How one household is dealing with rising oil prices

money motto
money motto

Relative to the operations of my own household, rising oil prices have had little negative impact, although we have had to change the way we do some things here. We now group our motor trips better to make better use of our miles per gallon. We also think a little harder about our power usage, but that's what we Americans do, we adjust.

Basically, up to this point, rising fuel costs have increased the expense of our household operations here by perhaps ten to fifteen percent. We've absorbed that increase quite nicely by planning our driving more carefully, by making sure lights are turned off in unused rooms and by cutting out a few foodstuffs which we probably shouldn't be eating anyway. I'd like to think that rising energy costs are leading us to give greater consideration to our spending and energy usage. In some ways perhaps increased energy costs have done us a favor, yes? Personally, I estimate that my household could withstand an increase in the price of gasoline up to $6 a gallon before going into serious stress. I hope it doesn't come to that, but it could.

It's a collection of little things which make up the body of our readjustment. I pick up items or do errands on my way to work, whereas in times past we would probably have made an extra trip into town. We more closely estimate usage of certain grocery items such as bread, toilet paper and milk so purchases will last through until the next weekly grocery shopping trip. We think about what things we're going into the refrigerator for before going in there to get them and we try to keep things in there somewhat organized so we can find what we need and get out. My wife is the light switch police and she reminds my daughter and me to turn off the light as we're leaving rooms. She does it almost intuitively even before we exit. Doors get closed tightly the first time. Telephone calls have been shortened. We spend more time together in the same room. Leftovers get fed to the dog less often.

Online banking saves us trips to the bank. Paying our auto insurance quarterly rather than monthly saves us about $125 every six months. Coffee is made at home and carried out in thermal cups. We use our debit cards religiously, saving us money on the reordering of checks. It's a matter of giving logistical scrutiny to the things we had previously been taking for granted. The real upside is that fiscal, social and consumer responsibility come with their own silently compounding benefits and we're building the savings accounts to prove it.