What to do with the $$ I’m saving on gas

gassavingsJust 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.

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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.

36 thoughts on “What to do with the $$ I’m saving on gas

  1. The Stoic says:

    What!? There’s a con to hookers and blow?! When did that happen?! 🙂

    Sorry, I’ve had a bottle of wine after making the best meal for myself in along time. Seriously, I out did myself. I should probably step away form the keyboard now.

    Excuse me while I go score myself some hookers and blow. you can order that online these days right? 😉

    1. thesingledollar says:

      You can order EVERYTHING online. Come back and tell us about the meal though!

      1. Evan says:

        There are absolutely cons to hookers and blow you are buying for $25!

        A fifth option could be to put it in a separate cash account for the inevitable return of $3/gal gas – could offset you for a little while. Just a thought

        1. thesingledollar says:

          Yeah, that’s what I’m functionally doing with letting it accumulate in the budget category — I don’t have to move it to a separate savings account, but I am going to not redirect it to other uses; instead it can hang around until prices rise. They already are, actually — we were up to $2.50 here today, although I did fill up a couple days ago for $2.19 so I’m glad I went for it then and didn’t wait 🙂

      2. The Stoic says:

        I made spaghetti, but with a slight twist. I made the sauce with a can of Italian styled diced tomatoes and tomato paste. I also threw in some olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, ground pepper red pepper flakes, minced garlic, onions, and mushrooms. I let the sauce cook down for over an hour, giving me a thicker, tastier sauce. I then cubed and cooked some tempeh in olive oil allowing each side to develop a slight golden color, then sautéing a little minced garlic and chopped onions along side it. I combined it with garlic bread with melted butter and cheese as well as a few (several) glasses of red wine and enjoyed what was a simple, yet amazing meal. The flavors in the sauce were unreal and the tempeh added a unique taste that combined well with the other flavors in this meatless dish.

        1. thesingledollar says:

          OMG that sounds amazing. Next time invite me over first!

  2. I have been loving the low gas prices lately. My car is pretty efficient, but its still so sweet to have a low gas bill each month. Everything extra has been going to my loans. I don’t differentiate between dollars. Essentially I view everything as due to my loans, but it has to make a few detours along the way.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, if I were still paying off debt there’d be no question where it would go! It is fun to pay so little for gas. It won’t last forever so I figure, enjoy it while we can.

  3. I’d be worried about quality issues with $25 of hookers and blow.

    Also, ouch on the unexpected car expense! I know how those go. Seems to be the season for it.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, I agree, if you’re going for hookers and blow probably better to splurge rather than scrimp!

  4. $25 hookers will probably buy you a nice assortment of STDs as well. Hah! That first option really made me laugh out loud, thanks for that!

    Our savings at the pump is actually going into paying down a bit more of our mortgage these past few months. I have a Prius so although I’m still saving money from the low gas prices, I have to admit I miss everyone else complaining about filling up their cars when it’s cheaper and less frequent for me to fill up ;).

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Your Prius comment made me laugh in return 🙂 And I agree, $25 hookers and blow is basically just asking for trouble, so mortgage payments sounds more sensible.

    2. Alicia says:

      I think you can get those STDs for free and still bank the $25 😉

      1. thesingledollar says:

        Good point! Now that sounds like a plan….

  5. DebtFreeJD says:

    Stupid emergency car expenses. It’s like they don’t know we have limited money.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Right? Or even more malicious than that, it’s like they wait until we get all comfortable that things are going well!

  6. I hope your car repair isn’t too expensive! We haven’t really paid too much attention to gas prices because I work at home and my husband commutes 5 minutes.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks for the good wishes — I hope so too 🙂 I should have a better sense by the end of the day, at least I hope so. And yeah, a short commute (mine is more like ten min) is great for not having to worry too much. I use about 15 gallons a month, near as I can estimate, so the savings isn’t “nothing” but it’s really not that much.

  7. Eek! Sorry about the car. After I spend a little money on hookers and blow, I usually divert the funds to other areas of my budget which need it. One of those things is actually true. 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hmm, I wonder which one is true? 🙂

  8. Kristin says:

    How dare your car not start! Unexpected car issues scare the cr*p out of me! At least you save some money on gas and thought of different ways to use the leftover amount! I like that you let it rollover though, especially if you go on a summer trip. Gas can be one of the most expensive parts of a vacation, so good call!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, my normal expense are very low in town, so it would be nice to save towards higher expected summer prices. Of course not if I’m going to need repairs all the time! At least my car is old and mostly very reliable so I guess it’s not crazy it needs new stuff sometimes.

  9. Chonce says:

    This is actually something I need to think about. Gas is remarkably low right now and while I’ve been paying less I don’t actually know where the extra money in my budget is going. It’s going somewhere obviously but I currently have no idea. Personal finance blogger fail! Sorry to hear about your car, the same thing happened to me about 2 weeks ago. I got stranded at work then a co worker jumped me off and it my car started. Later that day, it died again and there was no luck getting it jumped so I had to get it towed and it ended up being the starter. It’s good you have some money saved up but car expenses and repairs are such a pain.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      They are! I have a super old and mostly very reliable car so I guess I just have to accept some things will wear out. Sigh.

  10. Felix Money says:

    I’ve first noticed how cheap gas is a couple weeks ago, when I paid cash to fill up (the usual I pay) and overfilled for the first time ever! I actually thought the pump broke lol. I went in and got my change back, and did a little happy dance.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      wow! I would have danced too 🙂

  11. Elroy says:

    Gas prices will go up. Oil futures for August run $5-$6/bbl higher than march.

    I put anything leftover from all categories into our savings account.

    RE option #1 – it depends if you prefer quantity over quality.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Oh, I know they’re going up — just a question of when and how much, really. Putting everything in savings is a good call.

  12. We’re just keeping it there for the summer when gas prices are usally higher and we do more travelling around.

    Our car wouldn’t start in the fall and we needed a new alternator. I’m hoping you need a less expensive procedure.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It turned out to be only $350 today; I might have to replace something else soon, but this time it was at least ok. I reallllly want this car to last another three or four years, so fingers crossed on it!

  13. Cindy says:

    My budget is a little less broken down, so gas money is just part of my weekly spending allowance (which includes groceries, restaurants, household stuff, and, well, spending). As gas went down, my grocery spending went up. Partially because I’m buying more of our groceries, and partially because we’re working on eating healthier. Luckily, I’m getting the hang of it, and I should be able to start trimming the grocery spending. Just in time for gas prices to go up!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Right? They’re already rising here — $2.40 yesterday when I passed the station. I’m glad you’re figuring out healthy/frugal eating 🙂

  14. Jason says:

    You could’ve put that money into your conference travel fund. That is what I am doing and I am going to need it to defray some of costs because I have used up all my travel money.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Good point! I will actually need to pay for a couple of conference costs this spring that won’t be covered.

  15. Debt Hater says:

    I’ve diverted all of the extra money in my budget towards option #1, and in fact I’ve made an entirely new budget category to account for those expenses.

    Unfortunately it looks like gas prices are back on the rise so my fun times may be short lived!

    I do wish you good luck with your car though, I hope it is nothing major.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      hee, I had to remember what option #1 was. I hope you’re enjoying yourself! 🙂

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