Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oil Prices Up: Think Savings Beyond the Pump

With oil prices up, and fully expected to reach $80 per barrel soon, there's understandable concern about saving money at the pump. However, with oil prices skyrocketing, whether through speculation or actual production issues, there are other ways to save some money beyond the fill-up at the pump.

Simply put: all goods with a substantial transportation cost will go up in price.

For me, this means a few areas to save money besides combining trips and driving less. For example:

1. Stock up on coffee, if you're a fan, and put store it in the freezer. Unless you live in Sumatra or Central America, the price for a cup-o-Joe is only going up.

2. Find your local Farmer's Market and shop it for produce.

3. Grow your own "salad bowl" if you don't have a local Farmer's Market. Get a pack of mixed lettuce seeds and grow in a container. All lettuce needs is a light (not heat), water and drainage. Harvest individual leaves, not whole heads, and plant in succession.

4. Carefully consider the costs of shipping. Even if you're offered free shipping, compare prices for the product. Most companies will be building the cost of shipping increase into the product price.

5. Any good or service that relies on transportation will see prices go up: think about items you use in your daily life (Stoli's Vodka? It's Russian. It will cost more.) and whether there is a locally available substitute.

6. Group your trips to maximize on the gas expended. Defer single-purpose trips until they can be grouped.

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