Gas prices are being talked about constantly and lately they seem to be all that I can think about. Some states are already seeing prices above $4 a gallon, fortunately they are not that high here. Yet. A week ago, actually less, gas prices were $2.99 to $3.30 a gallon, now they are from $3.22 to $3.39 per gallon. As promised I am giving updates on the effects of gas prices, it’s just a little sooner than I had planned to do so. The question is how are people making minimum wage or only working part time going to make it to work? A lot of people won’t. I’m fortunate to work from home, my problem is that I haven’t had a lot of time to work lately.
With the rising cost of gas I now estimate that it will cost me approximately $3.16 each day to take my child back and forth to therapy. Therapy is five days a week so I’m looking at a weekly expense of $15.80 each week and $63.20 each month. That is less than the $3.65 a day, $18.25 a week and $73 a month if I were to use my vehicle instead of my husband’s to take my child to therapy. While those amounts seem small when it comes to things like groceries when you’re attempting to get by spending that much on gas alone it can make you feel it. When I think abou the fact that either of those amounts would pay three of my monthly bills with money left over it makes me sick.
The trips to the grocery store will be made while on the way to therapy because we have no other choice. I will also be taking cash out of the bank at the first of the month to buy my gas. I’ll now be giving myself a gas allowance so that I remember just how high it is and am not tempted to make extra trips anywhere. That doesn’t include appointments either.
We have two cats and seem to have picked up wanders from the neighborhood. I know that fat orange cat (yes he does remind me of Garfield) has a home, he’s too friendly not too. Problem is that he likes to eat at my house, poor thing I don’t have the heart to tell him he’s expensive. Since my cats went to live outside (their choice) they began to go through twice as much cat food. It seems that while my furniture is thankful I now have neighborhood animals wandering up to eat. O.K. instead of $8 a month I spend $16 a month on cat food which still isn’t that bad until you figure in the price of gas to go get a bag if I run out between paydays.
The monthly bills are another story. My youngest is Autistic and takes a number of supplements which cost a great deal. One of those is prescription, fortunately the pharmacy is just a short drive from the therapy clinic where we go five days a week. I will continue to drop off the prescription and pick it up while we are attending therapy. That will keep from buying extra gas for that. What about doctor’s visits?
I will be attempting to schedule my daughter’s lab work closer to her therapy appointments. The doctor’s office is about ten minutes or more away depending on traffic. It’s a short distance but having appointments scheduled too far apart can cost too much when we have to drive all the way back home in between. What does that mean if I can’t manage to get the appointment time that I need? It means that I begin packing a small cooler with drinks and snacks to munch on between stores. No, we won’t be shopping we’ll be walking around to kill time and price items that we need.
I have begun to put water in the freezer in cleaned food containers in order to have ice for the cooler. I plan to pack drinks, sandwiches and snacks for therapy trips so that we can stay out a bit longer to keep cool. We can stop somewhere and eat before we begin walking around the stores. The supplements my daughter takes usually don’t require refilling all at once so I plan to put a little bit of money aside (the monthly average) to ensure they are replenished when they run out. We’ll be eating a lot more leftovers to prevent using the stove so much.
The household expenses are getting harder to keep up with. I’ve decided that instead of fixing the air for a few thousand dollars we’re going to spend more time away from home during the days this summer. That means I have to purchase a battery for my laptop so I can work on the go. A lot of my work will be things that I can do out of my head while we’re gone or if need be with a quick trip to the library to check out a few books to use as references for the items that I can’t pull out of my head. This will also get us out of the heat for a few minutes at least.
Is it actually fair that we should have to begin sacrificing basic needs to cover the cost of gasoline? Is it actually fair that I have to begin taking my work with me whether I want to or now which really defeats the point of working from home? Neither of these is fair and I have a feeling the worst is yet to come. I will be purchasing more groceries at discount facilities hopeful that the expiration date is one I remember to read and trying to cut shopping down to once a month for a family of three.
The worn clothing will not be replaced until it literally falls apart at the seams instead of simply being put to use when doing yard work. Socks and cloth training pants are the exception. The socks are worn so thin they’re almost not there. The babies are fine, ours not so much so I plan to buy us each one pack at a time (on sale) until they are replaced. I intend to get the baby enough cloth training pants that when I wash them there is a full load in my washing machine instead of a small load that has to be done a few times a week.
What about the reviews I was doing to earn money? Well, they’re on hold for a while as I wait for more samples to come in to figure out if I’d actually use the products or not. Now the books, I’m wading my way through those slowly since the more time I spend reading is less time that I’m actually writing although I still read at least a chapter when the little one is in therapy since I have to take my book. I also try to read one or two pages of the book from my Kindle for PC app at night before bed to keep up. That way I can write two reviews when the books are finished.
So far that’s the plan to cope with the rising costs. I have a feeling the grocery budget is going to be hard hit. I plan to write an article about that in April to have a full month of how it effected our eating habits.