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Pamela's Column for Pacific Publishing

I never thought that turning the key in the ignition of my vehicle would be a financial commitment with enough stress attached to it to make me run for a bag of chocolate, or a financial adviser.

Actually, a financial advisor who handed out chocolate would be my first choice. Stress of this nature has historically been reserved for decisions on whether or not I could afford to purchase a house, not whether or not I can afford to buy my little girl a Happy Meal because I still need to fill my gas tank. According to AAA gas prices are up a whopping 21% since last year. My paycheck has definitely not kept up, but I estimate that my chocolate consumption has increased exponentially.

But I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl, so I’m always looking for that silver lining in the dark and evil storms that surround and threaten to engulf us, leaving us in financial ruin by the side of the road, eviscerated by the fickle financial winds and….um, where was I? Oh yes, looking on the bright side.

As with all things in life with a financial impact, planning is key. I save up my entire errand running list until I have a schedule as tight as possible.

“Mommy, we need to go to the store for toilet paper ‘cause we’re out”

“You’ll wait until we have 2 more errands to run, boy”

“But Mooooom! We need toilet paper!”

“Pretend you’re camping and you don’t even have a bathroom, what would you do then?”


“Exactly. Now get outside and practice your survival skills. ”
As well as teaching my children the benefits of finding creative solutions to life’s little problems, its helping us draw closer together as a family as we work out life’s little issues.

“Come wipe me I’m done!”

“You’re old enough to do that for yourself now”

“But I don’t like how those leaves feel!”

“Listen, when I married you for better or for worse I never said I’d do this for you”

Another added benefit to high gas prices is that it has increased my sense of moral superiority. You can never feel too high and mighty. Whereas before I used to be somewhat of a lead foot, now I’m a bit slower. According to my children, you could walk faster than I drive.

“Mom, why are all the cars passing us?”

“Because they’re evil speeders, honey. They have no respect for the law.”

“Mommy, how come you used to pass everyone before?”

“Hush up and look for trees with leaves on them. Your brother has to go to the bathroom”

So while gas prices continue to climb, make sure you use this as a teaching experience for your children. Show them that it’s ok to think outside the gas tank. Remind them that they have two feet and can walk places. You used to do it, right? Uphill both ways in the snow with cardboard in your shoes to keep the wet out, just like your parents before you. And make sure you have plenty of leaves on hand.


  1. Oh yeah!! grin. We try to add up errands at the same time too. We have a son that we talked into taking the bus/train to and from work, but he still wants to be picked up...we're trying to get him to WALK! sigh. Haven't thought of leaves for the TP yet though...we're getting quite a supply of that. grin.

  2. oh, I love this! I did that too, even b4 gas prices got so bad but now, heck, I will spend an hour making a list of everywhere I need to go and map it out before I start the car, lol

  3. As a Financial Fitness Coach (who by the way will pick up a bag of chocolates for my clients) I certainly love your hilarious spin on a topic that's not entirely a laughing matter these days.

    Your post reminds me of when I was growing up in a family of 7 kids and my Mom had to "encourage" us to be "creative"...

    I have to say that reading your post and looking back has made me appreciate a Mom who turned a "make me wanna holla" (a la Marvin Gaye) situation into some of the best family stories of our lives.

    Keep a smile (and a bit of chocolate) always!

    The Financial Fitness Coach


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