How to Save Money on Gas

Top Off Your Gas

Is it just me or does the price of gas raise significantly every summer?  I think it does.  Here are a few tips to save money on gas brought to you by WarsawChryslerDodgeJeepRam.com.

– Find the Lowest Price

Watch where you buy your gas.  Gas prices can easily fluctuate $0.40 a gallon in the same town.  GasBuddy is one of the gas apps to help you save money.  Using a social media approach, GasBuddy allows the consumer to check out gas prices nearby. The social aspect comes into play as people report and confirm gas prices near you, and you can do this as well. One really important feature – GasBuddy will alert you of gas price spiking predictions, so you can fill up before it costs you an arm and a leg.  If you are like my husband and don’t use apps, there is also a GasBuddy website for you to search before you leave the house.

– Buy Regular Unleaded

It’s probably obvious that premium gas is always going to cost a lot more than regular.  If your car can operate on regular but you opt for a mid-grade or premium gas you may be paying $5-$10 more a fill up.

– Go Off the Highway

This is related to our first point….find the lowest price you can.  That’s usually not going to be located on the side of a major highway.  Of course, it’s probably not worth it to make a big detour but when possible try and fill up before you hit the highway.

– Know the State Tax on Gas

Not only can gas prices vary from place to place but they can vary significantly because state gasoline taxes are different.  Driving across borders can add an extra $5-$10 dollar difference sometimes.

-Pay With Cash

Not all stations offer this but many offer a lower price if you pay with cash instead of a credit card.  The difference can be as much as $0.15 a gallon.

-Pay With a Cash Back Credit Card

In complete contrast to the above suggestion (and Dave Ramsey’s recommendations) sometimes a cash back credit card is the way to go.  Even with the higher price, the reward you receive could make using a credit card the better deal. ….not to mention easier since you don’t have to go into the store this way.  Plus, if you have a station specific gas station credit card you could earn as much as $0.05 cents per gallon back!

I hope these tips will help you keep a little more cash in your wallet this summer!

(See Related: Should You Top Off Your Gas? The answer may surprise you!)

How to Pack a Travel First Aid Kit

Traveling can do great things for the soul, reset your mind, and provide great opportunities for bonding with your family.  However, sometimes traveling can leave you wanting.  Be prepared for small set backs or emergencies with a first aid kid.  This post on how to pack a travel first aid kit is brought to you by KingGM.com.

(Related: See our Family Car Games post)

To begin building a first-aid kit for travel I recommend buying a pre-packed kit from the Red Cross.  They sell Car Survival Kits for $41 and Be Red Cross Ready First Aid Kit for $21. Both of these options will give you a great deal of products for cheaper than you could buy individually.  Plus, they come with a handy carrying case.

Car Survival Kit

The Car Survival Kit includes:

  • -1 Durable Nylon String Back Pack
  • -1 Emergency Food Bar 6ct
  • -1 Dotted Poly-Cotton Gloves
  • -1 Emergency Hand Warmer 2-pack
  • -1 Emergency Blanket Bulk 52″ x 84″
  • -1 Emergency Mylar Sleeping Bag
  • -1 Rain Poncho
  • -1 12-Hour Emergency Light Stick.
  • -1 Emergency Water Pack 4oz
  • -1 Mini First Aid Kit with:
    • -5 Adhesive Plastic Bandages, 3/4″ x 3″
    • -3 Adhesive Fabric Bandages, 3/4″ x 3″
    • -5 Junior Adhesive Plastic Bandages, 3/8″ x 1-1/2″
    • -1 Fingertip Fabric Bandage
    • -1 Knuckle Fabric Bandage
    • -2 Antiseptic Cleansing Wipes (sting free)
    • -1 Triple Antibiotic Ointment Packet, 0.5g

Be Red Cross Ready

The Be Red Cross Ready Kit includes:

  • -3 Triple antibiotic ointment packs, 0.5g each
  • -4 Antiseptic cleansing wipes (sting free)
  • -1 Hydrocortisone pack, 0.9g
  • -2 Hand sanitizer packs, 0.9g each
  • -2 chewable aspirin tablets, 81 mg each
  • -20 Plastic adhesive bandages, 3/4″ x 3″
  • -10 Plastic adhesive bandages,1″ x 3″
  • -2 Elbow and knee plastic bandages, 2″ x 4″
  • -5 Junior plastic bandages, 3/8″ x 1-1/2″
  • -1 Knuckle fabric bandage
  • -1 Fingertip fabric bandage
  • -3 Patch bandages, 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″
  • -1 Instant cold compress
  • -1 Triangular sling/bandage
  • -1 Trauma pad, 5″ x 9″
  • -4 Gauze dressing pads, 3″ x 3″
  • -2 Gauze dressing pads, 4″ x 4″
  • -1 First aid tape roll, 3/4″ x 5 yds
  • -1 Gauze roll bandage, 3″
  • -1 CPR one-way valve face shield, latex-free
  • -1 Thermometer, one time use
  • -2 Latex-free exam-quality vinyl gloves
  • -Scissors, 1 pair
  • -Plastic tweezers, 1 pair
  • -1 American Red Cross Emergency First Aid Guide
  • -1 Zippered clear-pocket soft pack

I Recommend Adding:

1. Your health insurance cards.  We had to use ours on a trip last year and boy, was I thankful we had them.  In an emergency, you’ll want them handy.

2. Enough of your Rx medications and vitamins to last you the length of your trip—and a few days more juuuuust in case.  I guess these would really be packed in your suitcase instead of the first aid kit but I can’t make myself leave them off.  My Rx medication keeps me going and I can’t go anywhere without it.

3. Antidiarrheal medication (Imodium or generic) and antacids.  I can’t tell you how many bottles of antacids I’ve bought on trips because I never think to pack them.  Well, actually, I can.  Four. I have four nearly full containers of antacids because I rarely have an upset stomach at home.  I guess it’s the travel that gets to me!

4. An antihistamine for an unexpected allergy attack.  Claritin or a generic for seasonal allergies and Benadryl or similar for an allergic reaction to food or another reason.

5. A pain reliever such as Tylenol, Advil, Excedrin, or Aleve.

6. Sunscreen, aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream.  To protect from the environments and sooth sore skin.

7. Insect repellent.

8. Antiseptic wipes/hand sanitizer are listed in the Red Cross kits but I like to have a lot of this extra and on hand while we’re out on the road.

10. A thermometer.  It may be overkill but it would come in handy if you needed it.

There you have it folks, my recommendations on how to pack a travel first aid kit!

How to Stay Comfortable on Long Drives

Stay Comfortable on a Long Drive

Long drives can really be a pain in the back.  Literally.  Here are some tips on helping you stay comfortable on long drives.  This post is brought to you by VictoryLayneChevrolet.com.

Pull Over

Pull over at least every two to three hours.  Lynn Millar, Ph.D., chair of the department of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, said, “Sitting too long is hard on the lower back due to that constant flexed position.”  Getting out and giving your back a break can help avoid back pain.  Sitting too long in one place can compress the discs in your back potentially leading to pain or even tingling in your legs.  Walking a bit always helps me stay comfortable on long drives.

Stretch Your Back

If you can’t get out and walk at least try and stretch your back.  This is also a good stretch to do if you do stop and get out of the car!  Raising your arms above your head and arching your back slightly can do wonders to ease a tired back.  Shoulder rotations can also be beneficial.  Every single time I think about rolling my shoulders in circles I think of my third grade teacher who made us do this daily when we took a break.

Stay Alert

I know all about driving sleepy and being sleepy for that matter.  Do what you have to do to stay awake.  Go ahead and have some coffee or energy drinks if you need them (and don’t have a physical restriction preventing you from taking them).  If you can’t stay alert, don’t push yourself.  Stop.  Always stop and sleep when it’s not possible to switch drivers.  Get a hotel room, sleep in your car, just don’t fall asleep on the road.

Stretch Your Legs

Literally, don’t just get out and walk, do some stretches.  Some deep knee bends and some lunges will help keep you feeling good.

Flex Your Feet

Point your feet and roll them around every now and again.  Long car trips can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis so stop when you can and stretch in between those stops.

Sit Straight

Sitting straight isn’t just important to do because it’s what your mom would want but it will help keep your spine aligned and comfortable.

Consider a Neck Pillow

I adore my neck pillow.  When my neck is sore, I get a headache, and when mama gets a headache, no one is happy.  Therefore my neck pillow keeps everyone happy!  Well, that may not be sound logic but I love my pillow.  If you get headaches on trips try a neck pillow.

Those are my tips for staying comfortable on long drives.  I hope they help you stay comfortable in your travels this year!

Win 2 Night Stay At Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest!

Camping Giveaway

If you love camping or glamping just as much as my family does, then you don’t want to miss out on this giveaway! One lucky reader will win a 2-night stay at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest. All you have to do is fill out the form below!

In case you missed it on the main post, here is some info for you:

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone ParkTM at Kozy Rest Amenities:

  • -Pavilion
  • -Laundromat
  • -Swimming Pool
  • -Jump Zone
  • -18 Hole Mini Golf
  • -Playground
  • -Half Court Basketball
  • -Recreation Hall
  • -Game Room
  • -Four-Wheel Pedal Carts
  • -Gem Mining Sluice
  • -Horseshoe Pits
  • -Bingo
  • -AED Equipped
  • -Shuffleboard
  • -Award-Winning Restrooms and Showers
  • -Dog Park with Dog Wash
  • -Church Services
  • -24/7 Online Reservation Services
  • -Free WiFi
  • -Gaga Ball Pits
  • -RC Race Tracks
  • -RC Crawler Course
  • -Bicycle Pump Track
  • -Laser Tag Battlefield

The campground consists of shady level RV sites, pull-thru sites, full hookup sites and full-service rental cabins and yurts. We also have pet-friendly units throughout our campground to accommodate families with dogs. Each site is equipped with 50-amp electric service, fire rings and picnic tables. In addition, the campground has a camp store, dump station and propane. Also, a tenting area and group camping area are available. So no matter what your budget is, there’s something for everyone!

Official Contest Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.1. Promotion Description: The ‘Yogi Bear’s Jelly Stone Park at Kozy Rest Giveaway’ (“Sweepstakes”) begins on 4/10/2019 at 9:00 PM (Eastern Time (US)) and ends on 4/30/2019 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time (US)) (the “Promotion Period”). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Yogi Bear’s Jelly Stone Park at Kozy Res (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.2. Eligibility: Open to legal residents of USA who are 18 years or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”), and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the Sweepstakes or win a prize.3. Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification.

Keep Your Pets Safe in The Car

Keep Your Pets Safe

This post is brought to you by BrennanDodge.com.

If you love your pet and like to travel you’ve probably wondered what the best way is to keep your little loved one safe in case of a car accident.  Growing up my family always drove with our small puppy roaming the car.  They would be in the back window one moment and on the driver’s lap the next.  I don’t know why we never questioned the safety of this?  We purposefully didn’t drive with the windows down because we didn’t want him to jump to his demise but we never thought about the risk we were putting him in…and ourselves in by having him roam loose in our car.  Thankfully we never had an accident and nothing came of it.  Now that I’ve thought about it, I want to try and do the best I can to keep myself, my family, and my dear pets safe.

As of now there are no government standards for pet safety items.  It’s a 60 billion dollar industry that is unregulated.  I don’t necessarily think we need government regulation in this are but I think it’s helpful to know that just because a car pet product is marketed toward car safety, doesn’t mean that it actually is safe. Recognizing that there was a need for testing pet travel gear, the CenterForPetSafety.org set out to do some testing.  You can see some of their crate car testing videos and results by clicking here.  You can see their pet seat testing videos by clicking here.  Don’t worry, you can click over, the videos don’t use real dogs but test dummies just like in car crash tests.

In the end, only a handful of products earned the center’s crash-test certification. For pet carriers, they were the PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with an Isofix-Latch Connection, $252, and the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock, $170 to $190. For pet crates, Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate, $500, with 8’ Tie-Down Straps, $75.  Lastly, for pet harnesses, the Sleepypod Clickit Sport, $70 to $90, and Sleepypod Clickit Utility, $90 to $100. Prices vary according to the size needed to fit the dog.  To learn more, go to centerforpetsafety.org and while you’re there check out their Pet Travel Tips.

Keeping your pet secure in the car will not only make for a happy pup but will also keep you from driving distracted and will keep your pup from becoming a flying projectile during the off chance you’re in an accident.

To choose the correct size dog carrier for your canine friend visit American Kennel Club for their recommendations.

 

Zero Prep – Road Trip Car Games for Kids

This post is brought to you by MyMillerHonda.com.

Road Trip Car Games for Kids

Car trips can be awful but I’ve found them to be sooooooo much fun if I go into them with a good attitude and a plan.  I’m all for kids getting bored but I think it’s fun to mix in a few games along the way too.  Let them come up with their own games too!  I bet they’ll surprise you with what they create!  In the mean time, here are my zero prep – road trip car games for kids.  I hope your family finds them helpful!

I Spy

How to Play: Someone says, “I spy with my little eye something…” (Or the old version my great aunt taught me, that goes “Riddle, Riddle, Riddle Marie, I see something you don’t see and it is…”)  Either of those statements are followed with a clue to an object that someone sees.  The clues are usually based on color.  For example, ….something that is red.  A fun twist is to give a shape as a clue.

 

The Banana Game

How to Play: Each time someone sees a yellow vehicle, they yell out “Banana!” and they receive a point.  The player with the most points at the end of the predetermined time or when you reach your destination is the winner.  A fun twist on this game is to have kids find a specific model or type of car instead of color.  My kids love to find mustangs and convertibles.

 

Count the…

How to Play: Pick anything that you want your kids to count and begin.  We count school buses on the way to school every day (we homeschool so this is only once a week for co-op but they have fun with it).  We count motorcycles on Saturdays because my son loves motorcycles and loves to see how many are on the road this time of year.  We had 19 last Saturday and we only went to three places.

 

Tunnel

How to Play: This is an easy but a short lived game.  We get to play it twice on our way to visit family though so it’s a keeper in our house.  When you enter a tunnel, everyone holds their breath.  I used to love this game but I’m old and lazy now. ha. Whoever can hold their breath the longest is the winner!

 

Name That Tune

How to Play: My kids loves this game but I am absolutely dreadful at it. My kids play it by humming a song and letting everyone else try to guess the name of that song.  I can’t eeeeeever win.  Never ever.  Maybe if we played snippets of songs on the radio I might have a better chance?  Nah, probably not.

 

RELATED:

Family Road Trip Songs

 

Storytelling

How to Play: I love storytelling and find much value in being about to tell stories.  This is one fun and super easy way to help cultivate the love of storytelling in my kids.  One person starts the story with a sentence, such as “Once upon a time there was a beautiful maiden who lived in a humble cottage.” Players continue taking turns adding a new sentence at a time until the story until it’s complete or it becomes too ridiculous and everyone is doubled over laughing. I always imagined these would be fun to write down but I’ve never actually done it.  Maybe I could secretly record my family the next time we play.  That would be a fun memory to look back on years from now.

 

7 Tips for Driving in the Rain

This post is brought to you by Roberts Honda.

Tips for Driving in the Rain

Spring is here and with it the rain.  If you’re like me you’ve been finding yourself driving in the rain more often than not lately.  I just wanted to give everyone a quick refresher on how to safely drive in the rain.

1. Think – Avoid Sudden Motions

Most people drive so much that they’re on autopilot driving from here to there.  When it’s raining we all need to consciously think about driving and pay attention.  Doing so, will hopefully help us avoid any sudden motions.

2. Turn on Headlights

This is a no brainer but one that doesn’t hurt to repeat.  When it rains, turn on your lights and wipers in a few easy flips.  Easy peasy.

3. 3 Second Distance Rule

Allow plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.  Try to leave ample stopping distance while driving and begin to slow down to stop for intersections or turns earlier than you usually would.

Driving in the Rain

4. Look Out For Pedestrians

Folks who are out may be in a hurry to get where they are going and get out of the rain.  Be sure to be alert and pay extra attention to pedestrians who may be more distracted themselves than usual.

5. Drive Slowly

Speed limit signs are for ideal conditions.  Driving in rain decreases visibility and comes with the added risk of hydroplaning.  Be safe and slow down.

6. Avoid Heavy Rain

If the rain is so heavy that you don’t have good visibility it’s okay to pull over, turn on your hazard lights, and wait a spell.  It will likely pass within a few moments so enjoy the brief break with some tunes on the radio.

7. Be Prepared in Case you Hydroplane

If you begin to hydroplane, let off the gas slowly and continue to steer in the direction you want your car to go.  Don’t jerk the wheel or slam on your breaks to regain control.  That will only further displace your car and could cause serious issues.   If your car starts to spin, begin to slowly turn your wheel in the direction that the vehicle is spinning.  The key word there is slowly.  Don’t overreact.  Now that you know how to deal with hydroplaning you don’t have to worry.

10 Amazing Benefits of Shopping at Thrift Stores

Shopping at thrift stores is one of the easiest ways to save money. With so many thrift and consignment shops around today, it simply makes sense to take advantage of the savings second-hand shops can provide your family.

10 Amazing Benefits of Shopping at Thrift Stores

Quality Kids Clothes – those kids grow way too fast, thrift stores help save a lot of money when it comes to buying clothes for growing kids.

Long-Lasting Quality – any items you find at a thrift store have withstood much wear and tear yet are still in good shape to purchase, this means they’re long-lasting quality products.

Give Back to Community – many thrift stores will give back to their local community through purchases at the store, consider finding a thrift store that does this.

One-Stop Shop – you can find more than just clothes at a thrift store making this trip well worth not only the savings for buying things but saves you in gas because you make one trip to one store.

Designer for Less – many thrift stores stock their shelves on specific days, find out what day and be sure to frequent their new stock because you may find designer items and clothes for well under retail price.

Hefty Sales – thrift stores will often get overloaded with inventory and do monthly ales where you can fill a bag for cheap money, this deal is well worth checking out to save cash.

Broken in Clothes – buying new jeans can sometimes be a pain because they aren’t broken in yet, but shopping at a thrift store allows you to buy broken in clothing.

Unique Wardrobe – thrift stores allow you to create your own style and fashion without feeling like you must pick something from today’s fashion standards.

Good Spending Habits – shopping at thrift stores will allow your kids to start having good spending habits as they will have grown up knowing thrift store shopping is good.

A fun Adventure – lastly, it’s fun to shop at thrift stores on a regular basis because they allow you to have an adventure finding new and old products from all walks of life.

As you can see, there are many amazing benefits of shopping at thrift stores. Sure some families prefer to have that brand new, name brand product but many of us are able to save a significant amount of money by opting to shop at a thrift store. That savings alone can pay for a family vacation or a remodeling project for your home. I invite you to consider shopping at thrift stores more often and enjoy the benefits of making that decision.

Pre-Road Trip Car Inspection Checklist

This post is brought to you by Lustinedodgejeep.net.

Pre-Road Trip Car Inspection

If you’re up for a road tip then you’re the kind of person that knows preparation is key.  Preparation for packing, for car games, for snacks, and yes, even for car maintenance.  Here’s our family’s pre-road trip car inspection checklist.  We just came back from a trip so these were fresh on our minds.

Regularly Scheduled Maintenance 

This will likely include an oil change and fluid check.  If you go to the dealership they’ll probably have a record of your belt replacements, air filter changes, and a whole slew of other maintenance items.  My family likes to always do what they recommend but even if you don’t usually I would recommend it before a trip.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

Emergency Kit 

Your emergency kit should include first-aid materials, tools that you’ll need in case of a breakdown.  These may include a flashlight, jumper cables, fix-a-flat, screwdrivers, wrenches, extra fuses, spare tire, jack, etc.  In winter I also like to pack candles and blankets just in case.

 

Battery Check 

Take a quick moment to check that your battery terminals are nice and clean.

 

Tire Check 

Check tire pressure and tire condition.  You don’t want to face the open roads with bare or low tires.

 

Check Brakes 

Your brake pads should have 1/4 of an inch of pad or more.

 

Wipers

Check to see how your wipers are fairing.  They only last so long and it’s easy to put off replacing them.  Before you leave for a trip, make a quick stop of at a shop and switch them out.  You can top off your wiper fluid while there too.

 

Lighting

Check that all interior and exterior lights are working properly.

There you have it!  A simple pre-trip vehicle inspection will help ensure a safe and stress-free journey to your vacation destination.  Happy trails!

7 Ways to Keep Your Car Safe on a Trip

This post is brought to you by Ted Britt Chevrolet.

Keep Your Car Safe on a Trip

When you’re away from home and out on the open road for a much needed holiday, your car is your home away from home.  It’s the place you’re seated to and from your destination, it’s the place you’ll eat a few meals, hide belongings, and occasionally use to escape the elements.  Read on for seven tips to help you keep your car and valuables safe while traveling.

7 Ways to Keep Your Car Safe on a Trip

 

1. Hide Everything Before You Arrive

This is a tip that my family has instilled in me since I was small.  Always, always, always hide all of your valuables before you arrive in the parking lot. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a woman get out of the car and put her purse in the backseat or in the trunk.  It’s not safe.  Doing that just shows everyone who’s around to see exactly where to find your valuables.  Lock them in the truck or other safe hiding place prior to exiting the vehicle.

2. Unload Your Valuables Away From Your Parking Spot

On a similar note, if you plan on using the same parking area over a span of a couple days don’t retrieve your valuables from your car the moment you return to it.  If you open the trunk every time you go to your car someone may take notice.  If possible, pull into another location away from your parking spot to gather your valuables again.

3. Choose a Good Parking Spot

What makes a good parking spot a good parking spot?  Visibility.  It’s simple; out of sight is out of safety.  Try to always park in a well lit, busy spot, that is within sight of a lot of eyes.  I’ve always hear to park with your trunk facing out to make it harder for thieves to break into your trunk unseen.

4. Remove Tempting Items

Remove or lock up any tempting items from your car.  This may include but is not limited to a GPS unit, cell phone or accessories, MP3 Player, a bag that may look like it holds valuables (even if it’s an old purse your kid uses for dress up or a make up bag, etc.), and on and on.  I’ve had a few friends tell me that their cars have been broken into for the change in the cup holder.  Don’t risk it, put away any items of potential value.

5. Park Your Car Yourself

Most parking attendants and valets are perfectly safe.  However, if you make it easy for someone to steal something valuable from your car they just might.  I’ve had a car wash attendant steal a bottle of cologne from the car.  If you use a valet, keep valuables out of sight.

6. Keep It Neat

Your car that is.  I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’ve always been told from my family that a neat car is less likely to be robbed.  It makes sense though.  If you can only see the car seats you don’t assume there’s more in there but a car with a lot of McDonalds wrappers, coats, and device cords laying loose you may wonder what’s hiding under them and what’s connected to those cords.

7. Check Your Valuables

Hopefully, you’ll follow the rules above and won’t store anything in your car that you value….however, if you don’t do that double check your valuables soon after returning to your car.  Don’t trust that your laptop is in your laptop bag just because you see the bag.  Sometimes thieves will leave the bag and take the goodies.

There you have it!  I hope these tips will help keep your valuables safe as you hit the open road this year!