Trip Tips for Saving Gas

One of the best ways to save fuel is to plan car trips, even the little ones that you make every day.  Planning trips means that you will use the car less, avoid stops and delays that waste fuel and get the best mileage out of every single tank of gas. Read below to see what you can do to better plan your trips and start saving gas today.

First and foremost you’ve got to plan ahead, even for the small trips that you normally make every day to school, the grocery store and anywhere else that you need to go. For longer trips it’s even more vital that you plan ahead.  Doing this will not only allow you to take the shortest route but also to take bigger highways where you’ll encounter less traffic and less stops.

When taking shorter trips make it a point to listen to traffic reports and pick routes that help you to avoid traffic and construction areas.  Sometimes they might be a bit longer but you’ll still save fuel as there will be less stop-and-go traffic and less time wasting gas while your car idles. It’s also a great idea to give yourself plenty of time so that you aren’t forced to drive faster and accelerate faster from stops.

Combining trips and tasks is another excellent way to reduce fuel consumption and also wear on your vehicle. By combining smaller trips you will save gas by driving less miles and also your engine will be warmed up to an optimal driving temperature that uses less gas.

Driving a car that matches your needs is another way to save gas and fuel.  Let’s face it, if you’re a parent of multiple kids you’re going to need a big SUV or van to get them all wherever they need to go. On the other hand if you’re a single person you might be better off with a mid-size sedan than an SUV or a big pick-up truck. The simple fact is, the bigger the car the more gas it uses and the more money you spend. Use the smallest, most economical car that you can and you’re guaranteed to save money on gas.

Finally, tracking your car’s fuel consumption will enable you to see what you’re using and try and decrease it.  By using the tips above and driving less you can in many cases lower your fuel needs by as much as 10 to 20%, a difference that can mean hundreds of dollars in the long run.


How to Save on Your Next New Car

Buying a new car may not actually be the best way to spend your money on a car (I buy used) but the fact is that many people still love the look, smell and ‘feeling’ of a new car and, if that’s you, you’re in luck.  We’re going to look at 2 great ways that you can save money the next time you buy a new car.  Keep reading and the next time you buy new you’ll be in the driver’s seat, not the car salesman.

One of the first tasks that you have is to check the internet and compare prices online.  It helps of course to know exactly the car you want before you start.  You can always go to a dealer and test drive a car to find out if you like it.  (It helps if you don’t mind telling a little white lie occasionally.) Whatever the case know your prices and start doing some searches, noting the sites and the prices.Once you have your homemade price guide you’re ready to start.

Call the dealers and start going over prices with them.  Keep in mind that these guys and gals usually sell on volume which means that, to them, the price of the car isn’t a factor in their paycheck, the amount of cars that they sell is.  They will give you a rock bottom price because of this, and most experts agree that if you buy a new car from a dealer over the internet you will save at least $1000.00 to $2000.00 over a brick and mortar dealership.

Another great reason to use the internet to buy your next new car is that, when you buy a car online, you avoid the dealer’s financing and insurance department and all of their extra fees. Even better is that you can negotiate your price on your time when you buy online, from the comfort of your own home.

Want to go even further? Call the dealers and tell them all that they are in competition for your money and whoever gives the lowest price gets the deal.  Sneaky? Maybe a little but it’s certainly not illegal and will get you the rock bottom new car price that you want.

Once you have found the cheapest way to get your new car, make sure you save enough money as well!  Put away a set amount of money into an account specifically for your new car.  This will do wonders for reaching your goal in a quick and efficient manner.  If you’re a little short on funds when the time comes, then you can always make up the difference and apply for an online loan.

That’s some great info right there.  Use it when you buy your next new car and drive away a winner.


Mediation as a Means to an End

People have been disagreeing on just about every issue since the beginning of time.  Be it how the world was created, which religion is the most righteous, which car drives the best, or which country is superior to the others.  You name it, people have disagreed on it, but sometimes there are issues that can’t simply be brushed off.  Lawsuits are a commonality when two parties disagree strongly enough on an issue.  Unfortunately, lawsuits can be costly to both parties, they can needlessly use up public dollars when tying up a district or judicial court, and they are often quite difficult to collect money on.  In cases like this an alternative dispute resolution works well, or a mediator.

Mediation has become quite popular over the years.  Companies, like the one found at, have had a lot of success at dispute resolution. The techniques that these companies use are wide ranging, and they offer many types of benefits.  First and foremost, they are a great tool for mitigating costs during the dispute.  Because resolution often happens at a much quicker pace than through legal channels, the cost is often much lower going this route.  Another great benefit is the confidentiality of mediation.  Because you are behind closed doors with only three parties involved, you can avoid the public eye of a courtroom.  Also, you maintain a higher degree of control than you would otherwise in a courtroom.  In a public court the judge and jury have all the power, whereas in a closed door mediation both parties have an equal footing and control all the power themselves.  Collection and compliance is something else that has a much higher success rate in mediation.  If a party feels they were wronged in a dispute, they may not pay out a judgment issued against them, which can lead to longer and more costly legal battles.  However, if both parties feel they have reached a mutually beneficial agreement then the chances of compliance is much greater.  Lastly, mediators are a great source for ideas that think outside of the box.  Often times people are too focused on the monetary awards of judgments, whereas mediators are trained to think of alternative solutions that will satisfy both parties in other ways.

Regardless of the disagreement, and methods attempted at resolution, do yourself a favor and consider mediation.  You may find it financially beneficial, and quite a bit less stressful.

Insuring your Rental Property

Home rental can be quite a sticky situation!  I work with several people who opted to rent their first home rather than sell it off.  Mostly due to the declining property values in the area I live in, it just wasn’t feasible to sell your home the last few years.  Renting can really be a good idea for those interested in building up additional equity, selling at a higher value, getting out from an underwater mortgage, and simply owning an investment property into retirement.  That being said, it comes with its share of headaches as well.  Unfortunately, there are many unsavory renters out there that will inevitably damage your home, fail to pay rent on time or at all, and sometimes both!  This is why cheap rental insurance, or cheap landlord insurance as it’s called in the U.K. , is essential and vital to securing the financial security of your rental property.

Rental insurance isn’t for renters anymore, it’s also for the homeowner to secure his property.  Renters that fail to come up with their rent, and thus are forced to leave, may become disgruntled and wreck your property.  The variety of services are quite vast, and can cover a new landlord, and there are special discounts for homeowners with several rental properties.  Rental guarantee insurance is another great feature.  As I said earlier, renters can be dishonest and shady at times, and there are great lengths they can go to avoid paying their monthly rent.  This rental management company, and insurance providers ensure that you receive your monthly rent regardless, and even during lull times when your property is vacant.

Real estate can be a great investment, especially in retirement, but it’s also a highly illiquid one.  Make sure you secure this investment just like any other.

Make Good Use of an Accountant

I’m a finance guy by day, and a personal finance blogger by night.  This dual existence is a great benefit to me since my blogging is a side hustle that brings in nice income, and my day job as a sort-of accountant comes in good use when figuring out all my business-related deductions.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means a tax expert, but I can make do within reason.  Even still I find there are times, and certain years, when the tax implications are too great and I have to seek outside professional help as well.  With the masses of people rushing out to buy Turbo Tax and other easy do-it-yourself software, accountants (i.e. a U.S. or even London Accountant) have become increasingly less popular choices during tax time.

Tax software can be great for some people.  There’s no need to pay a CPA $200 an hour to complete a 1040EZ form, when simple software that costs $40 will get the job done just fine.  But more and more people are neglecting the complexity of their tax situation and think they can handle everything on their own.  The realization is that while they are saving several hundred dollars in tax preparation fees, they may be leaving thousands of refund dollars on the table.  In some cases, simply losing out on money may be a blessing.  The IRS can often time stick you with heavy fees and penalties.  We have even seen some high profile celebrity cases related to tax evasion that lead to jail time.  Even for nothing more than peace of mind a public accountant can be worth their weight in gold.

Useful Personal Finance Tips for the Everyday Person

Many people in this world don’t take good care of their finances. Are you someone who doesn’t properly manage finances? If so, there are many options available to you as you work to become more responsible with your finances. Managing your finances is possible if you are motivated. Continue on and read about ways that will help you out.

Having a well thought out budget is the best way to be successful with your finances. To start, list all your expenses in one column for the entire month. Monthly expenses include anything that is recurring month after month, such as rent or electricity. It’s also important to include any expenses that you are anticipating. Some expenses only happen every other month or twice a year, so it’s important not to forget those. It is important to stick to the amounts designated in order to stay on track.

It is important that you file your federal income taxes in a timely manner. Instead of waiting until the last minute, file your taxes as soon as possible to get your return even earlier than usual. If you owe money, then you may want to file your taxes closer to the April 15 due date.

If you want to make the most possible, make education a priority. College graduates with full Bachelor’s degrees earn almost twice the money that dropouts or high schoolers do. Higher education is always a good investment.

Instead of having a debit card, you may want to think of getting a credit card. Credit cards can be used for things such as groceries and gas. Often times, these purchases provide great cash back rewards.

Savings should be the first thing you take from each check. If you go forward, expecting you will simply save the remainder for each month, you will be encountered by a surprise known as “reality”. Taking that money out first saves you from the temptation of spending it on something less important.

Reduce the amount of alcohol you consume to minimize the risk of poor decisions that have a negative impact on your financial plan. The most cost effective drink to have while dining out is water.

One way to save money is by trimming your family’s hair. Yes, hairdressers do a much better job, but they also cost a lot of money. Doing your own hair cuts won’t cost you a dime!

If you have a spouse, then see who has the better credit and use that to apply for loans (i.e. If your credit is poor, rebuilt it slowly by using a credit card cautiously and repaying the balance religiously. Once your credit score has improved, you’ll be able to apply for new loans.

Use market trends in your Forex analysis. Remember that you should always sell high and buy low. You do not want to sell when the market is swinging wildly in either direction – high or low. If you don’t ride out a trend fully, you need to be really clear on your goals.

If you are looking to improve your credit report, it is a good idea to have between two to four active credit cards. One card will not sufficiently build up your credit. Over four cards can drag your score down and be difficult to manage. Try using two cards to build up your credit and adding more when needed.

It should be clear by now that you can improve your financial situation with a little effort. The future is all in your hands and it is up to you if you want to have a great financial future.

It’s The Commute, Stupid

You’ll have to forgive me for the rather abrupt title, which is a ripoff of a James Carville inspired slogan for the 1992 Clinton presidental campaign, but I need it to make a point.

The point being: you can blame $4 gas on your morning and evening commute.

America has been built on the notion that personal transportation would always be relatively cheap. The most obvious example of this has been manifested in the exponential growth of suburbs and exurbs during the last two decades.

As we were pushed farther away from cities and their immediate suburbs – which, coincidentally, are where a vast majority of Americans work – and climbed into our cars – in many cases, a gas guzzling sedan, truck or SUV, and almost always by ourselves – we started to put into motion the scenario that’s playing out right now.

Invariably, the more we drove, the more fuel we consumed. Because oil is a finite commodity, the more we demanded, the more we tapped into the world’s ever decreasing supply.

In order to get a better idea of how far the average American commutes to and from work, I recently added a poll to Daily Fuel Economy Tip which asked the following: “How far is your commute (round trip) to and from work?” Here’s how nearly 200 people responded:

  • 29% have a commute that is longer than 31 miles
  • 28% have a commute that is between 11 and 20 miles
  • 25% have a commute that is less than 10 miles
  • 18% have a commute that is between 21 and 30 miles

If you were to assume that the average commuter vehicle on the road gets about 21 miles per gallon – which isn’t a stretch considering all of the trucks, mini-vans and SUVs on the road – then nearly half of Americans burn more than a gallon of gas per day just to get to and from work.

While that may not sound like much, over the course of a year, that’s over 18 billion gallons of gasoline, assuming a total workforce of 150 million individuals.

Back when oil was $25 a barrel and gas was $1.25, it didn’t really matter what type of gas mileage our vehicle got or how far we drove to and from work because at the end of the day, it wasn’t going to cost much to fill up. In fact, it cost so little to fill up that even driving a gas guzzling Suburban was probably just as cheap as using public transportation, not to mention the fact that it was much more convenient.

Unfortunately, it appears that this perpetuated even more driving, which continued to push up demand on what has become an increasingly limited supply.

Don’t forget, as our demand continued to grow relatively unchecked, our friends in developing nations such as China and India began to consume more oil, thanks in large part to growing middle classes that could now afford automobiles.

So here we are now, with oil pushing $135 a barrel, a national average gas price of just under $4 a gallon and a razor thin margin between the world’s supply and demand for oil.

Happy commuting.

Your Gas Mileage Drops to Zero When You Stop Moving

I know the title of this post isn’t anything revolutionary or unknown, but hopefully this underscores the importance of reducing the amount of time your car is in idle.

According to, over 17% of your car’s gas is wasted by simply being in idle.  Obviously, the more you do to reduce the amount of time you sit in idle, the better your gas mileage is going to be.

This is one of the main reasons why hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and the Ford Escape Hybrid get such great gas mileage: when the car isn’t moving, or is moving at a relatively slow speed, the car’s engine stops using fuel and runs primarily on battery power.

Here are some simple ways to reduce the amount of time you sit in idle and ultimately increase your gas mileage:

  • Avoid being in the car during rush hour.  Even stagering your commute by 30 minutes can have a big impact on the amount of time you sit idling in traffic.
  • If you know of times when your car is going to sit in idle (running in to a friend’s house, going in to Blockbuster to drop off a movie, etc.) go ahead and park the car and turn its engine off.
  • Instead of turning on your car and then putting on your seatbelt, adjusting your mirrors, picking out which CD you want to listen to, etc., go ahead and do all of those things before you start the car.
  • In the winter, don’t let your car sit in idle while you try to warm up the inside or scrape frost off of your windows.
  • Same thing goes for air conditioning during the summer.
  • Avoid using drive throughs.  Just park the car and go inside.

With all this in mind, try your best to reduce the amount of time your car sits in idle and you should see a nice increase in your car’s gas mileage.

Fuel Economy Tip – Adjust Your Commute Time

Today’s tip will help you save gas and help you avoid getting stuck behind a school bus that seemingly stops at every corner to pick up kids, adding 15 minutes to your commute.

Adjust your commute to avoid school traffic.

Now that most schools are back in session, your morning commute is going to get worse.  It’s just a fact – more cars are going to be on the road each morning.  Whether it’s teachers driving to school, school buses, parents dropping their kids off, or high schoolers driving themselves, there’s going to be a lot of traffic added to your morning commute.

So, you have one of two options:

  1. Continue leaving at the same time and get stuck in traffic, which adds wasteful idle time, which can reduce gas mileage by up to 17%
  2. Adjust your commute so you avoid this extra traffic and have a less traffic filled, less stressful commute.

Obviously, I’m encouraging you to choose option number two.

And, it really doesn’t have to be that drastic of change.  All you really have to do is find out what time the schools in your immediate area open, figure out when there’s going to be the most traffic, and then just leave a couple of minutes earlier.

For example, I know that if I leave my house at 6:50 each morning (which is the time I typically leave in the summer), I can expect to add 10 minutes on to my commute thanks to school traffic.  But, if I leave just 10 minutes earlier, at 6:40, my commute is the same 35 minutes.

So if you don’t want to get stuck in idle while the crossing guard holds up traffic for five minutes, or get stuck behind a school bus that stops at every corner, or get stuck in gridlock outside the high school, go ahead and leave a few minutes early and avoid the morning rush.

And, maybe, your boss will be so impress that you’ve started coming in a few minutes early that you’ll get a big promotion (I wouldn’t count on it, but I thought I’d just throw in one extra perk)!

Fuel Economy Tip – Plan Your Trips in Advance

As luck would have it, for the third day in a row I found an interesting article that goes to show the importance of planning out your trips BEFORE you get in your car.

The basic premise behind this article is UPS has gone so far as to try and find ways to minimize the number of left turns each driver has to make while they are out delivering packages. The article states:

“According to spokesperson Steve Holmes, avoiding left turns at intersections reduces idling which in turn lowers fuel consumption. ‘It seems small, but when you multiply it across 88,0000 vehicles making nearly 15 million deliveries every day during the course of a year, it adds up.'”

If a multi-billion dollar per year, international company is willing to explore ways to get better gas mileage, don’t you think it’s time you try and do the same?

I’m not saying that you should go so far as to try and minimize the number of left hand turns you make, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try and plan out your trips before you get on the road.

For example, combining several small trips into one trip is a simple and easy way you can plan ahead and save a bunch of gas.

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