The other day, we finally mustered up the guts to sit down to do the math and we figured out that in the midst of this crappy economy, we have to somehow earn an extra $5,000 a year just to drive our freaking car. It's totally crazy and there's no sign of it letting up any time soon. We'll leave it to the people in the Politics section to explain why this is happening and what the next president can do about it. In the meantime, we're here to help you find a way to avoid being in a constant state of anger and frustration about the gas situation. The silver lining is quite hidden, but we're gonna try to help you find it with these five ways to cope with gas that's $5 a gallon.
#1 - Eat an Ice Cream Cone
We are not promoting "emotional eating," but this is one of our favorite summer treats and it's super inexpensive. If you happen to live within walking distance of a Rite Aid, grab a friend and take a little stroll to get a $1.50 ice cream cone. If you feel like splurging, spend $2 and get two scoops. Rite Aid (previously known as Thrifty) has some of the best ice cream on the planet, and as an added bonus it has half the calories of Ben & Jerry's or Baskin Robbins. Now, this won't help fuel your car, but it will certainly help your sense of well-being, and that's exactly what were trying to do here. We discovered that it is physically impossible to be stressed out or mad while you're licking an ice cream cone, and this is a fantastic summer to do extra little things that don't require gasoline to be fun.
#2 - Skip the Gym
You can save money at the pump in two ways by walking or riding your bike to work, because you don't have to drive your car back and forth to work or to the gym. Do your best impression of an '80's businesswoman - put on your super white Reeboks and scrunch socks and throw your pumps in your bag. You'll save money, get in shape, and receive kudos for being all stylishly retro. If you live too far from your office to make this work, you can still save by skipping the gym to go for a hike or to run errands on foot. Walk to the post office and to the grocery store and to the dry cleaners and to the bank. All that stop-and-go traffic uses up the most gas, but you can get a better body and stop giving your hard earned cash to the oil companies all at the same time!
#3 - Go Nuts at the 99 Cent Store
As the price of gas continues to rise, it is causing the price of everything else to go up, too, but not at the 99 cent store, where prices have remained the same for years. Stop dropping $150 at every trip to Target and start shopping at the store where you can get thirty household items for $30! Bear in mind that these places can be a little dirty, many of the cans are suspiciously dented, and their garbage bags aren't quite as hefty as the Hefty ones, but you'll save so much money that we think it's even worth the gas to drive a few extra miles to one of these gems.
#4 - Stop Shopping Online
Yes, it saves you gas to sit at your computer and order groceries and shoes and lingerie to be delivered to your door, but all of this online shopping is actually contributing to the gas problem. Think about how far every package has to travel to get to you and all of the gas used by those planes and UPS trucks. This is drastically increasing the demand for gas. If you stop shopping online you'll help out the economy and save yourself loads of money on uncomfortable shoes, clothes you don't need, and bras that don't really fit right. You'll probably start doing better at your job, too, and become more likely to get a raise that will help you pay for enough gas to get to the mall.
# 5 - Buy Local Produce
This is similar to the online shopping thing. We are all so accustomed to being able to purchase mangos in Alaska during winter and sashimi in the summer in Arizona, but think about the cost of all those shipments. Even if you have to drive further to a Whole Foods to find local produce, you'll be using less gas than you would if you bought something that was shipped across continents to get on your plate. It is also supposedly also healthier to eat foods that you are genetically meant to digest during the current season, so enjoy being good to your body and the planet.