With the summer driving season upon us, you may be dreaming of road trips and adventure. With the high price of gas, travelling by car is more expensive than ever. A little proactive maintenance and planning now can help you get your car ready for the pricey gas season and save at the pumps.
Before you hit the road this summer, consider getting a tune-up done by your local mechanic. At the very least, it is a good idea to be aware of any potential problems that could be present with your car before you leave home.
It can also be more cost effective to take care of repairs when they are smaller.
Change the oil and filter
Getting regular oil changes and air filter changes will help your car run more efficiently. Be aware that the higher temperatures of the summer can change your car’s oil requirements, particularly if you have an older model car.
Check tire pressure
In order for your car to use fuel most efficiently, your tire pressure needs to be correct. Check the information on the inside of your car door to see what the ideal pressure range should be.
Lighten your load
Streamline your car by removing any unnecessary items that might weigh it down (i.e. what’s in the trunk?). If you are going on a trip, don’t over pack. Not only will you lug around more than you need, you will use more gas because your car will be heavier.
Gas saving tips
With gas prices skyrocketing, do what you can to be proactive to save money on gas. Make sure to research local gas prices to find out where the cheapest gas prices are. Don’t drive too far to get cheap gas though, as that kind of defeats the purpose.
Don’t wait until your car is on empty before you fill up, as you will be at the mercy of whatever price gas is at that moment, which can be very costly.
It is a well-known fact that it is usually far more cost effective if you can repair a household appliance to extend its lifespan and usefulness, but how do you know when it doesn’t make sense financially?
It usually comes down to age of specific household appliances, but here are some criteria to help you decide.
What is the cost?
The rule of thumb, whether it is a car or an appliance, if you are shelling out more than 50 per cent to repair it, compared to what it would cost to buy a new one that is usually an indicator that you should be looking at replacement over repair.
What is the problem?
Make sure that the appliance indeed is broken. Check power sources and cords- just to be safe.
It doesn’t make sense to repair some appliances because they have a limited lifespan, so sinking money in repairs is just throwing money away. For example, if your washing machine breaks down, and it is over 10 years old, it makes more sense to replace it. The same goes for a dishwasher (9 years old) and a dryer (13 years).
Have you had to repair it before?
Do you keep repairing the same appliance over and over again? If you add up cumulative repairs, it may not be the most budget-friendly idea to keep repairing it. It also could be the sign of bigger trouble.
Is it energy efficient?
You don’t just have to replace an appliance because it is broken. It’s a smart financial move to upgrade your appliances to energy efficient ones. They tend to have longer lifespans and will cost you much less in operating costs.
Do you have a warranty?
This one is a no-brainer. If your appliance is still covered by warranty, it is worth seeing if you can get it repaired.
When it comes to meal preparation, rolling up your sleeves and doing work yourself instead of paying for convenience is definitely a money-saving move. Realistically though, there are days that things don’t go as planned and you find yourself out of time.
Picking up a cooked rotisserie whole chicken from the grocery store on the way home is a good compromise. Here are some ideas for what to do with it other than eat it as is (which is also delicious).
Is there anything easier than a stir-fry? How about a stir-fry where the meat is already cooked? To make life even easier, use frozen veggies and toss in some pre-made sauce.
Shredded chicken tacos
Shred the chicken using two forks. Warm tortillas and get out whatever fillings that you’d like- lettuce, tomatoes, salsas, BBQ sauce, and mayo, whatever you like.
Cook some bacon and slice lettuce and tomatoes. Stack yourself a club sandwich miles high.
Cook pasta according to directions. Use a prepared alfredo sauce, or try this easy recipe. Melt a half cup of butter in a saucepan and add a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Add an 8oz block of cream cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. Continue to stir until broken up. Add two cups of milk and stir until heated through and the right consistency.
Drain pasta and add chopped cooked chicken. Ladle sauce and garnish with fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano).
Baked chicken nachos
Add some extra nutrition to this family favourite by adding chopped chicken on your usual nachos. Spread taco chips evenly on a baking dish and top with chicken, black olives, onions, peppers, salsa and cheese. Bake at 350Fº until heated through and cheese is melted.
Chicken fried rice
Who needs takeout? Make this Chinese food speciality on your own. Take 4 cups of cooked white rice and add to a pan with a tbsp. of butter, add a cup of chopped veggies and a cup of chopped chicken and sauté until rice is browned. To finish, crack an egg and stir through the rice. Cook until set.
Getting organized can help you save money
If you are serious about saving money and sticking to your budget, there is a certain skill and state of mind that you must embrace in order to be successful: get organized.
Getting organized will help you to save money in a number of different ways:
You won’t duplicate items for your kids
Ever gone into your kids ‘closet and found clothing that is too small that still has the price tags on?
Obviously, buying the same thing twice means wasting money. Develop a system for your kids’ clothes that lets them be visible and go through their closets seasonally and purge. This will let you know what you’ve got and also give you things to trade in at the consignment store.
You’ll save time
When you get organized, you’ll find that you will magically have more time on your hands. Not only will this help with the stress levels, you won’t have to pay a premium for convenience. You’ll have time to do DIY home-related tasks. You won’t have to hit the drive-thru or order pizza, because you will already know what you are having for dinner.
You’ll waste less
Throwing food in the garbage literally is throwing money away. Get organized in your pantry, fridge and freezer so that you are aware of expiration dates. Store older canned goods etc. in the front of your pantry. Label items in the freezer with the date, so that you know what to use first. Clean and store produce in your fridge so it lasts longer.
You’ll be proactive with your money
When you get organized with your money, which means setting a budget and tracking your spending, you’ll be able to be more proactive. That means you won’t have late bill payments and fees. You also won’t be scrambling to find money for your savings.
Do you feel like you are in control of your financial future? Why not? Chances are that a lack of financial confidence is to blame. Here are some tips on how you can improve your financial confidence, make better financial decisions and move towards achieving your financial goals.
The very best way to become more confident with your money? Become more knowledgeable. The more you know, the more you will know about your options. You are much less likely to make mistakes when you fully understand the implications of your decisions, which comes with reading, research and asking questions.
Get a partner
Whether it is your spouse, BFF or financial planner, get on board with someone that you trust. Better yet, buddy up with someone who has the knowledge to share with you. They can be your sounding board to help you talk through your financial concerns while offering an alternative perspective.
Don’t be afraid of failure
Recognize that, in the pursuit of your financial goals, you are going to hit bumps along the way. Anticipate them and they won’t cause setbacks and cause you to lose faith in your abilities. Be open to changing up your financial plans or redefining your goals as necessary.
Adopt a money mantra
Do you have a saying or belief that appeals to you about money or about making positive changes in your life? Adopting (and living) a mantra can help reinforce your goals and your belief in yourself. Say it out loud and say it often. Start your day with it, to get off on the right foot.
By nailing financial concepts and sharing your information with others, your confidence will grow and grow. It helps to be able to break down ideas and share them in your own words.