Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover Part XI

Level 2: Dollar Diva

Shop Wisely

Decrease the number of trips you make to the store—any store. This will decrease your exposure to “wants” thereby decreasing impulse purchases. Really, it works! Not to mention, it is good for the environment. Think about how many ways this reduces your carbon footprint. It also decreases wear and tear on your vehicle, and how much you spend on gas. Calculate how much cutting out two or three extra trips saves you in gasoline expenses.

To make this calculation, multiply the price per gallon of gas by the number of miles driven roundtrip. Then divide that answer by the miles per gallon your vehicle gets. Or check out this online fuel-cost calculator that does the work for you, or this road trip calculator for long trips between specific cities.

For instance, gas at $3.50 per gallon multiplied by 30 miles roundtrip, and then divided by 20 mpg. fuel efficiency equals $5.25 per trip. That may not seem like much, but how many trips do you make in a month? And what could you purchase, pay down, or even earn through investment, instead? Even if you saved—and invested—only that $21 per month at 8% for 25 years, you’d have almost $20,000. Don’t believe me? See how much you can earn.

Here’s where to calculate how much more quickly you could pay off your car. And here is my favorite calculator site for mortgage, credit card, student loan, and other financial decisions.

Remember, the above example takes into account only the savings generated by decreasing your gasoline costs. Think about how much less money you probably spend on impulse purchases at the store, or food to eat while you’re out shopping.

How, specifically, could you improve your financial situation by decreasing the number of shopping trips per month? Take the challenge and let me know.



taraincolbert said...

I really like the fuel calculator. I was trying to estimate how much is was going to cost for gas if I get the new job I just interviewed for. As scared as I was to know the results(and I estimated it higher than it will be) I was glad to see it was not as bad as I thought. I think people forget to consider when they are looking for a job how much the gas costs. If you are not careful you could be working just to afford the gas to work!

June 16, 2009 at 11:00 AM

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Formerly, I've worked in publishing and been a medical student. Currently, I'm a freelance writer and copy editor, and full-time mom with two exceptional daughters. LivingLaVidaMama focuses on intentional frugality and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that has dramatically improved my younger daughter's autistic-like symptoms. Contact me at MadForWriting at