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US stockpiles are at their lowest point for this time of year since 2011.

By Money Staff Tue 11:56 AM

This post comes from Nicole Friedman at partner site The Wall Street Journal.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyDrivers in the U.S. are facing rising gasoline prices ahead of summer-vacation season, just as refiners here are shipping more gas to other countries.


A new pipeline, built to release a glut of crude oil that was stuck in the middle of the country, is now feeding oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast that churn out gasoline and diesel. While these fuels still make their way to the Southeast and the East Coast, growing amounts are being sold to Mexico, the Netherlands, Brazil and other countries.


The push into these markets has been spurred by the U.S. oil boom. Rising oil output had been flooding the nation's oil market in recent years, keeping U.S. crude prices low relative to world prices. Facing tepid fuel demand in the U.S., refiners have been ramping up exports, creating more global competition for U.S.-produced fuel.

 

Take these simple steps to live a more environment-friendly lifestyle.

By Credit.com Tue 11:27 AM
This post comes from Abby Hayes at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyIt's Earth Day, so we’re all looking for easy ways to be a bit gentler on the environment. Whether it’s buying local produce or planting a tree, going green is trendy. And it makes sense.


We want to preserve our world for generations to come. And to do that, we need to make responsible environmental choices in every area of life, even with our finances


A hiker taking in the scenery of a mountain range. © Christian Heeb, Aurora Open, Getty Images

If you want to take your green-ness to the next level, check out these five ways to go green with your money.

 

It doesn't always pay to go for the lowest possible price on purchases and other expenditures. Here's why.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 1:17 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIt pays to spend less whenever you can, right? Well, not necessarily. There are some cases where the "less is more" principle doesn't work.


Money into toilet © RubberBall/SuperStockBeing cheap cuts costs for the moment, but may cause you to incur additional expenses in the long run. That ends up being the antithesis of frugality.


Here are a few instances where thriftiness can backfire:


1. Couponing

As an ex-couponer, I know all about this firsthand. I remember sitting at the dining room table every Sunday afternoon cutting away at the weekly circulars and matching the coupons from my ridiculously large collection to the sale items.


I saved a ton of money, but I also ended up with a massive stockpile of items I had no real use for.


The moment of truth came when I headed to my stockpile, only to realize I had accumulated six jars of mayonnaise and 18 sticks of deodorant, which I likely wouldn't use before the best-by date. That's not to mention the hours of my life spent clipping away that I could have used to generate additional income.


The choice is yours, but I suggest you conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the hours spent on couponing are worth it. Here's a perfect example from LearnVest that really helps put things into perspective.

 

Just in time for Financial Literacy Month, surveys show that many Americans are poorly equipped to handle their current and future finances.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 1:11 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you lost your job and sole source of income tomorrow, could you live for more than a month on what you have saved? If you answered "no," you're not alone.


A survey conducted by RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Co. -- just in time for Financial Literacy Month -- found that just 52 percent of respondents could live for more than a month on what they have socked away in their savings accounts.


Office worker wearing dunce hat © Design Pics/CorbisIf that's not concerning enough, nearly half of those surveyed said they lack knowledge or understanding, and thus confidence, about their personal finances. Many people are in dire need of financial literacy.


But truly, there are simple steps people can take. Trae Bodge, senior editor for The Real Deal blog by RetailMeNot, said:

Saving money is just one part of the financial literacy equation. It is also important that consumers spend wisely to be able to afford the items they need. Making small adjustments to shopping behaviors, like utilizing discounts for everyday purchases, in addition to putting away even a small amount each month, are important steps toward achieving overall financial health.

Other key findings of the survey include:

 

When it comes to food budget savings, what comes first -- the chicken or the egg?

By Cheapism.com Mon 12:51 PM
This post comes from Josue Ledesma at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyWith sustainability gaining a foothold in the popular imagination, raising chickens in the backyard holds a certain appeal. There's the steady supply of fresh eggs from a flock of hens, for one, the natural grooming of the landscape when the brood roams free, and the general thrill that comes with money-saving self-sufficiency.
 
A chicken rest in a backyard coop in La Porte, Colo. © Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
But a word to the wise: Before forging ahead, check local zoning regulations and health codes. The raising of livestock, which may or may not include chickens, is subject to local control in many communities.
 

One financial expert says parents should start easing children off the family gravy train before they're old enough to drive.

By Credit.com Mon 12:22 PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyThey're becoming adults, they're graduating or they've pointed out they are now 18 and can make their own decisions. And you silently wonder when they'll start making their own money, too.


Young man sitting at a table in front of a laptop holding a credit card © Jack Hollingsworth, Blend Images, Getty ImagesHow long do you support your children financially? For many baby boomers, the answer is unclear. Many report that they are still supporting grown children. Retirement planners sometimes worry about it. But when, exactly, do you start encouraging your kids to be more financially independent?


Author and financial coach Gail Perry-Mason has an answer: age 14.

 

Some homemade cleaners perform better than commercial ones, cost less and are better for the environment.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 12:05 PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News at MSN MoneyYou've probably heard that you can make your own cleaning products from ingredients found around the house. But how do they stack up against commercial cleaners?


You can clean your home effectively -- killing germs and bacteria while protecting your health and caring for the environment (Tuesday, April 22, is Earth Day!) -- and for about half of what you're probably paying now.

 

Different financial situations call for different credit cards. Here's how to know if a card is right -- or wrong -- for you.

By Credit.com Mon 11:46 AM

This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.


Credit.com on MSN MoneyBetween television commercials, and advertisements on the Internet and in your mailbox, there is no shortage of information about credit cards.


Credit cards © Corbis

But when it comes to determining which one you should get, a pretty good place to start, when sorting through the hundreds of cards on the market, is to eliminate those you should avoid.


With so many different credit cards available, there are right and wrong cards for each different kind of credit card user.


So first figure out what type of credit card customer you are, and then be sure to avoid these cards.

 

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