On Managing Your Finances as a Young Professional

————————————————————————————————————————
Welcome to My Personal Finance Journey! If you are new here, please read the “About” or “First-Time Visitor” pages to find out more about us. If you would like to receive free updates on articles like this by email, then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check us out on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for visiting! Keep on learning!
————————————————————————————————————————

spending management saving money jobs frugal living financial planning

Click here to enter my free giveaway for 5 copies of H&R Block At Home Premium Edition


Today’s guest post comes to us from Alvina Lopez. Alvina is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges.

On Managing Your Finances as a Young Professional

Entering the real world can be a daunting experience, especially for the many college students these days who were given assistance from grants, loans, scholarships, and their parents. 


The truth is, we don’t fully appreciate the money in our bank accounts unless we’ve poured our own blood, sweat, and tears in to earning it. As responsible adults, it’s important that we manage it properly in order to avoid going broke, damaging our credit, and generally making life more difficult than it should be. Here are a few tips we’ve compiled that’ll help you get off to the right start financially:

Resist spending too much from the get-go



This one is certainly common sense, but you’d be surprised by the amount of young adults who go crazy after their first few paychecks. You can avoid that by composing a monthly finance sheet. Once you’re familiar with how much you’ll be earning after taxes, calculate how much you’ll be spending on bills — you’ll likely have rent, electric, water, internet, phone, student loans, car insurance, and hopefully not much else. Subtract those necessary expenses from your income after taxes and you’ll have your disposable income, which can be used for food, gas, clothes and entertainment. 


After a couple months of familiarizing yourself with your finances, you should know if you can afford to take on any additional payments. You don’t want to live month to month.

Save, save, save



Have some money left over after each month? Great, then you’re doing your job. However, don’t be tempted to splurge on items and services you don’t truly need. For example, you don’t need the premium cable channels. Don’t eat out each day. Bring your lunch to work. Set a limit to how much you spend on food each week, and only buy what you know you’ll eat from the store. Plan your car use and save on gas. The money you save can be used for more necessary stuff or put into savings. It’s always good to have cushion just in case unforeseeable circumstances — like car troubles or being laid off — affect your pocket book.

Enroll in online automatic bill-pay programs



The bills will add up now that you’re entirely on your own. Keeping track of all of those bills and when they’re due can be difficult given your other newfound responsibilities as an adult. Fortunately, you can save the hassle by enrolling in online automatic bill-pay programs on the websites of either your bank or the company you’re paying.  As a result, you won’t miss payments and you’ll build your credit, saving money in the long run.

Determine when the time is right to purchase a car



Living in a commuter city and still driving that hunk of metal and plastic your parents bought you for your 17th birthday? You may not have much of choice but to buy (or lease) a car. Of course, you should consider doing so only if you earn enough and spend modestly, otherwise you should consider public transportation and carpooling. 


Leasing can offer lower monthly payments, but you’ll be paying for a while until the lease is up. If you plan to buy, you should be prepared to provide a hefty down payment. Obviously, the process of buying (or leasing) is extremely complicated and requires a considerable commitment of time in order to get the best price possible. Here’s some a great advice about car buying from mint.com.

Enroll in a personal financial management service such as mint.com



Free of charge, the aforementioned Mint.com provides more than just financial advice, allowing users to track their bank and savings accounts, loans, credit cards, and spending habits. That information also helps them set goals and establish budgets. Even if you aren’t earning a lot of money and your financial situation isn’t overly complicated, it’s a great tool to have. You can never be too prepared on your new financial journey.

How about you all? What tips helped you get ahead on your finances after joining the real world after college? What didn’t work for you? 


Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • @ Resisting spending from the get-go
    • I am continuously amazed at how many people feel seemingly obligated to load up on a extra debt the minute that they have a real job. You think, “Hey, I’m making $60k, I gotta spend it somehow, right?”
    • But, you really can give yourself a head start on life by resisting the urge to buy a house, a new car, new furniture, and new sound equipment the first year out of undergrad. 
    • Another fact of life is that having more debt makes you less flexible in your life plans. Think about it, if in 2 years after starting working, you want to go back to graduate school, you won’t be able to afford to take that step if you are $100k in debt on cars, houses, etc. The same thing goes with if you were asked to move to be with someone you were wanting to marry. 
  • Two of the most important things I did coming out of college were 1) establish an emergency fund with 6-9 months of expenses in liquid, cash assets (high yield money market online savings account) and 2) set up and fully fund a Roth IRA each year. Do both of these things and you’ll be well on your way to financial freedom! 
  • @Mint.com – I have signed up for Mint.com, but have never really used it. For me, I have a very good idea about where I am financially each month that the budgeting interface Mint offers doesn’t add any value. 
    • How about you all? Do you use Mint.com? How does it work out for you?

***Photo courtesy of http://www.clevelandwomen.com/images/virginia-marti/03-26-08column/young-professional-women-2.jpg

Is Gold Going to Keep Going Up?

————————————————————————————————————————
Welcome to My Personal Finance Journey! If you are new here, please read the “About” or “First-Time Visitor” pages to find out more about us. If you would like to receive free updates on articles like this by email, then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check us out on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for visiting! Keep on learning!
————————————————————————————————————————

investing gold

Click here to enter my free giveaway for 5 copies of H&R Block At Home Premium Edition


Today’s guest post comes to us from Alban. Alban is a contributing writer at Home Loan Finder, a home loan comparison website

Is Gold Going to Keep Going Up?


Investing in gold is a popular investment choice, especially in times of financial crisis when it remains strong when compared to investments such as real estate and stocks, and even increases in value. However, with the worst of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) over for many countries, is gold still a good investment?

Overseas Influences on Gold Prices

In March 2011 gold is still hitting record highs and on 2-March, was at an all time high value of $1,440.10 per ounce, the highest it has been since 7 December 2010.  While some traders believe this value is still not as comparatively high as it should be, being slowed with capped rallies, and not exhibiting the frenzied buying.

Gold continues to rise in value and become more popular as social unrest increases in the Middle East and North Africa raising the prices of oil. However, eyes on the Western world see the financial imbalances in the western economies as a more dangerous long term threat to financial security. 


A higher gold price would also be beneficial for the US due to its budget deficit, so even though the initial shocks of the GFC are over, the after-effects can be seen as just as harmful to the stability of economies as there are now increased feelings of fear and uncertainty, should such a crisis happen again.

In the long term, gold is always a good investment option because of its ability to ride out economic uncertainty and global pressures. In India, investors have always looked at the long term results and India is the largest consumer of gold, followed by China, and China’s demand is expected to increase by 40% in 2011.

Rising Gold Prices

In 2010, when gold had already risen to $1,200 an ounce, predications of $3,000 or $5,000 an ounce for gold seemed crazy, but they are not now very far wrong. Analysts and investors are always aiming to predict where gold values will go in the future, and as a result, the calculation used during President Nixon’s time when the convertibility of the dollar for gold was temporarily removed.

The real price of gold is actually much higher in terms of US dollar convertibility, because with $13.789 trillion in circulation, and using a gold price of $1,200 per ounce, if the US had to return to a gold-backed dollar, the government would need to hold 11.5 billion ounces of gold. In 1971 when Nixon temporarily removed the convertibility of the dollar, the US money supply was valued at $35 an ounce, based on the supply to price ratio.

However, currently the US government only holds 261.5 million ounces of gold, so to make the dollar convertible again, the gold price is really $52,381 and with the US money supply growing every day, this figure will continue to go up.

In early 2011, gold continued to rise, and not just sporadically, but in consecutive weeks. Gold is an attractive investment option because of the rising oil prices, but if the increase in the cost of oil continues, the potential is there to stunt economic growth – rather than the price of oil rising because of demand, it is rising because of shocks to the supply.

For example, a $10 movement in the price of oil can cut 25 to 50 basis points from the GDP growth of the US and with this sort of impact, the GDP will struggle to show growth at all in 2011. If GDP growth doesn’t perform in 2011, the Federal Reserve will maintain their soft approach to monetary policy and it could be years before they raise official interest rates again. With high oil prices and a stagnant economy, gold will continue to be in demand as the investment of choice.

Rising Gold Prices in the Future

Gold has seen an incredible rise in value, and if you have invested in the precious metal early then you will be glad of your foresight. However, if you’re not already invested, or wondering how to manage your gold investments for the future, you have to wonder whether this ride has reached its peak.

As you make your decisions on what to do with your investment portfolio, consider all of the factors which are influencing the rising gold price. Gold prices continue to be ruled by the principle of supply and demand – when you leave out the influences of geopolitics, and accept the Global Financial Crisis as a simple low point in the investment time line, then you are operating in a unique market, which could result in a perfect storm situation.

When so many investors seek to diversify their portfolios through capital appreciation, they are mimicking a trend often seen over the long term. However, at the same time, central banks are looking to balance their portfolios too, and this is an unexpected factor, which hasn’t been seen on the market for decades. Plus, not only are the central banks shifting the focus of their portfolios, they are competing for the available gold.

With investors and bankers both focused on gold, which is not reliant on someone’s ability to repay their mortgage for example, the demand is also magnified by a stalled supply in the mines, as gold miners try to produce more gold than they have to replenish their reserves.

Plus, even though China set to surpass India as the largest consumer of gold in the world, the central bank in India was able to beat China to their purchases from IMF. The fact that the two largest countries in the world are competing so vehemently for the limited supply of gold, implies gold shares should be a good investment for anyone to have.

The current gold situation can be likened to the situation of the Dow Jones Industrials Average in the 1980s, where the index broke into four digits, and those who understood the trend were able to make their money simply by buying and holding onto equities as their value continued to increase. The same philosophy is likely to be realised in the current climate, yet many investors are still wary of the precious metal.

However, most investors’ concerns are unfounded. For example, gold is not a commodity which is moving in line with liquidity driven bubbles because if it was, when oil fell 75% from its peak of $140, gold should have dropped lower, but instead gold went higher. This is because gold is not actually a commodity, but a currency, and the one which is performing the best in the world, and not just against the dollar because gold is strong even against the powerful Swiss francs.

It is also important to note that gold isn’t actually in a bubble anyway because for a market to be in a bubble, an asset should be so over-owned that no one wants to buy it when the prices go down. However, since gold represents less than half a percent of the global financial assets, it is actually the most under-owned asset.

Over the last decade gold has been the most profitable, and the safest, financial asset, having ended each year at a higher value than the previous one. With everything that has happened around the world in the last 10 years, that makes gold an asset worth considering, because with strength through such crises it is likley to keep going up.

How about you all? Do you invest in gold? What strategy do you use to work it in to your asset allocation? Have you made much money with it in the long run?


Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • There are a lot of good considerations above, especially some very good commentary of how world events are affecting the financial markets. However, this might leave the individual asking just how gold should be worked in to your investing strategy. This is particularly true if you are a passive investor, like I am.
  • Currently, I do not have any exposure to gold in my overall asset allocation strategy. In fact, writing a post considering if I should add exposure to gold has been on my to-do list for quite some time now.
  • In short, if I were to add exposure to gold in my portfolio, I would look for an index fund offered by Vanguard, in order to be in line with my passive investing strategy.
  • As it turns out, the closest thing that Vanguard has to a gold mutual fund is the Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining mutual fund, symbol VGPMX. Even though this is an actively managed fund (a big red flag in my book), it does carry only an expense ratio of 0.27%. Because of the low expenses, it would be the most likely candidate that I would employ in my asset allocation. However, further investigation would be needed in order for me to execute upon this idea. Keep an eye out for a future post on this!
  • One more question came up in my mind as I was reading this article – does anyone know if gold has increased in value due to recent events in Japan?

***Photo courtesy of http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ECD1Tci9nwc/TFcn0lZYVgI/AAAAAAAAA2g/Gg2Ix2WO7kQ/s1600/should+invest+gold.jpg

Are Extended Auto Warranties a Scam?

————————————————————————————————————————
Welcome to My Personal Finance Journey! If you are new here, please read the “About” or “First-Time Visitor” pages to find out more about us. If you would like to receive free updates on articles like this by email, then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check us out on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for visiting! Keep on learning!
————————————————————————————————————————

warranties used cars rental cars new cars insurance

Click here to enter my free giveaway for 5 copies of H&R Block At Home Premium Edition


The following is a guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes about online car insurance quotes for www.insurancequotes.org. 

Are Extended Auto Warranties a Scam?

When you buy a new car you will more than likely be offered the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty, which is intended to protect you over and above the manufacturer’s warranty. 


In theory, these warranties sound like a good idea, but many people consider them unnecessary–some even call them a scam. It’s a debate that will probably go on for a while because the answer is subjective. 


Are extended auto warranties a scam? The truth is that it depends on the buyer and the situation.


What Is an Extended Warranty?


An extended warranty is basically an insurance policy. It is designed to provide you with financial protection after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. The standard in the automotive industry is a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty. There are exceptions, but that is the most common. 


An extended warranty will kick in after that and provide coverage for whatever length of time you choose. You will also have to decide exactly what is and isn’t going to be covered. Of course, the longer the period of time and the more detailed the coverage, the bigger your payments will be.


Is It Necessary?


The decision on whether or not to buy an extended warranty is totally up to you. No one can force you to, but car dealers and manufacturers would like to make you think you’d be sorry if you didn’t. In fact, they seem to try very hard to sell them, which would lead you to believe they’re extremely profitable–for the dealer and manufacturer. Following that thought to its obvious conclusion, the amount of repair work done under the extended warranty doesn’t measure up to how much you pay for them, otherwise they wouldn’t push them so hard.


Are They Simply Selling Peace of Mind?


Since those who are selling the warranty wouldn’t be doing so if they thought they’d lose a lot of money on it, it stands to reason they don’t think they have much to fear. Is what they’re selling you peace of mind? This is what makes it a subjective proposition–some people consider peace of mind extremely important; others would rather take the gamble. After all, isn’t any type of insurance designed to give you peace of mind?


Decisions, Decisions


As with any other type of insurance, the decision to buy an extended warranty should be approached pragmatically. Is the protection you receive worth the cost? In order to make an intelligent choice there are a number of things to consider. The more you know about an extended warranty and about the vehicle you intend to buy, the easier it will be to make an informed decision.


Repair Record


Research the repair records on the type of vehicle you’re going to purchase. There are a number of consumer reporting agencies that keep track of that sort of thing. If your vehicle has a fairly good record of reliability, then you may want to forego an extended warranty. On the other hand, if it is prone to certain problems after a lot of miles, the warranty may not be such a bad idea.


How Long Will You Keep the Car?


If you don’t plan to keep the car much past the time the manufacturer’s warranty will expire, then you probably don’t need the extended warranty. However, if you plan on driving the car until the wheels fall off, an extended warranty may well pay for itself over the course of your vehicle’s life.


Understand What You’re Getting


Before buying an extended warranty, make sure you understand exactly what it covers and how much the deductible is going to be. As with any type of service contract, you will probably have a choice in what is covered. Does the warranty pay for electrical problems? Is the drive train covered? How about labor? How much will you have to pay out of pocket before the warranty kicks in? These are all valid questions that you should consider before deciding whether or not to get the warranty.


Is it a Scam?


This is something you’re going to have to decide for yourself. It really comes down to two basic questions: Will you sleep better with an extended warranty? If so, is it worth the cost? Do as much research as you can, understand your options, and then make a decision. There is one other piece of advice that applies to this situation (and a lot of things in life)–once you’ve made a decision, don’t second guess yourself.


How about you all? Have you ever purchased extended warranties for your car or other assets? If so, was it, in your opinion, worth the added cost? 


Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • Great article here Bailey! I very much enjoyed it, as it is not a topic that often gets posted about on My Personal Finance Journey.
  • @ Are auto warranties scams? Personally, I believe that they are not scams (regardless of how expensive they are), unless they mislead the purchaser to believe that they are buying a certain type of coverage, when in reality, they are not.
  • @ Are extended warranties worth the cost? The answer to this question is slightly more complex. However, I believe that the answer in most every case is “no,” they are not worth the added cost. Most of the time, these warranties are just ways for the dealer or selling party to make more money. 
    • Instead, I prefer to keep a sizable emergency fund to enable me to have the reserves needed to cover costs of unexpected occurrences.

***Photo courtesy of http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/files/original/scam.jpg

Cavalcade of Risk # 127 – Riskiest Jobs Edition – March 23, 2011

————————————————————————————————————————
Welcome to My Personal Finance Journey! If you are new here, please read the “About” or “First-Time Visitor” pages to find out more about us. If you would like to receive free updates on articles like this by email, then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check us out on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for visiting! Keep on learning!
————————————————————————————————————————

life insurance insurance health insurance flood insurance cavalcade of risk business insurance blog carnival

Click here to enter my free giveaway for 5 copies of H&R Block At Home Premium Edition

Welcome everyone to the March 23rd, 2011 edition of Cavalcade of Risk. The Cavalcade of Risk, as is implicated by the name, is a weekly blog carnival that features the top articles regarding risk management.

The theme of this week’s carnival is the top 5 riskiest jobs in the United States. It is truly amazing to me that the #1 riskiest profession has SO many more deaths per 100,000 workers than any of the others! Wild stuff!

Listed below are this week’s Top 3 Editor’s Picks! Enjoy!

1. Sustainable PF presents Local Insurance Brokerages – A Dying Service? posted at Sustainable Personal Finance, saying, “While you may think a local insurance broker is reducing your risk, the only risk you’ll encounter by using such deprecated services is a throttling to your bank balance.”


2. Consumer Boomer presents Should You Buy Divorce Insurance? posted at Consumer Boomer, saying, “Starting over after the devastation of divorce may not seem so daunting if there is a bit of a safety net to fall back on. Here’s what you need to know about divorce insurance.”


3. FMF presents How to Prepare for a Major Home Disaster posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “What you should do in advance to prepare for a major home disaster like a fire, flood, tornado, etc.”

—————————————————————————————————————-——–
5th Riskiest Job – Farming - 38 deaths per 100,000 workers
Many farmers’ duties include operating heavy machinery, the biggest sources of hazards on the job.
————————————————————————————————————————

And, listed below are the best of the rest!

Bank Guru presents Is Lending Money Worth the Risk? posted at Bank Nerd.


BIFS presents Are 2 Roth IRA’s, Stocks, and a Pension Enough for Early Retirement? posted at Budgeting In the Fun Stuff, saying, “I’m questioning if our current investments are enough to cover the risk we will be assuming for early retirement.”


Julie Ferguson presents Are nurses and health care workers facing more on-the-job violence? posted at Workers Comp Insider, saying, “Are nurses and other health care workers at increased risk for on-the-job violence – and is this emblematic of a dysfunctional health system or just a sign of the times?”


Henry Stern, LUTCF, CBC presents Show some CLASS, man! posted at InsureBlog, saying, “One of the risks of aging is the potential need for long term care. InsureBlog deconstructs the new federal long term care insurance program.”


————————————————————————————————————-———–
4th Riskiest Job – Iron and Steel Workers – 45.5 deaths per 100,000 workers
Most work at great heights, with the greatest cause of injury or death coming from falls. The majority wear harnesses and most job sites provide safety nets.
————————————————————————————————————————



Jason Shafrin presents Japan’s Nuclear Fallout: The Health Impact posted at Healthcare Economist, saying, “The Healthcare Economist addresses the health risks inherent in Japan’s nuclear crisis.”


David Williams presents Malpractice defense: Midgut Volvulus Following Gastric Bypass and Ventral Hernia Repairs posted at Health Business Blog, saying, “The last line of defense for a surgeon in risk management is to prepare a visual strategy to defend the case before a jury. Here’s how it’s done using a case study of gastric bypass and hernia repair”


Nancy Germond presents Recent Earthquakes May Be Enough to Shake the Property Insurance Market | Risk Management for the 21st Century posted at AllBusiness.com.


Mike Ross presents Home Insurance Meltdown: Is Nuclear Radiation Covered? posted at Insurance, saying, “Would your home insurance cover radiation damage from a nuclear meltdown?”


————————————————————————————————————————
3rd Riskiest Job – Pilots and flight engineers – 67 deaths per 100,000 workers
Full crashes are relatively rare. Conditions and risks are most acute for test pilots, who check equipment for new, experimental plans, and crop dusters, who are exposed to toxins and sometimes lack a regular landing strip. Helicopter pilots often engage in dangerous rescue.
————————————————————————————————————————



Russell Hutchinson presents Commentary on Life Sales Numbers posted at moneyblog, saying, “Hutchinson talks about how the recent Christchurch earthquakes have affected life product sales – but not as much as tax changes and regulation.”


The Amateur Financier presents Don’t Let Feelings of Safety Make You Take More Risk posted at The Amateur Financier, saying, “A guide to the risk of letting feelings that your financial situation is secure (without true knowledge of where you stand) cause you to take more risk than you can afford.”


Jim Yih presents Caution before you cancel life insurance policies posted at Retire Happy Blog, saying, “Before you cancel life insurance make sure you’ve covered all the angles because you have one chance to make the right decision. Once you cancel, it’s really tough to get it back and in many cases, you won’t be able to get it back.”

—-——————————————————————————————————————–
2nd Riskiest Job – Logging – 86.4 deaths per 100,000 workers
Highly concentrated in Alaska and Maine, loggers are susceptible to high winds, falling branches and hidden roots or vines that present great risks around chain saws and other heavy equipment.
————————————————————————————————————————



Louise presents Does Colorado’s New Maternity Law Impact Underwriting? posted at Colorado Health Insurance Insider, saying, “My understanding of HB 1021 was that it didn’t change anything with regards to medical underwriting.  The bill states that pregnancy is still considered a pre-existing condition, which I would interpret to mean that carriers can use whatever underwriting guidelines they already have in place.  In the case of an applicant applying for a new policy, the “pre-existing condition” of pregnancy results in a decline, and I see nothing in HB 1021 that would prohibit this action.”


Outlaw presents How Much is Renters Insurance posted at Outlaw Finance, saying, “Don’t leave it up to chance. Get renters insurance. It’s cheap and easy to get.”


Susan Howe presents Why won’t Californians buy earthquake insurance? posted at Insure, saying, “If you think Californians’ reluctance to buy earthquake insurance is just about high deductibles and premiums, think again.”

————————————————————————————————————————
# 1 Riskiest Job in the USA! – Fishers and related workers - 111.8 deaths per 100,000 workers
Commercial fishers work in all kinds of weather, often hundreds of miles from shore with no help readily available. Crew members risk falling on slippery decks, which can result in serious injuries or even going overboard. There are also potential hazards of malfunctioning fishing gear and becoming entangled in large nets.
————————————————————————————————————————

Well – that concludes this edition. Thanks for tuning in!

You can submit your blog article to next week’s edition of Cavalcade of Risk (hosted by Money Blog) using the handy carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Also, if you are interested in hosting the Cavalcade of Risk in the future, just send Henry (the organizer) an email by clicking here.

    ***Photo courtesy of http://lh4.ggpht.com/goldhck/R-cc1RWn15I/AAAAAAAAAqg/2fQBIpLESBo/wm-Hi-Voltage+Job.jpg
    ***Source for riskiest job rankings – http://www.forbes.com/2008/08/25/dangerous-jobs-fishing-lead-careers-cx_mk_0825danger.html

    How to Ease Your Gasoline Pain: A Few Tips

    ————————————————————————————————————————
    Welcome to My Personal Finance Journey! If you are new here, please read the “About” or “First-Time Visitor” pages to find out more about us. If you would like to receive free updates on articles like this by email, then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check us out on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for visiting! Keep on learning!
    ————————————————————————————————————————

    saving money guest posting gas frugal living

    Click here to enter my free giveaway for 5 copies of H&R Block At Home Premium Edition

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Tara Miller, who regularly writes for Psychology Degree. Enjoy!

    How to Ease Your Gasoline Pain: A Few Tips

    With the recent trouble we have seen in the Middle East, oil prices have dramatically risen in the past few months, causing gas prices all over the world to reach new highs. As the summer comes around, we can expect those prices to rise as they usually do. 


    So, if we’re trying to be frugal with our money and expenses, then we should also strive to be frugal in how we consume gasoline in our cars. I’ve tried to list a few cost-saving ideas for those of us who want to ease our pain at the pump.

    It’s Important To Do Regular Maintenance

    First of all, think about the state of your car: is it in relatively good shape? If not, then that could be one of the factors behind your higher gasoline consumption and spending. Think about how important it is for an athlete to stay in shape if he or she wants to be competitive, and then you should try to apply that to your own car. 


    If its air filters are clean, if it has new oil, and if its tires are inflated properly, then the car can operate more efficiently and use less gasoline doing so. Always follow the maintenance schedule recommended in your vehicle’s user manual, and be sure to check the tires for proper inflation every few days.

    Know The Traffic Situation

    Being aware of the traffic patterns and backups along the routes you mostly travel is especially important as well because that knowledge can help you minimize the amount of time you spend on the road burning gasoline. 


    Use a GPS device or your smart phone to get live traffic updates when you drive around as well, as this will help you adjust your route when you do in fact hit bad traffic. Combining your knowledge of the area and your real-time information regarding the traffic situation will help you skirt past the backups while everyone else wastes gas as they wait to move.

    Plan Your Errands

    When you do have to drive around, either to and from work or to run errands, you should take some extra time to plan out your route and your tasks. Creating this kind of plan will ensure that you make the most of your gasoline and your driving time. For example, if you have errands to do, try to do them to and from work, so that way you don’t have to take extra trips. Likewise, use a mapping application to figure out the shortest and least congested routes between each location you have to visit.

    Try Alternate Forms of Transportation

    This is perhaps the toughest tip, as it might require you to change a great habit of your life, but it might be worth it in the end. If you’re able to, try to take alternate forms of transportation when you can. This means you could take the bus to and from work, or you could use the subway system to get around the city. Or even just using these forms once or twice a week could greatly reduce your fuel consumption and help you save money.

    How about you all? How have the higher gasoline prices affected you so far? What techniques do you use to lower your spending on gas? 


    Share your experiences by commenting below!


    Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

    • @ The Importance of Regular Maintenance – I am definitely in agreement that regular maintenance is important in order to keep your car running well and in a fuel efficient manner.
      • However, one thing that I do not know how to handle is the following – when I take in my car for the regular “every-3000 miles” service, they mechanics always come up with a laundry list of problems that could be potentially fixed. If I got them all fixed, I would probably spend close to $2000 each time I brought the car in.
      • How do you discern between what really needs to be fixed, and what doesn’t?

    ***Photo courtesy of http://progressivestates.org/sync/images/dispatch/gasMoney.jpg