On the Road Savings

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By Lisa Scarbrough

It’s that time of year again: running around crazy to get the best shopping deals, hands worn out from wrapping gifts, and families anxious about road travel. So it’s probably not the best time to be worrying about spending money on your car.

As of this writing, my truck has over 235,000 miles. I bought it used from a dealership in late 2003 with around 30,000 miles. It’s just a simple 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport. It was originally purchased to be a puppy-mobile for my animal rescue, but it’s turned out to be quite the versatile family SUV in recent years. Thanks to a few simple tips like the following, it might even see 300,000 miles.

1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventative maintenance makes all the difference, particularly on engine wear. I’m religious about my oil changes and anything else my mechanic recommends. When my truck hits the 3,000 miles mark, we’re headed for date with the shop.

2. You can just drive 55. We all want to save some money on gas. If you drive the speed limit, you use less than when you go over. If you find you always need to speed to get to work on time, make an alarm clock change; don’t make your car (or your wallet) pay the price for your tardiness. And that little “cruise control,” he can be your best friend on long drives.

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3. Keep an eye on your tires. Check the tire pressure regularly, particularly before and after a long trip. If they are under-inflated, your gas bill might be a bit higher. If you’re not sure, let your mechanic help you; most do it as a routine part of an oil change.

4. Go for the fresh air. If you’re not driving on the interstate, take a cue from dogs everywhere and let the fresh air blow on through. You’ll save some gas over using air conditioning. However, at high speeds, rolled down windows create drag, so you use more gas either way.

5. Pack light. So many of us use our vehicles as mobile offices and storage units. Reduce the load in your vehicle and you’ll reduce fuel consumption. The same goes for roof rack loads - carrying luggage or other items on your roof can dramatically increase your gas consumption.

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6. Plan your route. Have a bunch of errands to run? Make a list, stopping at the furthest point first and working your way back home. This gives your vehicle the chance to warm up, making it perform better and more efficiently after each stop.

7. Carpool. Carpooling is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for your car. Take turns reducing mileage wear and tear on your vehicles by riding together to work or running errands with friends.

8. Join your auto shop’s loyalty rewards program (if you’re lucky enough to have a mechanic with one). For every visit, I earn points towards gift certificates for future services. So far this year, I’ve been able to get a free alignment, a few free oil changes, and one free tire.

It may seem like you only save a few cents here and there, but those pennies really add up, particularly around Christmastime. Here’s hoping you and your family have a safe and happy holiday, whether you’re traveling to be with family or enjoying the season at home.

Lisa Scarbrough offers mom-on-a-dime advice for parents like her who still hold out hope that they’ll be able to afford the rising costs of college tuition (yeah, right). Course, Lisa has some time to prepare; her son, Ian, is three years old. Lisa lives in Guyton, GA, and when she’s not chasing after her little man, she serves as the Digital Properties Manager for Paula Deen.
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Paula Deen
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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm