Combined errands in the car

Since we’ve been married, I’ve tried to do this one and it’s working out well!

I try to combine my errands. I swing by the farmer’s market and the community garden on the way home from the base–where I shopped at the commissary, picked up a bottle of wine, went to the post office and filled up on petrol. (And no, I’m not drinking the wine. I’m stashing for the day…)  The places I can walk to on base, I walk to. I try to schedule appointments on the same day and knock out whatever needs to be accomplished while I’m in town. (It doesn’t always work out, for instance, right now. I have to go downtown to pay a bill but have nothing else I need to do there.) If I have an appointment at the V.A. in Jacksonville, that’s my chance to run by Whole Foods and drop off my #5 plastic recycling or swing by the larger base that offers more things than we have here–like the optical store.

We’ve discussed that once my car has run its course, (with its present 143,000 miles), do we want to switch to a hybrid or merge to a one-car family? The hybrid sounds green and exotic but horribly expensive. The one car sounds inconvenient but doable. I could drop him off at work daily when I needed to run errands or have appointments. I know working couples who do this. We could figure it out. Hopefully, we’ll be stationed in a more urban area next time, where public bus systems actually run. (Imagine!) The bike isn’t an option due to the nerve damage in my legs. I just can’t ride that far. But I’m working hard on that. I practice weekly on the bike at the base gym and after months, can actually turn the bike on when I peddle now! Hooray!

If I’m not giving up the car all together yet, I sure as heck can use it less and in a more organized fashion for now. Like menu planning for the week, (and really all money-saving, green things) it only takes a bit of pre-planning.

The savings on gas alone has been worth it. And with gas at almost $4 a gallon, it is most certainly worth a try.

One thing I do like about this little town (which makes it so quaint) is that it’s so small, many of the locals who live downtown simply drive their golf carts around. Most of the carts are electric as I’ve seen them plugged in downtown. Talk about saving money!

How do you cut down on petrol?

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9 responses to “Combined errands in the car

  1. Hey Jenn- I bought my hybrid used and got a good deal. I bought a Prius with 10k more miles on it than a civic I looked at and it was only 1500 more. I negotiated like heck, and shopped around for a bit, but totally worth it. The cargo space in the Prius is bigger than most of the smaller SUVs (I moved a fullsozed ikea couch in the box in my car), the back seats are comfortable for even tall adults, and the safety ratings are really good. Just double-check the tires you buy, they matter on the Prius and will be the difference between 49 mpg and 43 mpg.

  2. We always batch errands, but we also live 20 miles from town, so it just makes sense. I work in town and am able to do any errands on my way home. We can’t avoid the two cars and do have to use more gas because we live out of town, but we try to keep the drive to a minimum.

  3. My husband and I share our car… and while it is a pain in the butt sometimes, it’s totally worth it. Also, it’s kind of nice that we get to sneak in a little time with each other even when we don’t plan it.

    On days I don’t have the car, it keeps me at home doing productive things and not spending money, which I love. I’ve been making more meals at home that way so we have been eating healthier. I’ve also been more active when I don’t have the car, just because I want to get out of the house. So the dog and I will go for a walk, etc.

    If you can avoid getting a second car, I totally endorse it from our experience. But we also have talked about getting a hybrid down the road when we just need another car. The make and models just keep getting better. I’ve been curious about the Nissan Leaf…

  4. I love to ride my bike, but I’m too far from any services with some unsafe roads (drivers here are crazy!) to depend on it for anything but recreation. Nope, it’s good planning and trying to stay home entirely 3 out of 5 days. I spend 2 doing the run-around, and the weekend is, well, with the kids and family time – sometimes out, sometimes in.

    I still drive an 8-yr-old mini van (78K odo) like a granny but can boast 24 mpg (wow!!). Yes, I’m a bit of a hyper-miler; no one likes to get behind me. I rarely come to a complete stop and I coast a lot.

    My favorite wheels? Actually, it’s my lawn tractor. Husqvarna. 48″ deck. With a beer-holder.

    Love the poll! I wish we had more public transport. Keep up the great posts, Jennifer.

  5. Thanks so much for the link love!! I do try my best to combine my errands when I’m out and about. The public transportation where I live isn’t so great, so it’s more convenient for me to use my car The roads aren’t too cyclist friendly either. You’re better off riding on a path in the park than trying to bike in the streets. 😦

  6. I love to stay at home and only go out when there’s something to do. There’s a private car in the picture, a company vehicle in the picture, bikes, public buses… I choose anyone that suits my choice at the time. I love to drive but I also love to be driven when I want to respond to new comments from my mobile.

  7. We’re thinking of buying a Prius – used. Buying a new car just doesn’t make any sense. I try to combine errands too but it’s difficult. This country is so far behind in public transportation and Florida’s cities are awful. I’m eight miles from the nearest store over mountainous roads. A vehicle is the only way to get there. We’re 25 miles from the largest city and I can tell you if this was another place, there would be public transportation near my home to take to get there. It hasn’t been a priority in this country but perhaps it should become one.

  8. thefreshkitchen

    Combining errands is second nature to me since I grew up at least half an hour’s drive from everything. My husband and I have one car and have made it work for the last five years, and it’s really not even something I think about anymore. It’s saved us a lot of money and we don’t do a lot of needless driving around.

  9. These comments really made me think and gave me a lot to chew on. And Lindsay, I would have never known about the tires if you hadn’t told me! A million thank yous for the insights.

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