If you did any road trips over the summer—or you commute to work—you’ve likely noticed that filling up your vehicle doesn’t necessarily empty your wallet anymore. Thanks to lower gas prices, the average American is on track to save approximately $750 on gas this year.
While it’s not life-changing, $750 can make a difference to your personal finances if you use it wisely. Here are some smart ideas for taking the money you save on gas for the remainder of this year (or as long as gas prices continue to stay low) and revving-up your financial situation.
- Pay down credit card debt. Credit cards have some of the highest interest rates, so reducing any balance you have on your credit card will save you additional money in the long run.
- Make an extra payment on a lower-interest loan. Although interest rates on mortgages, car loans and student loans are typically much lower than on credit card debt, you can still save money by reducing the principal on a lower-interest loan with a lump sum payment or by making an extra payment, if your creditor allows you to do so.
- Pump up your holiday savings. Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season are just a few short months away—why not take the money you save every time you fill up your car and put it in a special savings account to use to buffer your holiday budget?
- Put money away for a rainy day (or for a future gas price increase). What goes down, will likely go up again, especially when it’s something like gas prices that are impacted by market forces. To ease the pain of facing higher fuel prices in the future, put the financial differential of your current fuel costs compared to what you used to pay for gas into a rainy day account so you can access it when you need it.
It’s unlikely that gas prices will remain low forever, so instead of frittering away the money you’re saving on fuel now, make a conscious effort to use it to accelerate your personal financial goals with one of the tips above.