#cheapoil #OPEC #gasprices

The elements of an improving economy may not be obvious to everyone.
But the shrinking price of gasoline certainly is.
In fact, gasoline is as cheap as it has been in many years.
Why is it so cheap and how long are these prices expected to last?
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) decided not to cut crude oil production to raise prices.
On top of that, the United States, Canada and other regions are producing more oil, according to an article by Rick Jervis for USA Today. His article appeared in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville Nov. 23, 2014, prior to the OPEC meeting on Thanksgiving.
Jervis’ article pointed out that while OPEC could still influence the oil market, it doesn’t have as much clout as it did years ago. In fact, a decision by OPEC – whatever that was – would have made the front page of every U.S. newspaper years ago. On Friday, newspapers ran the story but most ran it on the inside, or on the front of the business section.
Sure, we are loving paying less at the pump. It’s real money going back into our pockets. Still, the oil industry doesn’t like these low prices. OPEC was between a rock and a hard spot. If it cut production to raise prices, it would encourage more oil exploration in the United States and elsewhere. Getting oil out of the shale and tar sands of North Dakota and Texas, though it has been a blessing for us consumers, is still more expensive than getting it out of the deserts of the Middle East.
The lower prices are discouraging more exploration here and, as Jervis’ article pointed out, OPEC was keenly aware of that. The oil industry is not in business to give us cheap gasoline, though that has been the result of alternative oil sourcing.
Another big bonus for the United States is that it is not so reliant on countries who may not like us much. Though any new skirmish in the Middle East could send oil prices soaring again, it would also encourage more exploration here.
Also, we are using less oil and gasoline here. Vehicles are more fuel efficient. Many vehicles are only partially fueled by gasoline. Some vehicles are not fueled at all by gasoline. Less demand keeps prices down.
And, as The New York Times recently reported, alternative fuels, such as wind and solar power, are becoming nearly as cost-effective as coal and natural gas. That will trend well toward keeping oil and gasoline prices down.
In the last several years, many of us have been hurt by a troubled economy. We’ve been hurt so badly that we don’t see what’s good about today’s economy.
What should we do? First, put the money you are saving at the gas pump into a savings vehicle. It will take you a while to see financial recovery that way, but it would be a start.
Second, if you truly aren’t feeling the good economy, check out the many other ways there are to make money outside of a job. For one of the best, visit You’ll find average people making above-average incomes, and helping others do the same.
Just because you can’t see everything happening in the economy doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. The gasoline prices are obvious to all of us. The rising stock market may not be obvious to all.
The lesson for all of us is to be optimistic about the future. Don’t let the naysayers tell you we are heading for hell in a hand basket. The future looks bright. And, you can make your own future bright by taking action you may never have thought of taking. Go for it! You won’t know what there is to gain until you look for it.


If you are finally back at work after a long unemployment, your life has changed.
In decades past, one may have had a job that had ebbs and flows. He worked when there was work, and got laid off when times were slow – only to be hired back when times improved.
In those days, jobs – particularly in the trades – didn’t go away. They sometimes went on vacation. Those who faced that situation often planned for it. More importantly, when they got hired back, it was often a better situation from what they had before.
For most professions, THOSE DAYS ARE GONE!
Today, if one gets laid off, often the job is never coming back. The person has to re-invent himself or herself. That can take time. You may know someone, even yourself, who has been out of work for months or years. As they look for jobs, they are discriminated against because they have been unemployed for so long. If they get another job, it is often for less money than they were making.
Wall Street Journal reporter Veronica Dagher talked to experts in the field and, in an article published March 2, 2014, offers advice to those who are finally working again after a long employment. In short, the six steps Dagher found in her research are: 1) Celebrate in moderation. Have a drink or an expensive cup of coffee, but don’t take a big vacation. 2) Set a new budget. A smaller salary means a reduced lifestyle. 3) Start saving and tackle debt. Bills may have drained your savings and increased your debt. Start building your savings and paying down debt. 4) Get a checkup. You’ve probably put your health on hold to save money. Start taking care of yourself again. 5) Catch up on retirement. You’ve probably drained any retirement account you may have had. Start building it back up. 6) Plan on your job going away again. Employers are constantly restructuring. They have to. You are just one reorganization, or one bad manager, away from the end of your career in certain fields.
If you are working, be thankful — no matter how bad your job seems to be. If your work situation is terrible, look to find something you can do part-time to help you get out of it. A second job may not be the answer you are looking for. There are oodles of opportunities out there to augment your income without having a traditional job. For one of the best, visit You, and your friends who may be in the same boat, just might find a way to eventually walk out of miserable jobs with smiles on your faces.
Re-inventing oneself is not the same as being someone you aren’t. You can still be you, with all your beliefs, quirks etc. Re-inventing oneself means taking control of YOUR situation. You can’t stop your employer from downsizing or reorganizing. He may be very sad to have to let you go. Regardless, things happen and YOU have to deal with it. Often, that means changing priorities, learning new things and, most of all, being open to looking at new things.
Not everything out there is going to suit you. Sometimes, you have to take a job you hate to get you over an immediate financial hump. But, long term, the future is in your hands and you can achieve great things if you want to.
Here’s hoping that if you were out of work for a long time, that you’ve finally found a new job that suits you. If you are newly unemployed, check out some of those other opportunities out there while you are looking for a new job.
If you have a job you hate, or you have a job you fear is going to go away, start to re-invent yourself now. Spend your free time checking into some of the ways to pick up extra money. So, when, or if, the day comes that your boss tells you goodbye, you’ll be OK.
Or, better yet, you can tell your boss goodbye first, and leave smiling.


We are inundated with coupons.
Merchants use them for effective marketing.
But many have an expiration date on them.
Wise shoppers clip coupons for only what they use – or might use.
If you happen to need that can of artichokes before the coupon expires, you put a few cents in your pocket when you buy it, using the coupon.
But here’s the reward: if you didn’t need it before the coupon expires, you put the entire cost of the item back in your pocket, and throw the coupon away.
As you do, do you feel as if you’ve thrown THE VALUE of the coupon away, or have you saved money by not buying the item?
If you have storage space in your home, you could have bought the artichokes at the coupon price and stored them until you needed them. That would have been wise, if you could do it.
Or, you could shop several stores and see what artichokes go for. If you find them below the coupon price at a store that won’t take your coupon, the shopping effort is worth it, providing you won’t see your savings burned up in gasoline to get to that other store.
The point here is that when you buy things you use, there are ways to save lots of money with a little effort. Countless people don’t bother to use coupons. They can’t be bothered clipping them. They throw lots of money away. Over years, those little, unused savings add up. They might even mean the difference between retiring at, say, 60, and having to work until, say, 70.
Saving money is not rocket science, but you have to devote some time. Very few people go into the first car dealer they see to buy a car. Very few people would have a Realtor take them to look at one house, and buy it on the spot. But we seem to think that a penny here, a nickel there, a dime over here makes no difference in our lives.
This is where little things form a big picture. It’s OK to clip a coupon and throw it away. Obviously, you didn’t need the item when it was on sale. You may know people who will buy something JUST BECAUSE it’s on sale. They’ll take it home, and maybe they will figure out how they can use it.
Know what you use, and buy only what you use!
By the way, electronics are usually big-ticket items. One could go broke keeping up with the trends in gadgets. Have you ever met a person who will cheap out and cover over a roof leak only with shingles, and not replace the wood underneath, but has every electronic gadget imaginable inside their homes?
These are misplaced priorities. Do you have your spending priorities straight? That will go a long way to a great life.
If you are a careful shopper, visit Check out the plethora of big savings, and little ones. You’ll also see a way to earn potentially a lot of money.
The next time you see a person down on his luck, and you feel comfortable giving that person advice, ask him whether he knows where every penny of what he earns goes. Chances are, he does not. He spends without thinking, much of the time. Those who spend carefully may not have every trendy thing, but they have what they need – and much of what they might want. Little actions, multiplied over time, can pay big dividends.