Posts Tagged ‘ travel ’

Save Money on Gas with these Tips

Money-Saving Tips at the Fuel Pump

Money-Saving Tips at the Fuel Pump

We all know that gas prices go up in the summer right at the time when more people are driving for summer vacations or short getaways. With the July 4th Holiday Weekend upon us, this is the perfect time to remind drivers how they can easily save money at the pump.

  1. Keep your car properly maintained and tuned. A poorly tuned car can use more than 25% more gas. Get your oil and filters changed when recommended. For cars that are in good shape, you can extend the recommended 3,000 mile oil changes up to 5,000 miles without harming your gas consumption.
  2. Shop around for the best deal when getting oil changes. Look in the yellow pages for coupons, check the back of grocery store receipts and mailers for coupons, but don’t assume that the coupon will give you the best price. Most coupons are for national chains that will still be more expensive than local auto service stations.
  3. Check your tire pressure weekly. For every pound of underinflation, you can lose up to six percent in gas mileage, so if your tires are five pounds underinflated, you’ll use up to 30% more gas. Many gas stations have free air and tire pressure gauges that you can use.
  4. Don’t top off your tank when pumping gas. On a warm day, gasoline expands and can overflow.
  5. Don’t warm your car up by letting it idle. The engine warms up faster when driving than it does when idling, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes.
  6. Save gas by turning your car off. If you will be idling for more than 30 seconds, you can save by turning off the engine. When you turn on a car, it uses a little bit of gas. However, when the car is idling, it uses a fixed amount of gas over a period of time (especially with the AC on). If you are at a long stoplight, in a slow drive-thru, at an ATM, or waiting to pick someone up and will be stopped for more than 30 seconds, you will waste less gas by turning off the car and re-starting it than you would by idling during that time.
  7. Turn of f your A/C. Park your car in the shade if you can, so you won’t have to keep the AC working as hard when you go somewhere.┬áRoll down the windows just a tiny bit, so the air can circulate through your car while you are parked (might not be a good idea in areas with a high theft rate).┬áTurn off the AC 5 minutes before you reach your destination and don’t keep it working until the last second.
  8. Reduce Weight. Driving around with unnecessary items in your car will increase the drag and reduce your gas mileage. (A spare tire and jack are NECESSARY – just get rid of the bags of potting soil, cinder block, or clothing donations you may be lugging around with you.)
  9. Make sure your gas cap is secure. In the US every year 147 Million Gallons of Fuel are lost due to evaporation.
  10. Practice gas-saving driving habits. Your car uses more fuel when you accelerate. Try to accelerate gently, watch the traffic ahead to anticipate slow-downs and braking, maintain your speed on the highway, and practice reducing speed by keeping distance from the car ahead of you and lifting your foot off the gas pedal instead of applying the brakes. And if possible, drive below the speed limit. Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate to improve your gas mileage.
  • It takes 20% more gas to accelerate to normal speed from a full stop than it does from four or five miles per hour.
  • It takes 20% to 30% more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph.

And the best gas-saving tip of all… Car Pool, ride your bike, or take public transportation whenever possible. I know this is a difficult tip for many people to follow, but suggest “shopping outings” with friends or neighbors and carpool to the grocery store. You can save gas by trading driving each week. The small savings will add up if you practice it regularly.

For many more fuel-saving tips, visit the following resources:

How to Vacation When Your Budget doesn’t Allow Travel.

Vacation at Home without breaking the bank

Summer Fun can be Cheap

Everyone wants their family to have fun during the summer. If you can’t afford to take your kids on a week-long vacation to Disneyworld or the beach, you can still have a good time without overspending and make it a summer that they will remember.

For much less money than flying or driving your family cross-country for a summer getaway, you can explore your own backyard by becoming a tourist in your city. With a little effort you can get out of the rut of watching TV all summer and being immersed in your daily routine and instead see the adventures around you with new eyes.

Your town may have certain days during the summer that offer free admission to the zoo, museums, arboretum or botanical gardens. By doing things close to home, you can offer your family an entire summer’s worth of adventures instead of just a week away. Your kids will enjoy spending more time with you and being able to do many different things. When staying close to home, it is possibly to make every weekend a “staycation.”

If you have a camera, let your child take photos of the places you go. There are always coupons for photo processing that will let you print pictures for pennies. If you don’t own a camera, buy a disposable and let your child take a few photos at each place you visit. Give them a notebook that they can journal in. At the end of the summer, they can turn the journal entries and photos and create a scrapbook of their summer fun. They won’t feel left out when they go back to school and the teacher asks everyone, “what did you do for your summer vacation.”

Resources:

  • Do an internet search for your city or county to find the official government website. On the website for your city, you should be able to find links to interesting events and free summer activities.
  • Do an internet search for “your city” + day trips. You can find interesting places to explore with your family that are a short drive (2-3 hours at the most) from your town.
  • Visit your public library and/or bookstore and ask if they have a “local” section. Many times there are books featuring day trips, hiking trails, outdoor excursions, and interesting locales that are near you.

Do’s

  • Encourage your kids to help you plan where to go. Get them excited about vacationing close to home by getting them involved in the process.
  • Pack a lunch. If you’re taking a short drive for a day trip, or visit to the arboretum or park, pack a cooler with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. Eating out is expensive, and food kiosks at the zoo or other spots can be particularly pricey. Make it fun by having a picnic outdoors on a bench or under a tree. Don’t forget to pack plates, plasticware, and a trash bag!
  • Explain to your children why you can’t take a traveling vacation this summer. If they understand that money is tight they will be less likely to pout and more likely to get involved with the summer plans.