Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Not worth the gas money"

When I talk to people about deals I got, or ways that I save money, one thing that people say to me all the time is "You only saved $5 by going to another store? That's not even worth the price of the gas." I don't know quite why it irks me so much. Perhaps it's the dismissiveness of my methods, even when the person has asked to hear them. Perhaps it's the tone of superiority which implies that I don't know what I'm doing. Or perhaps it's just the fact that they're generally wrong.

Even with current gas prices, $5 would be almost a gallon and a half of gas. In my car (and yes, I know this isn't all cars), a gallon and a half of gas would get me nearly 45 miles. Yes, I would agree, if I'm driving 45 miles out of my way, it's probably not worth my time. But the extra mile down the road to Target? I think it'll be okay.

Don't get me wrong, I realize that there are reasons other than money to want to conserve gas. If the person said to me "I'm trying to conserve as much gas as possible, so I don't drive that far," I'd be okay with that, even respect and appreciate the decision. If they said, "I'm short on time, and I don't think it's worth the extra shopping time," I'd totally understand. If they even said, "You know, I really don't want to do that," I'd be totally cool with the decision. But just don't cling so strongly to this mathematically ridiculous excuse.


Aaron Stroud said...

It can be frustrating when someone doesn't respond directly or accurately to a point. Especially when it seems like they've completely missed the point.

When I've got the kids in tow behind me, I probably wouldn't spend another 20 minutes to save a few bucks. But it might make perfect sense to someone who is dealing with different variables.

There certainly was a time when I'd go out of my way to save a few bucks.

Carolyn said...

So glad I came along this :)

THANK you for this entry. I drive a high-mileage car (for a non-hybrid), and I usually walk to my supermarket, so when a seven-minute drive gets me deals that I can't find anywhere else (different generic brands/different sales) you bet I'm going for it! I've gotten the "gas" line a few times from people with no merit whatsoever... I think it's just the unidimensional treatment of the problem that bugs me.

If they stuck around with the nightly news after hearing about gas mileages they'd hear about the soaring cost of food. There's more than one way to deal...

...That said, you can bet that I wouldn't make that extra trip if it involved packing a baby in the car...

Mrs. Accountability said...

In my experience, people who say this kind of thing seem to be fairly well off, or at least they seem to be. They are the same ones that wouldn't take a $5 item that broke back to the store, even if they were going TO that store because they don't find it worth their time. Nice post! I found you through the Festival of Frugality. Mrs. A

Kacie said...

I agree with you. For me, it's worth it to drive an extra few miles if I'm going to be saving time or money in the long run.

Some people don't seem to realize that $5 here and there really adds up!

Anonymous said...


Gas is not the only expense when operating a car!

The current estimate is about 50-cents per mile, all inclusive.

Don't kid yourself into thinking that oil, tires, insurance, depreciation, brakes and other wear-and-tear are free.

Aaron said...

Well all costs figured in are you so sure it is worth it? Even not figuring that in let's do the math. 30mpg is what you say you get which seems high for city driving but we will use it. Let's use $3.00 a gallon for gas which is low everywhere. So we are looking at a pure gas cost of 10 cents a mile. And let's be realistic and say that the store was 5 miles out of the way so you spent 50 cents in gas. Now you said this trip saved you $5. So at this point it would seem you are $4.50 ahead.

But being smart and knowing that every store worth shopping at price matches I grab my ads go to the store I always go to and match the products. I save $5. I made 50 cents just based on gas.

Using the federal rate which I do believe is 50 cents a mile I saved $2.50 over you.

So yeah I can say it's not worth my gas money.

story girl said...

Hey guys, lots of fair points here and maybe I need to rethink my rant. But the truth is - gas rant aside - that I can usually plan my trips to not drive out of my way at all, and people who don't take the extra time to bargain shop generally just don't want to - which again is okay, but just say so.

And the stores that price match are generally not the same stores that double or triple coupons, or give rebates or "extra bucks."