In case you haven't noticed, prices are going up and up and up at the pump. And if projections are to be believed, they'll continue to go up and possibly reach $5 a gallon this summer. That's a hard hit to anyone's pocketbook. But in this current economy, it can be especially tough. So what are struggling families to do to get by?
Create a Budget
That is, pay attention to how many miles per gallon your car currently gets then calculate the price increase to see how much more you'll be paying each time you fill up. If you know how much you have to pay ahead of time, it can take some of the sting out of whipping out your debit card.
Be Smart About Driving
Now, it's not always realistic to limit or reduce how much you drive. After all, you've got to go to work, take the kids to school, and run errands. However, you can save some money by being smart about how you drive. This means planning out where you're going to go ahead of time and figuring out the shortest route between all of the places you need to stop by. This way, you don't dash out to the store, go back home, pick up the dry cleaning, go back home, and so on.
Beyond planning out your route each time you hop in the car, you can also change how you actually drive. Instead of speeding up and slowing down a lot, changing lanes frequently, and being aggressive, being a calm, cool, and collected driver can actually save gas in the long run because you'll maintain an even pace and won't waste fuel on breaking hard.
Fill Up Your Tires
If your tires aren't inflated enough, it could cost you big time. In fact, you can get 3% more out of each tank of gas just by making sure your tires are properly inflated.
Some gas stations offer fuel for ten, twenty, or even thirty cents less than the competitors in your area. Seek out these gas stations whenever you need to fill up. Just make sure you won't waste more money on gas driving to this particular station than you would just filling up at the closest pump.
These are just a few ideas for saving money as gas prices rise this year. While it won't take all of the pain away of spending $5 a gallon this summer, it might take some of the sting out of it. Plus, you'll learn ways to continue to save cash on gas, no matter how much it costs. That's a useful thing to know year round, in any economy.