Monday, May 30, 2011
June is National Home Ownership Month. Many Americans purchases homes during June. In June 2010, home sales increased 24% from the previous month. Owning a home is one of the best ways to generate wealth. Owning a home requires financial discipline and sacrifice. Create a budget or spending plan to help manage your finances to make sure you can stay in your home for as long as you like and to help reduce the chances of filing for bankruptcy or foreclosure.
Your monthly mortgage payment should be no more than 38% of your total monthly income. This will ensure that you have extra cash to pay for unexpected expenses and will reduce the chances of using a credit card and going into debt. The advantages of owning a home are: it increases your credit score, proves that you are a responsible spender, provides a tax write-off, increases your financial worth, and provides you with an asset that will appreciate over time.
Before you buy a home you need to prepare for the home buying process. Estimate your monthly mortgage payment. Subtract the difference of the estimated monthly mortgage payment and your current rent (if you pay rent). Here are 6 tips to help you buy a home.
1. Find the best loan
2. Use home buying programs
3. Find a home and make an offer
4. Get a home inspection
5. Shop for homeowners insurance
6. Prepare for settlement and closing
Here are 10 programs to help homeowners stay in their homes.
1. Hope Now Program – www.hopenow.com, 888-995-4673
2. FHA Secure Loan Program – http://portal.hud.gov.
3. Home Affordable Refinance Mortgage Program (HARP) - http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/refinance_yes.html
4. Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) - https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/programs/fha_hamp.jsp
5. Second Lien Modification Program (2MP) –https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/programs/second_lien.jsp
6. HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) Program - https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/programs/foreclosure_alternatives.jsp
7. FHA HAMP (FHA Home Affordable Modification Program) –https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/programs/fha2lp.jsp
8. FHA Second Loan (FHA2LP) – https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/programs/fha2lp.jsp
9. UP (Unpaid Principal) –https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/programs/foreclosure_alternatives.jsp
10. Retired Veteran Program, www.va.gov
Here are 8 tips on how to stay in your home or sell your home.
1. Short Sale. If you cannot afford to keep your home and you are upside down on your mortgage, then a short sale might work for you. Your lender must approve the sale because you would have to sell your home for less than what you owe your lender. As part of your negotiations, you need to make sure that the lender agrees to accept the sold proceeds as satisfying your loan debt.
2. Reinstatement. Your loan is reinstated to current status after you pay the default amount and any other costs or fees.
3. Loan modification. Your lender modifies your current loan to make your payments more affordable by lowering the interest rate and/or extending the mortgage term and adding the default amount to the back end of your loan or forgiving it. Provide documentation to show you are experiencing a hardship.
4. Forbearance. Your lender works out a short term payment plan for you to get caught up on your payments. After you are caught up, you go back to paying your regular mortgage payments. Occasionally, the lender will reduce the principal amount on your loan as well.
5. Deed in lieu of Foreclosure. Signing the deed back to the lender, handing them the keys, and walking away owing the lender nothing.
6. Repayment. Pay the past due amount over a period of months. Read the terms carefully to be sure you can afford the payment.
7. Refinancing. If you have equity, you can refinance by obtaining a new loan with a lower interest rate, at a fixed term with a lower monthly payment and pay off your existing mortgage.
Fraud is an aspect of every industry including the mortgage industry. Beware of mortgage scams and illegal practices. Here are 8 tips to prevent being a victim of predatory lending and discrimination:
1. Do you research before applying for a mortgage loan
2. Shop around to several lenders before making a selection
3. Ask questions if you don't understand something
4. Take the paperwork home and read it over, contact a real estate lawyer or law school student to help explain any legal terms and information you don't understand
5. Make sure all of your questions regarding the loan are answered
6. Make sure you are comfortable with the terms provided
7. If the terms keep changing find another lender to do business with
8. Go with your gut instinct, if it seems too good to be true it probably is
Friday, May 27, 2011
Memorial Day which was originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who died serving in the military. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed a holiday on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan and was first observed on May 30, 1868. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.
Memorial Day passed by Congress as part of the National Holiday Act of 1971. Memorial Day is celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May. However some southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia also celebrate Confederate Day to honor those who served in the Confederate War.
Many advertisers take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday as another way to make money. Unfortunately they never mention anything about the real reason for Memorial Day. Advertisers should at provide extra discounts for those who have served in the military or are currently still serving in the military. If someone fights for our country, why can’t you give them a discount on a purchase? We should embrace our military and treat them better than we currently do.
Memorial Day is usually the official start of the summer season when pools are opened, families begin cooking on the grill, summer clothes are pulled out and people start heading to the beaches. Many families and friends get together during this weekend. Many people also head to the mall to see what sales are offered. If you have to go shopping or spend money this Memorial Day weekend here are 6 tips to save money.
1. Save money on gas. With the cost of gas prices I have cut back on driving here and there and take into consideration the distance I have to drive. Create a traveling zone when driving. When considering driving use MapQuest to map the address and see how many miles it is from your home or office. If the distance is more than the maximum number of miles you are willing to drive do not attend the event. My maximum is 30 miles one way from my home or work.
2. Food. If you are having family or friends at your home keep the menu simple but provide variety. Use different sauces, toppings and marinades to provide flavor and variety. Ask everyone to bring a dish or dessert to help save money.
3. Fun. Skip going to the movies or amusement parks and play games outside such as volleyball, soccer, cricket, horse shoes, sack races etc. to save money and spend more time with your family and friends.
4. Skip the mall. Don't let the media or advertisements trick you into buying something this Memorial Day weekend simply because it is on sale. Most prices during holiday sales are marked up and a discount is given on the marked up price. If you have to buy something at the mall comparison shop and determine which store is offering the best holiday sale. Check online sites to see if you can get a better deal.
5. Budget. Create a budget or shopping list and only buy the things you absolutely need for the holiday. Visit local vendors, food co-ops or discount stores to purchase meats, fruits and vegetables which will be much cheaper than the department store.
6. Free. Check your local newspaper or listen to your local news station to find free events to attend during the holiday weekend.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
There are many types of natural disasters that occur during a year such as hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons, tsunamis, twisters, earthquakes and more. Recently several of the Midwest states have experienced damaging tornadoes. Some homes were completely blown away or toppled to the ground. After the dust has settled the first thing one thinks about what do I do know. The next thing to consider is their identity. When I heard the stories I started to wonder did they have a safe and copies of all of their bills and financial papers. How will they regain their identity and start their life again? What is the first thing they should do? These are just some of the questions that must be considered when rebuilding after experiencing a natural disaster. Here are 14 financial tips to help survive a natural disaster.
1. Notify. Contact all of your family and friends and employer and let them know what happened. Ask them if they know of any resources or people that can assist you with food, clothing and shelter.
2. Insurance. Contact your insurance company and put in a claim. Contact a lawyer to get legal advice and protection in the event your insurance company becomes difficult with reimbursing you for your loss.
3. Mail. Ask a friend or relative if you can use their address to receive mail temporarily. Go to your local post office and forward your mail to that address.
4. Inventory. Make a list of all the companies you do business with. Include the name of the company, mailing address, payment address, phone number, type of account and website. Go to a friend’s house or your local library and get the contact number for each company. Call each company and tell them you have been a victim of a natural disaster. Give them your temporary mailing address to get duplicate copies of all of your bills.
5. Identification. Contact your local passport, motor vehicle and social security administration office to get duplicate copies of your driver’s license, SSN and passport. Also contact your local Office of Vital Records, Public Health Department or county recorder’s office to get a duplicate copy of your birth certificate.
6. Financial. Contact all of your financial institutions and ask for duplicate copies of your financial statements. Go to your local bank branch and have a flag put on any unused checks if you know the check numbers. If not, order a new set of checks and have them mailed to the branch. Once you determine the numbers of the unused checks have the bank put a flag on them to prevent fraud. Ask for a new check card or debit card and pin.
7. Credit. Contact your credit card companies and ask for a new credit card for each of your accounts. They make ask you to complete an affidavit stating what happened. Contact the 3 major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion and place a credit freeze on your credit reports.
8. Media. If possible, purchase a small portable tv or radio to hear important information from the media about resources available for victims.
9. Property. If you have any property left that is not totally damaged leave the property where it is so the insurance company can examine the property and perform a full investigation. Make a list of all property that was in your home with the following information categorized by room: item, date purchased, estimated value, cost to replace the item, indicate if the item was insured, insurance company who insures the item, quantity and if the item was still under warranty.
10. Service Providers. Make a list of any other service providers that you do business with: mechanic, doctor, lawyer, accountant, financial planner, psychologist, marriage counselor, plumber, lawn care professional, professor, tax preparer, barber, hairdresser, etc. Include the name of the company, mailing address, payment address, phone number, and website.
11. Needs. Create of things you need to survive: food, toiletries, clothing, etc. Categorize by the name of each person in your family, size and the cost of each item.
12. Budget. Create a budget to determine how much money you earn after taxes, monthly bills and expenses and how much you will need to replace basic necessities.
13. Spend Wisely. Replace missing items by shopping at discount or outlet stores, buying in bulk and buying items on sale.
14. Live for Tomorrow. Document what you learned from this experience and steps to take if you ever have this type of experience in the future. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Purchase a fireproof and waterproof safe. Keep copies of your SSN, birth certificate, driver’s license, bills, financial statements, will, taxes, insurance papers, mortgage paperwork, and credit card statements in the safe. Also keep a list of all of your inventory lists in the safe.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Frequent flyer programs are offered by airlines companies to customers who fly more than the average flyer. Some programs offer points, upgrades, priority seating, discounts on products, credit for purchasing products from partners and more.
Some frequent flyers obtain miles for personal and business travel. Avoid confusing business travel with personal travel miles. Open a separate account for your business travel miles if you can. If not, be sure to keep track of your personal miles. Some frequent flyers have been prosecuted and convicted for redeeming business frequent flyer benefits that were used for personal travel.
Frequent flyer programs can be tricky and can prove difficult to get due to all of the restrictions. Some programs you have to travel at least 25,000 miles before you can start redeeming benefits. When looking for a frequent flyer program to participate in consider the following:
2. Do their fly to your home airport or preferred airport
3. Do your points expire or have to be used within a certain time period
4. Do they provide other options for using points that will soon expire
5. What are the restrictions and guidelines
6. Do they offer points for partner company purchases
7. Does the program match your travel habits
Here are some tricks frequent flyer programs use
1. The number of seats are limited
2. Increased the number of points needed and offer fewer flights
3. May have to book months in advance and settle for an inconvenient flight time
Here are some perks of frequent flyer programs
1. If you can’t use your miles before they expire use alternatives such as using them for magazine subscriptions, making purchases at airline websites or sites such as points.com, renting cars, gift cards or giving them away.
2. Trade frequent flier miles or buy miles at another airline using points.com. Ask friends or family to share miles with you.
3. Sign up for a frequent flyer miles check card. You may be charged an annual fee but if used frequently you can get a free airline ticket.
4. Look for partners that offer miles for your frequent flier program. Find airlines which are compatible.
5. Sign up for email promotions and use them to earn bonus miles. You will get email invitations to take surveys to try out new products which helps you earn bonus miles.
6. Sign up for dining rewards.
7. Open a credit card which is usually free the first year. Make sure you meet the minimum spending requirements. After your miles post plan your next trip. This method works best when you use the miles quickly. You can cancel the card after the first year to avoid the fee charged the second year.
8. Purchase layover flights instead of non-stop flights.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
1. APR – can have a standard or introductory rate. Can range from 7.90% to 49.9%, average ranges from 9.72% to 22%.
2. Annual fees - average fee is $40 per year
3. Minimum deposit – average deposit required is $300
4. Maximum deposit - amount deposited may depend on consumers annual income and line of credit desired, average is $10,000
5. Red Flags - look for low interest rates and fees, beware of scams, reporting to the credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, deposits, avoid cards with high fees and high interest rates, avoid cards that use your security deposit, income and age restrictions, if the card has a grace period, ask if the card is reported as a secured credit card on your credit report – this may affect future approvals for credit
6. Requirements – requires a savings or checking account with the bank, credit limit is 50-100% of the deposit, for savings accounts the limit can range from $300 to thousands of dollars, money is deposited into a savings account or CD, offer same features as an unsecured credit card
7. Earn interest – if it is a bank card they may pay interest on your deposit, the interest rate varies from 2 to 6.17%, if you deposit more than the minimum or are required to make a high deposit - it is to your advantage to ensure you earn interest on the money
8. Deposit Refund – if application is denied, refund is used to pay outstanding balance and any money left over is mailed to the consumer, may be charged penalty for early cancellation
9. Additional fees – application fee, processing fee, annual fee, finance charge, the application fee may be non-refundable depending on the company, cash advance fees, over-the-limit fees, non-sufficient fund fees, accessing account information, exceeding maximum number of transactions per month
10. Conversion – the account is not touched unless you make a late payment, after making payments on time for at least a year you may be able to qualify for an unsecured credit card, ask if your card can be converted to a unsecured credit card, account may be closed by bank if the account is seriously delinquent
Monday, May 16, 2011
The Apple iPhone prices start at $199 and can range up to $499 depending on the plan, memory and features selected. Verizon and A&T now offer the iPhone. The iPhone offers over 350,000 applications some of which are free. The iPhone provides email and internet services, iTunes, and is very easy to use. It allows for multitasking. It also provides a camera, Wi-Fi, video streaming and an iPod. It can sync with pc and mac email. It also has sensors to save on battery power. If you are an iPhone owner here are 8 applications that can help you save money.
1. Quicken – A free application that helps you manage your finances, track financial goals and monitor your account activity.
2. Billminder – A $1.99 application that helps you track bills, listing due dates. Your data can be exported via email and the application can send notifications to remind you of due dates.
3. Coupon Sherpa – A free application that provides coupons to hundreds of stores online or can be printed. Coupons can be displayed as a scannable bar code to be used at checkout lines. Coupons for local stores can be found by GPS location. You can get daily updates by subscribing to their newsletter.
4. Mint.com – A free application that helps you keep track of your spending by creating a budget. You can setup alerts and track bills using exports from your bank account.
5. Maps - A free application similar to Google Maps. It helps you find stores, restaurants or any address in the United States and can be used with GPS and Wi-Fi.
6. Gas Buddy – A $2.99 application that helps you find the cheapest gas in your area. The tool is really helpful when traveling.
7. Skype – A free application that allows you to make calls over the internet for free. This is especially helpful for those who make long distance international calls. Calls using cell phones or landlines are cheaper than using Verizon or AT&T.
8. Wifi Finder – A free application that allows smartphones owners to access the internet using faster speeds. The application finds all free Wi-Fi hotspots near you using your GPS location. The application has a listing of over 400,000 free hotspots in over 140 countries.
Friday, May 13, 2011
You credit is one of the most important aspects of your life and can help you or hurt you during the course of your life. Credit affects many aspects of your life such as applying for a job, applying for a home or apartment, or applying for a personal loan or credit. Some people have been fired from jobs or have not been considered for job vacancies because of their bad credit. If you have bad credit it is never too late to fix it and improve your financial situation. Here are 10 tips to help repair your credit.
1. Order your credit report. Get current on late bills and dispute errors. Dispute errors online or by mail. Provide supporting documentation.
2. Get current. Pay late accounts such as judgments, tax liens, foreclosures, repossessions and collection accounts first. Then pay all other late accounts.
3. Pay down debt. Keep balances at 20% or less of the credit limit. Having credit cards with balances of 50% or more of the limit decreases your credit score.
4. Pay on time. Pay bills at least 7-10 days before the due date to avoid late fees and penalties.
5. New accounts. Opening more than one new account per year will lower your credit score.
6. Avoid closing accounts. Closing accounts that have been open for 2 years or more can decrease your credit score.
7. Negotiate. Setup payment plans to pay down debt if you cannot pay the full amount owed. Stick to the agreement until the account is paid in full.
8. Establish Credit. Open a department store credit card. They usually have the highest interest rates but provide easier approval than bank credit cards. Buy something small and pay the balance in full each month. You can also open a secured credit card account. Ensure the account is reported on your credit report. Get a card with low fees and a low interest rate.
9. Avoid risky solutions. Avoid filing for bankruptcy. Use bankruptcy, debt consolidation, credit repair counseling or debt settlement as a last resort. These are reported on your credit report and lower your credit score.
10. Financial Crisis. If you are currently unable to pay your debts due to unemployment or financial problems request a financial hardship. You can request a reduced monthly payment and reduced interest rate for a period of one year but you must provide supporting documentation.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco the unemployment rate for college graduates in 2010 was over 8%. According to EPI’s new paper, The Class of 2010, recent college graduates under age 25 the unemployment rate is 9%. Monster.com has a special section on its website for recent college graduates to help them find jobs. USAjobs.com has federal job listings by college major.
According to Pianalto, recent college graduates don’t experience skill and geographic constraints because they tend to be highly educated and mobile. College graduates have suffered worse in this economy than any other group and are having a hard time finding a job. Trying to find employment during a financial crisis can limit total earning potential over the life of a college graduates’ career.
Another factor college graduates have to worry about is the debt accumulated while in school. If they are unable to find a job, they are also unable to pay their debt. When you find a job focus on paying down debt. Here are some financial tips for recent college graduates to help you reduce debt and improve your financial situation.
1. Stay at home for at least a year after graduation. If you have to live on your own buy an efficiency, studio apartment or loft. You can get a roommate but you have no control over whether they pay their rent or pay on time.
2. Your housing costs should be no more than 35% of your total net income (after taxes).
1. Skip the car. Don’t buy a car your first year of employment. Catch public transportation; borrow your parents’ car or a friend’s car when needed. If you must buy a car buy a used car.
Paying Down Student Loans
1. Use caution with consolidation. Consolidating student loans combines your loans into one payment but may or may not provide you with a lower interest rate. You may not be eligible for various student loan forgiveness programs if you consolidate your student loans.
2. Pay more than the minimum monthly payment. Your loan accrues the greatest interest in the first 2-3 years of the loan.
Investing (401K's/IRAs )
1. Start with your company's 401K. Contribute as much as you can to your retirement account. You will need at least 70-80% of your income during retirement and will need a minimum of $1,000,000 to retire.
2. Focus on long term growth. You have to be willing to leave your money untouched for the next 5 to 10 years. Otherwise you won't be able to see the benefits of your money growing.
1. Create a budget. Make your budget flexible to accommodate for unexpected expenses and include savings goals. Include monthly expenses and debt plus your monthly income. This will help to readily see the areas where you can reduce expenses. Create an emergency fund that is enough savings to pay your bills for at least 9 to 12 months.
2. Reduce your credit card debt. Pay more than the minimum monthly payment.
Managing Credit Card Debt
1. Stop spending. Don't spend money you don't have. This will result in your owing more money. Use your credit card for emergencies only.
2. Setup a payment plan. Setup a payment plan with each of your creditors to pay off your debts. Identify any terms and negotiations you would like to make and stick to the terms.
1. Order a copy of your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com and fix any errors.
2. Get current on any delinquent accounts.
1. Use a broker or financial advisor to setup your retirement account.
2. Buy insurance. Buy health, life, disability insurance.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Many NFL players go from a low to middle class lifestyle to upper or wealthy lifestyle in an instant and are not taught how to manage their finances and are not sure who they should or should not trust. Many NFL players are taken advantage of because of their financial status. In other instances they succumb to guilt from family and friends to take care of them, peer pressure, impulse shopping, unable to say no to those asking for money, living above their means, trying to impress others, being overcharged, or bad investments which causes them to lose their homes, have their cars repossessed or file for bankruptcy due to their bad spending habits and poor financial choices.
Many players buy things that have no value and have very little assets. Some forget to pay taxes, don’t keep track of their finances, make bad investments, get caught up in scams and lack basic business knowledge. This lack of financial experience and financial literacy education causes NFL players to buy things they can’t afford and try to portray a certain image that is difficult to live up to.
Approximately 40% of NFL players end up bankrupt after retirement. According to MSNBC approximately 380 players of the total 1,700 players live paycheck to paycheck. The average rookie salary is $320,000. When players get paid, after they pay taxes, pay their agent, publicists, accountants, lawyers and others on their payroll, pay for their lavish lifestyle with a home, multiple cars, jewelry, clothing, helping family and friends they have very little left.
Some NFL players are borrowing money from friends due to the lockout. Some players are getting payday loans called “lockout loans” provided by lending agents. Lockout loans for more than $60,000 can have interest rates as high as 36%. The NFL Players Association in advance of the lockout advised players to save at least 3 game checks and find additional ways to make money but many did not follow this advice. The NFL Players Association also provides financial seminars and classes for players who do not heed the advice provided or may not understand the advice provided.
Many players get caught up in the media frenzy and hype and want to give the appearance that they are wealthy when some are just one paycheck away from bankruptcy. Some players retire and don’t realize they are in financial ruin and need help until they retire.
Many players feel guilty by pressure from family and friends to take care of them financially which can cause a heavy financial strain on players. Family and friends see players on television and don’t realize how many expenses players have each month due to their lifestyle.
Many rookie players try to keep up with the spending habits of some of the veteran players and end up filing bankruptcy or foreclosure on their homes. In many instances players are taken advantage of by lawyers, accountants, agents and others who steal or do not keep their clients informed about their spending habits. In other cases, clients are advised about their poor spending habits but continue to spend until all their money is gone. The NFL Players association, lawyers, accountants, publicists and all who are on the payroll of the players as well as the players themselves are to blame.
My advice to all NFL players, read all books written by Warren Buffet who has lived in the same house for 50 years, drives himself everywhere, does not have security or a bodyguard, never travels by private jet, does not socialize with high society, makes popcorn and watches television, does not carry a cell phone, does not have a computer on his desk, buys clothes from the department store and is an expert in managing his money. You are experts when playing on the field, now it is time to be experts in managing your money – you owe it to yourself.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Technology has allowed creditors, debt collectors and some state taxing authorities the ability to search for consumers on the internet use social media networks such as Facebook, Myspace,Twitter, Linkedin and other sites to find consumers. This seems extreme but it is legal.
According to the Fair Debt Practices Collection Act, debt collectors can contact your family and friends to find your location or get other personal information such as your address, email address or phone number. If you posted your contact information including your current employer on your social media profile you may soon be getting emails, phone calls or visits from your debt collectors. What if a debt collector contacted someone who is listed as a friend on your social media profile? How embarrassing would that be? With the frequent consumer data breaches and lack of strong security protections on Facebook and other social media profiles it is not too hard to find anyone these days.
If you use social media networks and are in debt, you presence on them can increase your chances of your creditors and debt collectors finding you. The IRS has not confirmed whether they use social media networks to find taxpayers who owe back taxes but I assume they probably do. However, tax agents cannot friend a consumer who owes back taxes on a social media site but that probably doesn’t stop them from doing it. Here are some ways you can be found on the internet:
1. Internet search engines
2. Motor vehicle records
3. Chat rooms and forums
4. Social media networks
5. Employment records
6. Tax records
7. Bank records
8. Public inquiries at local businesses such as groceries stories, barbershops, church meetings, social and civic meetings, etc.
9. Posts you made about an article or video or post you made on a website
Contact your creditors and debt collectors before they contact you to setup a payment plan or request a financial hardship. Follow-up with a letter confirming the agreement and stick to the agreement. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Posted by The Debt Reducer Expert at 7:44 PM
Sunday, May 01, 2011
The national average price of regular gas was $3.91 last week. The all-time record high was in July 2008 at $4.11 a gallon. I predict that gas will reach $5 a gallon by the end of the summer. Some states are already paying more than $4 a gallon for regular gas such as Alaska ($4.20), California ($4.23), Connecticut ($4.20), New York ($4.12) and the average price in the District of Columbia is $4.11. If gas prices continue to soar this will cause major financial problems for many Americans.
When gas prices soared in 2008 Americans protested and voiced their concerns. Does any care that gas prices are high or it is just me? I understand the history and fundamental conditions that cause gas prices to rise but does that make it right. Americans are still trying to recover from the effects of the recession in 2008. Approximately 1,000,000 Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2010. Many more Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
The cost of gas has crimpled many Americans. For SUV and truck owners getting gas can be as expensive as a car payment. Here are 15 tips to help save money on gas which will free up money to help pay for other monthly expenses:
1. Compare Prices. Comparison shop by using sites such as gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest gas price in your area.
2. Keep your trunk empty. Remove heavy and unnecessary items from your trunk. Traveling with a lighter load helps improve your gas mileage.
3. Revving. Avoid revving or idling you engine over 30 seconds. Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines.
4. Driving. Drive the speed limit and accelerate gradually. This reduces the amount of gas needed.
5. AC. Limit using the a/c, roll down the car windows to get air and save on gas.
6. Regular maintenance. Perform regular maintenance on your car at the scheduled intervals, make sure you get regular tune-ups, oil changes, check tire pressure, air filters, and check your tires for wear. Don’t ignore the check engine light. This will improve gas mileage and save you money in the future.
7. Getting gas. Fill your gas tank up early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler to reduce evaporation. Avoid topping off. epa.gov/air/actions/drive_wise.html.
8. Skip the fancy tires. When your fancy tires wear out buy the standard tires that were on the car when you purchased it. This will improve gas mileage. The standard tires also provide a better ride especially on the highway.
9. Carpool. Offer to pick up co-workers or friends who work near your job. Make sure you charge enough money to cover the increasing costs of gas and inform your carpool riders that the price may increase as gas costs increase.
10. Prepaid gas card. Purchase a prepaid gas card. Some prepaid gas cards may have an expiration date and/or inactivity fees but depends on the company. Chevron, Texaco, Shell and BP prepaid gas cards do not have an expiration date and do not charge inactivity fees. You can use the site mygallons.com to purchase a prepaid gas card at a fixed price.
11. Downgrade. Trade in your expensive car for a cheaper car or get a more fuel efficient car. This will save you money which can be used to pay down debt, pay for necessary household expenses or save for an emergency fund.
12. Combine Trips. If possible combine nearby trips on the same day to reduce gas usage.
13. Businesses and fleet managers can comparison shop and use fuel banks to save money on gas at www.fuelbank.com. Use the savings calculator to see how much money you save using a fuel bank.
14. Protest. Write your congressman and the White House and demand lower gas prices. Also, write the major oil companies such as BP, Shell, Sunoco, Texaco, Chevron and ExxonMobil and demand they lower their gas prices.
15. Reduce spending in other areas to make sure you have enough to pay for rising gas costs.