Savings vs Safety

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Now that gas prices keep rising rapidly, most of us are looking for ways to save money.  Well, that was the idea I had in mind the other day when it was time to fill up my gas tank.

I should mention that due to a preparedness mindset, I try not to go too far below half a tank of gas, maybe a quarter tank at the very least, when I go fill up again.  This way, if something happens that we have to leave quickly, we don’t have to worry about stopping for gas right away.  So I was not desperate to find gas.

I thought I’d try finding a cheaper gas station than the one in my area by using one of those gas price shoppers.  The gas station in my area is very clean with nice amenities like paper towels, window squeegies, and glass cleaners always filled up and ready.  I like that gas station, but lately, their prices are at least .10 per gallon higher than everywhere else.   So I kept driving a few blocks past my familiar areas until I got to the gas station I found on the website.  This one was the exact opposite:  the trash cans were overflowing, with litter strewn around the sidewalks.  The area was also run down.  But it was .15 per gallon cheaper, so I was willing to put up with the inconvenience.  I looked around and saw there were a couple other cars over at the next aisles filling up.  I went to pay for my gas in cash.  Because I don’t like to attract attention I left my purse in the seat, covered with a jacket, with only my cash and my pepper spray in my pocket.  As I was filling up the tank, a beat up looking truck pulled up really close to my car.  A burly man in a white tanktop and loose overalls came out of his truck and approached me.  There was no place to go, all I could do was keep my pepper spray in my hand.  He asked me if I was from the area, I said no.  Then he said, can I spare a few bucks so he can get some gas, and I told him sorry, I spent my last dime on the gas I just put in.  He seemed to hesitate, got in his truck and went to the next aisle where the other people were filling up.   I quickly replaced the nozzle and took off.

Whew!  I sure was lucky he was just “asking” for money!  I would not have been so lucky if he was there to rob me.  He could have blocked me with his truck and threatened me somehow where would that  have ended up?  I had the pepper spray which gave me a bit of confidence but you still never know.

I told my husband about my misadventure and he asked me how much as I saving.  I told him, to which he said, at $0.15  per gallon, even if you put in 20 gallons, you would have only save $3, is that worth your life?   That certainly puts it into perspective.  Now I am not so gung ho about saving a couple of bucks if it means compromising my safely.  This just goes to show, some money saving tips my sound good on paper, but not so great in the real world.

Still, I have not given up in my money saving quests, I’ll just be more choosy about which tips to try next time.


© Apartment Prepper 2011

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  1. Hi! New reader from Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada. Really enjoying your website! I’ve been a long time, but lazy, prepper, but the earthquake and tsunami in Japan threw me into overdrive. For about 2 weeks I was convinced we were next. So we all have Go Bags, including Roger, the cat. They are REALLY good Go Bags, I struggled with keeping from adding more. Then I made an Evacuation Bin (big black garbage bin on wheels) in case our building doesn’t do well in a 9.0 mega thrust earthquake and we have to camp out in the park. Fortunately our condo is only 29 yards to the side door and 10 steps down to the ground. We don’t have a BOV, had to make a choice: keep pouring money into repairs and parking, (plus I still needed to buy a bus pass to go to work), or let it go and use the money for other stuff. So evac plans only go as far as the closest open area where stuff won’t fall on us. But to circle back to your topic: without a vehicle I have often been aware that I could get something cheaper elsewhere, according to the weekly flyers, but sometimes I paid for the convenience of not having to tramp all over in order to save a few cents. The store I grocery shop at most is Safeway, and I often get some surprisingly good buys, stuff they are clearing out, for instance. Plus, I am fortunate to live within walking distance of Wal-Mart, also. Before I sign off I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your post about mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. Giving it some serious thought. Bye for now. DD.

    1. I am glad you find the site useful. Please let me know if you try storing staples in mylar bags, would love to hear about your results. It took me a while to warm up to the idea too, it seemed complicated, but really isn’t once you get into a system. Get someone to help you and you’ll finish in half the time. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I agree, your husband has a point. $3 isn’t worth your life, for sure.

    I have a theory when it comes to people who want to threaten me in public places, especially parking lots (since the number 1 rule is never ever get in the car with them). I plan to look him straight in the eye and say, “Buddy, you chose the wrong woman to #*!#*@# with.” I think most men who prey on women are basically bullies, and like any bully, will probably back down if you stand up to them.

    1. Yeah that threat is best used as a stalling measure to produce a real weapon. Some criminals are just bullies, but some are much worse. Verbal threats won’t stop a real criminal.

  3. Like everyone else says, $3 is real cheap compared to life and limb.

    Not sure of what city you live in, but here (Portland, OR metro area) I’ve found that a few tricks I’ve applied elsewhere apply equally well out here, and in most areas:

    * Gas “in town” is always more expensive when near a highway or freeway – especially if it’s in easy reach of an off-ramp or on-ramp.

    * Gas is ungodly expensive when you’re downtown. Suburbs are your best balance of cheap and safe at home or on the road, so long as you don’t have to travel over 5 miles to do it from home. When traveling and approaching a big town, I always seek out the gas sometime before I get to the most heavily populated part, or as I get well past it… never in the thick of it (safety reasons, and to prevent getting lost), and never on the fringes of it (too pricey).

    * Out in the sticks, the opposite is often true if you know how to look (I know, weird, right?) A bit of research online beforehand along your intended route and a bit of planning can save you up to 5-10 cents per gallon.(Google is chock-full of options if you type “gas prices along the freeway”- I use this one heavily, since I find myself driving in California a lot: ).

    * Some stations are reliably cheaper than others. Regional and semi-regional brands (out west, brands like Flying J, Pilot, etc) are often appreciably cheaper than the national/global brands. As a bonus, a lot of them are actually safer and cleaner (the big national/global brands are often just franchises, while the regional branded sites are most often owned directly by the company).

    * Cute little secret concerning quality: In many states (esp. those out here), the gasoline is all the same basic quality, and all the additives and octane boosters are blended in either at the station itself, or at regional distribution points. The only difference is the ultra-rare “regular” (leaded) fuel, for obvious reasons. 🙂

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