Today, I woke to the annoying alarm at 7 AM. After asking Alexa to snooze twice, I finally gave in at 7:20. I know it’s a bit later than the average American wake-up time. But, I am a night owl, who doesn’t close his eyes before an hour past midnight!
After the morning ritual and when I was at the table gulping the toasts and Darjeeling tea, my wife narrated today’s list of things to buy from the grocery. The list comes twice or thrice a week. Today was a grocery day.
“We need bread, the whole wheat ones, and eggs today, for sure” My wife added “If you want to have breakfast tomorrow”
I guessed some slices and eggs were left, but it won’t be sufficient for all three of us.
“Ok after I come back from the office, I’ll go with Jr. SB and buy those, anything else?” I asked, just to make sure I heard the entire list once again.
“No, you don’t make unnecessary trips, gas prices are too high these days” In fact, gas at our local Costco is at $4.32 a gallon for the cheapest one that we fill in our Japanese cars, a Honda and a Toyota. I drive a Honda CR-V and she drives a Toyota Camry.
In fact at Costco, gas is $0.20 cheaper than the nearest Exon pump to where we live, in Austin, TX. And my 12 Gallon CR-V tank saves $2.40 each time I fill the whole tank. The 16 Gallon Camry saves $3.2.
I calculated the gas alone compensates for the yearly Costco membership fees.
“HEB is 3 miles away, and to drive a total of 6 miles, it’ll cost you about a dollar” my wife has this calculation in her mind. It’s easy to calculate, in fact.
Just use this formula, the gas cost for a trip = price per gallon *total miles driven/mileage of your car.
in my case, the calculation is $4.32*6/28 = $0.99, as my Honda has 28 miles per gallon mileage.
She was right!
“Do bring it while coming back from the office” she reminded. “It’s on the way back.”
I felt these calculations make life harder on me, but she explained years before that when you do it for the first few weeks, it’ll be in your system and you’d never feel it taxing to the brain.
We do calculations as miles walked, steps taken, calories burnt anyway and we do not take those as burdens, and the calculations we do every day at work, those are necessities. Saving money is also a necessity.
She had a few more items and I duly noted the entire list and asked for a text as well…just in case. If I am going to have a bad day then it’d come in handy.
“Is Sarah coming here or you’re going o pick her up?” I asked. Sarah is my Son’s classmate. They live two streets behind ours.
My wife and Sarah’s mom takes turn dropping them at school every day.
“Today is my turn.”
Today my wife will pick Sarah up from her home and drop them both at the elementary school, then again she’ll pick them up from school and drop Sarah at her home.
Car sharing, ride-sharing, and trip optimization do save money on gas expenses.
These are established knowledge. But she’s practicing it, and I can’t be more thankful to her.
I kissed my son goodbye and headed for the car.
On my way to the office which is 7 miles from home, there are 2 signals before the freeway and one signal after the exit.
I don’t go to the office every day, there’s a flexibility of working from anywhere at our company.
And this flexibility allows me to drive less.
Not only gas-saving but, I don’t have to buy coffee after lunch, I get no access to the vending machine and my favorite Snickers. In general, working at home is cheaper.
I have also enrolled in the carpooling community, it’s basically a slack group at my work. But, haven’t yet found any buddy who goes to the same office from the same place as mine.
On the first signal, there was a BMW next to me in the other lane, all windows down.
When the signal turned green he sped off with a ‘Bhhrrroooom’, well ahead of me. I watched his car becoming smaller and smaller as I maintained the speed limit.
By the time I was nearing the second signal, after a mile or so, based on Murphy’s law- it had also turned red. And that BMW was once again next to me!
“Buddy you just spent 25 cents more than I did from the last signal!” I told lowering my passenger side window.
Even if he caught my Indian accent well, probably he didn’t hear it loud enough.
“You just spent 25 cents more on gas than me from the last signal” I repeated, louder.
He squinted his eyes, “What do you mean?” he asked.
“That acceleration and speed burnt more gas than my car did” I said triumphantly.
Obviously, he got as a taunt and turned the other way. Murmuring something.
Probably to show his nonchalance, he sped off once again! As soon he was able to.
In my mind, I was the winner. A good start to the day, I thought.
I came back home after 6 in the evening, with all the items she wanted from the grocery.
Over the last weekend, I checked the tire pressure and matched 32 PSI for the front and 35 for the rear tires, just as the sticker on the driver-side door prescribed. A drop of tire pressure would burn more fuel. and it’d impact the tire lives as well.
I think I am doing all I can to lessen the impact of astronomically high gas prices.
What more can I do?
I can buy a car that is more energy-efficient, probably with an Eco mode or a full EV, perhaps.
But my Honda is 5 years old only, I don’t want to trade a perfectly running car at this time. All I can do is drive as less as I can.
I go to Costco every alternate weekend anyway so, I do top up every time I am there, no matter how much gas I already have in the tank.
We go out on the weekends, we can’t cut down on family happiness. And going out makes our son extremely happy.
I also get regular servicing on both cars. A regular oil change keeps the engine efficient burning less fuel.
Non-premium cars mean we are good with the cheapest gas available at the pump.
A couple of months ago, on my wife’s instruction, I removed unnecessary things from the car. Except for the booster seat, there’s nothing heavy we keep inside the car. A lighter car burns less gas.
Note to the readers – This is a fictional story. I try to present personal finance lessons in terms of story-telling. The stories are retained by our brains longer than, how-to articles. A narration makes the lesson interesting, we all love to hear stories. Hope you enjoyed it and will come back for more. Please subscribe.
diksha mishra says
Such an amazing post, very informative and I will definitely suggest other people about it for sure.