Another petrochemical crisis

Pay attention when you're driving. With another hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast, you just might run smack into another huge fossil fuel price bump. There are no outlet stores for gasoline and shelling out money for it is inevitable, but there are a few things we can do to save a few bucks (for another shopping trip, of course).

If you're a student living away from home (but not too far from it), visit your family once in a while. Besides getting fed and getting your laundry done without first worrying if you have enough quarters for the dryer too, you can also do some TLC for your car. Wash it with a garden hose in your drive way. That, along with the food and laundry money saved, will get you money for a few more gallons of gas. But the big pay-off is the gas price. The farther away you get from the metro area of a big city, the cheaper the gas prices are. In my case, the difference between where I'm living and where my family lives is about 20 cents a gallon. I don't have one of those Shell credit cards that gives rebates for gas, but if anyone does, let us know how well that works. Of course, the savings plan only works out if home is less than 50 miles away. Even if it's not, seeing your family, in most cases, will help reduce the bill for the shrink in the future. Being a student can really suck sometimes, but having family around once in a while helps.

Food in the suburbs is also cheaper. Those areas tend to have more Walmarts, Targets, Big Lots, and big and clean 99 Cents Stores that actually have good merchandise. Big Asian and Hispanic markets are also a good source for cheap produce and canned goods, but warehouse-style stores like Food 4 Less tend to have better deals for meat, bread, dairy products, and frozen stuff.

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