Just in case you hadn’t noticed, gas is (relative to recent prices) dirt cheap right now. In January, I filled up at the beginning of the month for $1.88 a gallon, and in the middle of the month, for $1.99 a gallon. That is crazy. I haven’t seen prices like that in at least a decade. Over the summer, gas here was ranging from $3.20 to $3.50, give or take.
This is all killing the planet, the Russian, Texan, and North Dakotan economies, and probably doing nothing but good for various nefarious parties in OPEC, but this blog is all about my financial life and obviously the dive in gas prices is good for me, and that’s all that matters, right?!*
So anyway, since I budget $50 for gas a month, and spent less than half of that in January, I had some choices to make about what to do with the $25.
Option #1: Hookers and blow. Pro: duh. Con: I’m too much of a square. Also, how much sex and drugs could you really get for $25 a month?
Option #2: Send it to slush. Pro: My slush budget always feels kind of tight, and $25 would loosen me up about going out with friends one more time every month, or whatever. Con: I pretty much spend whatever’s in my slush budget and never see it again so this is really a way of saying “I’m ok with spending this when I don’t really need to.”
Option #3: Treat it like side hustle income and IRA whatever’s left at the end of the month. [Side note: “IRA” has become a verb in my household of one, as in “I just found a $1 bill in the street; I’m gonna IRA that sucker.”] Pro: It traps the cash and prevents it from being spent now. Con: It traps the cash and prevents it from being spent now.
What I actually did in January: I had an unexpected professional expense and diverted $10 from the gas category to help out with that. This left me with a little over $15, and I decided to let it roll over in that category. Eventually, gas prices will climb again — if not next month, then over the summer — and if I let the extra accumulate, it’ll help ease the pain of that. If prices stay low long enough, I may even be able to rack up enough to get me through summer road trips without having to dip into my travel savings account.
What are y’all doing with your savings at the pump?
*Kidding aside, for the sake of the environment I really wish gas prices were staying high. We don’t need the encouragement to drive more.
So, I had all of the above pre-written, and then a couple of days ago my car wouldn’t start. It’s not the battery (we tried jumping it) so I had to have it towed, which luckily was cheaper than I was afraid it would be, and I still don’t know what’s wrong with it because the mechanics are a little overwhelmed right now. So, I’m hoping it’ll be simple and cheap, but it looks like I may have to divert this cash to help cover a repair. I also have $125 in my repairs/maintenance sinking fund, and then there’s my tax refund whenever I get that, although I had other plans for that. I could also take cash out of my EF, but I really want to build that thing up, not take money out…. I dunno, I’m thinking it through, and of course how much it ends up costing will make a difference.