Welcome to Part III of Our Money Saving Ideas in Tight Times! This series was born out of timeliness. I think no matter what your paycheck looks like, unless you are in the top 1% here in the US, you are feeling some sort of effect of the ever-increasing cost of goods, services and basics like housing and utilities. The bar has been raised, and our incomes aren’t necessarily keeping pace with the increases felt in all of these important sectors. Be sure to check out Part I and Part II also, some of this will definitely resonate with you.
This series not only takes a look at exactly WHAT has increased, but also introduces some ideas to help offset the higher costs of living we’re witnessing today. You may think you know why you’re feeling strapped for cash, but when I really sat down and listed everything we spend money on in this household, only then did I realize the universal impact this is having on everything people need to get their basic needs fulfilled.
It’s eye-opening, and here’s to hoping we can get some of these costs under control in the next year or so. The alternative is a reduced standard of living, which isn’t good for furthering the economy and ensuring the prosperity of the people.
Gassing up your car is another major expense. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work remote, even if only a couple days a week, it can be a huge cost savings on gas. While gas has at least gone down below $4.00 in most eastern areas, it’s still pretty high in places like California and other coastal states. If you figure in the wear and tear on your car, and factor in the gas prices, it is pretty expensive to have to drive into work 5 days a week now.
Although I do question the impact working remote 5 days a week has had on people’s mental health, you cannot deny there is a large financial savings to working remote. Related: Mood & Mental Health Benefits of Sun Exposure The only offset is that you do use your own electricity, water and other essential utilities, and of course there is the consideration to what this could be doing to your relationships built at work.
Face to face time is important if you’re wanting to advance your career. So there are other considerations to working from home that don’t involve the cost savings. We’ve estimated in our household that we save almost $400 per month between gasoline and vehicle upkeep since we both now work 100% remote.
The only advice to save on gas is really to try to get a rewards card that gives you something back for buying your gas. There are gas Apps that you can download to your smartphone too, that will tell you where to get the cheapest gas within a certain radius.
If you want to offset expensive gas, you can also use any credit card that you get cash back on, or that you at least get some sort of rewards from. At least then you’re getting something in return for the expense of filling up.
While we’re on the subject of cars, let’s talk about how much the average cost of a vehicle is. There was a huge shortage on cars during the pandemic. This drove the price of used cars way up for quite a while, and even new cars went up. You had to wait a while to even get a new car, and often had to put an order in or be waitlisted. The pandemic really changed the prospect of buying a car, and not in a good way unfortunately.
Other motorized vehicles have gone up too. Even golf carts and other recreational types of vehicles skyrocketed during the pandemic as people were looking for way to pass their family’s time while still not giving up entertainment entirely. The good news is, we’re starting to see these prices come back down from the stratosphere. Related: Need a Cheap Way to Grow Hair Longer? Try Horsetail!
Wanna save? Try buying from an individual instead of from a dealership. Dealerships often boost the price up for the convenience factor of buying and financing a car all in one place (for which the convenience is a huge draw, and admittedly is always the way we've purchased vehicles in the past), plus they have to cover the cost of employing the workers, the overhead of the lot and many other expenses.
You may be able to get a better deal, albeit a little tougher to finance, if you buy from an individual. If you want to save even more money, I know this is tough and we’re still striving toward this ideal situation ourselves, but save up for your next car instead of financing it. If you finance your car, you’re at the mercy of whatever the interest rates are at that time.
You can end up paying well over what the car was worth if you let the loan go its entire intended term. Why pay all that interest to a bank when you can pay for the car in cash - or even half cash?
And because this series keeps expanding more and more with each new thought of how expenses have evolved over the past few years, stay tuned for our final Part IV!