Archive for the ‘Auto’ Category.

New proven methods for saving gas

The web is full of tips on how to save money on gas and have better fuel efficiency. Some are creative and can save you money

Creative tips to save on gas

Creative tips to save on gas

while others are useless or we already know about. Here are some of my personal favourites which I apply myself.

-Gravity is your friend: why even press on the pedal when the can can go down on its own? On downhill rides, gravity not gas, is your friend.

-Scan your local routes to work and other common places for one with the least amount of traffic and stop signs. Don’t get used to the same routine: find other routes that can potentially save you money.

-Turn off the car at those red lights that take more than one minute. You know you are going to stop after all. I know at least 3 of those in my area. And since I drive through them at least a few times a week, it is a no-brainer.

-Always try to fill-up rather than topping up only. Without going into too much details, and speaking from years of personal experience, this will save you money.

-Last but not least, take it easy on your gas pedal. This may sound like common sense, but do you really watch your pedal? Are you aware of how smooth or how hard you press on it? Do you press on it gently, as if you are pressing on egg shells? This is probably the single most overlooked factor in your fuel efficiency. Practice makes perfect. You may have been used to always pressing hard on the pedal and may take some time to break out of this habit and go easier on the pedal, but it will pay off .


Just because gas prices are down, doesn’t mean you no longer have to care about saving money at the pump. You should take any savings you can get, after all, gas prices are bound to go back up in the long term, if not earlier.

Auto Insurance Saving Tips and Strategies

Car insurance is a necessary expense, yet many people lack the coverage they need in an effort to get the cheapest rate. While the monthly premiums may be lower, the amount of coverage this allows in the event of an accident is limited. However, the quality of a policy does not have to be compromised in order to get the best deal. By following some simple tips, a great rate can be maintained with ample coverage.

Responsible Driving Pays Off

One of the most efficient ways to get the best car insurance rate is to maintain a clean driving record. Insurance companies must determine the liability of each customer; if they see a client has a record of reckless driving, that person becomes more of a risk for them to cover. By adhering to all rules of the road and never driving under the influence, this is relatively easy to attain.

Newer Models Come With Higher Prices

Most people have a dream car they will likely never own; however, in the event that it becomes possible to acquire a newer model, it should be taken into consideration that the insurance will likely be higher as opposed to an older model. When seeking ways to save money on car insurance, it all starts when the consumer picks out the vehicle they will be insuring.

Seek Out the Best Offer

The insurance market is a competitive one. In order to understand what deals are available, it is necessary to shop around. When doing so, however, consumers should beware of offers that sound too good to be true; they often are. Rather than being primarily price-oriented, smart shoppers will investigate the integrity of a car insurance company prior to paying for a six month policy.

It is good practice to make a note on the calendar about a month prior to an existing policy’s expiration date. This gives the consumer plenty of time to search out current offers and make an educated decision in their new policy.

Raising Deductible Lowers Premiums

If a policy feels right but is just a bit more expensive then the shopper is able to afford, it is often possible to adjust the deductible levels in order to better accommodate. Those shopping for insurance should understand that these levels can be adjusted to fit the individual, and they are encouraged to ask how these aspects can be modified.

Inquire About Discounts

In attempt to keep up with the competition, most insurance companies offer special discounts to both encourage new business as well as retain current customers. When shopping around, customers should always ask what kind of discounts they can take advantage of. For example, some companies will offer a lowered rate if homeowners insurance and car insurance are bundled into a single plan.

Make Payments in a Timely Fashion

In order to get the best possible rate far into the future, it is vital for consumers to maintain a good payment record. When the bill is regularly neglected, the company could put a red flag on that consumer that other companies have access to. This not only makes it difficult to get a cheap rate, but it can also cause the customer to be rejected when shopping. In the event that a payment must be late, giving the company notice is better than simply not paying.

Consider these tips from Kanetix as you try to shop for affordable car insurance.  Also be mindful to avoid circumstances that may cause your insurance rates to rise.  If you follow these rules, you’ll be sure to pay the absolute minimum price for your insurance premiums.


Arlene Nguyen is a freelance writer who writes about insurance issues.

For more information on how to save money on car insurance, visit the following websites:


Why it makes sense for me to buy a new car

It is time to replace my aging 2006 Chevy Equinox, as it quickly approaches 300K in mileage! 

I have done my research and narrowed it down to just two models (both are crossovers). And between these two, there is very little difference except for gas mileage. One of them has superior gas mileage, and with gas being so expensive these days, I will go for the model that saves me the most on gas; all other things being equal.

But there is one issue. The model I am eying is new. In fact, the only model available is 2013. So the only option is to buy brand new, as it is virtually impossible to buy used. Which means I am forced to pay some $1900 for freight and PDI.


Why it does makes sense to buy a new car in this case:

But it still makes sense to buy a new car in this case. Why? Having done my homework on this, this car will save me a lot in the long term.  And in my case, long term really is long term. On average, I like to own a car for at least 5 years or more. And with this being a new car, I plan to keep it for a lot longer, so potential for saving in the long term is real.


  • Gas

Compared to my current vehicle, the new car has a gas tank that is about 7 liters smaller. Which means every fill-up will save me about $9,  given today’s gas prices. But the real savings are in the actual performance of the car. To begin with, it is a 4 cylinder, newly-engineered engine that has already garnered so much attention and good feedback on its efficiency. Comparing the engine on this CUV to my current vehicle, I could save an estimated $15-20 per fill-up. At about 5 to 6 fill-ups a months, I could be looking at more than $110 in gas savings a month.

  • Insurance costs:

Having called my insurance broker about this new model already, I was shocked to find out that it will cost me about $25 less per month to insure this car, for the exact same coverage.

  • Maintenance Costs:

Due to the high mileage on my current car, I am forced to use ‘High Mileage’ grade when changing my oil, and this is about $10 more than regular oil. Besides that, due to the old age of the car, I have to do frequent maintenance on it, some of which cost in the hundreds. On average, this is close to $100 or more a month.

  • Resale value:

While it is true that new cars lose a big portion of their value, just shortly after driving them off the lot, the car I have in mind is of a very reputable manufacturer and will not lose much value even after many years of driving. This was a big part of my decision on which car to choose. Its residual value will remain high even years of driving it (assuming the mileage is not too high)

  • Peace of Mind:

With a new car, you get peace of mind knowing that you are covered, for years, should something goes wrong with the car. And as part of the warranty, you also get the courtesy of free road side assistance, something you may need in the future in an emergency.

  • Getting something out of the current car:

Given my current mileage, I am still able to get some decent offers from interested buyers for my current car. But once my mileage hits 300K or more, it will be very hard to get anything significant for it. So now would be just the right timing to sell it or trade it in.


Based on all of this, you can see my case for a new car. The savings alone from reduced insurance, gas and maintenance costs will add up to well over $200 a month, which in and of itself will pay for the monthly financing amount. And after the car has been paid off, I will continue to save more and more money, especially on gas!

Buying a new car may not make sense in most cases, but in a  rare case like this and after doing your homework and research, it may very well be.

A Simple and Effortless Method to save money off your gas fill-ups

If you are paying cash, don’t fill it up 100%, instead stop at 98% or 99%!

Let me explain why: If it is going to cost you $65 to fill up your car, you should stop at $64.75 or $64.90 etc.  Why? Assuming you are paying with cash, this will get you a few cents back. When you add it all up, it will mean hundreds of dollars in spare change in the long term. Deposit it in your piggy bank for a nice future return.

Think about it: $0.20, $0.35 or even $0.50 cents doesn’t give you much gas. In other words, the difference in gas between $64.75 and $65 -assuming a liter costs $1-is only 0.25 of a liter which is virtually nothing.

On the other hand, this spare change left-over can mean a lot in the long term for your savings.

If you have one fill-up (or even top-up) per week or so, you are looking at 50-60 per year.   If you spare a few cents for every one of these stops at the gas station, you are looking at well over $50-75 per year. And if you drive for a living, this could translate in close to $100 or more in spare change.  Not bad at all for little or no effort and no effect on your gas mileage.

Done alone, it may not mean much, but as we often preach, it all adds up, especially when done in conjunction with other money saving strategies. Remember, it is important to diversify your sources of savings and this is just one of many.

Book Review “75 Ways to Save Gas” by Jim Davidson

It seems like the higher gas prices go, the more efforts we exert to try and find ways to save money on it. We have to, unless we have infinite supply of money or our cars run on some futuristic solar energy source.

There are lots and lots of websites out there, offering different tips on how to save gas and make your car more fuel-efficient. You know them, ‘drive slower’, ‘don’t idle’, ‘use the AC sparingly’ and so on. But I am sure we have heard all of these and most of us are applying them. But is there anything else we can do to maximize our fuel savings and efficiency ever more?

There is, in the form of a book by Jim Davidson: 75 Ways to Save Gas.

Jim Davidson, a Canadian author, offers 75 tips and explains each one of them and how it can save you money on fuel. For example, we often hear that to save gas, you have to drive slower. But what it the reasoning behind it? Jim goes into details explaining this and the ideal speed at which to drive and which speeds at which-and beyond-do you waste the most gas. The more we know about how applying a specific tip helps save on gas, the easier it becomes to apply it and get the intended objective from it.

For each tip presented, the author gives a percentage of how much you will save from applying that method. For example, one of the tips offered is to use ‘synthetic (factory-made) oil.’ By doing this, you can save up to 10% on gas.

It is interesting that one of the tips presented is to ‘sell your car for a more fuel efficient one’ which we have written about here on Budget Sense recently.

Not everyone of the 75 tips may make sense or sound appealing to everyone. You may disagree with some of them, and by all means, you don’t have to apply all of them. But I can almost guarantee that if you read every tip in this book and apply the ones that make sense-or at least experiment with them-you will end up saving on gas.

These days, with gas hovering around $1.50 per liter in Canada, and some 4 dollars per gallon in the USA, any savings we can get is a good thing for our budgets.


-You can buy the book on or at your local book store.

Fuel Efficiency should be your top priority for your next car purchase

I don’t know when will people realize that oil is in an ever declining supply, and as a result, gas prices will only go up. So why do we have to wait for a hurricane, middle east unrest or other unforeseen events to make us realize that gas is too expensive and we just can’t afford it anymore?

It is time you did! I am telling you now, the general future trend for gas prices is to keep going up. Until a substitute becomes available and in mass production, but that day is at least a decade or more away.

Having said that, ‘fuel efficiency’ should be your top priority when making your next car purchase decision. In fact, I will go as a far as recommending that you replace your car with a more fuel efficient one, if your current one is breaking your budget.  In other words, you may need to act now.

Think about it. The difference between how much gas a car consumes compared to another could be in the hundreds of dollars monthly. If that is not enough incentive for you to look for a fuel efficient car, I don’t know what is?

Once you have made up your mind that you need to get or replace your car with a more fuel efficient one, it is time to do a thorough research on what is available. Settle on three cars and then compare their fuel efficiency as well as other features. For each car, try to find at least three drivers that drive the same car and ask them about fuel efficiency and take an average. Or you can use a community website like to get more input from hundreds of drivers about a specific car fuel efficiency.

Just before you make your purchase, be sure to check your insurance rate for the new car. You don’t want to find out after you bought the car that you will be paying a lot more on the new car, which could make your saving on fuel pointless.

If you can afford them, and if you plan to keep the car for years and make good use of it, then consider a diesel or even a hybrid option.

Enough worrying about how many cup holders your future car holds or how shiny the rims look. While it doesn’t hurt to have these options, they should take a back seat to that of how fuel efficient your new car will be.

This iPhone Application has Saved me Hundreds of Dollars!

This is arguably the one ‘money saving’ activity that takes the least amount of time and effort. Literally one second! that is the time it takes me to check the ‘FGPnow!’ app on my iPhone to see where gas prices are heading for the next day.

If you are constantly wondering or asking questions like “where are gas prices heading tomorrow?” , “How do I know if I should fill up today or wait till tomorrow” then, well, there is an app for that!

FGPNow -which stands for ‘Future Gas Prices Now- is available for the iPhone, as well as a new versions for the Blackberry. The application’s usefulness is in the ability to access it from your mobile phone, thus having virtual access to gas prices at all times.  This way, you can make the most informed decision you can have as to whether you should fill up or wait.

The forecasting is very accurate and reliable, so you can base your gas purchasing decision on this very app. I have been using it for over a year now and I can confidently say it has saved me hundreds of dollars.  It may save you a dollar or two per fill-up or so, but remember, every bit helps and adds up.

If the application is predicting gas prices to go up, I may choose to fill up that same day before it goes up. And vise versa when the prediction is for the rate to go down. The application doesn’t just tell you the direction, it also tells you the exact amount the price is changing by. So if you really need to buy gas, and the application is predicting the price to go down by a mere 0.2 of a cent, then it is not really worth waiting.

While the original version covered only three Canadian cities, the newer version has many more cities, including: Calgary, Kamloops, Kitchener, Montreal, Ottawa, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo and Winnipeg.

The application also gives price forecasting for diesel as well, but only for select cities.

One feature I would like to see added is the ability to set ‘alerts’ of prices changes. For example, you can create an alert to be notified, through your phone or an email, as soon as the price for tomorrow becomes available. This should save you even more time.

Visit to download for your iPhone or Blackberry

How to Properly Absorb the Current High Gas Prices Shock?

The current uprisings in the Middle East, the latest and most dangerous of which is now raging in Libya, has made gas prices shoot up by some 7 cents per liter, in less than a few days. That is an extra $5 or so for every fill-up.  For some, this may still not be a life changing increase, but for others, it already is. It is making them drive less, spend less on other things to afford gas, and making other changes to their lifestyle.

With the future being uncertain, and not knowing when gas prices can go down again, what can you do about it? Here are some strategies, in addition to all the common ones, to cope with current high gas prices:

-Don’t fill up, just top up: With things changing everyday, so will gas prices. In general, they have been going up for the most part, although they could go down as well. In fact, with things moving so fast, and one regime falling after another, gas prices do go down once a stubborn regime or leader eventually falls.  When the Egypt uprising started, gas prices went up, and as the president fell from power, gas prices came down. But once the Libyan uprising started (a much bigger exporter of oil) , gas prices spiked back up, and very sharply. But you can bet that once the regime falls, prices should come down.

-Check gas price forecasting websites: if possible, and unless you need to fill your car immediately, make it a habit to check the various gas prices forecasting websites, to see where prices are heading.  I have been doing this for years now, way before the current Middle East uprisings, and has saved me hundreds every year. Simply check to see if the price will go up or down the next day. Depending on the direction it is heading, that is how you will make your decision as to when you should buy gas.  Check GasBuddy or Tomorrows Gas Price Today for gas price directions.

-Make use of your ‘sick’ or ‘off days’: it may sound crazy, but if you have long commutes, take a day off to stay home, relax or get things done. Again, if you have a long commute, and given the high price of gas these days, you will actually gain from this. Of course, this is assuming that you are a salaried employee and do have paid vacation or sick days. In other words, if you are going to take them anyway, why not take some of them now?

-Put off unnecessary long trips for now: as we mentioned, these uprisings are temporary, and gas prices should come down eventually, so try to reschedule any trips that involve driving for long distances and wasting lots of money on gas.

-Share a ride or take the bus: if you haven’t shared a ride or been on a bus in a long time, or ever, it may be time to do it now. It will save you money on gas, and is a chance to try something new. Find out who in your company lives close and coordinate with them to drive each other to work, and alternate every other day or week.

-Ditch loyalty in favor of a cheaper price: if you are used to going to a specific gas station to get their loyalty reward program points (i.e Airmiles), you may put that off for now and look for the station with the cheaper price. Where I live, there is a gas station that has no loyalty program, but the price is always about 3 cents cheaper than other more well-known stations with loyalty point programs. At 3 cents, you are looking at some 2 to 3 dollar per fill-up. And as per our ‘5 principles of Financial and Budgeting Success‘ , every bit helps, right?

With gas being a very significant item in your budget, it is important to stick to the amount you have allocated for it and not exceed it, even if gas prices have gone up sharply. By following some of the tips we have outlined above and careful planning, you will avoid any major hit from these spikes.

Gas Budgeting could Save you lots of Money

When creating your budget, and assuming you have a car, one important item is your gas spending. With gas prices always on the rise-with the rare exceptions here and there-it is important to have a good idea of how much money you need to allocate to filling your car.

Fixed or Flexible amount?

Should you allocate a fixed amount in your budget for gas or should it change, after all, our driving may change depending on the day and week etc. Personally speaking, I have set a fixed amount but you may want to do it differently. You can experiment with both until you have a good idea of how much you need per cycle (cycle is how often you get paid or how you have planned your budget) The good thing about a fixed amount is that you force yourself to drive within that limit and not waste money on any unnecessary trips. Conversely, when your budget cycle is over, you may find that you have leftover from your gas money which you can roll-over to your next budget cycle or simply move them to your savings.

Given the reality of our world today, gas prices will only go up, so it is important to be well-aware of how much you are spending on it. In fact, gas could be that one item which is sucking most of your money and leading you to ask “where did all my money go?” By budgeting for it, gas price fluctuations will not impact you a lot, and you will be ready for any price shocks.

I have been allocating a certain fixed amount (revised every few months) on my budget for gas purchases and I can confidently say that it has made a huge difference. In addition to saving me lots of money, it has helped my budget overall. If I don’t allocate a fixed amount for gas – enough to drive for work and pleasure – it means that I am spending blindly and end up spending more than I should, which will impact other items in my budget.

Of course, you will have cycles or weeks where the allocated money is just not enough. What do you do then? Do you stop driving? In situations like these, and I have experienced them myself, you have to use another item in your budget to draw money from to allocate to buying gas. This could be from your ‘Personal Spending’ , ‘Emergency’, or maybe another flexible category you have which could have excess money for that week.

Even if you have set a fixed amount on your budget for gas, you can still save even more money. In other words, you don’t have to spend every penny allocated to gas. You will go through some cycles where you end up with leftover, which is always nice. To achieve this, you will have to do a bunch of things, including less driving, smarter and more efficient trips, taking public transit when possible, combine multiple trips into one and so on. And of course, there are other things you can do to your car to ensure better fuel mileage. Click here for some tips.