Do you want to cut back on your unnecessary expenses? Do you want to put away more monthly savings from your pay check? Do you want to go on a luxury vacation abroad? With the kind of economy we have today, these money-making tips seem to be more and more difficult to execute.
If you own a car, you know how much difference high fuel prices can make on your weekly financial plan. Add to that the detailing, repair and maintenance costs of your automobile and you can be grappling with a big budget problem week after week. With gasoline costing as much as $100 a barrel, you can expect to be shelling out a big chunk of your budget for fuel only.
But there are creative ways for you to keep up with the rising costs and still be able to make the most of your primary means of transportation. At the same time, you can save the planet by using your car wisely and helping keep fuel consumption at manageable levels.
Tip #1 Drive only if you have to.
There are days and trips when you absolutely need to take your car, but you there are also times when you can go for cheaper and more eco-friendly transportation options. Make a travel itinerary so you don’t have to zigzag across town and look for short-cuts so you can lessen your travel time and thus your fuel consumption. Consider starting a car pool for friends who live in your neighbourhood so you can divide the fuel costs among yourselves. And if you don’t really need to get out of the house and go somewhere, just stay in, pop a movie on your DVD player and relax.
For very long journeys, you can opt for public transportation in order to save on gasoline costs and save yourself from the effort of driving for hours. You can also avoid wear and tear on your vehicle by not using it on incredibly long rides. If your errand for the day just involves going over to the bakeshop on the next street, you can walk. It’s good for your health and you don’t even have to spend a penny to get there.
Tip #2 Be kind to your engine.
You don’t have to act like a Formula One driver when you’re traveling along city roads choked with traffic and intermittent stop signs. Accelerating and decelerating in rapid bursts only burns larger amounts of fuel unnecessarily because you need to produce enough energy to get back up to speed when the lane starts moving. And when you’re accelerating, you add years of wear to your engine and give you bad gas mileage. Stay at or near the speed limit to burn your fuel and your money wisely.
Avoid traffic jams as much as possible so you don’t have to sit in idle and drive in staccato distances. Even if you have to go a ways to get around the pile-up, that alternative route might be better in terms of total fuel efficiency.
Tip #3 Use technology to your advantage.
Your smartphone can help you bring down your fuel costs by helping you find the most direct route to your destination. As an added bonus, you can install apps like the GasBuddy to help you locate the gas station offering the best prices in the area where you’re driving. Another app you can check out to help you manage your gas costs is CheapGas, which can provide you directions to the cheapest gas station near you.
The next time you want to buy something, log onto online stores to make your purchase instead of driving to your favorite retail shop.
Tip #4 Keep your car free from unnecessary burdens.
Don’t carry stash heavy items in your trunk or load the top of your vehicle with lots of junk. For every 100 pounds of stuff you lug around in the vehicle, you subtract one to two percent from your gas mileage. You can also remove the roof box or rack when it’s not in use so you can make your car as aerodynamic as possible. You’d literally feel lighter with your car freed from heavy loads that you don’t really need.
And while you’re at it, make sure that you drive with your windows up and the sunroof closed so you decrease your drag and be able to coast the roads at more efficient fuel rates.
Tip #5 Look for cheap gas.
You can drastically lower your weekly gas budget in any number of ways: buying gas discount cards, using your loyalty card at the gas station you frequent the most and trying generic gas every now and then. Sometimes it’s not very wise to fill up your tank with branded and expensive gasoline because you can get the same performance and fuel efficiency at lower prices elsewhere.
Don’t refuel only when your tanks is almost empty because then you will be forced to buy gas at the nearest station regardless of how much they charge. If you catch a great deal at half-tank, stop for a refill so you can save a few cents per gallon instead of waiting for the near-empty signal.
Ally is part of the team that manages Home Loan Finder, a free variable home loans and home quity loan comparison service in Australia. Before joining HLF, she was a Media Planner with McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.