Winter Car Care

As we slide into January, why not take a few moments to make sure your car(s) are in tip-top shape? Should you find yourself caught in the midst of a storm, would you be prepared to wait it out? Let’s start with the basics. . .

Car Care Maintenance

Get a tune up, change the oil and filters on your vehicle(s). It is recommended to change the oil about every 3,000 miles to extend the life of your car and prevent major break downs. Filters can be changed less often, about every 15,000 miles.

Go ahead and give your car a good cleaning, inside and out. Cleaning the exterior of a car prevents rust and may prevent an accident. If your brake lights are covered with mud and grime, will the driver behind you be able to see you clearly if you brake suddenly?

Also check the tires, rotate them and replace any worn ones. No one wants a flat in the middle of a blizzard! Finally, take your car in to get it aligned.

When your car is properly aligned, tires don’t wear as fast, your car may run smoother and burn less gas. If you are constantly on the road, consider having your car aligned every two to three years.

Cars are so expensive now that more and more people are choosing to keep and drive their cars for many years. It used to be that most consumers would buy a new car every 5 to 10 years. As the prices of cars continues to increase, consumers are choosing to maintain their current cars longer.

Save at the Pump

Although we’ve had a little relief from the ever-increasing price of gas, one never knows how long that will last. Here are a few simple ways to save at the pump:

  • Take good care of your car – just like your body, if you take good care of it, you may function better and may be healthier. If your car is in good shape, it may burn gas more efficiently.
  • Make sure your tires are aired up properly, you can increase mileage by 3.5 percent just by making sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Shop around and do gas price comparisons before you fill up. Gas prices can be as different as $.01-$.10 a gallon between filling stations. Don’t stop at the first one you see unless you have no choice and you know it’s the cheapest option. In most cases, gas at a supermarket or large retain chain store is the cheapest option.

Emergency Preparedness

Let’s say you’re on a weekend trip, you’re in the middle of nowhere and a blizzard hits. Are you and your car prepared to wait out the storm? Here are a few things you can do ahead of time to be prepared should the unexpected arise:

  1. Keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle: flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water (up to 3 days worth), gloves, boots, first-aid kit, and car phone charger. In case you do get stranded, emergency workers advise to put flares outside if you have them and stay in your car until help arrives.
  2. Load your car with winter travel gear tire chains, ice scraper/snow brush, jumper cables, road flares, a battery operated radio, and a LED battery operated lantern. I also keep a few cans of de-icer and “fix a flat” in your car.

What would you do if you thought you might be caught in your car during a storm? What precautions would you take?

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Works for Me~ Frugal Tips For Fuel Savings

I remember “back in the day” when the price of gas was under $1. It can be overwhelming to realize that price has quadrupled. Add in a larger vehicle that holds more than two children and you’re sure to feel the sting right in your pocketbook! Guest poster, John Amann, shares with us 10 Frugal Ways To Save Money On Gas. Molly

  1. SLOW DOWN AND SAVE MONEY Everyone wants to get to where they are going fast, it’s understandable considering our modern lives and “go go go” culture.  You’re in a hurry, you’re running late for work or you just want to get home.  It’s easy not to think twice about putting a little extra pressure on the gas pedal and cutting minutes off your commute.But it’s precisely this kind of thinking that can add up to dollars lost at the gas pump each week.  The frugal fact is that according to the GHSA (Governor’s Highway Safety Association) your lead foot can reduce gas mileage by 33% on the highway!  And for every 5mph over 60mph that you drive on the highway it’s like paying an extra 20 cents a gallon for gas.It’s also not just the highway speed that is emptying your wallet but also the way you accelerate that can cost you money.  Rapid braking and acceleration is going to suck fuel out of your tank faster than any other driving habit.  The more you jump on the gas pedal the more RPM’s you’re going to use, the more gas you’re going to use and the more money you will be dishing out at the pump.  Try to plan your braking a little in advance and ease your car to a slow controlled stop and then accelerate in the same manner.  Accelerate slowly and go easy on the gas pedal, your wallet will thank you.
  2. USE YOUR SMARTPHONE TO FIND CHEAP GAS Just about all of us have a smartphone these days, and whether you’re a diehard android, iPhone, blackberry or windows phone user there are plenty of frugal options out there to help you save money at the pump.Each app works in pretty much the same way.  You either enter your location or the app finds your location by GPS and the app will then return a list of gas stations in your area with current fuel prices for you to choose from.  It’s quick, it’s simple and if you own a smartphone the savings are already in your pocket.GasBuddy mobile app.

    Don’t have a smartphone?  Don’t worry point your browser to:  gaspricewatch.com

  3. TURN OFF THE A/C AROUND TOWN Make no mistake about it air-conditioning is an enemy of your fuel tank and part of an axis of evil habits that can cause you to use more fuel during the hot summer months.  Is it a necessity?  You bet, but turning up the AC while driving around at slow speeds or on days that you don’t absolutely need it is going to cost you money.At highway speeds studies have shown that keeping your windows up and AC on is the most efficient way to keep cool reducing your fuel economy by approximately 10%.  This is because keeping your windows down with interferes with the aerodynamics of your vehicle creating more drag on your car causing your engine to work harder.

    But for those driving around down at relatively slow speeds on short trips to the store and back, It’s more efficient to keep the AC off, roll down the windows and cool off with the breeze.

    A quick rule of thumb is that if you are driving at less than 40mph keep the windows down, over 40mph roll up the windows and use your AC.

  4. EMPTY YOUR TRUNK FOR EXTRA GAS SAVINGS It’s just a simple fact of physics that the heavier your car is the more fuel it is going to take to propel the car forward.  And if you are anything like me, your trunk is often a disaster, and cluttered with unnecessary items.  Cleaning out your car’s trunk and leaving only the essentials will save you fuel in the long run.  The lighter you keep your car, the less gas your car has to use and the more money you will save.With the same idea in mind and thinking about the weight of your vehicle you should always wait to fill up your car until the gas tank is near empty.  Driving around with a full tank of gas is going to make your car significantly heavier, thus causing a decrease in miles per gallon.
  5. CARPOOLINGNot only will you be doing something good for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, but carpooling has the potential to save you and your coworkers a ton of cash.With the price of gas rising carpooling has steadily been gaining in popularity, and there are several online resources that can help you find a carpooling partner if you happen to strike out with your coworkers.  Two popular resources for finding a carpool buddy are carpooling.com (outside the US) and erideshare.com.
  6. CRUISE CONTROL If you are serious about cutting fuel costs setting your car on cruise is a habit that you must put into practice.Using cruise control around town or in city driving clearly is not very practical but on long stretches of road or highway, setting cruise control will save fuel by eliminating the fluctuations in pedal pressure applied by your foot.Setting your car on cruise will ensure steady engine RPM and stop the unnecessary fluctuations in acceleration that little by little rob you of money.
  7. SAVE MONEY BY TIGHTENING YOUR GAS CAP Not fully tightening your gas cap can result in fuel evaporating into thin air and taking your hard earned money with it.  Especially in the hot summer months it is important to tighten your gas cap and ensure that you are saving every drop of gasoline for your engine and not the atmosphere.
  8. PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE Is your air filter clean?  Is your engine tuned up?  Are you using the correct grade of motor oil?  Answering no to any of these questions will cause your engine to work harder, run hotter and use up more gas in the process.Show a little bit of love to your car and keep up with basic maintenance requirements.  It will save you money in the long run, and save you money at the pumps.
  9. STOP IDLING Seems simple right?  But pay attention for a week and take note of how many times you sit in your car idling all the while your car is burning fuel for no reason.  A rule of thumb is that if your car is going to be stopped for over a minute turn off the car to cut down on wasted fuel.
  10. DRIVE LESS AND WALK MORE Plan your day, eliminate multiple short trips, walk or ride a bike when you can and use less gas.  It’s good for you, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for your wallet.

John Amann created wickedfrugal.com in July of 2012 in order to blog about his own thoughts and ideas on how to save money and live frugally during the recession.Wickedfrugal.com is updated daily with new frugal ideas and tips to ease the burden on your wallet and stretch your money in ways you may not have thought of.

Molly Saves on the Go

Get your motor running!

Ease on down the road with tips for family travel in Molly’s Money-Saving Digest Molly Saves on the Go and take a detour around the usual stress and expense.

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Even if a road trip isn’t on your horizon, you’ll find plenty useful advice this month, including frugal projects, nutritious food, financial teaching for kids, and much more!

  • Treat your family to a hearty, easy meal.
  • Brush up on the basics of grooming your pet.
  • Teach your kids about budgeting.
  • Use salvaged materials to create a useful camp stool.
  • Find out which free websites can spur you on to better fitness.
  • Mix up some homemade help for hard-working hands.
  • Check out the many benefits of using your library.
  • Get inspired to use your crafting talents for others.

Are we there yet? Molly can help you arrive at your destination with more of your sanity and wallet intact. Loading up on junk food at every stop. Boredom wafting from the back seat. Squabbles resulting from said boredom. Does this sound all too familiar? Stop trouble in its tracks and make your car trip more enjoyable for everyone with the advice in this month’s Digest.

  • Find out all about feeding your family healthy snacks and meals on the go.
  • Take drinks with you and keep more of your dollars.
  • Discover must-have items for your packing list, both for comfort and for convenience.
  • Stock up on car games and other activities to keep your kids busy.
  • Learn how to perform basic maintenance on your vehicle so it’s always ready to go.
  • Learn how to maintain your other vehicle: your bicycle.

Take a closer look at all the impressive features you’ll find in this month’s Digest:

  • This ’n’ That: Smile! April is National Humor Month. Time is also set aside this month to celebrate gardens and libraries, among other things.
  • Begin With the Basics: If you don’t know what GORP is, find the answer (and the recipe) here. Your family will thank you! You’ll also get tips on other good snacks for traveling.
  • Forms & Printables: The Internet is a treasure trove of activities to keep kids busy in the car, whether you’re going for a long trip or a ride around town. Puzzles, games, mazes, trivia, and art projects will help time fly.
  • Décor & More: Eleanor Joyce offers lots of tips for healthy and frugal travel, from what to eat to how to keep everyone comfortable. Think outside the fast food box and take along a salad in a jar; just shake, then eat. Learn what the kids should wear when traveling, plus things you won’t want to do without on the road.
  • Meal of the Month: Give your hungry family a taste of White Chicken Chili and make extra to put in the freezer for quick meals.
  • Molly’s Motor Maintenance: Take on some of your car’s mechanical checkups yourself to save money at the garage and avoid preventable repairs. Not mechanically inclined? Don’t worry. Anyone can do these simple checks.
  • Bicycle Basics & More: If your bike has been dormant during the winter, it needs a checkup too. A basic spring tuneup may help you avoid problems out on the road.
  • Pet Care for Pennies: Find out how grooming done at home can ward off skin infections and other problems, as well as save the cost of having a professional do the job. Even if you only stick to the basics, you can stretch the time between grooming appointments and watch the savings add up.
  • Tightwad Training Camp: Kids learn the difference between fixed and variable expenses and are challenged to think about whether expenditures are based on wants or needs.
  • Something Old, Something New: Sharon White reaches into her store of salvaged items to make a folding stool that’s functional, frugal, and fashionable. This project also has something to teach us about trust.
  • Here’s to Your Health: With a number of free websites, you can track your food intake each day, get healthy recipes, participate in forums with others who share your fitness goals, and track your weight loss progress.
  • You’re a Natural Beauty: Treat your hands to some homemade lotion, then turn your attention to your nails. A multisided buffer can make them pretty without polish.
  • Molly Recommends: Find information and inspiration in the E-Book Molly Goes Camping. Packed full of tips for both novices and seasoned campers, it also contains heartwarming stories from readers like you.
  • Change One Thing This Month: As wonderful as books are, today’s libraries often have much more to offer, from story times to movies, book clubs to reading incentive programs, research databases to Wi-Fi access. Investigate your local branch to find out what you may be missing.
  • Inspiration! Your hobby can offer comfort to people in need.
  • Directory of Links: For those of you who print and bind your Digests, you’ll have easy access to all of the fantastic links worth saving in the back of this issue. It makes your Digest easier to use!

See why homemakers love Molly’s Digest—see what’s inside!

Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer and wants to share with you—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!

You’ll glean some of the best, inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find, and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.

View a sample of this product here.

Molly makes it fun and easier to be frugal! Think about it—with so much to learn and save, if you apply just one money-saving idea, you’ll recoup the cost of this E-Book right away!

Project Manager: Toni Riggs
Contributing Writers: Dena Wood, Eleanor Joyce, Sharon White, Patricia Hunter, Toni Riggs, Tiffany J. Rule, DVM, Michelle Tonnemacher
Publication: 2011
Pages: 59
File Size: 5.1 MB

Need to economize? Subscribe to a Molly Membership!

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You’ll glean some of the best inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.

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Emergency Preparedness

Do you have emergency plans ready and set to go? Kids included?
Would the staples in your pantry feed your hungry household for a week?
How far could you stretch it?

Invest your time wisely! Be ready for the unexpected and inspired by many low- or no-cost supplemental projects inside this essential edition of Molly’s Money-Saving Digest!

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This month’s special feature is:
Emergency Preparedness

You won’t always know when disaster is headed your way. But you can save your family from needless headaches, harm, and even hunger when you prepare NOW to survive the storm, fire, flood, or calamity that could come.

Are you equipped for an emergency?
It’s not exactly fun to think about—but it’s necessary. Does your family know what to do?
If you make provisions ahead of time, you can relax knowing that your family will have every opportunity to be cared for regardless of the unfortunate scenario.

Savor September and consider setting aside one weekend this month to focus on preparedness and to develop a plan for your family.

  • Create an emergency preparedness plan that is suited for your family’s dynamics and location.
  • Download your choice of crisis planning forms—prepared by the experts.
  • Get your kids onboard with designing a disaster strategy—help them stay unafraid, calm, and focused during a critical situation!

Take a closer look inside this issue of Molly’s Money-Saving Digest:

Monthly Feature: Emergency Preparedness
Utilize basic ideas along with a list of great resources and informative links to be sure you are ready to meet with almost any emergency situation.

  • A Well-Stocked Pantry. Make use of this basic primer consisting of the why, what, how, where, and when of stocking a pantry for your family. It makes so much sense!
  • Driving This Winter? Be Prepared! Here’s a quick list for putting together a simple winter emergency kit for your vehicle. Possibly save the lives of your children!
  • Pack a Backpack. Do you have a backpack stocked and ready for every member of your family?
  • Start Your Preparedness Project Here. Which resources does Molly recommend? What’s her favorite book on the topic? Where can you find free downloadable details and advice?

Begin With the Basics—Cooking With Ground Beef: What should you know when shopping for this frugal kitchen staple? How can you get a lot more mileage from a pound of ground beef? Save time and money with some make-ahead meatball recipes!

On Sale This Month: Uncover some great deals and bargain prices and stock up on those canned goods for your emergency supply!

Tips and Tools for Organization: An emergency checklist could be a life saver! Print these out, complete them, and file them in your household planner.

Feather Your Nest Frugally: In keeping with this month’s theme, you’ll be glad you took the time to put together and tuck away these great grab-n-go mini kits for each member of your family. This is a great upcycled project for kids too.

In the Kitchen With Molly: Stock your kitchen with basic staples that enable you to make delicious meals under any circumstances. Get a week’s worth of great meals to see just how far you can stretch those staples. We’ve updated our format—now it’s easier and more economical to print these recipes!

Special Dates This Month: Thirty days hath September . . . and a lot of them are special! You’ll be sure to find something worth celebrating in this lengthy list!

Kids’ Corner—Creating an Emergency Disaster Escape Plan: When you plan ahead, your children will know immediately what to do in these adverse situations. Kids will follow directions to draw a family fire escape plan as well as a storm shelter plan.

Something Old, Something New: Turn that leftover wax from last month’s project into new jar candles. With step-by-step directions and lots of photos, you’ll get plenty of ideas to create your own versatile candles—ideal to use in emergencies or as nice gifts.

This Is My Story: Penny went from being a successful California businesswoman to a “no longer self-driven but love-driven” mother with eight children on a horse farm in Tennessee. Fortify your commitment to family as you consider her wise words and beautiful story!

Directory of Links: You’ll have easy access to all of the fantastic links worth saving in the back of this issue. It makes your Digest easier to use!

Every month Molly has a wealth of information & support to share in one easy-to-read, handy resource, for an incredibly low price! Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer and wants to share with you—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!

Click here to see a sample.

You may need more than an umbrella to weather the storm . . .
and your family is counting on your help!

Project Manager: Eleanor Joyce
Contributing Writers: Eleanor Joyce, Jennifer Sikora
Publication: 2010
Pages: 48
File Size: 6.3MB

Need to economize? Subscribe to a Molly Membership!

For only $3.85 a month (cancel any time!) you receive not only the monthly Molly Green Magazine, but also much more!
Purchase NOW!
Every month, Molly has a wealth of information and support to share in one easy-to-read, handy resource! Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!
You’ll glean some of the best inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.

For just $4.95, download this Molly Green Magazine now!
Or become a monthly Molly Member and subscribe for only $3.85 per month!