The price of gasoline continues on its rollercoaster ride with the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline now averaging $3.78 nationwide, according to Businessweek. While the price in my area is not quite that high at about $3.60 per gallon, it was only a handful of weeks ago that I was seeing prices around $3.10 per gallon. So, what started out as a time of savings, and more personal spending on my part, has quickly rebounded into more penny pinching and finance shifting just so I can try to keep pace with the rapid increase in gas prices.
According to the Bloomberg article, the rise in gasoline is not one that has been sneaking up on America. In fact, it's quite the contrary as the price at the pumps has now climbed seven straight weeks. What's worse is that for me it has meant such a dramatic increase in gas prices in such a short amount of time. So, I've not only had to deal with higher prices at the pumps, but I've had to do so in an awful hurry.
What's Another $0.50 per Gallon?
While $0.50 more per gallon might not seem like much, when it is applied to my family's weekly usage of gasoline it means my family having to dish out an extra $40 per week for fuel. This is based on about 80 gallons of usage for our two vehicles, which is sometimes a conservative number.
That means roughly an additional $160 per month that now has to be dedicated to fuel. That also means $160 less that I have in my budget to allow for discretionary spending or even extra savings. Because I stick to a tight budget every month, I am left to find a way to make up for the rise in gasoline prices so the first thing to go is discretionary spending.
Prepared for the Pain - Mentally, Not Financially
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the lower gasoline prices for the brief time that they lasted and even took my family on a summer trip that we thought we might have to forgo. However, I had a gut feeling that the lower prices would be short-lived, if for no other reason than the increase in summer time driving, which usually means higher gas prices anyway. So, I was smart enough to be prepared in my mind for the return of higher gasoline prices, but I was not prepared financially in my wallet.
Once again I am facing the fact that there is nothing I can do about the higher prices of fuel except pay for them, which has left me to figure out a way to find that extra $160 per month. Again, this has meant less for my family to spend on things that we want but don't necessarily need. Just like the fact that lower gasoline prices have quickly become a thing of the past and so have my increased spending habits and additional savings.
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