Ah yes. Gasoline. It keeps going up, up, up in price. As does home heating oil. We use both. I don’t know what gas prices are in your neck of the woods, but it’s about $3.72/gallon here. $3.65 if you pay with cash. Right off the top of my head, here are my ideas about saving money on gasoline.
Tip #1 – Pay at the pump with cash if you can. We are guilty of using our card when we buy gas. Today, I had to put some gas in the car and I had some cash in my wallet. I definitely saved a bit of money.
Tip #2 – Get your oil changed regularly. We have an older car – a 2001 Honda CR-V. Hondas are great cars and ours is pretty solid. One thing we make sure we do is get the oil changed every 3000 miles. Someone once told me that if the only thing you do is get your oil changed regularly, you’re way ahead of the game with your car. Dirty oil has an affect on gas mileage.
Tip #3 – Make sure your tires are inflated correctly. Tires that are overinflated or underinflated can mess with your gas mileage. And with your tires.
Tip #4 – Do all your errands at one time. This is a big one for me. We have one car. Don uses it to go back and forth to work and that uses up a lot of gas. When he was training for his job, he would encourage me to drop him off, take the car home, and then go back at the end of the day to pick him up. I did it occasionally when I needed the car. But mostly, I actively discouraged doing it because that made for two round-trips instead of one. A waste of gasoline.
Here’s another example: Yesterday, I went to Trader Joe’s. I was sick with a cold, knew I had to get some food in the house and decided to do it sooner rather than later, as I tend to feel worse the second or third day of a cold. So I sat down and figured out what else I needed: to go to Michael’s, Lowe’s, the bank and Target. All quick stops and all on the way to the highway that takes me to Trader Joe’s. It made for a long day, but I ultimately saved on gas because I did everything at once.
If we need to deposit a check in our local bank, I have Don do it at the branch that is on his way to work, rather than make an extra trip in the other direction to our home branch.
Tip #5: No fast starts and stops. Steady is the key. I learned that a long time ago, as I used to have a lead foot. Those starts and stops waste a lot of gas.
Tip #6: If you can shop online, do that rather than use gas for endless trips to the mall. It’s far less stressful, to boot. You can sit, sipping tea, at your home computer. No traffic jams, no crazy drivers. Less money spent on gas.
Tip #7: Think twice before you hop in the car. Don and I often decide whether or not we should do something (drive into the city, go to Trader Joe’s) by how much gas the trip might use. The only way I can validate a trip to TJ’s is if I run other necessary errands along the way. We no longer take spontaneous drives (unless it’s in the neighborhood.)
Tip #8: If you can, get rid of your gas-guzzler. Some cars are just plain gas eaters. And no one except the wealthy can afford that nowadays.
As for home heating oil, which I’m including in this post because it’s all oil, many, many homes out here in the East use home heating oil. I grew up in Michigan where we had a gas furnace. Not here. So we have regular deliveries of heating oil to pay for. And if gasoline prices are going up, you can rest assured that home heating oil prices are also going up. Thankfully, this mild winter has saved us some money.
Tip #9: Keep your heat turned down and wear layers. Definitely turn your heat down at night. You’ll save a lot of money. Also, do the usual energy checks: are there drafts, is cold air leaking in anywhere? We use those draft snakes at the base of both our outside doors. They really make a difference. Turning the thermostat down a degree or two will make a big difference in your heating oil costs.
Please feel free to share any tips you might have on this subject. We can all learn from each other. And please visit Brenda, Jen, Elaine and Diane (the rest of the Frugal Five) for their ideas on this subject.