Monday, February 28, 2011

"Driving" Me Crazy

Gas prices have been through the roof lately, and though I don't have an SUV or truck, my van still doesn't get mpg anywhere near the Honda Civic I had to sell when we had kids. It was a two door and I did my best to try and squeeze that infant car seat in, but it wasn't even close, way too small.

Another way to save money, just stop driving. Alright, not realistic when you're cooped up with toddlers and need to get out in the real world. But you can consolidate your trips and try to stay home one additional day each week. If you live within a few miles of your activities this may not be a big money-saver for you and thus not worth it, but for us this means saving $5-$8 on each trip we eliminate. By cutting back on one day each week, that will save us $250-$400 in a year! Not to mention the cost when we get there, whether it's shopping, a fun trip or lunch. The mileage I'm not putting on my car will save me at least one oil change. This can all add up quickly to saving us over $1,000 in a year!

When my kids were babies I wouldn't have considered this, I needed to get out for my sanity. But now that we're able to play games and do some arts and crafts at home, we still have a great time and I don't feel like I'm stuck in an endless cycle like the movie Groundhog Day. Here are some ideas for mixing it up when you don't leave the house:

  • Do a video call on skype with relatives
  • Get outside even if it's raining/snowing or go for a walk
  • Make a scavenger hunt for your kids, give them a basket with their list-if they can't read glue pictures of the items on a piece of paper (a great one to do outside!)
  • Bake something and let your child do as much as he/she can safely
  • Build a fort, you know you loved this when you were a kid!
As always, no money-saving idea applies to everyone, but I just try to implement the ones I can and I really can't argue with the results!

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