Remember the days when gasoline was $0.99/gallon? At that time few of us cared if we saved 5 cents a gallon; however, as the gasoline prices are inching closer to $5/gallon, we are all looking for ways to save some money.
We here at DebtHelp.com, put together a list of 7 ways to save money on gas this summer.
1. Use the Internet
Given that you are reading this on the Internet, we highly recommend using the Internet to find the best gas deals in your neighborhood. There are multiple sources on the Internet that provide information regarding lowest prices in your neighborhood and some of them offer text messaging services for your convenience. Our top 3 favorite Internet sites for gas comparison are MapQuest, GasBuddy.com and GasPriceWatch.com. While GasBuddy.com and GasPriceWatch.com rely on volunteers or the stations to post prices from around the country (and Canada too), MapQuest uses Oil Pricing Information Service (OPIS) to track gas prices. As a quick case study, we used GasBuddy.com to check gas prices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York just to check how much could one really save - we were impressed. It turns out that in Los Angeles, the range of prices for regular were $4.09 to $4.68 that is a 59 cent difference, which means you would be able to save $11.80 per fill-up on a 20-gallon tank. In San Francisco, the price difference was 48 cents, bringing the savings to $9.60, in Chicago it was 52 cents with savings of $10.40 and in New York the difference was 30 cents, bringing the savings to $6. As we have just demonstrated it does pay to shop around (especially from the comfort of your own home). If you are on the road, you can use your cell phone to get a text message with the lowest prices. Although these services are free, you will have to pay for the text message. In order to take advantage of these services, just send a text message to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
2. Be aware of your surroundings
Often times, the gas right around freeways, in expensive neighborhoods or around repair services tends to be more expensive - you pay for convenience. So if you are driving on a freeway and spot a gas station, take the exit but proceed a few more blocks and chances are that you will find cheaper gas.
3. Pay attention to local advertising
If you have independent gas stations in your area, watch out for price wars as some of them may engage in these practices in order to take away the customers. Also, many smaller gas stations will offer different pricing if you pay with cash rather than a credit card - so keep some cash handy. Another suggestion would be to look at the complementary service offerings - in some instances, car washes with gas stations will offer lower pricing to customers who take advantage of both services - we have seen discounts as high as 20 cents a gallon from these promotions.
4. Check out wholesale clubs
Costco, Sam’s and many others often offer the convenience of gas stations right in their lots. As part of the service to their customers (read - membership fees), they offer lower gas prices. Therefore, if you are already a member this may be a great opportunity for you - otherwise, you may be spending the money that you saved on gas to pay for their membership.
5. Price-shop discount retailers
Stores like Wal-Mart and other discount retailers may use gas prices as a way to “lure” you into their store. They may charge a lower price per gallon in the hopes that they will be able to make the margin from all of your other purchases at their store.
6. Consider a gas-rebate card or a gas-station card
Many credit card companies offer gas-rebate cards, with which you will be able to get cash back on your purchases. Some gas stations, like Shell, also offer gas discount credit cards.
7. Last, but not least, consider signing up for a general purpose rebate card
Many credit card companies will offer various discounts, rebates, points or cash-backs on their credit cards. If you are already using a credit card for your purchases (be it gas, food or any other purchase), you would be able to get something back in return. Many of these companies also offer additional benefits to their card holders.
Now that we have armed with you with these 7 tips on saving money on gas, here is one thing that we recommend that you DON’T do is follow that one woman’s example and try to set gas stations on fire in your protest of the higher gas prices. We can guarantee that this will NOT save you money on gas and will only result in more financial and legal trouble.
If you have some other gas saving suggestions, please share as we always love hearing from our readers.
As if the economy was already not struggling enough - with the gas prices sky rocketing and the stock market continuously taking a dip, the recent unemployment numbers punched another hole. The unemployment rate had increased to 5.5% in May from the previous 5%. According to the Labor Department, this marks the fifth month of a decline, with a loss of 49,000 additional jobs in May.
There were 8.55 million people who were unemployed in May and of those, 1.55 million had been unemployed for a period of 27 weeks or longer. Under the current regulations, federal unemployment benefits expire after 26 weeks of unemployment. However, that may change in the near future as a current bill that has been approved by the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House would add an additional 13 weeks of cash assistance.
This news comes during the policy debate in Washington regarding supplementary Iraq war financing bill. The unemployment numbers also cooled the speculation that the Fed may try to start slowly increasing the interest rates in an attempt to control the rising gas and food prices as well as provide additional support to the already weak dollar. The next Fed meeting is scheduled for the end of June and there is already plenty of speculation for what the next move by Bernanke may be.
As the Fed continuously lowered interest rates for the past 6 months, there was speculation that the economy was stabilizing and the banks were past their worst mortgage woes. However, these labor statistics and other economic indicators paint a very different picture.
What first started as a mortgage crisis has managed to touch all aspects of the economy. As the homeowners were experiencing financial difficulties, they cut their spending - which in turn impacted the sales in the shopping malls, grocery stores, and in the general home improvement category. This decrease in sales forced many businesses to cut payrolls. The business categories that have been hit the hardest include construction, professional and business services, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and of course retail.
Although there does not seem to be a bright light in the near future, US is still not considered to be in a recession, at least in accordance with the recession definition. How much worse can this get before we officially hit “recession”?