IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Gas prices gouge eating, shopping habits, too

/ Source:

Americans are paying more at the pump, and that means that they have less money for everything from the cable bill to eating out.

We asked readers to tell us what they are cutting back on, and here’s a sampling of what we heard. Some comments have been edited for length or clarity.

Everything! The price of gas has crept into the grocery store and all other shopping venues. I drive only when necessary, plan stops along the way and have cut my shopping list, including groceries. My income is $15.50 [per hour] and I am trying to keep my home, pay my bills and save for retirement. It is a tough road, with few frills along the way.
— Susan, Fairfield, Calif.

I’m cutting back on gas and doing less driving … and carpooling whenever I can.
— James C., Centralia, Wash.

We have given up dining out. In addition, we have cut back on groceries, entertainment such as movies, and we no longer travel on weekends to shop or go "touristing" in the mountains. My wife and I commute over 100 miles a day, and the price of gasoline is having a drastic effect on our budget.
— Frank Deen, Blairsville, Ga.

None - I've learned to ride the excellent city bus system here in Flagstaff. My monthly bus pass is only $13, and I occasionally rent a car when needed.
— Dick Hingson, Flagstaff, Ariz.

I have been forced to cut out most of my children's weekend activities and try to find free things closer to home. One of my daughters [was] in dance and the other gymnastics. We have also had to turn down our thermostat and we each wear heavier clothing around the house. Since this is also affecting the prices of food, we have been forced to switch to generic products and I purchase two newspapers now to double my coupons.
— Nelle, Prince Georges County, Md.

We don't go out to eat as often and when we do eat out, it's at a cheaper restaurant such as McDonald’s or Burger King versus Chick-fil-A. It's the one area that it's easiest to cut costs in the monthly budget. Most other spending is a necessity.
— Jason Martz, Atlanta, Ga.

I'm cutting back (more) on everything. Satellite service is going, computer service may follow. The money just isn't there. It may be cheaper to quit work, sit home in the dark [and] tend the fire rather than purchasing petroleum products.
— JW Tiffany, Shaftbury, Vt.

Though I'm an avid skier, I just can't justify driving up to the mountains (it's more inching along the highway in traffic, really) every weekend to ski. I'm doing more hiking and biking close to home _ despite the winter cold! I ride to work and on errands as often as I can, too.
— Elizabeth Train, Boulder, Colo.

The main difference, for me, from when gas was a buck a gallon and now is the type of car I drive. I don't drive the 18 [miles-per-gallon] cars I used to eight years ago. Instead, I drive a motorcycle whenever I can and have a car that gets 30 [miles per gallon].
— Phil Johnson, Wisconsin

Our family has put off all unnecessary purchases — clothes, non-sale food items, milk, shoes, etc. Our planned vacation dollars have been re-adjusted to pay for fuel to get to work and home again. All entertainment budget has been canceled. No movie tickets, movie rentals or spring break day trips will be taken at this time.
— K A Stevens, Dallas, Texas

I am stopping my cable/broadband service since $110 a month is absurd and doesn't offer value-added each time the bill goes up. I have already stopped using the local grocery store chain since companies like Trader Joe’s offers a better value for the dollar. I stopped eating out once a week because restaurant food is already pricey. I moved down one grade in gasoline since it's too damned expensive.
— Ed, Sacramento, Calif.

We are only running one vehicle, we no longer have cable or satellite TV, [and] no Internet at home. We are walking to work more [and] having to work more. Trying to figure out how to keep our home warm is a huge problem this year too.
— Jay McKenney, Ft. Fairfield, Maine

Nothing. I drive a ‘95 Honda Civic that gets 30-35 [miles per gallon]. I'm in favor a levying a 20 percent gas tax on each gallon purchased. I think this would incentivize the creation of new technology and reduce our dependence on oil. It would also keep us out of the Middle East and end the ethanol craze.
— Clint Stonacek, Stamford, Conn.

We make sure the kids have what they need and my husband I just do without. Milk, cheese, fruit — we don't buy as much as we used to. I'm taking more and more off my list each week to stay within my budget of $150 a week, and for a family of six it has become quite a task. It's made life more difficult than ever and I am so tired. … We are forced to give up everything except the basic necessities in order to provide for our families.
— Mary Matetzschk, Bleiblerville, Texas

I am cutting back on anything I don't need. The problem is that the companies know we will pay the price no matter how high it gets. If the government truly wants to stimulate the economy, they would find a way to bring down the price of gas and stop letting the billion-dollar oil industry gouge the people.
— Helen Briskey, Hamilton, Ind.

I am not cutting back on anything because I saw this coming years ago and got a fuel-thrifty car.
— Richard Poor, McDonald, Penn.