By: Laura Walton AFC®
When I started driving, gas was 35 cents a gallon! Adjusted for inflation that’s $2.26 a gallon today. Who would have ever imagined today’s prices would be lower than that?
Below are the average annual miles driven by age group according to the Department of Transportation:
And here’s the history of gas prices since 1992:
Today, I can buy gas for $1.16!
The point? Based on my age, average number of miles driven, miles per gallon (35 for my Fiat) and the current cost of gas compared to, say, $4 a gallon in May, 2011, I should be saving over $600 a year!
The estimate is that today’s households should be saving $1000+ a year on gas. The question is where is that money? It sets up the classic tug of war between spending and saving. We all clearly have another $1000 or so that we could be saving thanks to these crazy gas prices…but are we?
Probably not. Enter the gas challenge! This involves another Mason jar. Every time you fill up your car, put the difference between what you used to spend when you filled up and what it’s costing today. I’d love to hear what you save over the next 6 months. Maybe enough for a roadtrip!
The bigger point is how easy it is to spend money – it just leaks out – unless you have a plan for it. Personal finance celebrity Dave Ramsey suggests giving your money a job. It’s clear you have some free gas dollars without a job – they can either leak away or you can assign them a new job before they do!