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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Tips to Help Fuel Your Savings

Recent news of civil unrest and natural disasters have dominated the headlines and placed a squeeze on our wallets. In tough economic climates, saving money becomes even more important. With gas prices rising and projected to hit over $5.00 per gallon by early June, many of you may be wondering what you can do to cut your gasoline costs.

One way many Americans have found helpful is to trade in their gas-guzzling monster trucks and SUVs for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Hybrids made a big splash during our last gas crisis. This time around, in case you are unwilling or unable to purchase a more fuel-efficient car, here are some helpful tips to cut down on your fuel costs.

1. Walk / bike to your destination. For short trips that don't require the use of a car, walking or biking can save on gasoline and provide exercise as a bonus.

2. Plan your trips. Instead of making several small trips, maximize your gas usage by mapping out your trip to include several stops along the way.

3. Maintain your vehicle. Regular oil changes, tune ups and maintaining the proper pressure in your tires can improve your gas mileage up to 30%.

4. Buy gas at cooler times of the day. Because gas expands in warmer temperatures, you may end up paying a little more, for a little less. Will it make a huge difference in cost? Probably not, but in these challenging times, every little bit helps.

5. Drive smart. Avoid congestion when possible. Frequent starting, stopping, and quick acceleration can be damaging to your fuel efficiency.

6. Lighten your load. All of that extra junk in your trunk may be weighing heavily on your wallet. Cars weighed down with extra stuff can decrease your gas mileage by as much as 25%. Clean out your trunk and save some money at the pump.

7. Use your store club membership cards. Membership has its privileges. Chains such as Sam's Club, Costco, and Jewel Osco offer discounted gas prices to customers that use their club membership cards to purchase gas at their gas stations.

8. Use*. This website provides the latest fuel prices in your area as reported by customers like you. Smartphone users can download the app for use on the go.

For more helpful hints on how to save on gasoline, visit these websites:*

* (Links to commercial products or enterprises do not constitute endorsement by University of Illinois Extension.)

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