Monday, June 23, 2008

Gas Pains

So, buy the middle of this month, I already knew I had blown my gas budget for June. To be fair, I had no idea what my gas budget should be, so to make a budget I did the equivalent of throwing a dart at a wall. I picked $75. ....yeah, I am at almost double that for the month! Ouch!

Summer means a lot of driving for me. I am trying to cut some of those costs down by having a bike, but so far the bike has been used more for exercise than transportation. (I like to think of it saving on my nonexistent gym membership.) I have done some walking - I have walked to the theatre for board meetings and out to meet friends, but obviously not enough to significantly impact my bottom line.

Do you ever get the feeling that the universe is sending you signs? That's what has been happening to me in regards to gas expenses. While on my trip to Cedar Point over the 15th, Catie told me about her new credit card that she got from a local supermarket. They are running a promotion on gas right now and you can get $.10 off a gallon when you shop at their stores through Labor Day. Then last week, Passive Family Income had an article about ways to save on gas. One of the ways he mentioned? A gas credit card. Now I see Give Me Back My Five Bucks has a gas challenge for the month. Like I said, sometimes the signs are so bright, I feel like I am in Vegas.

But here is the thing, while I would like to find ways to cut down on gas, I am not going to stop going to the cabin or driving to see friends. One of the main goals of this blog is to keep me sane, and those are two things that make the stress go away. So, what is a girl to do?

The first thing is to get that gas credit card Miss Catie mentioned. Although, I have hesitations about it; after all I am doing really good at eliminating my debt - in fact, this is the first month in a long time I haven't put a penny on a credit card! There is a part of me that doesn't like the idea of another credit card in my wallet, sitting there like a sweet temptation. So to nix that in the bud, what I am going to do is only use it for gas - nothing else. When I use it, I am going to put the money I spend in a separate part of my checking account. If I put $39.82 in my tank - $39.82 gets put aside. That way when the bill comes I can just pay it off in one fell swoop. No building balances!

The store that is offering this card is where I do most of my non-farmers market shopping anyway. I also already buy all my gas from them. The reason I do is because of politics. I believe in supporting local businesses, especially ones that give back. BP, Shell and the rest have never done a thing for this community - but the owner of this store constantly gives back by building gardens and creating public walking trails - things I use a lot, not to mention giving to a theatre I care about. The way I figure it, gas prices are pretty much the same everywhere, I might as well support someone who has supported my community.

I applied for the card last week. Every time I go to this store there is this gal working there who asks me if I want a credit card. Every time, I decline. I decided that if I was going to get a card, I'd find her and give her the application - I am sure she gets a spiff or something based on the number of cards she gets.

I think she was a little surprised when I just walked up to her and said, "Hi. I want a credit card." I doubt that is the usual way she gets applications! Nonetheless she quickly handed me a clipboard and told me what she needed. It took just a minute and she was really nice - too nice really, more in that "wow. I wish you would stop touching my shoulder but I know you are genuinely nice so I can't really complain, but you are making me a little uncomfortable here and are we done yet?" kind of way. Here's the hilarious part - with my sign up, I also got my choice of a twelve pack of store brand pop, a dozen donuts, a cherry pie or a rotisserie chicken. Being that it was the only vaguely healthy option, I took the chicken. How Midwest is that?

Apply for our credit card and we'll give you a chicken!!

I love it! I've got about a third of a tank right now, any bets on whether I can make it to the end of the month?

Photo by bobbychuck24


cdreher said...

On my trip to Kentucky, I kept telling my brother we had to find a Meijer gas station. I was pretty nazi about it!!! And it's funny because I only have a 12 gallon tank so I was getting all wound up about a buck 20. But hey, we filled up that tank 4 times, 3 at Meijer, and as my friend often points out, from pennies dollars are made....

Dawn said...

Exactly!! Plus you get points on the card and support a business that does things locally!!

passivefamilyincome said...

Dawn - Thanks for the link. I think credit cards are great for earning rewards and cash back. You just have to be disciplined and not tempted to spend them without a plan. My wife and I have been writing every purchase we make on them for years which lets us know how we are doing with the budget. Now, I have taken it one step further and posted the family budget to further analyze our spending habits. Nice post!