Archive for Sunday, September 4, 2005

Tips on weathering rising gas prices, rates

September 4, 2005


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.


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