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, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm