Save Money on Gas ~ Tips on How to Increase Time Between Fill Ups

save money on gas

Are you looking to save money on gas and reduce your amount of fill-ups?
Let's review some gas saving tips. Some of these you may have seen before but if you're like us, you could use an occasional reminder to keep you on track.

Air Conditioner
Air Conditioner
There is a general belief that running the air conditioner burns up gas. Well, that is somewhat true. It does use gas. However, did you know that you could be burning more gas if you are driving with the air conditioning off and the windows down? On most cars, at around 45 mph, the drag created by having the windows down causes more gas usage than turning on the AC and shutting the windows. So when you're burning up on the road trip down the 101, put those windows up and let that baby run!

Brakes - Use them less (safely of course!). If you begin coasting to a stop sooner, you'll be getting double benefits: you'll use less gas and you'll use less of your brakes. The average brake repair is $250-$400, so why not try and make that happen as less often as possible! Also have them checked frequently (with every oil change is a good reminder) because replacing brake pads is cheaper than if you wear through them and do further damage.

Daytona 500? - Unless you're running from the cops, or driving a woman in labor to the hospital, you probably don't need to be driving like it's a Nascar race. Did you know that your optimum speed MPH is around 65? Every MPH you go faster than that, you are burning gas quicker. Also, the slower you accelerate, the more gas you save. So maybe grandma was right this whole time...


Make sure your tires are properly inflated. If your tires are too low, it increases the friction between your tires and the road, thus decreasing your gas MPG. Also, having your tires at the proper pressure decreases your chances of having a blowout. Check your tires, it should say right on them what the ideal PSI pressure should be. The difference between under-inflated tires and optimum tires is as much as 3%! Also, keeping your tires properly inflated will increase the life of the tire!

Cruise Control

Whether you realize it or not, if you are driving on the freeway for a considerably long distance, your foot is moving, causing your speed to slightly fluctuate. That can decrease your MPG. When (and if) you can, use cruise control to keep your car at a steady pace.

Idling - Sitting in your car while it is running can burn up gas really quick. Do you live by train tracks? Turn off the ignition while you wait at the RR Crossing instead of just keeping your foot on the brake or putting it in park. Not comfortable turning it off and on? At least shift to neutral to save a little bit. Do you still warm up your car for a long time? A lot of people have the idea of "warming up the car" from their parents, or from back when they had a 1972 Pontiac Firebird or something. The truth is, most newer models of cars don't even need to be warmed up. Think about going into the restaurant instead of using the drive through. I know we've all been stuck in a drive through for 10 minutes or more. You might not think about (or even want to know) how much gas you're burning up while waiting for your burger!

Maintenance - Keeping your car well maintained can have a major impact on your gas usage. A simple tune-up can get your engine optimized and clean your air filters. That can lead to a big change in MPG. Air flow is key to optimal gas usage, so at the very least, clean and maintain your air filters.

Storage Unit?

Are you treating your car like a storage unit? If you've got a bunch of unnecessary stuff sitting in the trunk, take it out! The less weight your car has to pull, the less gas it will use! Another note here is to wait until you're close to empty to fill up. Did you know one gallon of gas weighs around 8 pounds? This means if you have an 18 gallon tank, the difference between full and empty is 145 pounds! That's like a person! Now obviously you can't drive around on empty all of the time, but this is just something to take into consideration.

Plan Your Trips - Planning can help save on gas as well. This tip won't actually save you WHILE driving, but can help you do less of it. Plan out your day/week ahead of time. Do you need milk? Is there a grocery store right next to the bank you're already going to? Even if you know they sell milk for $1 less at Walmart, you're losing that $1 anyway if the Walmart is any more than 3 miles out of your way. You've really got to consider gas expenses as part of your coupon shopping. Is it really worth it to drive 15 miles round trip ($2.50 or more in gas) to get 1 free tube of toothpaste? It's not really even free then, because you used up $2.50 in gas getting it. So a little planning goes a long way in saving gas!

So there you have it. Some of these may seem like they will make a very small difference. That is true, if you do them alone. However, even if each tip above only gives you a 2% increase, you've got more than a 15% savings on fuel usage right there! That's a significant difference and can keep a decent amount of money where it belongs - in your bank account.

18 Ways to Save Money Today

ways to save money today

What are some ways you can save money today?

Ways to save money are all around us. Almost everywhere there is an opportunity to spend money, there is an opportunity to save. Sometimes, saving money takes careful planning and can be tricky or difficult. This post is all about EASY ways that you can save money TODAY!

1) Do you really need that? This can be viewed as the 30-day rule too. If you see something that you are thinking about buying (obviously groceries and essentials are excluded from this), wait a couple of weeks, or 30 days and see if you still cannot live without it. A lot of times, if you really do wait that certain amount of time, the want or need for that item will pass. You will have found a cheaper substitute or you will have figured out how to get along without it. Also, if it is an article of clothing, waiting will usually put you ahead, for almost everything will go on sale eventually! If at the end of your 30 days (or whatever set time you have) you still can't live without the item, then get serious about buying it and look for a deal!

2) Create a budget. This is something else that you can literally do right now. Creating a budget creates accountability. Hopefully with a budget, you will think about every purchase you make and how it affects your budget. Should you really be buying that case of beer when it will blow half of your weekly grocery budget? Creating a system of checks and balances for yourself will hopefully prevent frivolous spending.

3) Call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate. This will save you money right away if they oblige and you are carrying a balance. The best part here, you can't lose! The worst that happens is nothing. You cannot lose money by making this 2 minute phone call! See our post about how we got a lower credit card interest rate <-----here with just a phone call! 4) When cooking, save your scraps! This is one that we are starting to do. In the winter, we love to make soups from scratch. An important ingredient in soups is stock. Make your own stock from cooking scraps! Save veggie ends and peels for vegetable stock, save chicken trimmings for chicken stock and seafood shells for a great seafood stock. Store them in the freezer and toss them in a pot with an appropriate amount of water. Boil and you've got home made stock from ingredients that you would have thrown away! Stock costs about a buck for 12 oz. in stores and that can add up fast!

5) Open your coupon eyes. Using coupons is one of the easiest ways to save money. If your total is $20 at the grocery store, would you rather pay with a $20 bill or hand over $15 cash and $5 in clipped coupons? If you said the $20 bill, you should probably stop reading here, since you clearly don't need to save money. :) If not, go to this page for hundreds of online printable coupons.

6) Cook at home! This one also seems very obvious, but I know a lot of people who eat out way more than they can afford. The average casual dining experience with tax and tip is $10-$12. Even if you score a deal, you're most likely paying at least $5 per person. It's easy to keep it under $2 per serving when cooking at home! Even if you're getting a bargain when eating out, you're probably paying double or more of what it would cost to eat at home. Plus, we won't even get into how much healthier it can be to prepare your own meals.

7) Optimize your food storage. Are you storing your bread on the counter top? Do you have cookies in an opened package in the cupboard? Put the bread in the fridge to keep it fresh for over twice as long as the counter tops and transfer those cookies into an air tight jar to keep them fresh for longer. Grab a nice Rubbermaid set here from Amazon.

8) Finish what you started. This is a major problem in our household. Check your pantry. How many 85% empty bags of snacks do you have? Is there a half eaten apple next to a half eaten pear in your fridge? I know, variety is the spice of life, but you should try and finish one "like" item before moving onto the next. No need to have opened bags of Fritos, Doritos, Funions and Tostitos all at once. Chances are if you do, at least one of those will not stay fresh long enough for you to finish it.

9) Auto-renew? Check up on your subscription to the Jelly of the Month club. Is it set to auto-renew and charge your card monthly? It is important for you to know what you are being charged for and when. Companies make it way to easy (on purpose) for you to forget about the $20 or $30 they are taking each month/year for their service.

10) Optimize your MPGs. Are you a fuel conscious driver? Well, being one can save you money! Don't ignore those basic tips you always hear like coast to a stop, don't accelerate like Jeff Gordon and keep your car maintained. Those all lead to better miles per gallon and more money back in your pocket!

11) DIY as much as you can! We just saved $10 by having Katie cut my hair instead of Supercuts. Mow your own lawn, clean your own gutters, wash your own car. Build stuff instead of buying it. I know not everyone's DIY (Do It Yourself) skills reach very far (God knows mine don't), but think about what you can do for yourself. You'd be surprised at what you can do and how much money it can save you!

12) Check for unused services. Do you pay for HBO and never watch it? Do you pay for 1600 cellular minutes per month and use 200? Bring the monthly cost of those services down by switching to a plan that allows you to pay only for what you use. On the flipside, if upgrading to an unlimited data plan (avoid overage penalties), subscribing to Netflix (avoid renting as often) or another service upgrade will honestly help you save money (and is not an unnecessary luxury) then do it! This is where you've really got to be honest with yourself though.

13) Check your vents. In your car and home, if you close unused central cooling and heating vents, more power will go to the vents that are open. My brother has a spare room in his house and keeps the vent closed unless someone is staying there. That is 175 less square feet that he has to heat and cool. In a 1200 square foot house, that's 15%! That means he saves 15% on cooling and heating by closing just ONE vent. If you are really motivated, open and close the vents all over your house as you enter and leave the room. No need to cool the family room when everyone is trying to sleep in their bedrooms.

14) Eat more potatoes! Seriously though, incorporate cheaper ingredients into your cooking. Research recipes for potatoes, rice and other very cheap ingredients. Find ones you like and incorporate them into your meal planning. At non-sale prices of rice hovering around 20 cents and potatoes around a quarter, these items and ones in that price point are staples to any money saving menu plan. Disclaimer: make sure you eat your vegetables too.

15) Check your water heater. Do you really need it to hold water at a temperature that is so hot you can't even touch it? You can set your hot water heater to hold water at a lower temperature, that way it doesn't have to work as hard to maintain that temperature.

16) Check your water flow. While we're on water, try this one. Get low flow shower heads and faucets and even low water toilets! You'll save water, which is good not only for your wallet but for the environment too. Plus, if you're in an area where you are charged by the amount of water you use, this can be a very large financial saving idea.

17) Check your tech. Unplug whatever electronic devices you can when not in use. Also, get your computers and other expensive electronics on a surge protector to save yourself from damage during a power outage.

18) Drink water. A lot. For the most part, water is free. Drinking water instead of soda or juice that you pay for is a clear money saver. There are also health benefits to drinking water. Many people will get a headache when they lack water, thus causing them to take medicine that they pay for. Also, being in good general health can keep you away from the doctor and paying co-pays.

Do you have any other ways to save money today?

Printable Grocery List

printable grocery list
Having a printable grocery list can help you stay on track at the grocery store. Avoiding impulse buys has never been my strong suit, but when I write stuff down, it helps.

I created this free printable grocery list to help you get better at grocery shopping. Get the ad, find some sales, print some coupons and write a list!

This free printable grocery list looks exactly like the picture above and can be printed using the link below.

Click here to open a PDF in a new tab where you can print the free grocery list!

Walmart Family Mobile Unlimited Plans: Follow Up

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. #cbias

new phone #FamilyMobileSaves #cbias #shop

#FamilyMobileSaves #cbias #shop phone box

Remember when I told you all about how we switched our business phone line to Walmart Family Mobile? Well, I wanted to follow up to that post and let you know just how we have been liking our new plan! We had originally switched our personal phone lines to Walmart Family Mobile and loved them so much that we decided to change our business line to the same service. What a great idea that was! We love how affordable the plan is, and the best part is that it is literally everything that we were looking for in a plan, but for way lower than we had found anywhere else! We here at Look Before Spending are, after all, into saving money, and we are happy to report that this plan does just that. Plus, we don't have to sacrifice what we want. Win-win! Walmart Family Mobile offers no contract, unlimited plans, making it easy to stay on budget! I am a huge believer that #FamilyMobileSaves. We can save on what we need so we can splurge (every once in a while) on what we want! That's our motto!

#FamilyMobileSaves #shop savings #cbias

With the money we have saved on our mobile plan, we were able to make a few fun purchases that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to, including buying ourselves a new video game console! Ours had conked out on us a while ago, and once we signed up for this plan, we kept putting part of the savings aside for fun. If we had been spending more money on a phone plan, this wouldn't have been possible! This has proven to be a fun time to spend with our family, and our house is the chosen spot for family gatherings now. No complaints here! ;)

#FamilyMobileSaves #shop video games #cbias

What phone plan do you have?
If you were saving on a phone plan, what special thing would you do for your family?

Check out the online account management and more information here!

15 Uses for Old Jars

15 uses for old jars picmonkey

Wondering what to do with jars destined for the recycle bin?

We've got answers!
You can use Mason jars for these ideas, but we are really trying to find ways to reuse old sauce jars, or old pickle jars. Jars that were bought for what was once inside of them, not jars that were bought because they were jars. We used an old Ragu pasta sauce jar for the pictures above.

Without further ado, here's the list:
Drink holder.
Morning coffee, afternoon smoothie or even right out of the freezer as a chilled beer glass.
Coffee traveler.
Use this to safely take your coffee on the road with you. This is especially nice because you won't have to stress out about forgetting it or anything. It's just a jar, there's more out there!

Layer dry ingredients for baked goods.
Keep the jars for yourself as a "ready to go" mix, or add them to a gift basket or decorate the jar and give them as their own gifts! If you're using the mixture for yourself, the jar can also work well to mix the dry ingredients together when shaken.

Infuse things!
Make olive oil (be careful when using garlic - Google it), infuse vodka with gummy bears (yum!) or pickle things!

Place tealight candles right inside, or decorate the jars. A can of frost spray paint makes for a nice effect.

Breakfast in a jar.
Check out our recipe here -----> overnight oats in a jar!

Store leftovers of any kind!
Soup works great here, just be careful getting it in the jar.

Store dry foods.
Like sugar, flour, granola, beans and just about anything else!

Keep assorted small items.
Keep all of your extra buttons from clothes, screws, nuts and bolts and other stuff that's easy to lose in their own jar!

Money jar!
Cut a slit in the tip to use it piggy bank style, or just use it as a money jar! Make the money in the jar for something fun like a dinner out or extra vacation money.

Use as a vase!
If you don't think your jar is nice looking enough, affix some fancy paper to it, or even some old fabric for a really nice look! The put some nice flowers in it an viola!

Make a fly trap.
Put some (a tablespoon or so) cooked or raw meat or wet pet food into the jar. Screw the lid on. Carefully jab 3-4 holes in the top with a screwdriver or needle nose pliers. Make sure the jagged end winds up on the inside of the can. Wait for the jar to fill up or the bait to get raunchy and empty it out! If you're grossed out by the last step, this may not be the best use for you.

Use it for a time capsule!
These are always fun, and when it's time to make one, you'll have a jar!

Store old AA batteries.
These should be recycled, but what do you do with them? Now you have the perfect place to store them! Keep your eye out for battery recycling events put on by your city or local office store and bring your jar to empty it and earn all kinds of good karma points from Mother Nature.

Store extra paint or wood stain.
Doesn't it always seem like there's just enough paint that you can't get rid of it? But that paint can is so big and cumbersome to store! Well, if you've got a couple of jars saved, transfer the paint into them and you'll have the perfect storage for extra paint or wood stain!

Do you have any suggestions on what to do with jars?