5 Steps To Counter $4 Per Gallon At The Pump from bankrate.com
Take out your owner's manual. A lack of familiarity with your car's owner's manual could be costing you money. It tells you what octane level of gasoline to use, the type of oil that's most efficient and your car's optimal tire pressure. Very few auto manufacturers recommend premium fuel. If you put that in, you're unnecessarily spending money. Proper maintenance, such as regular oil changes and air filter replacements, also can save on gas. In fact, you can increase your gas mileage by about 4 percent if you keep your engine tuned to your owner's manual's specifications, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Remove junk from the trunk. One of the easiest ways to save on gas is to get the junk out of the trunk. Take a few minutes to determine what you need to carry around and chuck the rest. The lighter your car, the less work your engine has to do. The FTC estimates that an additional 100 pounds in the trunk can decrease fuel economy by up to 2 percent.
Adjust your driving habits. We live in a fast-moving society, but you should "plan to spend a little bit longer getting to where you need to go because aggressive driving is a tremendous fuel burner." . Avoid quick starts and stops. Coasting to a stop is more cost-effective than waiting until you get up to a red light to slam on the brakes. You can improve your fuel economy around town by up to 5 percent by driving more gently.
Take advantage of gasoline apps. Thanks to technology, it's easier than ever to pay less at the pump. A number of smartphone apps can show you maps of gas stations in your area and let you sort by price and location. Among those recommended by Schaffels are the free GasBuddy, the free AAA TripTik Mobile and the $2.99 Fuel Finder.
Cash in on rewards and loyalty programs. Some credit cards offer cash back on gas purchases. Likewise, some retailers reward spending with discounts at affiliated gas stations. These offerings can potentially save you money as long as you recognize they're not always the ideal choice. Many gas stations offer a lower price per gallon if you pay in cash so compare the rewards or loyalty discount to the cash option to see which is a better deal.
The 7 Deadly Credit Card Sins from msn.com
1. Gluttony: Bumping up against your credit limit Just because your issuer awarded you a $6,000 credit limit doesn't mean you should max the card out. For starters, those who aren't able to pay off their balances in full increase the likelihood of winding up in debt, since they'll be subject to the interest on their purchases. Secondly, bumping up against your credit limit is likely to have a negative overall impact on your credit score.
2. Pride: Not checking your credit report You might assume your credit score is in fine standing based upon a presumably stellar payment history, but the truth of the matter is that credit reports can easily contain errors. And the more egregious ones, like inaccurate delinquencies or improper credit limit information, can cost you more than a few points on your accompanying credit score.
3. Lust: Applying for too much credit Lucrative sign-up bonuses can certainly be attractive, but that doesn't mean you should apply for every credit card that's touting one. Too many credit card inquiries -- generated by lenders that are looking to see if you deserve a new line of credit -- in a short time frame can also negatively affect your credit score.
4. Greed: Taking out a cash advance It may seem like a great idea to use your credit card to get a cash advance at a casino so you have some cash to gamble with, but in addition to the lousy odds you'll have trying to make the money grow, the paper comes with a price.
5. Envy: Applying for a card that's out of your league Your globe-trotting friend may continually flash a credit card that grants access to swanky airport lounges, earns free airfare and avoids foreign transaction fees, but don't let jealousy lead you to sign up for one of your own. Typically, cards of that caliber contain high annual fees that are worth paying only if you travel enough to justify the rewards.
6. Wrath: Closing all your credit card accounts Those who have gotten burned by their plastic may be inclined to cut up all the credit cards in their wallet and close all the accompanying accounts, but it's best to curb your anger. Closing accounts can negatively influence your credit-to-debt ratio, especially if the one card you're leaving open -- or transferring a balance to -- is bumping up against its credit limit. It's better to keep the account open but not use it, since that will keep your credit-to-debt ratio positively intact and not jeopardize the average age of your credit report.
7. Sloth: Not checking your monthly credit card statements It can be easy to set up automatic bill pay on your account and then forget all about your credit card, especially in instances where you use it infrequently. However, it's a bad idea to skip checking your monthly credit card statements.