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Save Money Monday: Start Using Coupons NOW!

It’s no secret that everyone wants to save money. It may seem like a difficult feat, but with these tips from PennySaver USA, saving money will no longer be just a dream, but will soon be reality, all it takes is 30 minutes.

Learn to coupon like a proJust set aside 30 minutes each week to prepare and plan ahead, and you’ll start to save some serious cash on products you use everyday. Coupons can be used not only on food, but things like shampoos, paper products, pet food, cleaning supplies and more. Once you start using coupons and see the savings, you will more than likely want to continue using coupons on a regular basis. For this installment of Save Money Monday, here are a few helpful ideas to help you become a couponing pro:

First you need coupons, and there are many ways to collect coupons:

If you plan on a serious coupon career, (which might take longer than 30 minutes a week), a good filing system will also help:

  • Coupon Files
  • Binders
  • Shoeboxes
  • Recipe Boxes
  • Storage Containers

Listed below are a few ways to keep your coupons in order, but you really want to use whatever works best for you:

  • Categories
  • Store
  • Store Aisle
  • Expiration Date

Helpful Hint: Remember to purge your coupons about once a month to get rid of all expired coupons, creating more space for new coupons.

Once you have clipped your coupons, check the local stores in your area. Not just grocery stores, but drug stores such as Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid also have weekly offers already in place to match the weekly coupons offered, and they offer extra store incentives for customers with a free store membership. It is like they have done most of the work for you. Some stores also offer BOGO. (Buy one get one), double coupon offers and rebates for even more savings.You will find that sometimes buying name brands using coupons and store incentives, are often less expensive than buying the generic brands offered.

There are a few downsides of coupon shopping, often the savings are so good the product sells out very quickly leaving the shelf empty, but most stores will offer a raincheck on the items sale price if you ask and will honor the coupon as well. You can even ask the store when they receive shipments and if possible, plan your shopping accordingly. Believe it or not, stores want you to use coupons, because they benefit as well by often earning a handling fee from the manufacturers. Stores have been accepting coupons for so long that the checkout process is not as time consuming as it once was. Many stores now even accept mobile coupons, and will scan the coupon right from your mobile device. If you are worried about the line behind you getting a little long and impatient, it could be because they have just realized they are going to pay full price for the same product you just bought for half price or less!

The first one cent–off coupon was issued in 1895 by C.W. Post to promote his new cereal. According to WomansDay.com,

“a coupon is still one of the single best ways to get people to buy a product. Even if you forget to bring it to the store, clipping the coupon jogs your memory and you’ll likely buy the product anyway.”


Dottie Hobbs, Customer Service RepresentativeDottie Hobbs is a Customer Service Representative at PennySaver USA, California’s leading resource in print, online, and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, local coupons, classifieds, and business listings.

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Cheap and Easy Spring Cleaning

It’s almost time for spring cleaning. It can be an exhausting and expensive activity that induces dread. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and some clever tips from Pennysaver USA, you can breeze through spring cleaning and save money to go out and celebrate the new season.
Cheap and Easy Spring Cleaning Tips

Get Your Cleaning Supplies Together

Gather all of the cleaning supplies you’ll use and find a pail or basket to carry them from room to room. You’ll save having to run around the house looking for that glass cleaner or dust rag. Woman’s Day suggests using microfiber cloths for cleaning instead of paper towels. They can be used dry for dusting and wet for wiping down almost any surface. You can also reuse them after machine washing and hanging them up to dry. They come in inexpensive packs and you’ll save on paper towels that just get thrown away after a single use.

Top-Down Approach

Start at the top of the house at one end and work your way down. Finish one room completely before going to the next. This gives you a feeling of accomplishment even if you haven’t finished the whole house. Take your basket of cleaning supplies with you and leave the vacuum outside of the room for the final touch.

Use the top-down method when cleaning individual rooms. Start by dusting high places, including blinds and ceiling fan, to allow dirt to fall to the floor to be picked up by the vacuum. Work your way down the shelves and walls. As you clean, pick up everything off of the floor so you’ll be ready to do a quick vacuum of the room.

Organize Now or Later

Spring cleaning gives you a chance to do some major organization. Start by cleaning out closets, the garage and basement, recommends House Beautiful. If you have kept up with those spaces, you can work on other areas as you move through the house. If you’ve ignored those areas, you’ll want to set aside time to organize them separately.

If you find that the garage and basement have a lot of junk that should just be thrown out, save money by renting a dumpster instead of hauling away multiple loads to the landfill. Every city has services that offer quick to-your-door delivery of dumpsters. For example, if you live in or around the Denver area, Next Day Dumpsters can deliver a small unit that is the equivalent of six pickup loads. The company will take it away when you’re done so you don’t have to deal with the landfill.

While you have the dumpster in your driveway, take advantage of it to haul away that yard waste accumulating in the backyard. Pick up a cart at rental place in Denver so you don’t hurt your back as you collect the limbs and leaves, wood scraps and old flower pots from your yard.

Save Money on Supplies

You can also make your own cleaning solutions and save money, says HGTV. They are less harsh than commercial cleaners, and easier on the planet. Some of the DIY cleaners they recommend include:

  • White vinegar diluted in water — Cleans floor and wall scuffs, countertops, tubs and sinks
  • White vinegar undiluted — Cleans toilet bowls, sinks, tubs, and any surface stained by hard water deposits
  • Baking soda — Cleans tile, grout and porcelain when mix with a little water to use as a scouring powder
  • Rubbing alcohol — Cleans windows, mirrors and chrome surfaces
  • Ammonia — Cleans stubborn surfaces when rubbing alcohol isn’t enough

Carissa Rogers is the Marketing Specialist at PennySaver USA, California’s leading resource in print, online, and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, local coupons, classifieds, and business listings.

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Don’t Blow Your Tax Refund – Do One of These Smarter Things Instead

Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax RefundEverybody loves getting a tax refund. But before you go out and spend the whole thing, stop to consider some other, wiser things you could do with it. The suggestions below from PennySaver USA may not be as exciting as getting the latest tech gadget or some brand new clothes, but they will pay dividends for years to come.

Pay Down Debt

Large balances and high interest rates cost you big bucks and may end up damaging your credit. Use your refund to pay down your debt, especially if you are having problems making payments on time. You could save hundreds to thousands in interest and improve your ability to get good loan rates in the future.

Save It

Deposit your refund in a an income-bearing account, such as a money market account or a certificate of deposit, or buy savings bonds with it. A couple of years of saving your income tax refunds this way will create a solid nest egg. If you’ve nothing saved for retirement, this is the perfect opportunity to open an IRA.

Invest in Home Improvements

A mortgage is the biggest investment many people will make. Use your income tax refund to make improvements that will protect or increase the value of your home. It’s a better alternative than borrowing to make improvements or letting the value of your property slip. Energy-efficient upgrades improve your home’s value and save you money over time by reducing heating and cooling costs. Search the home improvement classified ad listings on PennySaverUSA.com.

Use It for Education

Consider using your refund to finance tuition for a certification or professional conference that will improve your employment skills and career opportunities, which in turn increases your earning potential. Or if you have a child or grandchild, consider depositing it in an education fund. Some states offer taxpayer credit for contributing to a 529 plan that helps someone go to college.

Start a Business

If you’ve always dreamed of opening your own business, now may be the time. Apply your refund to startup costs. If you need additional funds, apply for a loan through the Small Business Administration. Or, if you receive regular income from a structured settlement, sell your future payments for a lump sum of cash now.

Get Insurance

If there is some type of insurance you want or need but haven’t been able to afford, use your income tax refund to get it. Life insurance, flood insurance and renter’s insurance protect your family and property and provide peace of mind. If you spend it on expensive shoes or a down payment on a new car, you’ll get some enjoyment, but insurance will protect you and your assets.

Book Your Vacation

Use your refund to book your summer vacation. Buy airline tickets and make hotel reservations now, and then bank the rest for spending money. If you already have a vacation fund, add your refund to it, so you can spend time on a tropical beach without going into debt. Start your search now and browse through vacation rentals on PennySaverUSA.com!

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Household Items: Refurbish or Buy New?

You should be familiar with the expression “When in doubt, throw it out.” Typically this rule applies to food, medications and potentially dangerous toys. When it comes to household products, decide whether to refurbish or repair the item, or buy a new one. Budget-conscious, stay-at-home moms or college students should keep these tips in mind. Ask yourself if you have the skills and time to refurbish the product and access to the parts. If not, consider the cost of having the item repaired professionally. If the cost is 50 percent or more of a new product, you may want to consider buying new. Follow some of these tips from PennySaver USA to help you decide what you need to do..

Clothing and Jewelry

A rip in your favorite pair of jeans is worth sewing. If you have reasonable sewing skills, you can tackle a broken zipper. A new zipper should cost $3 to $4 at a fabric store. Mending seams and replacing buttons can save you money over purchasing new items. When clothing is past repair, head to a local thrift store if you need to save money.

High-quality shoes may be worth repairing. A good cobbler can often repair worn out soles. The $15 pair of sneakers with holes in the sides should be thrown out.

Broken costume jewelry is often not worth the time or money to repair. If you broke a link on a necklace or bracelet, you probably can fix the item for under $1, otherwise throw it out. If you have broken a piece of antique or expensive jewelry, spend the money to have the item repaired. You cannot truly measure the cost of a replacement piece.

Electronics

If you spill water on your new iPhone, place it in a container of rice for a couple of days. The rice should absorb the water and you may have salvaged your phone. If you spilled a sugary beverage on it, you may be out of luck. The sugar can damage the components inside. Consider the purchase price you paid, the replacement cost and repair estimate when making your decision. If you ran over your $40 cell phone backing up your car, buy a new one.

The same does not apply to a computer keyboard. You can try allowing the device to dry out after a spill, but keyboards will often not work correctly after any damage. Replacement keyboards are available for as low as $20 and they are not worth the effort to repair. Computers, laptops and tablets are often candidates for repair, if they are within a couple of years old. Unless you are an expert in electronics work, take your equipment to a professional.

If you damaged your Lenovo ThinkPad, compare the costs of repair and replacement. You might even considering purchasing a refurbished model. If the product is refurbished by the manufacturer and has a warranty, you can realize significant savings. If you purchase a replacement, recycle your old electronic device. According to the Clean Air Council, recycling 1 million laptops would save enough energy to provide power to more than 3,600 homes each year.

Household Products

If your Dyson vacuum quit, consider repairing it or taking it in for service. If you have mechanical skills, examine broken household products like vacuums before you decide to purchase a new one. You may find a broken belt that is easy to replace or a large clog that is preventing suction.

Your $150 or more Keurig coffee maker is a good candidate for repair. The $20 off-brand machine should be replaced. If you break a glass coffee pot, check around local thrift stores or yard sales. You can pick up an entire machine for just a few dollars and get the pot you need, even if the machine does not work.

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Make Your Space Look Bigger for Less than $50

Make your space look bigger for less than $50

Cathedral ceilings and floor length windows fill your dreams, but your reality is a tiny little flat where the walls close in around you. Grab your penny jar, because for well under $50, you can make your space feel bigger with these tips from PennySaver USA. A little paint, a mirror and an afternoon spent de-cluttering are just what your space needs to feel bigger.

Paint

The right color scheme can be life changing. House Beautiful suggests painting everything in the room from the molding to the walls and the window sills the same shade of deft blue. The unification blurs the boundaries of the space and makes it feel bigger. If blue is not your thing, pick a light color. White can be mixed with your favorite undertones of green or blue, or you can just pick pure white for a light and airy effect. Because white will reflect the light in your place, it will make your rooms feel bigger.

Mirrors

The perfect way to reflect light and virtually enlarge any spaces, mirrors should not be overlooked. New, a mirror can cost a lot of money, but a trip to the thrift store or a bit of crafting means that you can have a mirror without sacrificing your budget. Home Depot offers workshops for women, and one of their most popular classes has been the Tile Mirror workshop, which teaches how to convert a plain mirror into a framed tile mirror. Alternatively, you can frame your mirror with a repurposed window frame or a funky used picture frame.

Clearing Clutter

Clearing clutter will make your house feel bigger, but according to WebMD, it will also have positive effects on your mental health. To reduce your junk, make three piles: one destined for the thrift store, one for trash, and one for things that just need to be put away in another room. If you have trouble getting rid of stuff, revisit this strategy every month or two. It’s usually easier to get rid of things when you’ve deliberated over it for several months. If you are really on the fence about an item, pop it into storage. If you don’t use it within the next 12 months, dump it.

Find a New Space

Rather than making big changes to your current space, simply look for a new one. Sites like ForRent.com let you search by location and size. When you finally tour the apartment, look for lots of natural light, light-colored walls and high ceilings. All of those features will make you feel like you are in a big space.

Living Large

Ironically, according to Lowe’s, big objects can make your room feel bigger. Rather than cluttering up the walls with lots of little pictures, invest in a large print, a mirror, or a cool piece of big art. If art is out of your budget, consider some wall decals. They are the perfect way to fill up space without spending too much cash. Replace small throw rugs with a big area rug, and instead of end tables, give your room a focus and some extra light with a giant glass coffee table.

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Score! 5 Tips for Maximizing Your Holiday Shopping Savings

5 Tips to Maximize Your Holiday Shopping Savings

The 2013 holiday season is in high gear. But before you work off your Thanksgiving turkey by doing an all-night-standing-in-line endurance challenge to grab that latest gadget, you’re going to need to know the hottest trends of the season so you can plan your shopping warm-up and workout effectively. From retailers’ plans to the best days to find bargains, PennySaver has got your holiday shopping marathon mapped out.

1. Caffeinate to counteract the tryptophan and warm yourself by the glowing light of the Internet

According to the Adobe Digital Index Online Shopping Forecast, millions of shoppers will be flocking to the Internet on Thanksgiving Day to take advantage of online shopping deals. Sales of merchandise online on Thanksgiving will most likely bring retailers into the black. Forecasts predict online retailers to rake in a collective $1.1 billion in sales that day. Expect deep discounts from large shopping sites as well as the smaller mom and pop operations. All of the major department stores want in on the cyber action, so places such as Macy’s for example, will be jumping into the online Black Friday discount scene. Be sure to log on as early as possible. Have the kids do the dishes while you enjoy uninterrupted shopping. Fight the food coma with the thrill of scoring deals.

2. Make sure those electronics are in working order and load up on apps (the sans calories kind)

Much of this year’s holiday shopping will be done remotely, so you’ve got to make sure your electronics are up to the task. Grab spare batteries for your cell phone so you don’t miss important discount alerts. Get a cover for your iPad to reduce the chance of any damage to your shopping companion. If it’s time to update your chargers, go for it. Some retailers are planning on offering mobile-only discounts that can’t be found in stores. The mobile app Swirl will send you exclusive markdowns in exchange for access to your personal data. They’re going to do it anyway, so you might as well make the most of it. Another useful app, The Access Mobile Discount and coupon app, provides information on more than 100,000 retail locations offering bargains.

3. Don’t overlook Cyber Monday

Even some of the most tech-savvy among us have never heard of, or have simply forgotten about, Cyber Monday. This year, the Cyber Mondays in November and December are going to be epic. Your favorite major retailers will offer deals on all kinds of merchandise. You can sign up to receive alerts on the best offers through you go-to gadgets.

4. Gift cards are really OK

Great news for frazzled and overwhelmed shoppers. Gift cards used to signify an impersonal gift given to someone you didn’t know very well. Not anymore! We can all breathe a sigh of relief this season, as gift cards have become completely acceptable to give to even our closest confidantes. A majority of Americans now say they would rather get a gift card than anything else at all, according to an official survey of the National Retail Association. So go ahead with the guiltless gifting. They can be purchased nearly anywhere. Consider converting the majority of your gift giving into gift cards, and you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle this holiday season.

5. If you’re going in person, go early

You know what they’ve always said about the early bird, right? The old adage still holds true in this day and age. Nothing has changed with regard to arriving at the store early; in fact, this season it’s more pertinent than ever. Retailers are going to offer spectacular sales and savings, but sometimes when they run out of inventory, that’s it. Period. Don’t miss out on the best goodies by being a lazy bones. Double-check that your alarm clock is plugged in and arrange a back-up wake-up call from Wakerupper. No one can get the better of you when you rise with the sun.

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Save Money Monday: Save Money on Your Electric Bill by Unplugging Vampire Electronics

There are a lot of things you can do with an extra $100, from buying a week’s worth of groceries to treating yourself and a date to a nice dinner. If you’re like the average household in the U.S., though, you’re probably using that $100 to pay for the energy-sucking habits of your appliances. The average American homeowner pays an extra $100 each year to power electronic devices that appear to be turned off, according to the Energy Star program. Save money by driving a stake through the heart of your vampire appliances.

Types of Vampires

Electricity vampires come in all shapes and sizes. An easy way to spot a vampire is to look for an appliance that has to do something even when powered down. For example, you might not be actively brewing coffee, but your coffee maker still has to draw some power to keep its clock going. Devices that are turned on and off via remote control need to use some power when off, too.

A coffee maker is a relatively weak energy vampire, drawing an average of 1 watt in standby mode, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More powerful electricity vampires include computers, televisions and other entertainment devices. Set-top boxes such as digital cable boxes and DVRs win the prize for being the most powerful electricity vampire. The average set-top digital cable box with DVR uses more than 40 watts in standby mode.

Modems also draw energy when powered down, though DSL modems use less standby power on average than cable modems. A DSL modem uses about 2 watts when powered down while a cable modem uses around 4 watts. If you want to save money connecting to the Internet, DSL bundles are the way to go, as you’ll draw less phantom power and pay less per month.

Slay ‘Em

Pull the plug when you aren’t using these vampire devices. There’s no point in leaving something like the guest room TV or a spare DVD player plugged in. Remove all phone, tablet or mp3 chargers from the outlet when they aren’t actively charging something.

Frequent plugging and unplugging can lead to wear and tear on some devices, however. Solve this by connecting them to a power strip. For example, plug your entertainment system—TV, modem, set-top box and video game console—to a power strip, then when you’re powering down for the night, switch the power strip to off to cut the supply of energy to those devices. Or, plug the power strip into an outlet powered by a light switch. Before you leave the home or head to bed, flip the light switch off.

Better Choices

Not all electronic devices have vampire tendencies. The Energy Star program identifies products that draw less power in standby mode and use less energy when actively running. Energy Star products need to meet certain requirements created by the Environmental Protection Agency. When it comes to price, the product can cost more than a regular item, but will need to use significantly less energy over the course of its lifetime, and you’ll end up saving more money over time.

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You Can Rent That? Who Knew?

It’s not always the person who owns the most toys that wins. In fact, that person is often broke and a hoarder. In real life, it is often better to rent what you need rather than waste your money on space-hogging things that you may only need once or twice in your lifetime. If you haven’t checked lately, you might be surprised to see the interesting list of items you can rent.

Musical Instruments

Your child has suddenly expressed interest in playing the piano or guitar and you don’t want to say no. At the same time, you’re not sure how long this new-found interest will actually last. Fortunately, there are a number of companies that will rent you that tuba or flute, often with an option to purchase the instrument if your child actually sticks with it.

A Horse

You’re an experienced rider who hates head-to-tail guided trail rides, but at the same time, you really don’t have time to get to a barn more than once a week. Besides, the monthly board, horse shoeing and vet bills are way more than you can afford on your limited salary. A better option is to lease a horse. You can lease or rent a horse from a private owner or even some barns for a day or more a week, depending on your needs, for a fraction of what it would typically cost you to own an equine.

Designer Bags

Some designer purses can set you back the cost of a small economy car. Take the Hermes Birkin bag, which retails for $16,500. A true purse aficionado would die to have one of these babies dangling from her arm, even if just for a month. Fortunately, purse rental companies, such as BagBorroworSteal.com, can lend you that Birkin for $600 a month or a $2,990 Louis Vuitton Melrose for $350 a month. There are also less expensive models to rent, as well. While you may know in the back of your mind that $600 for a month is still an outrageous amount of money to spend on a purse, it may be a way to scratch that handbag itch, if this is truly your one weakness.

Heavy Machinery

If you have construction or landscaping experience and want to do some big jobs around your property, such as digging a trench for a pipe or preparing the ground for a big landscaping or gardening project, then you’ll want to head to your nearest heavy equipment rental outlet. Outlets such as Neff Rentals can get all types of heavy equipment into your hands, including backhoes, compact rollers, mixers and grinders, that can help you complete your next big do-it-yourself project.

Motorcycle

Love to hit the highway on two wheels, but don’t really have the time to go riding very often? Then maybe renting a motorcycle on those occasions you do want to hit the road is the answer for you. A number of motorcycle dealers, as well as EagleRider, the largest bike rental agency in the world, rent out bikes to wannabe Easy Riders. In addition, Eagle Rider also carries dirt bikes and ATVs for those times when you’d prefer to go for a jaunt through the wilderness.

Margarita Machine

Unless you enjoy spending your entire evening running a blender, it may be worth it to rent a margarita machine for your next large gathering. These machines, which are available through national chains such as Margaritaman or often through local party rental stores, will keep your frozen concoctions mixing all night.

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Save Money Monday: Five Life Hacks that Will Reduce Your Two Biggest Expenses

Some days it feels like all you do is run errands, while others are spent solely within the confines of your home. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the average American household spends the most money on the two places where they spend the large majority of their time: their home and their vehicles. The most recent available statistics show that nearly $17,000 is spent on housing while more than $8,000 is spent on family vehicles. Though these expenses are necessary, for this installment of Save Money Monday, here are five tips to help minimize your cash outflow in these areas:

Bundle Your Insurance Policies

Many insurance companies offer discounts if you bundle your car insurance, home insurance and other supplemental insurance policies together. By doing this, you not only get a nice discount, you also have only one company to deal with when calling for information and paying your premiums.

Fill Up When You’re At the Grocery Store

Gas is a huge expense, and short of getting a new energy efficient vehicle, you can save money by shopping around for gas prices. This isn’t always an effective use of your time, so consider signing up for your grocery store’s rewards program so you can get coupons or rebates good for several cents off each gallon of gas. While saving ten cents a gallon might not seem like a lot, if you’re buying 30 gallons a week for a year, you save more than $150.

Lose Some (Vehicle) Weight

If you’re like most moms, your car contains a bulky stroller, a first aid kit, a diaper bag with plenty of diapers, miscellaneous toys, snacks, emergency supplies and other random things “just in case.” However, you might want to rethink what all goes with you when you’re just driving around town. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for each extra 100 pounds that you remove from your vehicle, your gas mileage can increase by up to two percent. While it’s less convenient than just leaving everything in the car, a few extra minutes of unpacking can translate into dozens of dollars saved almost effortlessly.

Invest In A High Tech Thermostat

On days when everyone’s out of the house for the majority of the day, there’s no need to keep the whole house cool. By spending some money on a programmable thermostat, you can save about $180 a year, says Energy Star. Take time to learn how to use it, and save the settings, if possible, so that you only need to push a button or two to adjust the temperature to an appropriate level.

Let Your Yard Cut Your Heating Bills

Not many people consider just how much the shrubs and trees that they plant affect the temperature of their home, but spending an hour or two learning which types of greenery you should plant near your home can help keep your heating and cooling bills low. Work with a lawn and garden specialist, or study up on your own, to find the optimal locations for tall shrubs and plants before you start your landscaping.

Creative Commons image by grantsewell

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10 Easy Tips to Save Money at the Fuel Pump

There are small, simple changes that can make a big impact on the amount of fuel you use everyday. Financial advice blog One Cent at a Time offers some great tips for drivers looking for ways to get ahead financially. Don’t leave the house again before reading and applying these gas-saving tips from the PennySaver:

Drive Defensively

Tips to Save Money at the Gas PumpIt’s a fact that aggressive, fast drivers spend more money on gas because fast acceleration and constant braking use more gas. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services website states that fuel efficiency decreases at speeds above 60 mph. According to Drive55.org, driving 55 mph improves fuel-economy by 21 percent compared to driving between 65 and 70 mph.

Use Recommended Engine Oil

According to FuelEconomy.gov, using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. To find out what oil your manufacturer suggests, visit MobilOil.com and enter your vehicle’s year, make and model.

Service Your Vehicle Regularly

It’s simple: a car that runs smoothly and is taken care of uses less gas. For the best fuel efficiency, follow the maintenance schedule recommended by your car’s manual and change air filters regularly.

Find the Best Deals

Search online or download a smartphone app that tracks the best fuel prices in your area. For example, GasBuddy allows users to search for nearby gas stations and see the current fuel prices.

Take a Load Off

Heavy items on the roof rack, in the trunk or on the floor of your car add weight that reduces the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. According to ShearerHonda.com, an extra 100 pounds can reduce fuel efficiency by two percent. Relieve your vehicle of unnecessary baggage to save money at the pump.

Get Smart with Your Car

Every year car manufacturers produce new fuel-efficient options. A hybrid car with regenerative braking can save you trips to the fuel pump because it re-energizes itself. Although at the dealership green technology tends to be more expensive than class-competing non-hybrid vehicles, some newer hybrid models are hitting the market at competitive prices. For example, the Insight from Honda has an MSRP of $18,600, and the Toyota Prius c starts at $19,080.

Use GPS

The less time you are on the road driving or idling the more you will save on gas. If your phone permits it, use a GPS navigator and check route options before you travel. If you don’t have this option, check online before you leave.

Work From Home

If you can, work from home one or more days a week.

Alternative Transportation

If your boss isn’t crazy about the idea of you working from home, consider carpooling with a co-worker. Not only will a carpool plan save you and your co-workers on gas, it will also allow you the luxury of driving in the carpool lane, which can ease the stress of rush-hour traffic.

Make Small Changes While You Drive

Turn off the air conditioner when climbing a steep hill or entering the freeway. This will reduce the stress on the engine, meaning it won’t produce as much energy to fuel the air compressor. Also, make sure your tired are appropriately filled. Visit DMV.org to learn how to check tire pressure.

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