Saturday, January 14, 2017

Driving For Discounts

Today I was bored and needed to get cigarettes, so I decided to do a little exploring. This time, though, I went a little further afield than just my immediate neighborhood.

I wasn't in the mood to go walking in 35 degree weather. I knew that taxes on cigarettes, soda, and many other things were much less outside of the Philadelphia city limits. I also knew that if I headed west on Market Street and went a couple of miles in that direction I'd cross the Philadelphia County line and out of the jurisdiction of those city taxes.

So, just as an experiment, that's what I did. I got in my car, drove up to Market Street, made a left, and started driving. I drove through some of the rougher areas of West Philly until eventually Market Street turned into West Chester Avenue and the neighborhood turned decidedly more suburban. I kept driving another mile or so until I spotted a Wawa across the street. I pulled into the parking lot and went in.

Much to my surprise, cigarette prices were about the same as in New Jersey, though gas prices were a bit higher. I bought 10 packs and a chicken salad hoagie and headed home. The entire trip took me about a half hour.

So it seems likely that I'll be doing more of my shopping in Pennsylvania now, though not in Philadelphia. Next, I'll have to locate a supermarket in that area and check it out. I saved myself about $20 just on cigarettes compared to in-city prices by making that trip and I bet I'll save even more by doing my grocery shopping outside the city too, without having to use up 3/4 of a tank of gas driving to Jersey and back.

Funny thing is, I don't know if I'd have bothered to go on that exploration trip if I hadn't been so annoyed by the new Philly soda tax, but now that I know how much I can save with just a few minutes drive I doubt I'll ever willingly pay city tax again except in absolute emergencies. So, in reality, the city will now get much less from me in taxes than they would have if they hadn't levied that stupid soda tax. Bet I'm not the only one either.