Tag Archives: gas prices

How We $pent Our Labor Day 2015

labor day spending

The last bash of the summer has come and gone. Now, it’s back to work and school with barely a break until Thanksgiving – though Columbus Day and Veterans Day certainly help!

So how did we spend our precious final summer weekend? Here are some stats:

Travel: The LA Times says that 35.5 million of us traveled at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend, and we spent an average of $380.

U.S. travelers spent an estimated $13.5 billion, a 2% increase over last year.

Gas Money: We spent an average of $2.45 per gallon of regular gasoline, the lowest gas prices for Labor Day weekend since 2004. (It was $1.84 in Charleston SC!)

Yahoo Finance says that overall, we have saved over $1 Billion at the gas pump this year.  BUT… that hasn’t translated into a bunch of extra spending. One estimate says that for every dollar we save, we are putting one-third toward our credit cards, ne-third into savings, and one-third into new spending. Good news, right?

Movies: Labor Day weekend is never the biggest money-earner, as everybody is doing other stuff. But, according to Rotten Tomatoes, this year was terrible – the worst in 15 years. The top 20 films earned $79 million, down from a typical $90-110 million. This weekend’s winner was the religious-themed War Room.

So, how did you spend Labor Day 2015, and how much did you spend doing it? At my house, we bought a tank of gas for a 200-mile day trip, spent $60 on clearance items at Kmart, $30 on food…and that’s about it. How about you? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Low Gas Prices = Happy Holidays?

gaspigDriving to and from work every day, you have probably noticed the price of gas coming down. Here in South Carolina, we enjoy some of the lowest prices in the US, but I still see the pattern. This past summer, prices were up around $3.40 (which made my drive to Ohio pretty dang expensive!) Today, it’s $2.62.

So, let’s just say gas is now 75 cents less per gallon. And, lets say that you – the American consumer who drives 65% of the economy – are saving about $300 a year now. What do you plan to do with that extra scratch? Marketwatch.com has a suggestion:

American’s spend about 4% of their income on gas for their cars. The drop in price for each tank pumps up the spending power of most consumers, already adding billions of dollars in unexpected spending power ahead of the holiday spending season.

So, have you noticed the gas prices going down? Has it put you in a better mood? In a mood to spend more for the holidays? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Planning Your STAYcation?

Yesterday we did a fun little exercise; asking what you are paying for gas. We had over 160 responses, which was our biggest turnout ever on Facebook. THANKS! In the end, I believe the “winner” was $4.75/gal in East Los Angeles. So, um, congrats…?

With prices like that (and heading higher) and Spring Break around the corner, an old family standby is back: the Staycation. Basically, it’s where you find interesting things to do in your town or within a couple hours from home.

I found an old Consumer Reports article online. It’s from 2009 but I figured hey, it’s still the same recession! Here are some ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes tours: Police and fire stations, movie theaters, TV Stations, etc.
  • Museums, observatories, planetariums
  • Scenic train rides
  • Water parks
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Sporting events (as well as stadium tours)
  • Camping (hiking, biking, wilderness viewing areas, state parks)
  • Regional amusement parks
  • City festivals
  • Family fun centers (with bowling, miniature golf, go karts, laser tag, etc.)
  • Community theater and touring Broadway productions
  • Historic home tours
  • Concerts
  • In-town Bed and Breakfasts

Depending on where you live, your mileage may vary when it comes to finding local fun. But if you have more time than money (and there’s a lot of that going around) you may find excitement at your doorstep. Good luck! Here is that article again.