Tag Archives: gas

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This weekend I went on a road trip.

Driving for long periods of time can be expensive. Gas, wear and tear on your car, and other expenses can add up, which can hit your budget pretty hard.

I make this trip once every few months, so here is what I learned as far as saving money on road trips:

how to save money when going on a road trip

Small Towns Have Cheaper Gas

I love this one, because I find it true almost every time: the smaller the town (the farther away from the city), the cheaper the gas.

If I’m really low on gas, I get it while I’m leaving the area. Gas in some places is much less expensive, and to fill up it can save me $70+. If you can wait until you get to the little towns in the middle of nowhere, it’s even cheaper.

Save on Snacks

The obvious thing to do here is to just not get snacks, or to bring snacks with you so you don`t have to stop at a drive through. However, this isn’t always realistic. Eating healthy while driving is unrealistic if you don’t want to stop; especially if you are the driver, it’s hard to eat and drive at the same time. Furthermore, it can be dangerous if you bring food that needs to be heated up or refrigerated to go without these provisions.

I propose that instead of stopping at a drive through, or eating while driving (dangerous, expensive), time your trip between meals if it’s not a long road trip. This can also be advantageous because of my point below.

Timing

On long weekends, or in high travel time (summer, the holidays) if you leave town at “rush hour” time, you can be caught in traffic. Idling is bad for the environment, your wallet, and your engine. It’s also not efficient, because who wants to waste their time in a car for hours longer than they should have to?

I find that leaving at around 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM on Fridays beats the out-of-town rush. Saturdays can be hard to work around, but leaving earlier rather than later in the day will help you avoid some of the traffic.

Mileage

I hate watching my car chug down the gas on road trips; since I’m in the car the whole time, it’s more noticeable when the gas gauge goes down steadily.

I drive a standard transmission, so when I am on anything with a slight slope, I tend to pop it in neutral and coast as far as I can (without losing speed).

Avoiding Tickets

Perhaps I shouldn’t be mentioning this, but who wants to go the (ridiculously low) speed limit while on a road trip on a big highway? Not me. There is an “unwritten” rule of thumb where you can drive 10 KM over the speed limit without getting pulled over or risking a ticket. Anything over 10 KM  above is ticketable.

If you have a heavy foot, don't go faster than the people in the fast lane in front of you. Those are the people that get ticketed. Follow the person in front of you (unless they are going above your comfort level), and watch for brake lights in the distance. This is usually a pretty good indicator of radar, because people are generally kind of dumb and stomp on their breaks when they see cruisers.

Or, you know, you could just follow the speed limit. Right. That too.

 

How do you save money when driving long distances?

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Sometimes, the things I do blow even my own mind. I'm really not even ridiculously frugal; I believe in quality over quantity, and completely understand the value in spending more to get a better product.

I'm a person of convenience, usually. I try to do things in the most efficient and convenient way. I'm not always successful, but I can't stand wasted time.

These few points are the reasoning behind why I do all the things that I do, even the ridiculous things. They make sense in my mind while I'm doing them, and then usually end in failure and/or regret. For instance:

  • In January, I waited in a parking lot for an hour and a half between meetings instead of going home, just to save gas and time. The thing that made this unbelievably dumb is that I was only 7 minutes from home.
  • I park three blocks away from school sometimes to save $3.50 on parking. I go to school in the ghetto. A girl went missing from my school in November.
  • I put every last cent I spend on my credit card. Two reasons. 1) It's easier to track 2) I get a 1% rebate on everything I spend. The thing that makes it ridiculous is that I will never carry cash because of this. Sometimes, stores have spending minimums on credit cards; if you don't hit the minimum, they charge you a $.25 fee to use a credit card. I've wracked up a few of those (making the purpose of the card redundant) because I never carry cash.
  • I've waited in a border lineup for almost an hour to save $10 on gas.
  • I've tried to make pasta from scratch to save (on an already inexpensive food). I don't have a pasta maker or a rolling pin, so it didn't turn out well.
  • I move into the ghetto, where we have crackheads for upstairs neighbours and my property manager, I'm pretty sure, is either: a) the crackhead's daughter or b) an entirely unrelated but equally terrifying individual
  • I once tried to cut my own hair. This might work for some people, but not me. I denied it to my hair stylist a few months later, but I don't think she believed me.
  • Instead of buying expensive cleaners, I use vinegar for everything. I used to mop my floor with it. It worked, but it always smelled horrible. I was too cheap to buy nice smelling oils. To be honest, this is less to save money and more to go green and because chemical cleaners are terrible for your health.
  • One time, I spent half an hour doing a survey that only earned me $1. Then I did it again. I actually didn't learn my lesson until the third or fourth survey, at which point my hand was so tired from clicking through questions that it practically cramped up.
  • Instead of buying a new, cheap black T-shirt after an unfortunate incident with the bleach, I tried to color in the white splotches with permanent black marker. I failed and had to buy a new back t-shirt.

I have no doubt in my mind that I've done thousands of dumb things to both save and make more money in my short life. I doubt I've had much luck in actually saving, because most of these things ended up, or could have ended up, costing me more in the long run. 

So. Readers. What's the most ridiculous thing you've done to save money, or to make more money? This could be fun.