How to manage your savings at the pump

How to manage your savings at the pump

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Prices at the pump are reaching lows many of us never thought we'd see again, and the price for a barrel of oil is at its lowest point in about a decade.

But what could that mean for you? Budgeting for gas has meant extra money in people's pockets, especially for those who make a living driving like truckers and taxi drivers. But regardless of what you do, the extra savings at the pump presents an opportunity most of us are missing.

"It's just better for all the drivers and they're loving it right now," said Yellow Cab of Savannah Owner, Larry Green.

Since taxi drivers pay for their own gas, today's lower prices means extra income at the end of the week, which is a big difference compared to recent years.

"It was a big burden on the drivers for $4 a gallon, because when you go to get calls sometimes you have to ride all the way to get the call and then people aren't going very far, so you're not making very much money. Versus now that the gas is down, it's a big, big help," said Green.

But the big question becomes what do you do with the extra cash you save at the pump?

"Now I pay probably $40 to fill-up a V8 truck, and that's nice. It's a big difference. It saves me an extra $40 really, so that's definitely extra money I love having," said Steve Lutz, driver.

"Like extra spending money," said Angela Sutton, driver.

That's what a number of drivers said as they were filling up, that the savings in their gas budget is less likely to find its way into a savings account and more likely to buy a pair of shoes they've been eye-balling.

"The average consumer, I think, spends that money. Because it's not a big amount, they don't realize," said Lighthouse Financial Group President Wendy Wallace.

Wallace helps clients manage their finances and plan for retirement on a daily basis. She says that extra gas money may seem small, but setting it aside each month could go a long way.

"So even as little as a hundred dollars a month can add up very, very quickly. Setting that money aside, if it's coming out of a paycheck. Just simply setting up a separate savings account and having it go there and trying not to touch that is the best plan possible," said Wallace.

Wallace also warns that just because things are looking up for the economy and gas prices now, it does not of course guarantee that will continue in the weeks and months to come. She also recommends using some of those savings to help set aside three to six months' worth of living expenses in case of an emergency, like when the car you're filling up so cheaply, breaks down.

To take a look at gas prices in your area, visit the WTOC Pump Patrol page.

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