Gas prices got you down? Shut up and walk.


Headlines scream that gas prices have hit an eight-month high at $3.137. I can hear the moaning now. Poor consumers! However will they manage???? Higher gas prices are no fun for anyone, and they're especially painful for the individuals and businesses who must log a lot of miles to get their work done. But for the average American, these higher gas prices can easily be weathered.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: There's plenty of fat to be trimmed from most American household budgets. When gas prices go up, the first place you should look to trim.... is your consumption of gas. Focus on running all your errands at once, carpooling when you can, walking to your destinations, and maybe even (gasp) staying home a little more. For the last few months I've been focusing on not making unnecessary trips in my car, and I've been amazed at how much gas I've saved with just this small change.

If that's not enough to rescue your household budget, start looking toward entertainment expenses and optional spending like dining out, smoking, alcohol, and junk food. Consider being more frugal at the grocery store and even clipping a few coupons to save a few bucks here and there. I'm not saying we're all going to be millionaires by shaving a few dollars out of our budgets each week, but I think most people would agree with me that they could shave some money off their budgets if they really wanted to.

And hey... walking is good exercise, so maybe we should all consider doing it a little more in light of the rising gas prices.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.