Change Some Habits, Save Some Gas. And Some Money.

A few months ago I wrote a post that gave Tips on Pumping Gas. It gives some pretty good ideas for stretching your dollar at the pump.

Today I went shopping with Son, and was lucky enough to get a parking space close to the store right away, as it’s previous occupant was pulling away as I drove up. Normally I will wait for a space, and so I got to thinking about what a waste of gas that is.

And so, a post is born.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your gas usage, save money and get healthier all at the same time:

1. Take the first available parking spot you see. Instead of driving up and down the aisles of the supermarket parking lot looking for the spot nearest the door, or sitting idle while someone loads their groceries and the triplets, just park. On nice days you can save a little more by pulling into the first available spot near the lot entrance. I might even – gasp- get some exercise. Say it isn’t so!

2. Minimize idling. Idling gets you zero miles per gallon. If you are at the bank, the drive-thru or chatting with a friend and are going to idle for a minute or less, leave your car on. If it’s going to be much longer than a minute you should turn off your car.

3. Plan your route. On errand runs go to the furthest place first, then backtrack. I’ve done this for years for the most part, but I’m slacking less.

4. Try new merchants. If your current dry cleaner is six miles away and there’s one with comparable prices right next to the supermarket, why not give the closer guy a try? You never know…

5. Walk more. If you’re going to several locations in relatively close proximity park your car in the middle and walk. Today Son and I went to a different Target than our usual one, located in a shopping center which unfortunately had a Chuck E. Cheese. Instead of driving from one end of the center to the other we walked. Secondary tip: Never, ever go to Chuck E. Cheese during Spring Break.

6. Use your cruise control. This method has actually been proven to save a lot of gas, as it reduces heavy acceleration and heavy use of the brake (I’ve always been a hard braker Get it?). A steady driving speed will improve fuel economy.

7. Use your bicycle. Ride it to work, or the grocery store, or the gym. I can’t wait for Son to be steady enough on a bicycle for us to use bicycles as transportation.

And the biggie.

8. Stay home. You don’t need to get dressed to go to Starbucks for overpriced coffee. You can sit in the comfort of your own home in your jammies with some nice music on the stereo. Now that the weather is getting better you can have the kids can play in the yard with their friends instead of driving to Chuck E. Cheese. Join Netflix (as little as $4.99 a month!) and have your movies delivered. Have a family game night and whip up some homemade (or heat some frozen) pizza instead of an expensive (and noisy!) visit to Chuck E. Cheese.

My goodness, what would become of our society if families spent more time at home together?

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