Slumping oil prices have taken its toll on companies, industries, and markets for the longest time, with US refiners as their latest victim. Many refining entities, which recorded strong earnings for the last 18 months amid adversities, have posted their earnings plunged by half from a year ago.

How do plunging oil prices affect consumers’ daily budgets on a personal level?

Groceries. Declining crude price is tantamount to cheaper grocery items. When oil prices slide, the fuel charge for commercial shipping and trucking drops. Hence, low production cost impacts the cost of using energy and fertilizer. And when it happens, maintaining crops and livestock is not much of a burden. We may not feel the effect immediately. But a few cents we save can add up in the long run. Same thing with people who do grocery shopping abroad. For instance, if you love fresh mangoes but the state where you live does not offer one, you can make that daily craving less expensive and strenuous.

Utilities. Who does not love low utility bill? Cheap oil can lower the energy bill. However, the effect may differ depending on how a house is warmed. Households that utilize electricity to warm their houses and have electric appliances may not notice huge changes in their bills. Conversely, those who use heating oil may see some relief unless they pay their bills in advance. Still, any form of saving is helpful.

Gas. As of present, the average gasoline price in the US is $2 per barrel, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Low crude prices mean huge savings. And those savings may be allocated for other important expenses including emergency fund, retirement, or education savings. Whilst we can only do so much to trim our monthly gasoline budget, descending prices can go a long way in easing our wallet woes.

Expect prices to go down further. One reason is supply glut, which is aggravated by the fact OPEC and non-OPEC producers failed to agree on capping oil production. Another is Iran’s return to the arena after the United States and other world leaders lifted the sanction against the country. For now, let us maximize the advantages of inexpensive oil prices.