Posted by: nickgerlich | July 1, 2008

Grounds For Divorce

It wasn’t very long ago that being a barrista at Starbucks was an eviable job. There was nary a dull moment, and the tip jar was always there ready to collect loose change.

Once again, though, the price of gas has caused people to reconsider how they spend their money. With just basic coffee (no “-chino” suffix allowed) costs about $12 a gallon at the Seattle brew house, and more than double that when you start stirring in the exotic ingredients.

StarbucksAnd so it is no mistake if you happen to notice the lie at Starbucks or your favorit java hut is a little shorter these days. In fact, about 25% shorter, according to a report in Wired. When push comes to shove, gas is more important, and what OPEC taketh, we must find a way to give back to ourselves.

We really find out a lot about ourselves during a sudden economic crisis, like the doubling of gas prices in the last few years. It’s like the basic Micro Economics course being played out before our very eyes…and we are the lead in the play. The interplay of Price and Quantity Demanded becomes a daily struggle as we are forced to make decisions, learning about price elasticity, and how sensitive we are to monetary issues.

In other words,w e have to decide what’s really important, and what’s not.

And it’s not just the coffee retailers stuck with a pot full these days, either. Tap water is becoming the hip and trendy thing to sip (never mind that the environmentalists are giddy about bottled water sales taking a hit).

So I suppose it’s time to take stock of how my family has altered spending habits to absorb the high price of gas. Here are a few things I can think of right off the top of my head:

  • Still eating out a lot, but getting water to drink most of the time, and always watching for “Kids Eat Free” deals.
  • Driving less, and combining trips (we live 18 miles from Amarillo).
  • Cutting way back on discretionary items like DVDs and CDs. If I must have a song, I’ll buy it at iTunes for 99 cents.
  • Cutting back on the household AC, with the thermostat set at 78.

My father always warned me that times would get tough again. No, this is not another Great Depression, but the lesson he taught over and over has come home to roost. And you know what? I really don’t mind divorcing myself from a lot of those frivolous expenditures. Because I really didn’t need them anyway.

Dr “Saving Grace” Gerlich


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