In college, I always watched the gas prices. I kept close tabs on the stations around. Even if I had to drive several miles to save a penny per gallon, I was always on the hunt for cheaper gas.
I really pushed my limits . My gas tank was almost on the E, and I decided not to stop for fifteen more miles until I made it back to my college town. Because that meant I’d save $0.02 a gallon.
Thankfully, I didn’t run out of gas. I made it. Barely.
And unfortunately, I can’t say that I learned my lesson that day. I continued my quest for low gas prices for many years.
Until a couple of years ago, when my husband shared some math with me.
Cheaper Gas Math
You see, saving $0.02/gallon back when I was driving my Ford Focus meant I saved a whopping $0.40. That’s 2 cents times 20 gallons.
Thinking through the math was something I hadn’t done before that point. I saw cheaper prices, and I pounced.
But looking at the math made me realize that driving out of my way, or pushing my car to the limits to save less than a dollar just wasn’t worth it.
It still isn’t now that I’m driving bigger rigs. The savings is still so minuscule that it’s not worth the headache.
A local grocery store offers $0.10/gallon off on gas prices for every so much you spend on groceries. I’ve spent the money for the discount plenty of times.
Except, the prices at this grocery store are higher than at other stores. But I was so focused on the gas savings that I eagerly paid.
Until I realized the math behind it.
The limit on the 10 cents a gallon is 25 gallons of gas. A mere $2.50 discount on gas.
To get a whole $2.50 off my gas, I paid a lot more than that in higher grocery prices.
Do the Math Before You Chase Pennies!
My takeaway from all this? Math is important. Use it to ensure you aren’t adding extra work to yourself to chase pennies.
So now, if the cheaper gas is on my way I stop. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned. But, life is too short to always be focused on saving a couple of pennies.
Has doing math ever stopped you from chasing pennies too?