Offsetting the price of gas

May 14, 2008 5:36:26 PM PDT
Whether at the gas station or the grocery store, costs continue to rise. And while we can't do anything about increases in oil or the price of produce, we can offset expenses in other ways.

The advice of some economists is to cut back on so-called entertainment and personal care items.

"If you've got a gym membership and you're not using that gym, then the next time your renewal comes up, don't do it," says N.C. State economist Mike Walden. "If you've got a land-line phone that you're not using, you're only using your cell phone, get rid of that land-line phone."

Walden also says you should reconsider how much money you spend looking good.

"Cosmetic things, do you need to get a haircut every two weeks? Do you need to get your nails done?" Walden asks. "Personal care items can eat up as much for example as food does in your budget."

Speaking of food -- many have suggested people consider stockpiling. Some experts say things like rice and flour and even cooking oil are only going up in price -- and that we might as well buy what we can before costs rise.

Local economists have a different take.

"I think there are probably better choices for most people than inventory," says economist Edmund Estes, also of N.C. State. But he concedes for some products, buying in bulk might work.

"You do have something like pork, beef, that are increasing in prices because feed prices are going up, and those are perishable but you can freeze 'em," Estes says.


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