Car Habits to Save You Money

How to Save Money

If you’re wanting or needing to save money here are nine tips to help you keep more pennies in your pocket.  This post is brought to you by ChryslerOfCulpeper.net.

1. Wash your own car.

Time IS money, but the cost of convenience might not be worth it all the time. Washing your own car can really save you money. If you decide to wash your car every month that can add. Plus, if you’re like me, the fast versions at the drive-through car washes don’t really ever satisfy me except for getting the dirt off. A good starter kit for your own car wash to get a spic-n-span, classy result can be bought on Amazon or you can DIY to your heart’s content to save even more money!

2. Detail it yourself.

I love having my car detailed because it’s so crazy clean! I once found a church group that detailed my car for $20 for a fundraiser. It was gorgeous on the inside. Later, I went to have my car detailed from a professional business and realized that my $20-detailing was truly a heavenly gift! The professionals wants three times that amount! If you can do this yourself, you’ll have a beaut of a car and bank account.

3. Change your own oil.

I’m pretty sure this step is something we all know, but you can save yourself $20 each time your want your oil replaced (depending on where you live and where you get the change done). This added up over the lifetime of a car, can help make the down payment on the next one!

4. Replace the windshield wipers.

If you have basic windshield wipers, then you can save the service fee by doing this at home. We’re not super-handy people. Sometimes we struggle doing our own car oil change, but this we can do. It’s one of the little things that add up. Also, you don’t have to replace the rods sometimes. Replace the squeegee part for even more savings. The squeegee may be only dirty too. Sometimes cleaning the rubber part of the wiper will save pennies too.

5. Shampoo your own carpets.

You can add life and value to your car by cleaning up the interior carpet. The most efficient way is a professional cleaning system, but you can get a good result from hand-washing the fabric. You need a couple of buckets, clean towels, a carpet brush, a wet vac, and an a fabric-safe, all-purpose cleaner. Follow the instructions for mixing the cleaner, vacuum the carpet, use a brush to clean the carpet using the cleaner mixture, and dry with the wet vac. Beauty and savings.

6. Determine which quality of gas is best.

Did you know that you might get better gas milage from higher quality gas? If you buy premium gas, it might actually save you money. Do a little test – try each of the levels of gas and see how many miles to the gallon you get for your car for each level.

7. Keep your RPMs low.

Surging your car above 3,000 RPMs will burn up gas. Anytime you can coast, do it. Anytime you can not accelerate (with safety in mind, of course) do it! This saves gas.

8. Pick and stick with a good repair shop.

We have had our fair share of experiences with good auto mechanics, but we have had one or two situations when we wouldn’t go back either. Your trustworthy mechanic  will help you save money by repairing your vehicle in a way that helps you, not his only his pocketbook. Look for good ratings and word of mouth by “car” people you know

9. Be picky about insurance.

If you have an older car, you don’t necessarily need a lot of coverage on the vehicle. You can simply get liability insurance and use the money you save on the car insurance to put into a savings car for your next ride!
How about you? How do you save money with and on your car?

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

This post is brought to you by TexanDodgeChryslerJeepRam.com.

Tips for Spring Car Maintenance

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

Winter can be so brutal on your car. Some parts of the country you are faced with snow storms, below-zero temperatures and more. When they put the ice melt down on the streets that can be really harsh on your car, it can cause rust and more.

When spring arrives it is a great time to wash away the winter and freshen up your car! Below you will find some great spring maintenance tips for your car. If you are not able to do any of these car maintenance jobs yourself, take your car to a local mechanic shop and they will do it all for you!

Tips for Spring Maintenance on Your Vehicle

  • – A Good Wash: If you live where you get snow, it is very important to wash your car really well. When they put salt down on the streets it melts the ice but as you drive it gets all over your vehicle. It can cause a lot of damage to your car, so make sure to wash it really well. This includes the undercarriages where that salt if left over time could rust the metal.
  • – Oil and Fluid Check: It is recommended to change your car’s oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. So if you are close to needing an oil change do that and make sure to check your fluids. Sometimes we can forget to check power steering fluid, transmission fluid and so on. If you don’t know how to do this, stop in and let a mechanic do this for you.
    – Check Tires: Make sure to rotate your tires, check the pressure and make sure you have good tire thread. Your car’s tires are so important, it affects how your car rides, handles, and of course safety. It is recommended to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to keep tread wear even!
    – Brakes: Make sure to have your brakes inspected. Sometimes the pads and rotors can get worn and go out. You need to make sure that you can stop safely and easily in case you need to when driving.
    – Alignment and Suspension: If you ever have been driving and notice that your car pulls to one side or the steering wheel vibrates, you might have a problem. Just driving alone can cause your alignment and suspension to get off, and it is important to make sure it is all where it needs to be. If you live where you have rough roads or pot holes that can be to blame for your car going out of alignment. This check is normally $20-$50 depending on where you live.

Clever Hacks for Cleaning Your Car

Car Cleaning Tips for Moms
Some people spend so much time in the car, you can find it looking pretty dirty! After a long commute or road trip, you can start to see things beginning to clutter in the back seat or a funky smell. Today, I will share some clever hacks for cleaning your car and getting it looking and smelling like new! These hacks will help your car look cleaner than ever!  This post is brought to you by ReedmanTollChryslerDodgeJeepRam.com.

Below you will find a lot of different way s to clean parts of your car you may not have known! They could really come in handy when you go to clean your car! From using silicone cupcake liners for your cup holders to toothpaste to clean your headlights, I got you covered!

Wash Car with Conditioner: Did you know that most hair conditioners contain lanolin, that is a type of wax! When you wash your car with the conditioner it will leave your car shining!
Clean Headlights: If you use a toothpaste that has baking soda in it, you can apply it to your headlights and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then buff it out, and it can help shine up your lights. After awhile they can get dull and lessen how much you can see at night, so keeping them clean allows them to shine brighter at night.
Remove Dead Bugs with Dryer Sheet: If your grille has dead bugs on it, you can use a dryer sheet to wipe away those bugs. It is gentle enough on the car it won’t hurt the paint.
Clean Air Vents: Take a cheap foam painting brush to clean in between the air vents The brush is small enough to fit right in and get the dust off. Or if you have a bottle of compressed air like to clean your keyboard with, this works great too. Just spray it in your ac vents and it will get the dust out as well.
Cleaning Wiper Blades: Use rubbing alcohol to clean your wiper blades. Just apply some rubbing alcohol to a cloth and wipe your wiper blades. This will help prevent smudges on your windshield!
Nooks and Crannies: Grab an old toothbrush for those nooks and crannies. It is stiff enough it works great at getting stuff pulled up and small enough it is easy to clean with. You can spray some cleaner down and watch it remove the mess.
Pet Hair: If you use a squeegee you can run that along your seats to pull up pet hair. If you can get it to come up with just that, spray a little water on seats then use the squeegee and it will come up even easier. Then grab what you can and vacuum the rest.
Wash Car Mats: If you have car mats that have carpet on them, wash them in the washing machine. Just use the gentle cycle, and they will look like new. Let them air dry and then put back in the car.
Cup Holders: You can use silicone cupcake holders to put inside of the cup holders. This way when it gets dirty just grab the liner and wash it real quick. This is a great way to save time cleaning.
Bumper Stickers: If you want to remove a bumper sticker, grab a can of WD-40! Spray some over the bumper sticker and let it sit for awhile and then work on peeling it off. It works great on getting that sticky glue off.

 

Related: Ways to Keep Your Car Safe

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!

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.

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!