Illinois Bankruptcy Lawyers Find Ways to Save Cash as Gas Prices Grow

Some things never change. Despite the fact that oil was at a record low just six months ago, gas prices have begun their annual summer hike. And this year is poised to be a little more painful.

Though today's average national price of $2.68 a gallon is still lower than $4 a gallon peak we saw late last summer, we've hit 50 days of increasing prices - the longest consecutive rise since records that go back to 1996. Add that to record-high unemployment and foreclosures and you get the possibility of a pretty miserable summer for most drivers - at least financially-speaking.

In a recent post, I mentioned some tips for saving money this summer. In this case, the simple solution is to leave the car in the driveway.

Walk or take your bike everywhere you can. As an added bonus, you get a free exercise plan - no gym required - and you get to breathe the fresh air on your way to your destinations. Or, if you're stuck with a long commute, why not carpool? Switch off driving duties to work with co-workers, to the store with neighbors, and, if you have kids, to school with other parents.

Then there's the granddaddy of all summer expenses - the road trip. Rather than embark on a fuel-filled vacation, consider staying home and enjoy the sights around your own neighborhood. Not only will you save on gas, you'll put less mileage on your car, you'll cut back on restaurant expenses and you won't have to worry about keeping the kids - or yourself - entertained in a hot car.

If you do have to drive, ease your gas consumption by caring for your vehicle. Don't go above the speed limit - the faster you drive, the more gas you burn - keep your oil fresh and tires well-inflated, and try to drive smoothly. Unless you're driving a real classic, use only regular gas - higher-octane gas is unnecessary for modern cars.

Drive smart - combine your errands. Need to go to the post office, the supermarket and the bank? Try to hit them all in the same trip, when your engine is warmed up, rather than in separate short bursts. It can save twice as much fuel. And, in the long run, it will really reduce mileage on your car.

Of course, sometimes things aren't that simple and there's only so much you can do to alleviate the pain at the pump. Sometimes you have no choice but to buy gas - for instance, if you're the only one able to chauffer the kids to sports practice or you live a long distance from work and nowhere near public transportation.

In these cases, the easiest way to handle growing prices is probably to save money elsewhere so that your budget doesn't suffer. Does it seem like most of your paycheck is going to credit card bills - specifically, to pay the interest on credit card bills? Sounds like a classic case of debt overload. If you can pay off those liabilities, you could end up with thousands extra to go towards not just gas, but groceries, utilities, a mortgage and your savings.

For many people, a bankruptcy plan is the only guaranteed path to a fresh financial start. To find out for free if bankruptcy could help you hold onto more of your future earnings by eliminating debt, sign up for a complimentary debt analysis with a DebtStoppers attorney. Prices only move in one direction - up. The sooner you act, the more you'll save. Gas prices will always be an annoyance, but they don't have to threaten your livelihood.

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