering other more drastic measures about the type of vehicle we are driving. We have discussed selling or trading our cars we currently have for a hybrids or electrics vehicles, and if we were to sell them this would be the ideal time. Who knows what will happen 3 to 6 months from now?

This awakening of the entire damaging pollution and recent gas issue could very well create a sudden demand and therefore surge and shortage of hybrids, and the prices of the those vehicles could just absolutely skyrocket and become unaffordable to us.

While I am not very optimistic that this gas issue will be resolved and equalized any time soon, in the process I have learned and discovered many money saving techniques, which are absolutely invaluable regardless how high or low the prices are.

No comments: