Beating the Gas Price Increases

By: Bill Black

Predictions of recessions and down-turns or up-turns are almost daily by now and many of us are becoming de- sensitized to it. Some of us know things are getting worse, foreclosure may be looming; others just find that with gas prices, food prices and other necessities increasing we are short of cash.

Everywhere, people are feeling the pinch. if you are one of the unlucky millions that is trying to avoid foreclosure, it will be essential for you to find ways to economize. Also keep a note on your fridge of the agencies that are set up to help in mortgage emergencies.

The most well known of these groups are : Project Lifeline, Hope Now, the Federal help line at 1-888-995-HOPE and NeighborWorks America. All these addresses are found on the Internet. All of these groups can help you by offering resources and usually by talking to your lender for you.

It is perhaps helpful to keep getting reminders that things could get worse, but is there anything we can do about it? Some people take the attitude that optimism pays off and others prefer to hedge their bets and start pulling in their belts.

No-one can dispute that the price of gas is affecting those of us who are working on a budget. This is one area where you really can save noticeable dollars. There are several ideas that could be adopted to save gas money.

Some households are trying the 'back to the fifties' routine, when there was only one car in use and sharing the vehicle was the norm. In some routines it can work better than you may think. For instance if one of you has to be at work really early, and one of you is working flexible hours, try and change your flexible hours to suit.

Another very feasible plan is for one of you to drop the other off. The passenger then walks the last part of the way to work; in these days of lighter mornings it not only saves gas money, but it could save medical bills too.

A ten minute drive to work can often represent a thirty minute walk - if you count all the parking hassles and warming up the engine etc. Go to bed a half hour sooner and get up earlier and walk!

Become more efficient in the kitchen and notice the food supply. This means that when you are coming home from work you can pick up the milk or bread that is running out. This saves you from driving down to the corner store later in the evening.

Approach a neighbor who has a child at the same school and ask if they would like to alternate pick ups from school with you. They might be visibly relieved! You may even find more car drivers ask to join you and you need only pick up once a week!

Some cities have monthly bus passes and if you are senior or a student they may even offer concessions. If you get a bus timetable you may be pleasantly surprised to find that the buses fit your routine. It can also be more relaxing to sit on a bus and read for 20 minutes than drive to work whilst yelling at other (useless) drivers!

In what other ways can money be saved? Well, some of these suggestions may make you wince but here they are anyway!

Summer is coming and we all watch less TV at this time of the year. If you downgrade your cable programs by one level you will save quite a lot of cash. (If you think that the teenagers will really complain, ask them first if they would like to pay the extra amount, in advance, each month.)

Well, now that you have the teenagers all riled up, let's have a go at the little kids. Breakfast cereal is inordinately expensive and it has the same white flour in it as a slice of toast that is one tenth the price; they can drink the milk out of a glass.

Here is one money-saver that will make all of us wince: stop using your cell phone for anything above your contracted rate of use. The best way to do this is by leaving it at home or shut off the ring tone. Another thing to leave at home is your credit card. Instead keep a ten dollar bill in your purse or wallet. Have you ever had a spontaneous dire emergency where ten dollars wasn't enough?

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