If you are like me and you find yourself driving across time several times daily from daycare, to work, to schools and sporting activities … we are always on the move. Gas can get really expensive for an active family costing them an average of $3,000 every year (that’s $250 a month)!!! Before you get the filler-upper blues, try some of these tips and tricks to keep your wallet feeling a little better about those car trips!
1. Check your tires air pressure often! Tires that are low on air can actually make your car work harder and use more gas. If you check the air-pressure and make sure to top it off when it needs it, you’ll shave off some gas usage. Likewise, keep up with those oil changes! The smoother your engine is running the better miles/gallon you’ll get!
2. Join a rewards program. Many gas-retail establishments now offer reward cards that give you points for purchases of items like milk, bread, or other general goods. Some even give you points when you fill up your tank. It could be a credit card with a cash back reward system or a simple free rewards card, but it’s worth it to take note of how you can save. If you have a gas station on the way home, stop in and find out about their rewards program. For programs that reward you for buying things in the store, make it a habit to buy your milk and misc. from
the gas station on your way home, earning you points that you can later use for a better gas price!
3. Do you want a car wash? – No you don’t!!! Don’t get fooled by this clever marketing scheme (unless you actually need a car wash). Let’s take a look at the math! While the gas sign reads .10 cents cheaper if you buy that car wash, you now have a car wash to pay for actually making your total purchase cost more than if you just purchased the gas itself. The car was is usually just a soap and water basic deal, so if you need one it could be a good idea to bundle them, otherwise just hit that big red NO button.
4. There’s an app for that! Gasbuddy is a great smartphone app that will use your location in order to pinpoint the cheapest gas station near you. If you are filling up it could be worth it to drive that extra couple of miles to save .5cents on your total purchase (but keep in mind driving out of the way tends to negate the savings). The app also has a handy tool that let’s you report current gas prices. Each report you make enters you into a drawing to win a $250 gas gift card! If you don’t have a smart phone, you can report prices from your home computer @ www.gasbuddy.com
5. Use your gps/smart phone to find shorter routes for you. Many will let you input multiple destinations so you can find the shortest routes between all your errands saving you time and gas!
6. Empty out your car! The heavier your vehicle, the more gas it will use. If you aren’t needing all that beach gear, roller blades, folding chairs, etc … lighten up your load and thus help lighten that burden on your wallet!
Following some or all of these hints won’t make you rich, but it never hurts to shave of a few dollars here and there. It can really add up in the end!