15 Driving Tips For Better Fuel Economy

fuel-wallet-gaugeFor many drivers, changing your driving habits, or improving upon your driving habits, can actually improve your fuel economy up to 30% right away (depending on how you drive). The following tips on driving more efficiently and maintaining your car will help you improve the fuel economy of your car or truck. The more you can do, the more you will save. See how many of these you already do and possibly improve upon the ones you don’t.

15 Driving Tips For Better Fuel Economy

  • Use cruise control to maintain a steady speed on the open highway.
  • Know the correct starting procedure for your particular make, model and year of car. Don’t race a cold engine to warm it up.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine. Start driving right after the engine is started and warmed up, but avoid rapid acceleration.
  • Maintain steady speeds for the best fuel economy. A car uses extra fuel when it accelerates. “As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas.”
  • Minimize the need to brake by anticipating traffic conditions. Be alert for merging traffic, slow-downs and red lights.
  • Travel at moderate speeds on the open road. Higher speeds require more gasoline use to overcome air resistance.
  • Use the air conditioner only when needed. Air conditioning dramatically reduces fuel economy.
  • Spark plugs should be in good condition. Spark plugs in lesser condition can reduce gas mileage up to 12%
  • Check the air filter twice a year. A dirty air filter increases fuel consumption and can cause poor performance. A dirty air filter can reduce can reduce gas mileage up to 20%.
  • Inflate tires according to the recommendation in the owner’s manual. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy by as much as 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.
  • Use the right octane level for your vehicle – Using premium gasoline in an engine designed to run on regular doesn’t improve performance. Even some vehicles that call for higher octane fuels can run on regular unleaded, though with some loss of performance may occur. (Check your owner’s manual to be sure)
  • Be sure your gas cap is snug or tight. “Improperly seated gas caps allow 147 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the U.S.”
  • Lighten up your load – Carry only the bare necessities. Don’t haul things around in your trunk that you don’t need. “For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy.” This will vary with the size of your vehicle (car, truck, van, suv, etc)
  • Reduce drag – About half of your vehicle’s energy is expended overcoming air resistance. (The other half is expended in acceleration.) Reduce your car’s workload — remove anything that might cause drag (such as luggage racks, bike racks, ski racks, etc)
  • Take care of car-care “incidentals” that can affect fuel use. For example, a defective radiator thermostat can waste gas by extending the engine’s warm-up time or decreasing the engine’s operating temperature. A stuck brake caliper can create drag, which also wastes fuel.

And Last … But not least … Drive less!

Walk – Ride your bike – Take public transit – Carpool – Combine errands – It’s may be obvious, but is  easy to forget … the less you drive, the less you’ll spend on gas.

Do what works best for you!

13 Tips For Saving Money On Groceries At The Supermarket

shopping-listA shopping list is almost a must … and a very useful ‘tool’ to remind yourself what you do as well as don’t need to purchase. However most experts on being frugal, emphasize shopping with a list because it prevents impulse purchases. Impulse purchases wreck havoc on grocery budgets.

More than half of all grocery purchases are unplanned!

No wonder creating and sticking to a pre-made list can bring grocery costs down.

But that’s not the only way to save money at the supermarket. Below you will find several tips for saving money on your next grocery bill. Some of these may be obvious ….. others not as much. All of them can help you save at the supermarket. See how many of these you can benefit from:

#1 – Make a list — and stick to it –

This is the cardinal rule of shopping. The list represents your grocery needs: the staples you’re out of, and the food you need for upcoming meals. When you stray from the list, you’re buying on impulse, and that’s how shopping trips get out of control. Sure, a magazine only costs $5, but if you spend an extra $5 every time you make a trip to the supermarket, you waste a lot of money.

#2 – Compare unit pricing –

The biggest package isn’t always the most cost-effective. Stores know that consumers want to buy in bulk, and so they mix it up. Sometimes the bulk item is cheaper, sometimes it’s more expensive. The only way you can be sure is to take a calculator. Almost all larger grocery stores and supermarkets post unit prices on the shelf tag for most items, which makes comparisons easy when you know what to look for.

#3 – Think twice before getting a basket or cart –

Carts slow you down and make you buy more. Studies have shown the longer you stay in a store, the more you buy. If you’re dashing into the supermarket to pick up milk and bread, don’t impulsively pick up a basket. Baskets induce people to buy more. If you’re limited to what you can carry, you’re more likely to avoid impulse purchases. Only use a basket (or shopping cart) if it’s absolutely necessary.

#4 – Don’t examine things you don’t need –

The more you interact with something, the more likely you are to buy it. Virtually all unplanned purchase come as a result of the shopper seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting something that promises pleasure or fulfillment. Do you know why grocery stores place those displays in the aisles? To intentionally block traffic. They want to force you to stop, if only for a moment. It only takes a few seconds of idly staring at the Chips Ahoy! to convince you to buy them. Stay focused.

#5 – Live on the edge –

Health-conscious shoppers know that the perimeter of the store is where the good stuff is. Stores typically place the healthier, less-processed items on their perimeters, such as baked goods, dairy products, fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. All of these are generally placed along the outside edge of the supermarket, while the processed stuff can be found up and down the aisles. Shopping the edges isn’t just healthier — it’s cheaper too!

#6 – Discard brand loyalties –

Be willing to experiment. You may have a favorite brand of diced tomatoes, for example, but does it really matter? Go with what’s on sale for the lowest unit price. You may find you like the less expensive product just as well. If you try a cheaper brand and are disappointed, it’s okay to return to your regular brand.

#7 – Choose generic –generic-brands

Better yet, try the store brand. Generic and “house-brand” products are generally cheaper than their name-brand equivalents (unless on sale) and are usually of similar quality. The only difference is marketing and fancy packaging. So, if it costs less and tastes the same… should it really matter?… I mean, after all, you’re not eating the packaging. ?

#8 – Use coupons wisely –

Coupons really CAN save you money. But you need to use them wisely. Clip coupons for ONLY the things you need — staple foods and ingredients — not for processed junk food. Learn to use special coupons. Occasionally, local stores will mail out savings coupons like “$10 off a $50 purchase coupon” or “Spend $20 on any grocery items and get ‘x’ items at no or minimum cost”. If you know it’s coming on a regular basis, you can plan your major shopping trips around it.

Saving Money At The Checkout Stand: Are You Coupon Savvy?

#9 – Make one big trip instead of several smaller ones –

Each visit to the grocery store is another potential opportunity to spend needlessly or excessively. By reducing the frequency of your trips, you’re not only avoiding temptation, but you’re also saving money all the way around (meaning your time and fuel costs).bulk-bins

#10 – Buy from the bulk bins –

Some stores offer bulk bins filled with baking ingredients, cereal, spices, nuts, seeds, etc. When you buy in bulk, you get just the amount you want or need, AND you pay less… Much less.

#11 – Always check your receipt! –

Make sure your prices are scanned correctly. Make sure your coupons are scanned correctly. Sale items, especially, have a tendency to be in the computer wrong, and yet few people ever challenge the price at the register. After all… It’s YOUR money. It’s your responsibility as well as your right to have your order rung up WITH sale and coupon items discounted correctly – Ask for it!

#12 – Shop alone! –

Research finds that people tend to buy more when shopping in groups rather than when shopping alone. Men, more so than women, are easily suggestible to the entreaties of children as well as eye-catching displays. Try to shop by yourself if at all possible.

#13 – Shop on a full stomach –

Studies show that folks who shop when they’re hungry tend to buy more food. Thirsty people will stock up on more drinks. This is certainly true for me: If I go to the store for milk on a Sunday morning without eating breakfast, I’m likely to come home with donuts and orange juice and Lucky Charms, too.

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Any of these tips can help a savvy shopper save money at the grocery store or supermarket. And a combination of many of the above (if strictly followed without deviation) may actually slash your grocery budget significantly.

Give it a try and see what works for you.

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Here’s another recent post link from this blog about coupons

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    20 Things A Burglar Won’t Tell You

    burglary_in_progress

    Have you considered spending your hard-earned money on a home securityburglar-cartoon system?

    Well, taking a look inside of a burglar’s mind just might help you make that decision. Consider the following musings of actual, experienced burglars and it just might help persuade your final thought process……….

    Learn how to better protect yourself and your family with these insider secrets.

    #1) –  Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

    #2) – Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

    #3) – Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

    #4) – Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

    #5) – If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

    #6) – If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

    #7) – A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom—and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

    #8) – I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)

    #9) – Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

    #10) – You’re right….. I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables….. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

    #11) – It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable – But understand this….. I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

    #12) – A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television.

    #13) – Sometimes, I carry a clipboard….. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

    #14) – The two things I hate most….. loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

    #15) – I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing….. It’s human nature.

    #16) – I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

    #17) – I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

    #18) – Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.

    #19) – To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

    #20) – If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

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    Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs crimedoctor.com; and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars On The Job

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    Smart Snack Attack – 10 Calorie Magic!

    The 10-calorie secret

    Craving a snack?

    Come on….. admit it! – We’ve all been there….. some more than others. Guilty as charged I must confess myself. But there are ways to be smart about combating that urge when it strikes.

    Try using this handy-dandy list below to put together your own personal SMART SNACK ATTACK defense. Pick your favorites from the 10-calorie bites here to build a 200-calorie (or less) daily treat that satisfies you without packing on pounds. The magic number to stay under is the 200 calorie-limit rule. As the old Alka-Seltzer commercial said back in the 70’s ….. “Try it, you’ll like it” . All food items listed below are approximately 10 calories each (or as defined). See if you can put together your own “magic formula” to satisfy that urge without blowing your calorie intake or waistline.

    Feel free to mix and match! Good Luck and enjoy!

    • 1 navel orange segment
    • 1 Whopper
    • 2 large strawberries
    • 4 1/2 mini-marshmallows
    • 1 Wheatables cracker
    • 12 1/2 blueberries
    • 1 1/2 almonds
    • 2 1/2 Jelly Belly jelly beans
    • 1 French onion SunChip
    • 3 watermelon balls
    • 3 Altoids mints
    • 1 Austin Zoo animal cracker
    • 9 Brach’s Cinnamon Imperial Hearts
    • 11 pieces shelled edamame (soybeans)
    • 1 cashew half
    • 1 dried pineapple piece
    • 1 pecan half
    • 1 Big Cheez-It Cracker
    • 1 Tostitos Scoops! chip
    • 1 gummi bear
    • 1 large celery stick
    • 1 Snyder’s of Hanover honey mustard and onion pretzel nibbler
    • 1/3 cup air-popped popcorn
    • 1 Keebler mini vanilla wafer
    • 4 Cheddar Goldfish crackers
    • 2 Skittles
    • 1 apple slice
    • 2 1/2 pistachios
    • 1 reduced-fat Pringle
    • 4 Nestlé Toll House semisweet chocolate chips
    • 20 roasted and salted soy nuts
    • 10 Wheat Chex
    • 2 1/2 baked Cheetos
    • 42 Cheerios
    • 3 cherry tomatoes
    • 2 Fritos
    • 1 shoestring french fry
    • 1 peanut M&M
    • 3 green or red grapes
    • 1 1/2 Twizzlers black licorice bites
    • 2 1/2 baby carrots
    • 2 Teddy Grahams
    • 3 plain M&M’s
    • 18 roasted and salted sunflower seeds
    • 7 pieces Pirate’s Booty
    • 1 container tropical berry or strawberry-kiwi Jell-O sugar-free gelatin snack

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    Here are a couple more healthy snacking posts from this blog:

    Healthy Snacks With Less Than 200 Calories

    What’s In Your Snack Stash? – Healthier Alternatives

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    10 Alternate Uses For Car Wax

    car_wax_&_clothDid You Know?

    Car wax not only shines and protects, but does a whole lot more!

    Whether in liquid or paste form, car wax is formulated to fill scratches and give a high shine to nonporous surfaces like glass and metal, while protecting them from smudges and stains. It’s handy in multiple other ways too, so grab a lint-free cloth and get to work.

    1.  Keep Appliances Fingerprint-Free

    Apply a thin coat of car wax to stainless-steel fridges and stoves. Buff clean to resist fingerprints and smudges.

    2.  Shine Your Faucets

    Rub car wax onto kitchen and bathroom metal fixtures to keep them shiny and spot-free.

    3.  Free-Up Sticky Mechanisms and Hinges

    Use car wax to lubricate the hinges of garden shears and scissors.

    4.  Fix a Skipping CD

    Apply a small dab of car wax to a scratched CD and buff it clean using short strokes along the length of the scratch, not across it. Rinse the CD with water, and let it air-dry before playing.

    5.  Combat Corrosion

    Apply a thin coat of car wax to brass door knockers, mailboxes, and other outdoor fixtures to keep them from tarnishing.

    6.  Fight Mildew

    After using your regular cleanser, apply a layer of car wax to the inside and outside of a shower door and buff off with a dry cloth to stave off mildew growth.

    7.  Make Closets, Drawers and Windows Easier to Slide Open

    Rub a small dab of car wax onto the tracks of sliding closet doors, drawers and windows so they’ll slide more smoothly.

    8.  Prevent Bumper Sticker Buildup and Residue

    Before placing a sticker on your car’s bumper, rub a tiny bit of car wax onto the area the sticker will cover. Later, it will peel off easily—no gummy mess to scrape off.

    9.  Keep Snow from Sticking

    Shoveling is hard enough when snow is heavy and damp. Apply two thick coats of car wax to the head of a shovel (or to the inside of your snowblower’s chute) to prevent the white stuff from sticking.

    10.  Make a Mirror Fog-Free

    Rub a thin layer of car wax onto a bathroom mirror and buff it clean. Next time you step out of the shower, you’ll be able to see your reflection without having to wipe away

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    Here’s another alternate use post from this blog that can be a money saver:

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    Customer Service: I Wanna Speak To A Human Being!

    frustration_on_the_phoneEver get frustrated by not being able to get a LIVE voice, specifically an operator, customer service representative or (better yet) a supervisor,  for customer service help or a billing or tech support  problem?

    Tired of having to deal with a voice activated computer or being lead around in circles by voice prompts, none of which pertain to the reason why you’re actually calling?

    There are a couple of websites out there that may be able to help you out and get through all the red tape a lot quicker. It’s absolutely ridiculous to have to go through a dozen or so voice prompts to have to get through to a representative.

    GetHuman.com and Get2Human.com are websites dedicated to telling frustrated consumers the right buttons to push on a telephone to reach a human in the customer service department at hundreds of companies.

    Ever Been Through This Scenario?

    You’ve been on hold for anywhere from 15 minutes to (God forbid) an hour waiting for the next available customer service representative, then get dropped or  disconnected (whether it be accidentally or intentionally) when you actually get a live voice. This happens countless times everyday to good, everyday people just trying to remedy a situation.

    Some larger companies (phone companies, banks, credit card issuers, insurance companies, mortgage companies, real estate agents, cable or satellite companies, ticket agencies, ebay, Amazon, computer tech, credit unions, hospitals, airlines and government agencies, are notorious for this type of runaround.

    You really want to speak to a LIVE person and the longer it takes to get to one, the more  your frustration level builds and the higher your blood pressure rises. Sometimes you need some inside knowledge on how to “beat the system” so that YOU’RE the one in control “pushing buttons”.

    Dealing with corporate giants this way can really add to the stress you already have. Also, many people with various medical conditions (stroke victims, hearing impaired, speech impaired, deaf-mutes) as well as the elderly can have a difficult time understanding or even communicating with a computer activated voice.

    Having a bad cell phone connection or noisy environment around you can make this this very difficult also.

    There are 2 websites out there now with a solution to getting through all this BS. It’s very thorough and updated on a regular basis. It actually lists hundreds of various companies and tells you how to get through to a human voice a lot quicker. Each company is individualized for maximum results telling you which buttons to push  specifically to get through easier as well as quicker.  You can also add your imput or rate your experience here also.

    gethuman-logo

    Check them out using these 2 links below…..

    Get Human.com

    Get 2 Human.com

    PS – I absolutely love this Translation Interpretation Guide to messages that the automated phone systems generate. Check this out here.

    FREE 411 Directory Assistance – Now More Choices!

    free411.img_assist_customI’m now aware of 7 companies offering TOLL FREE 411 INFORMATION to anyone using either a landline or cell phone. Now if you’re using a mobile phone, depending on your plan, you will still have to pay for your minutes you actually use, of course. You might want to test these out and see which one works best for you. Websites have been included wherever possible for more info.

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    1-800-FREE-411

    http://www.free411.com/index.php

    1800FREE411

    In exchange for listening to a 10-second ad, you can use this free 411-like service. A nice bonus is that it can text (SMS) you the information you’re looking for.

    1-800-373-3411

    1. Call 1-800-373-3411
    2. Listen to a 10-second ad.
    3. Follow the voice prompts, asking for your location and business name/type.
    4. Get your desired information by phone or by text.

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    1-800-THE-INFO1-800_the_info

    http://www.800theinfo.com/

    Simply Dial  1-800-843-4636

    1-800-THE-INFO is the number to call for free business numbers and addresses. Get the info you need for shops, restaurants, andlocal businesses. Get it fast and get it free. Save yourself some dough. The next time you need to know a number or an address fast, call 1-800-THE-INFO.

    It’s like Directory Assistance. Except for some key differences. You can search by the TYPE of business you’re looking for.  Also, if you want to search by neighborhood, landmark or intersection, we can recommend nearby businesses and services.

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    1-800-GOOG-411

    http://www.google.com/goog411/google411

    Google’s service finds specific businesses in specific cities, and connects you to them by phone.

    1-800-466-4411

    Google’s service gives you information about local businesses in a specific area.

    1. Call 1-800-466-4411
    2. State the location (“Oakland”) and business name or category (“Golden Lotus”/”vegetarian restaurant”).
    3. Choose/confirm the business you want to contact.
    4. Google will connect you.

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    1-800-935-5697at&t

    1-800-YELLOWPAGES

    http://www.att.com/Common/1800yellowpages/product_description.htm

    Place a free call to 1-800-YELLOWPAGES – (1-800-935-5697), listen to brief five to ten second ads, and then get the number you want. All for free, thanks to the advertisers who pay for the calls.

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    1-800-555-8355

    By phone or by cellphone Web

    http://www.tellme.com/youtellme_color_screen

    Tellme allows you to call a toll-free number and get information such as stock quotes, directions, movie and weather information, or get richer information if you have a Web-enabled phone or Blackberry. It can also text (SMS) you the information.

    1. Call 1-800-555-8355
    2. Say one of the following words below.
    3. Get the information you requested.

    You can request any of the following:

    • business (“Coffee”, “Starbucks”)
    • “movies”
    • “sports” – scores, game times, updates
    • “weather”
    • “news center”
    • “stock quote”
    • “travel” – taxis, planes, rental cars, hotels
    • “entertainment” – horoscopes, soap opera news

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    1-800-BING-411

    http://www.discoverbing.com/mobile/411/bing411

    • Call 1-800-Bing-411 (1-800-246-4411) for free.
    • Connect directly to businesses for free.
    • Share listings with friends.
    • Receive text messages of local listings.
    • Hear the latest traffic reports, personalized to your route
    • Hear turn-by-turn driving directions, or get a text message
    • Find movie showtimes and theater info
    • Listen to current weather and forecasts

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    1-800-411-SAVE

    1-800-411-SAVE Rolls Out Free Directory Assistance Nationwide

    1-800-411-SAVE is a pioneer provider of free directory assistance services. Supported by advertisers, 1-800-411-SAVE provides free residential, government and business listings (by name or category) via live operators. While the listing is retrieved, callers hear a brief, relevant advertising message often containing a promotion or special offer. The 1-800-411-SAVE service is an excellent alternative to costly directory assistance services and is fast, easy and 100% free.