The fourth article in a weekly series on budgeting.
Last week we talked about ways to save money and lower the bills on essentials. We specifically covered Electricity and Auto Insurance. We are going to continue discussing how to save money on the essentials.
Water. The human body is 75% water, so it’s no small wonder that we use as much as we do. However, we also tend to waste water. Some landlords have you pay your water bill with rent, which can affect how much you pay them each month. To lower the cost of a water bill, there are a few simple ways to save water. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, or while you lather your hands with soap. Taking a 5 min shower uses less water than a bath. Also, if you do all your dishes by hand (and have a split sink), try filling one side of your sink with soapy water, and only turning on the faucet when you’re rinsing instead of letting the water run.
How much you pay at the pump can also be a big ouch factor on your budget. While public transit is often cheaper than going alone, there are also times that this is not true. A good way to gauge which is cheaper is by zeroing out your odometer (some people call it a trip meter) when you fill up. Then, the next time you fill up, write down the number of miles you traveled before filling up. Divide the price paid by the number of miles traveled, and you will have how much you are paying per mile. If this is less than what you are paying for public transit, then you’re better off driving. If it is more than public transit and you are currently driving, it’s time to start taking the bus to work. There are other tricks for saving at the pump as well. Do not fill up during the heat of the day. The pump meters how much it puts through the hose, but it also siphons vapors back into the tank. When the ground is hot, more vapors than liquid are being pumped through, and subsequently siphoned back into the underground tank, so you end up paying more. Do not top off, meaning don’t restart the pump after it has shut off. Topping off can over-fill your tank which can be a fire hazard. Try to fill up before you’re empty. The last quarter of a tank always goes faster than the rest because there is more room for vapors in the tank. Filling up before then can mean longer times between stops and ultimately saves you money. Making sure your tires are properly aired and doing regular maintenance such as oil changes and changing your air filter can increase your gas mileage, also saving you money at the pump.
Published in: Personal Finance