How to Reduce Frequent Fill-ups

With fuel prices climbing ever higher, many drivers are suffering major financial collisions. Thankfully, many vehicle-associated costs are within your control. You can save a lot of money by making a few changes to the way you drive and use gas.

Consider Downsizing

Large, heavy vehicles can burn up to three times as much fuel as small car; so if it’s time for a trade-in, consider a vehicle that is built to get good gas mileage. If you are truly ready to reduce fuel consumption, go for a hybrid car. Since they run on a combination of gasoline and electricity, they are economically (and ecologically) sound choices.

Maintain Your Vehicle

Preemptive maintenance not only makes for a safer, more secure ride, but keeping all your vehicle’s parts in tiptop shape will extend fuel usage over time. Keep your air filter clean, tires pumped with the right amount of air, the clutch adjusted, and make sure your engine is filled with enough clean oil. Also, since most cars, trucks, and SUVs are built for regular unleaded, don’t upgrade to pricy premium unless necessary.

Drive Smart

Before taking off, look for unnecessary, heavy objects you may be carrying both on the exterior and interior of the vehicle. Carting around such items as a tool kit, stereo equipment, and ski or bike racks affect gas mileage. If you don’t need immediate access to the items, store them elsewhere.

Chart your course carefully. Choose the route with the flattest terrain and fewest stops, and if at all possible, avoid traffic jams and stop and go driving. Have a navigation system? Use it to find the quickest path and to avoid wasting gas by getting lost. There are also map apps for your mobile device like Waze or Google Maps that will integrate local traffic and suggest alternate routes to save you time.

Other ways to save gas include (when safe and appropriate), turning the car off rather than idling, traveling the right speed for each gear, and not revving the engine or warming up newer vehicles. Use cruise control on the open road, coast down hills and accelerate slowly when leaving stoplights. Think twice before turning on the AC too – that blast of cool air means a much quicker visit to the pump. Instead, roll the windows down while driving at low to moderate speeds. (However, the faster you go, the greater the drag – so keep them up when traveling at high speeds.)

Drive Less

Reduce unnecessary trips by combining errands, and bike, walk or use public transportation whenever possible. If you have neighbors who work in the same general direction as your place of employment, arrange for car pools to share the cost of gas. (After all, you are not the only one who is affected by the rising price of fuel.)

Want more budget-friendly ideas? Call BALANCE at 888-456-2227 – at no cost to you. Your call will remain confidential.

Have fun this weekend!

Well, with summer ‘officially’ over (I’m looking at you Labor Day), it’s time to get into the fall spirit. And to be quite honest, after the ridiculous heat we just melted through all summer, I am MORE than ready for some cool fall air.

I like exploring and trying new things in our area, so here’s a round-up of local, budget-friendly events to check out this weekend:

  •  Great Grapes Wine, Arts and Food Festival – Reston Town Center

    September 8 & 9, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. This is a great event for friends and/or families! Bring lawn chairs, blankets and enjoy live music with over 200 Virginia wines. Learn from the experts with hands-on demos of wine and food pairings in the Gourmet Live! Tent. There’s even a Kid’s Activity Area.
    2 Day Adult ticket – $37 in advance (includes souvenir wine glass, lanyard, unlimited samples and access to all cooking demos)
    1 Day Adult ticket – $20 in advance, $25 on-site
    Designated Driver ticket – $15 in advance, $20 on-site

  • 10th Annual Alexandria King Street Art Festival – FREE Event

    Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m.-7p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 9, 10a.m.-5p.m. Browse festival booths that line King Street between Washington and Union Streets. Plus, this year participate in a smart phone scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, AND a 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday drawing marathon!

  •  “Rock of Ages” Musical – Wolf Trap

    Sunday, September 9, 8 p.m. Based on the book by Chris D’Arienzo, “Rock of Ages” features tunes by famous bands from the 80’s, including Journey, Night Ranger, Styx and more. This musical is described as “an evening full of rock ‘n’ roll, comedy and non-stop fun.”
    Tickets – $25-$45

  •  Cirque du Soleil – National Harbor – On-going show, check site for dates and times

    This weekend: Saturday shows at 4 & 8 p.m. and Sunday shows at 1 & 5:00 p.m. If you haven’t seen a Cirque du Soleil show, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s truly unbelievable what the performers do and how easy they make it all look! This show is ‘TOTEM’, tracing the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly.
    Tickets – $40-$153 or check out the LivingSocial deal HERE for discount tickets.