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Two for Tuesdays #11

Posted by billspaced | 12:01 AM | | 0 comments »

Last week, in Two for Tuesdays #10, we talked about saving money by canceling your gym membership and limiting eating out to only once per week.

This week, we're back to saving money on gasoline and internet access.


Gasoline, by the time you read this, might be $4 per gallon (in some places, already, gas is over $5 per gallon). So it behooves us all to save where we can. By the way, the "green" movement will only become more than a fad when it hits -- and continually pummels -- people's pocket books.

Here's a short story (and I'll try to dig up the picture) about rising gas prices. When I was a kid in the early 70s, my grandparents, with whom my mom and I lived, owned a Mobil gas station. There's a picture of me, just a few months before the oil embargo began, standing in front of the price signboard where gas was somewhere south of 30 cents a gallon (I seem to recall 27 cents). That was full serve, too, by the way. In case you don't know what full serve is, it means somebody pumps your gas, cleans your windows, checks your oil and other vital fluids, and takes your payment. Those were the days!

Gas really didn't shoot up again until the late 70s, then it pretty much stayed near a dollar for what seems like 20 years. Only in the last 15 years or so has gas risen in price enough to really have an effect on lots of budgets.

So, here's a quick tip on gas price watching (to get the best prices, pay attention). I've noticed that Costco, while usually a great source for the least expensive gasoline, is slower than most other gas stations to change its prices; this includes price increases as well as decreases. So, if, on the rare occasion, gas prices decline, you may be better served by visiting an AM/PM, Safeway, Valero, or Rotten Robbies. However, when prices are increasing (and, lately, when aren't they?), Costco is the go-to gas station.

Couple this strategy with a gasoline rewards card and you could save quite a bit on gas.


Since you're reading this, I assume you're connected to the 'Net via an ISP of some sort; it could be your cable company, phone company, or satellite vendor. Here are a few simple things you can try to reduce your internet access bill.

First, solicit offers from several ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, DirecTV, and Earthlink. Use their best rates to negotiate a better deal with your existing provider. Tell them, simply, that you're thinking of moving to Competitor X because it offers what you get now for half the price. Your current provider most likely will route your call to a "retention specialist," whose job is to keep you as a customer. I've used this trick dozens of times.

Another thing you can do is seek to buy a bundle of services. For example, both Comcast and AT&T offer "triple play" packages of TV, internet, and phone. You can often save 20 to 30 percent on your overall bill by subscribing to a package.

One last thing: Buy as little bandwidth as possible to suit your needs. You have no reason, if all your do is email, to get a 10MBps connection. Low-tiered DSL will suit you just fine.

That concludes this edition of Two for Tuesdays. Thanks for stopping by!

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