Nov 6, 2008

Buying gas at Costco: a sign of the times

A few months ago, when gas prices crossed over the $5 mark at some stations here in Los Angeles, the gas station at Costco became incredibly busy. But when prices started to fall, the lines became noticeably shorter.

I've noticed another trend in the last couple of weeks, however. I'm sure you've noticed that gas prices have come down even more - in fact, we paid $2.85 per gallon of premium at Costco over the weekend.

Which brings me to my point: the gas station at Costco has been busier in the last couple weeks than it had been just a couple of months ago, when gas prices were significantly higher. And the savings haven't changed, since Costco's prices have always been lower.

I think what's changed is that people are keeping a tighter rein on their spending. The last couple months have been filled with bad economic news - the plunging stock market, job loss, etc. So either people are really feeling the pinch or they're preparing to feel it, and so they're finally doing what many (most?) of us been doing all along: cutting costs.

In fact, earlier this week, a colleague came into my office and asked for some cost-cutting suggestions. She said that she's started meal planning and she and her husband are bringing lunch from home at least some of the time now, but she wanted ideas for trimming expenses further. So I introduced her to The Drugstore Game, and hopefully she'll be able to save as much money as I do on basics like toiletries and paper goods.

It's all a sign of the times, but I'm confident the economy will eventually turn around. And when it does, I hope these newly developed frugal habits stick around.

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