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Five Ways Take Advantage of Low Gas Prices

 

We have been enjoying a period of the lowest gas prices in a very long time. At the end of the past few months, I’ve had to double check my budget for errors because my gas expenses were a lot lower than they would usually be. Many of us are spending almost half as much money on gas as we were six months ago. While the prices are starting to tick back up from the low of $1.99 in many places, we should not let this moment pass by without using this as a way to gain more traction towards meeting our financial goals. Make sure the money that you are now not spending on gas serves a purpose other than evaporation in your budget. Here are five things that you can do to take advantage of these low gas prices:

1. Pay off excess debt.

If you are still working on getting out of debt, then the best option with your surplus of gas money should go toward paying off your debt. It is critical that you get out of debt as quickly as possible as it will make reaching your other financial goals that much easier.

2. Beef up your emergency fund.

Most financial experts recommend that you save anywhere from three months to an entire year’s worth of expenses for emergencies. Emergencies are not just limited to job loss. They can include things like transmission repair, home air conditioning repair, etc. that can cost thousands of dollars. It would be devastating to put so much effort into getting out of debt only to seep back into it when something breaks.

3. Take care of other car expenses.

Not everything the dealer or repair shop recommends is necessary, but things such as oil changes, tire rotations, fluid flushes, etc. are essential to extending the life of your vehicle. Now is the time to get some of those things done that you have been putting off.

4. Increase Your Giving

While the gas bill may be cheaper for everyone, plenty of people are still struggling with job loss or underemployment. Charities still need funding to meet their goals for their communities. Homelessness still abounds. Increasing your giving to those around you or an organization whose mission you believe in is a great way to spend your surplus.

5. Spend on Yourself

Yes. I said it. You can increase spending on those things that you have been putting off doing for yourself. Go out for that extra dinner with friends. Pay someone to clean your house or mow your lawn so you have the time to do things you really want to do. Buy that new device that you have been putting off because you’re hyper focused and your current one is falling apart. Take that online course you’ve wanted to take but just put off. As long as you do it within reason, take a little break and enjoy this season.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the gas prices won’t be this low for long, so enjoy it while it lasts. However, make sure that the money that you are saving is still used purposefully so that you stay on track to meet your goals.