Chicago Gas Prices Go Up As Spring Approaches

Income taxes aren't the only thing to dread come spring - but there's a silver lining.

With warm weather on the horizon, gas prices are starting their typical upward climb, say Chicago bankruptcy attorneys. The price at the pump is up 9 cents this month and fast approaching a $3 a gallon national average. That's an increase of 81 cents over last year, according to AAA.

Now here's the good news. First, a rising Illinois unemployment rate - about 11 percent as of January - may come in handy when it comes to gas prices. Less folks driving to work means less demand for oil, and possibly an affordable summer at the pump. Second, there are some easy ways to save money by offsetting the rising cost of gas.

The most obvious method is to drive less. Carpool, ride your bike or take public transportation when possible. When you are driving, did you know you can use less gas by slowing down to the speed limit? You'll also go easier on your car's engine, which may extend its life - and lower the risk of an expensive breakdown.

Then of course, you can make a few tweaks to your current budget to make it a bit more flexible. You know, try to bring coffee from home instead of swinging through the Starbucks drive-thru every morning. Maybe make those manicures a special treat instead of a weekly splurge. Or how about this trick for saving enough to cover rising prices without much effort: when you pay cash and get back a five dollar bill, put it in the back of your wallet and vow not to spend it. You'll have a nice cash cushion before you know it. And if five bucks seems a little too ambitious for you, start small with quarters - anything is better than nothing.

Then there's the big one, the quickest, most efficient way to find more money each month. Eliminate your debt. The less debt you have, the less payment you have to turn over every month. So you'll be in charge of your paycheck, not your creditors.

Easier said than done, right? Well, that depends on how you do it. If you can make enough budget cuts to afford making more than the minimum payment each month - which, by the way, is the only way to make sure you pay enough to lower your balance, not just cover interest - then congratulations. You either don't have very much debt, or you have incredible self-discipline. But if pinching pennies isn't cutting it, don't give up - get a better plan. Bankruptcy has helped thousands of people in Chicago and beyond find financial freedom by providing a truly affordable payment method as well as protection from foreclosure.

Learn more about bankruptcy for free when you sign up for a personal debt analysis with one of our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys. You can't control gas prices, but you can control your debt.

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