The surge in crude oil and gasoline prices during the past few weeks has been accompanied by an equally formidable budget pincher: rising interest rates. This veritable one-two punch is enough to make even the most fiscally prudent squeal.
But there are steps to help minimize the burden. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Atlanta has a few tips:
¢ Determine how much you spend monthly on gas. Use cash or a single credit card for fill-ups to help simplify this chore. Part of the budgetary battle is in knowing how much of your income is going to the oil companies and refiners.
¢ Use routes with less traffic. You'll save more gas by not sitting in a sea of cars. Find alternative routes, or leave earlier, to avoid traffic snarls because the less stopping and starting, the less gas you'll burn.
¢ Check out your credit card rates. If you have a good payment history, many lenders will lower your rate on request. Sure, many will not, but it can't hurt to ask them - firmly and politely.
¢ Trim debts. If possible, funnel more money to your credit card payments. With the Federal Reserve likely to keep raising rates until 2006, you're facing a higher debt service bill if you don't.