The high price of gas has been on the tip of everybody’s tongue lately. Locally, gas has increased by 20% since mid March, we now pay about â‚¬1.60 per liter, or around $9.00 a gallon. This means that I now pay about â‚¬30 a month more in gas costs than I paid in March. Funnily enough, my income hasn’t increased by â‚¬30, meaning that the I need to adjust either my budget or my gas consumption accordingly.
The easiest way to decrease your gas consumption is to drive less. I’ve long had the habit of having ‘no driving days‘ where I don’t use my car. We also use our smaller car, which gets better mileage, whenever possible. But what about when you have to use your car? I have to drive at least four days a week, the days when my kids are in school. We chose to put the children in the nanny’s neighborhood school because, even though I’m at home now, I’ll be going back to school next year. The round trip, twice a day, is ten kilometers, meaning that I have to drive a bare minimum of 40 kilometers a week.*
So there is a certain minimum of driving I must do, but what about the ‘extras’ like grocery shopping and Ikea trips? This is where it might be practical to consider doing your shopping online. More and more companies are starting to offer free shipping, sometimes with a minimum purchase, sometimes as an introductory offer. For example, if you are willing to buy in bulk, Amazon.com is a great place to order groceries and household supplies, which are then delivered to your door. Busy parents, for whom running to the grocery store is not always easy, might well save in time as well as gas.** This might be especially useful for staples like toilet paper and cleaning supplies or bulk items like big bags of dog food.
Unfortunately, this is not really a useful system for me. I save more money by going to the grocery store only two times a month than I would by having my groceries delivered by the one (expensive) grocery store that offers this service for a fee. This sort of service is simply not widely available enough in France. But I can see how it would be both practical and economical for those living in an area where it is available, especially with no end in sight to the rising cost of gas.
Do you do a lot of on-line shopping? What do you buy?
*There is no school on Wednesdays in France. Also, unless you pay for your children to eat at the cafeteria, you must pick them up at lunch time and bring them back for the afternoon session. Oh-so-practical for the modern working mother.
**When going on vacation you could even pre-order diapers and other baby supplies to be delivered, saving you hauling the lot with you.