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Let falling gas prices fuel your emergency fund.

thWhat were you spending on gasoline six months ago? Nationwide, the cost of gasoline dropped for more than three months in a row starting in late September 2014.

According to the American Automobile Association, we’re paying an average $1.11 per gallon less than this time last year.

A question for long-haul commuters and casual drivers alike: Where’s that money now?

How to save money from falling gas prices,” my recent post on Get Rich Slowly, suggests that you don’t let this opportunity slip away.

An article from Business Insider notes that if gas prices stay low the average U.S. household should save about $42 per month in 2015. Rather than letting fuel savings disappear, why not direct some (preferably all) in ways like:

  • Plumping up a savings account
  • Making larger payments against consumer debt, mortgage or student loans
  • Padding your retirement
  • Starting a college fund for a child (or grandchild)

And if you don’t currently have savings? Let the gas price drop fuel (pun intended) an emergency fund.

As tempting as it is to buy a concert ticket or a weekend away with some of your newfound savings, think a little bit down the road, so to speak. Gas will eventually go back up but right now you have a chance to make your dollars work for you.

Make ’em work hard. As my daughter (also a blogger) always says, “Save your savings.” Last year she and Tim squirreled away more than $2,200 by doing so.

 

Meanwhile, at my day job…

Here’s what I’ve been writing about at Money Talks News:

8 secrets to being a great regifter (without getting caught)”: Yeah, this one’s a bit late. But use the tips it contains to help next year’s holidays come in under budget. Remember them for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and baby showers, too.

You don’t need to be rich to lend a helping hand: 42 free or cheap ways to give”: Based on previous comments I know that S&T readers are big-hearted folks who give even if they are on tight budgets. This article may not hold anything new to you guys, but I hope that even one or two tips will provide opportunities to help others. (I learned a couple myself while researching this one.)

Resolve to budget this year: Here’s how to do it painlessly”: Figure out where your money is going right now and then you can figure out how to send it where you want it to go.

Can’t seem to save? You’re not following these simple rules”: You know, like the rule about saving your gas money.


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11 Comments

  1. jestjack

    Gas here just went to …$1.99….MAN…Not so long ago I was paying $4 …crazy. Will this have an impact on the annual payment to citizens of Alaska? I have a feeling we’re gonna pay for this …. big time.

    • Donna Freedman

      Not so long ago we were paying $4.57 — and the folks out in the Bush are paying close to $10. Yikes.
      Ultimately lower oil prices will have an effect on the Permanent Fund Dividend, but the payment will likely still continue to take place for quite a while. It’s developed a decent portfolio over the last 40 years.
      Can’t deny that I like to see lower gas prices, especially since so many people commute 35-50 miles each way from the Mat-Su Valley. But I sure wish the Alaska economy were more diversified.

  2. Punkin Pye

    What I want to know is, now that transportation costs have gone down, will we see a drop in grocery prices and other goods that have to be trucked in.

    • I was wondering the very same thing myself. I would bet grocery prices will NOT drop….someone will get to pocket the change but it most likely won’t be us, the consumers.

  3. I agree, take advantage and redirect it to other expenses or tuck more away in savings. Every little bit we can save now adds up to a whole lot in the future.

    • Donna Freedman

      Yesterday my daughter combined a supermarket discount with a low gas price and filled up her Civic for $16.50. It used to cost something like $30 or $40. That really does add up.

  4. Right now I work 3 part time jobs so that drop in gas prices is something I am extremely grateful for. It has given me piece of mind and a little extra money to pad my savings and try to pay more of my “small” debt off.

  5. I am extremely grateful for the low gas prices. My sister drives 100 miles a day, so she is more than excited.

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