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If you've been to the petrol station lately, you've probably noticed that petrol prices are creeping up. Unfortunately, this means that every time you drive, the cost of whatever you're doing - whether it's ferrying your kids around, running errands or just commuting to work - becomes more expensive, too.
While no one person can influence the price at the pump, there are a few things you can do to cut your costs. Here are seven realistic ways to protect your pocketbook from rising petrol prices. (For related reading, see How Being Lazy Can Save You Money)
1. Organise a Car Pool
People like to work close to where they live when they can, so chances are good that you have at least some coworkers who live near you. Rather than having to struggle with the cost of petrol alone, make an effort to organise a car pool and help spread that cost around. Work with your human resources department if you can, and consider passing around a sign-up list with everyone's addresses. Then, take everyone who is interested and plot them on a map. This strategy will help you and your coworkers determine an effective carpooling strategy.
2. Get Moving
If you live close enough to where you work to make it on foot, by bike or on roller blades, try doing this a couple of times a week, weather permitting. Instead of sitting in traffic, give your body some much-deserved exercise - and stretch that precious tank of petrol just a little bit farther. (For related reading, see Four Money-Saving Moves That Cost You)
3. Leverage Reward Programs
If you're enrolled in a credit card rewards program, you should check to see whether you can cash out in petrol gift cards. Instead of ordering that appliance or gadget that you'll never use, spend your rewards points on something that you use every day - petrol. If you're not enrolled in a rewards program, double check whether one would be cost-effective for you.
4. Fix Your Car
When your car goes in for an oil change or repairs, listen for any advice the mechanic gives about basic maintenance. Ensuring that your car is well maintained and running at its best can affect fuel efficiency. This is especially important if you're driving an older car. (For related reading, see Fix It Or Trash It?)
5. Get Smart
Rather than stopping at the first petrol station you see, take a proactive approach to finding the best prices. Motormouth is a great website to help you start your search. If you have an iPhone, download a petrol price app.
6. Plan Ahead
Use an online map to plan your trips to ensure you're taking the shortest rout to your destination. If you're currently in the market for a new GPS device, make sure to buy one with live traffic data. The worst way to waste petrol is by sitting in traffic. (For related reading, see The Cheapest Petrol In The World)
The Bottom Line
Driving is a means to an end, and that end should not require you to waste money. Instead of giving in to rising petrol prices, find a way around them. Keep track of how much you're spending on petrol so that you can keep unnecessary expenses under control.
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