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6 Unbelievably Simple Ways To Get Better Gas Mileage This Summer

6 Unbelievably Simple Ways To Get Better Gas Mileage This Summer

Now that gas has come down in price somewhat, heading out on that glorious summer road trip is that much more financially viable for many folks this year. Still, gas is expensive – and so is virtually everything else these days.

If you’re going to transport yourself from point A to point B this year via your automobile – whether that’s going cross country, going to the beach or just heading to visit an old college friend – it’s probably in your best interest to optimize your gasoline consumption.

That’s assuming, of course, you’d like to have more money in your wallet to spend wherever you wind up.

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The good news is that by making a few changes here and there to how you act behind the wheel – and how your car is configured – you can noticeably reduce the amount of fuel you burn when you head out on the road. With that in mind, let’s take a look at six easy tricks you can employ to make sure you pay less at the pump this summer.

1. Become A Better Driver

How you actually operate your vehicle has a huge bearing on how efficiently you burn gasoline – it’s as simple as that. When you drive aggressively on the highway, which can be characterized by quick acceleration and hard braking, you stand to burn as much as 33% more gasoline than if you drove calmly and relaxed.

So remember, you’re not on a race track. You are driving a large vehicle so you can get to where you’re going – along with everyone else. You’ll get there when you get there; there’s no sense in driving like a maniac.

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Remember, you want to get where you’re going in one piece.

2. Tune Up Your Car

If your car isn’t running optimally, it won’t burn gas as efficiently. According to recent research, a clogged air filter can result in 20% less fuel efficiency. Similarly, spark plugs that are past their prime can also reduce the effectiveness of gasoline by about 12%.

So if you’re going to take a car coast-to-coast – or even if you’re going to drive a couple hundred miles to see your parents or head to the beach – you might want to bring her in to the mechanic for a tuneup prior to proverbially setting sail on the asphalt seas.

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3. Make Sure Your Tires Are Inflated

In addition to properly inflated tires lasting longer and being safer than their over- and under inflated peers, tires that are inflated to proper levels are much better for your gas mileage, too.

You stand to improve your gas mileage by 3.3% when your tires are properly inflated, so prior to heading out on a trip, make sure you stop by a gas station to gauge how much air is in your tires and adjust the levels accordingly.

4. Remember, Idling Is Bad

Stuck on the highway in a traffic jam? Waiting to pick up your road trip partner who takes forever to get ready? If it looks like you’re going to have to sit where you are for the foreseeable future, you might want to shut off your car.

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Generally speaking, you’ll burn one-quarter of a gallon of fuel when you idle for about 15 minutes. In other words, you’ll burn gas and travel zero miles – which isn’t so good for your gas mileage. Or your wallet, for that matter.

5. Neglect Your Air Conditioning

To get better gas mileage, it’s in your best interest to try and go as long as you can without turning on your air conditioning. In very hot temperatures, using the A/C can reduce gas mileage by 25% or more.

If you want to do even better, you could always drive with your windows up, too, to reduce the strain on your engine due to wind resistance. If you’re not that adventurous, keep your A/C off and your windows down. Your wallet will thank you.

6. Control Your Speed

When traveling at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour, your car’s aerodynamics are increasingly degraded with open windows. Therefore it’s better to use you’re A/C at highway speeds, and to drive with the windows rolled down at low speeds.

It’s also important to remember that the above list is not all-inclusive, but by becoming more conscientious behind the wheel and thinking more about how you’re burning fuel, chances are, you’ll be able to burn it more efficiently. That’s something that’s great for both your wallet and the environment.

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Anum Yoon

Writer & Journalist

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

Reference

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