Is the Deal Worth the Drive? -- Savings Experiment

Savings Experiment: Driving for Cheap Goods
Savings Experiment: Driving for Cheap Goods

Good deals can be found in plenty of places, but could the cost of going the extra mile outweigh your savings? Here, our experts break things down to dollars and sense.

The average price of a gallon of gas right now is $3.97. If your car gets approximately 23 miles per gallon, that means you're getting about 6 miles for every dollar you spend on gas.

Let's say your local supermarket, which is just .5 miles away, sells detergent for $5. Then you find a deal for the same product priced at $4.50, but the discount retailer is 12 miles away. It will cost you an extra two dollars to get there, which negates the 50 cents you're saving on the detergent. You're spending actually spending more than you're saving.

Beyond the cost of gas, you're also using up extra time, putting more wear on your tires, and using up oil life. Sure, the effects may be small, but if you're often driving out of your way for deals, they can add up.

So, when it comes to getting a bargain, calculate your drive first and make sure the distance is worth the deal.