How Much Do Errands REALLY Cost You?

When I was getting out of debt, I heard that you should consolidate all of your errands into one trip to save money. That sounded like a good idea, but I never put much energy into it.

Gas was a necessity to me. It was always a generous amount in the budget just in case we needed it. My husband traveled a lot for his job, and gas was just an inevitable purchase.

One day back in 2006 I remember taking a calculator out and figuring out how much it money it cost to drive to the mall. Prices for gas were extremely high, and my figure came to $7.50 for a round trip. (You can go?here to calculate your own trips without a calculator)

Ouch! $7.50 for a trip to go buy something! At that point, I was a clipping coupon queen and every dollar counted. If I saved $7.50 using coupons I would be ecstatic. How could I be spending that much on gas without even realizing it?

After that realization, I made it my mission to save money on gas. I doubled up on trips, and we stayed close to home on the weekends. Even driving to my parent’s house to visit had an expensive price tag ($8.00). We ended up staying home a lot. I think all of those trips we had been taking were really adding up.

Fast forward to 2010 and I haven’t paid attention to gas money since we were getting out of debt four years ago.

Until Now.

We bought a new Garmin Nuvi 765 GPS with eco-route. Eco-Route is a great feature that will give you directions for the best gas-saving route. It even tells you exactly how much money you are spending on your trip.

For someone like me who loves to know how much money I’m spending but never want to calculate it, it’s the perfect feature. I don’t have to figure out how much each trip would cost me, my GPS does everything for me. I can decide if a trip is worth the money!

(On a side note, I’m not sure sure how much my husband will love this feature since it may result in, “Let’s not drive there, that would be $13 bucks!” Poor guy.)

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Hi Iā€™m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.

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8 responses

  • I’m probably the worst at making trips; I forget my list so I’ll have to make two trips. I also don’t plan my routs so I’m sometimes doing circles. I might just have to check out the Garmin Nuvi and see the damage in my wallet.

    Thanks for the eye opener,


    • I now have a love/hate relationship with it. Just because I feel so guilty for forgetting to pick up things, and making two trips šŸ™‚

      Since I’m out of debt I shouldn’t have to worry about spending $3 more dollars, but alas frugality is now a part of my brain!

      Let me know if you end up getting one and how you like it!


  • What a great idea! That would be a great motivator seeing how much gas your using to do simple trips. Imagine all of the pollution you are not generating. My son and I walk everywhere. My office is 2 blocks away, his school is 3 blocks away. We have yet to try the local bus system, but will give it a go in a couple of weeks.

    • You are lucky! Reno must be great for that. Here it takes 15 minutes to drive anywhere, and it snows so much in the winter we couldn’t walk if we wanted to.

      I used to travel to Philly and I LOVED being able to walk everywhere. Good luck with the bus system! šŸ™‚

  • I have health issues that include severe fatigue, so for me it was never about gas, so much as increasing what I could do.

    Essentially, I figure out what needs to get done, then whittle it down to what is most important that day, and try to group three or four stores together. Usually I only get 3 done total, unless the errands are exceedingly quick, but it’s something.

    Of course, now we live in Phoenix where everything is far. It drives me crazy, no pun intended. So I try to limit errands on that, too. My husband, though, has ADHD and only recently got his license again (he had a judgment against him he couldn’t pay, so it was suspended for about a decade). So I have to remind him not to go zooming all over creation just for the hell of it. It works… about 50% of the time.
    .-= Abigail´s last blog ..Horrible, horrible freedom! =-.

    • Wow, I can’t imagine. Three stores is pretty impressive with fatigue, I try to cap it at two or three if I can too, just because it’s exhausting.

      Love the name of your website by the way. That’s awesome šŸ™‚ And congrats on almost being out of debt!

  • LOL…I stopped visiting my parents when gas hit $3.50 a gallon since they live 65 miles away. About that time my husband wanted a new car (an SUV), but he fell for a Prius after the test drive. It’s way easier to breath easy when you’re getting 45-55 mpg…I still don’t visit my parents in my Aveo (27-30 mpg). šŸ™‚

    BTW, that Eco-Route feature sounds awesome!

  • I’m sure a Prius helps! We’ve been thinking about one too, but it just doesn’t have enough space for everything. Though I’ve heard about how amazing they are.

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