Effect of High Gasoline Prices on Consumers

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Gasoline prices in the U.S. are still linked to global trends, America not having a sensible energy solution, 40 years of neglect on its energy infrastructure, and irrational environmental concerns that continues to plague America in term of job losses (7.6% unemployment rate in a nation filled with natural resources that it cannot utilize) and high energy prices (a shortage of energy refineries and closed off land and sea areas of exploration and development).

This leads to periodic spikes in the price of gasoline. Low-income consumers are hit harder by even a temporary increase in gasoline prices, while all consumers will be affected by a more permanent increase in gasoline prices.

This is because in most parts of the U.S., consumers have no option of cutting down on gasoline consumption as public transportation is not viable for most of them. This means that an increase in gas prices does not reduce the consumption of gas but forces consumers to cut back on discretionary spending, reduce savings, or increase borrowings.

The cut back on discretionary spending can lead to a slowdown of the economy as when consumers have lower amounts for discretionary spending they are more likely to forego the latte or ice cream. This leads to lower sales for these outlets and can also translate into a layoff for some workers or a lower income for others.

This further dampens consumer confidence and the money in the hands of consumers, leading to lower consumption levels and an economic slowdown.

When gas prices rise, the first to feel the hit are the low-income consumers and the workers in retail outlets. If the price hike persists, more sections of the economy are likely to be affected negatively.

In the long-term consumers might shift to smaller cars that offer better mileage, but in the short to mid-term the economy can experience a slowdown and Americans are beyond tired of this.

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Money Management to Curtail Risk

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One of the essentials on money management for both individuals and businesses is curtailing risk or risk mitigation. There are many things in our lives that are not in our control. However, by anticipating a few potential problems and preparing for them, it is possible to reduce the severity of the negative events if and when they occur.

Plan B
When it comes to personal finances, one should be have a safety net in place to help reduce the ill effects of potential illnesses, job losses, damage to property or appliance, or even the death of the main provider for the family. While none of us desire any of these negative events in our lives, most encounter a few of them any some point. In order to successfully negotiate these events, one should have a Plan B for the finances.

Life Insurance
This means that any person with financial dependents should have a term life insurance to help the dependents financially for the possible loss of income. To ensure that the dependents are adequately provided financially, the person should clearly nominate the dependents and make a will or create a trust fund to ensure that the dependents do not face financial hardship.

Heath Insurance
Similarly, every person should have adequate heath cover to ensure that illnesses and hospitalization do not cause financial hardship over the physical pain and psychological worries that accompany them.

Property Insurance
Apart from this, those who own property should ensure that this is adequately insured. This is because, for most people, their house is their primary investment. Any damage to the house can lead to financial losses that might be difficult to recover from without proper insurance.

Shop Around
While it is essential to have adequate insurance cover, proper money management also requires one to shop around for the best cover. Each insurance a person obtains must provide for all the possible contingencies and also be priced reasonably. For instance, while it is important to ensure that the life term cover will provide financial security for the family, an accident insurance that provides a greater sum assured if the insured person loses their life in an accident does not make financial sense.

Emergency Fund
Most prudent managers of money are aware that certain types of credit are very expensive. For instance, credit cards charge a high rate of interest if not paid off in full at the end of a payment cycle. In order to reduce such interest burden, one should always have an adequate emergency fund. This should cover three months of living expenses to help tide over wage loss because of ill health or job losses.

Appliance Fund
Modern life involves everyone possessing a variety of appliances and gadgets that are expensive. Almost everyone owns a car, household appliances, and electronic gadgets such as a laptop and mobile or smart phone. These are all expensive to replace, and saving regularly toward a fund for this will mean the difference between paying for the next appliance with your own funds and paying a high rate of interest to purchase it.

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The Basics of Money Management

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Whether you are an individual with a low income or one making more than twice the minimum wage, you need to manage your money properly in order to have a financially secure future. Money management is often about making choices about how and when to use available money. Another aspect of money management is deciding how much money to have, or deciding on an income level.

Before a person can come up with a strategy to manage their money they need to have a set of life goals. This helps in deciding fund allocation, risk appetite, and savings and investment. However, certain aspects of money management are common to most people.

Repay Debts
Most debts come at a cost – interest, credit history, and credit ratings. As such any person who has debts needs to pay them off as soon as possible, making sure to repay the high interest debts first.

Risk Reduction
Simultaneously, a person has to try and reduce the risks of financial loss as much as possible. If a person has no dependents, they still need to have heath or medical cover and an emergency fund to take care of unexpected expenses such as a car problem, major appliance replacement, job loss, and so on. If a person has financial dependents, they also need to obtain a term life cover to ensure financial security for their dependents.

Once these basics are taken care of a person has to look at their long-term goals. Those wishing to study further should try and save for this. Parents who wish to help their children through college need to save and invest for this goal. Other goals for which people can save include travel, hobbies, and community work.

Another major life event for which people need to save is retirement. Retirement planning should begin as early as possible and include regular savings and investments.

Current Expenses
Once all of these savings have been taken care of, the reminder of the income can be used for current expenses. Again, in order to manage this money properly, the bills have to be paid first and entertainment has to be fit in according to the funds available.

However, most people find it difficult to curtail all discretionary expenses – they might enjoy eating out, watching movies with friends, or gaming. In order to ensure that expenses toward these items do not spiral out of control, those aiming to manage money effectively should pre-decide the discretionary spend. This entertainment budget will enable a person to enjoy a few splurges while keeping this type of spending under control.

Managing money effectively is a skill that takes time to develop. However, it can only be done by those who have a life plan and goals as these ensure proper allocation of available resources. If a person finds that their income does not suffice for all their requirements, they can either plan to increase their income by improving their employability or rethink their goals and needs.

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Get Your RV Ready for Spring

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It’s the time of year when many people will be running to their self storage facilities to retrieve their RV’s, firing them up and hitting the open road. In order to be fully prepared for the trip, RV owners have a few items to scratch off their checklist. To be sure they are ready, we’ve done some research and present several tips to make the process easier. Read on for the tips:

  • Replace and refill all of the fluids – oil, gas, transmission, steering etc
  • Replace all of the filters
  • Inspect the hoses and belts
  • Inspect and inflate the tires
  • Test the lights
  • Flush all of the water lines
  • Test the operation of all appliances
  • Test the smoke alarm
  • Test the propane and CO2 detector
  • Air out the awning
  • Fill the propane tank
  • Turn the fridge on
  • Take the RV off the jacks or cement blocks
  • Wash the RV
  • Buckle up and drive

These helpful RV tips should give you a good head start before you begin the road trip. Should you need a place for RV storage once you arrive at your destination or when you return, be sure to visit BookStorageOnline.com. We list several thousand self storage facilities around the country and many of them have capable RV storage.

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Pack Up Your Seasonal Clothes

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With the winter months behind and the warmth of the sun beating down it is time to get out your shorts and tank tops and pack up your parkas and snow boots. If you are an organized person you probably already have a plan of attack in switching out your winter clothes for your summer stuff. These quick easy steps will have you dancing in your sprinkler faster than you can say “shovel”.

Have a Checklist

The easiest way to begin is to have a checklist of winter items you will put into your self storage unit. Things like coats, boots, shovels and snow blowers will not be needed in the summer so they can be packed into your unit. Having a checklist handy will prevent you from making several needless trips to the storage facility.

You should also have a list of items which you want to bring home from the storage facility. Summer items like lawn mowers, clothes, sprinklers and rakes can all come home.

Pack Efficiently

Make sure you pack your winter items efficiently so you know what is in which box and can find it quickly when the weather turns sour again. Moving your snowmobile, snow blower and shovels to the back of your storage unit is probably a good idea since you won’t need access to them for a few months.

Keep Items In Sight

Once you find time to move your winter clothes into your storage unit and get your summer items out of the unit you should already have your plan of attack and all of your items ready to go. Keep all of your winter stuff close to the door or packed as neat as possible in your basement or garage. If you can load up your car/truck and move all of your belongings in one day it will be much easier and faster. Staying organized will have you exchanging seasonal items in a flash.

If you need a local self storage facility, BookStorageOnline.com has you covered. We list thousands of self storage facilities from coast to coast. Use our simple city search to find the best storage facility for you!

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Use Self Storage to Get Organized

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Most people tend to use self storage units to keep their lives organized and keep their homes/apartments/condos more clutter free. It can be frustrating when you are unable to find something you need only to dig through boxes, drawers and closets full of your other stuff to find what you needed an hour later. Being organized is more about time and life management rather than space and clutter management.

Being organized effects all aspects of our lives and although a storage unit can provide you with a quick way to declutter your living space, it can surely do more. Imagine reducing the amount of time you waste searching and re-sorting all of your belongings and being less stressed prior to long trips because you can find everything you need at a moment’s notice. Not only will you be happier and cleaner, you will be making your life easier as well.

Here are a few of our suggestions on when to use self storage to get organized:

  • Cleaning the Garage – Most of the time a garage is used for stuff you can’t fit in the house like paint cans, spare wood, ladders and extra chairs. You probably also have some sports equipment, seasonal tools such as lawnmowers, blowers, shovels and boots. You may even have a spare couch, light bulbs or old TV’s and computers. If you have any spare room after that you may even have a car in your garage. Instead of piling all of your stuff into the garage, consider a self storage unit to keep you better organized.
  • Cleaning your Closets – In your closets you probably have seasonal clothes, boots, shoes, hats, more clothes and other stuff you haven’t worn in years. In the hall closets you may have brooms, mops, buckets, blankets, pillows, towels and even candles. There is never enough space where you seem to need it so everything gets tossed in the closet. Put clothes and shoes in boxes and take them to a storage facility so you have more room in the closet for new stuff!
  • Cleaning your basement/attic – Similar to your garage, these areas can be a catchall for boxes, clothes, old toys, computers, furniture, decorations and antiques. Instead of moving things from the attic to the basement and vice versa, put them in boxes and store them at a storage facility until you need them.
  • Preparing for a move – Not only is your house a cluttered mess but now you want to move. You will probably have to stage your home to get it ready to show for buyers. Packing up most of your belongings and stuffing them into corners of your home simply wont work. Pack up your stuff and move it into a storage facility until you sell your home and then move what you need into your new home. The stuff you don’t need can simply stay in your storage unit to keep your new place clutter free.

Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

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You Need Storage Insurance

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Many people go to self storage facilities with the intention of storing their precious assets whether it is wine, art, furniture or electronics. What some tenants neglect is these storage facilities normally do not protect your own personal possessions in case of fire, tornado, flood or any other disaster which is why you need to get insurance for your storage unit.

Insurance is typically dismissed and one of several last options tenants think about inspite of its significant meaning. There may be no telling when a tornado, hurricane, fire or flood will strike a place. The minimum recurring price level associated with protecting your items is far outweighed by the peace of mind you will encounter knowing your important things can be easily exchanged if busted.

Many, if not all, self storage owners will discuss your options regarding self storage insurance once you transition directly into your storage unit. If you have insurance on your residence or possibly your own personal apartment, what reason wouldn’t you have insurance in your storage unit in which you are storing more of your precious valuables? You can easily purchase insurance through the storage facility, through a self storage insurance company or through your home/renters insurance.

The value of renters insurance shouldn’t be exaggerated. The month-to-month cost is minimal and the security you will encounter knowing your belongings are safe is invaluable. The probabilities of a natural disaster or accident transpiring at the self storage facility are actually tiny. Having said that, why take a risk with your belongings? Be more secured with self storage insurance.

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Which Storage Facility is Best?

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Locating self storage facilities in cities is easy nowadays. People used to search through phone books, call storage facilities and then drive to the storage facility in order to inspect it. Now, a simple internet search will yield all the information anyone would need in order to make an educated decision on the storage unit of choice. Which storage facility is the best option for your needs though?

Due to the amount of storage facilities sprouting up around the country, there are now many different options to choose from which make self storage facilities different from one another. Storage facilities are different in the way they are built, how they look, the number of storage units they have and even the kind of units they provide. If all storage facilities were the same, people would choose the closest or cheapest storage facility to their home. Since they are not the same, people must comparison shop in order to find what is best and what makes each facility unique.

Some facilities attempt to attract customers by having the lowest price or by offering discounts. Others may have better amenities such as gated access, security cameras or free truck rentals. Others still will offer top of the line amenities such as great customer service, specialty storage (boat, RV or wine) or be involved with the community and local charities.

Determining which storage facility is best is similar to any other purchasing decision. Establish what is the most important with regards to storing valuable possessions. Are customer service and top of the line amenities most important or are price and location a bigger factor? It is probably easiest to choose the top 3 most important things and narrow the search from there. Chances are there will be several great storage facility options in the nearby area.

Remember BookStorageOnline.com lists thousands of storage facilities nationwide from Los Angeles storage units to Boston self storage. Rent through the BookStorageOnline.com website in just a few simple steps.

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Using Self Storage for Home Staging

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Most Americans have clutter in their homes and tend to hoard (at least a little) useless items around the house. Some people have entire rooms or even houses filled with pointless junk. With the way many homebuyers are these days, the hoarding of belongings can be a detriment to selling your home. Utilizing a self storage unit can create a more welcoming, open space in your home and lead to a faster sale.

You may think renting a self storage unit in order to sell your home seems farfetched and pointless but think about it. Buyers want to see an uncluttered, open home so they can picture how their belongings will fit in the space. This is how the home buying/selling market is these days. Determine what items you can live with and what possessions you can live without for the time being. When you are cleaning up, you may even find some of your stuff can either be thrown away or given to Goodwill. Once you’ve determined what can stay and what should be removed, evaluate how much extra room you have.

Chances are you are still going to need to move some items to the basement or attic. It isn’t a good idea to try and cram all of your extra stuff into closets, cabinets or corners of the basement as this will appear cluttered to buyers who may think there isn’t enough storage space in the home. If you still have too much stuff, it is wise to rent a storage unit for a few months. The cost to rent a storage unit is minimal and the amount of possessions you can store will de-clutter your home and give it an open feel. This way you wont have to get rid of everything you own either.

The great thing about storage units are they are cheap, month to month commitments, safe and secure. Do your research on BookStorageOnline.com and find the best storage facility fit for you. You can search by price, distance, amenity or storage size, get a quote or even rent right online! These self storage home staging tips should give you a good start in selling your home. Remember, BookStorageOnline.com has all of your self storage needs. Coast to coast we have you covered!

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Store Belongings When You Go Overseas

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Using self storage to keep your belongings safe and secure is never a bad idea but one time when it makes great sense is when you are relocating overseas. Whether you are moving overseas for a few months for your job or doing your part in protecting our freedom while serving this country, self storage is a viable option.

Below are some reasons to store your possessions instead of inconveniencing a friend, family member or neighbor:

  • No personal debts – Aside from the monthly payments you will owe to the storage facility you wont have any personal debts to family members or friends. Chances are, your friends or family members don’t have much room to store your extra stuff in their home for extended periods of time and if they did you might feel indebted to them for holding your possessions.
  • Ease back in – Coming back and knowing your belongings are safe, secure and in the same place you left them gives you peace of mind. Not only will it be easier to move your stuff back into your place but you wont be nearly as stressed out either.
  • Unsure return date – There is probably a good chance you are unsure of your return date back to the States and scheduling movers while overseas will be a huge hassle. With your possessions in a storage unit, you pay the monthly rent and can take care of everything else once you return.
  • Safe and secure – A self storage facility is about as safe a spot you can put your belongings while you are away. They have storage managers on duty at all times, are gated with security cameras and have access codes to get in. The storage facilities are most likely safer than your home when you are gone.
  • Apartment lease is up – If you’re going overseas and live in an apartment, there’s a good chance your lease could expire prior to your return. If this is the case, a self storage unit is a great place to store your stuff. It will be cheaper than keeping your apartment and more secure.

BookStorageOnline.com lists thousands of self storage facilities around the country and are always available to assist you in finding the perfect self storage unit for you.

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