Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Time to save on gas?

Gas has been rocketing recently, as crude oil currently sells around $65 a barrel. The impact of this on my (and maybe your) frugal budget might be important:

- my condo is heated using oil. If the price of oil stays at its current level, the heat bill should be 40% higher in the coming year. This would raise my condo fees by about 35% or 45$ a month.
- the gas bill itself to fuel the car, which currently is about 60$ a month
- inflation, as higher fuel cost will translate in more costly goods in the forecoming months

How to offset this bill?

First suggestion: investing in a oil-related good company (I already do that) to "hedge" your risk. If oil price continue to climb, the stock should increase in value as the company will make profit. If the oil price declines, you'll save on your bills, but you'll likely lose money in your investment. I think that investing $5000 in energy-related shares may be enough to get this risk protection.

Second suggestion: if its time to change your car, go for a smaller one! You'll save on the fuel bill, on insurances, on maintenance and on payments.

Third suggestion: if your energy bill at home increases, it might be time to invest in better insulation. Insulation helps both cooling during the summer and heating during the winter. The utility bill could be reduced considerably (unless your home is very recent or has already been well insulated) by adequate insulation and the investment is generally rewarded is only a few years. More, your home should also slightly increase in value, since you'll be able to show the buyers the low utility bill.

Forget about a new big SUV and go for the small Chevy Aveo!

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