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Friday, October 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - The gas guzzler

While we had all eight of our kids at home, we drove a great, big Dodge 350 15 passenger van.  That thing was enormous!  We could haul our kids, some of their friends, everyone's gear and still be comfortable.  We hauled a piano, a bathtub, various appliances, lumber, goats, hay, tons of name it, we could haul it.  Unfortunately, it only got 10-14 miles per gallon, with its 35 gallon tank.  When the kids started leaving the nest, we replaced the behemoth with a cute, little minivan and then a fuel efficient Nissan sedan.

With fuel prices so high, we need to do everything we can to keep costs down.  Whether you need a 15 passenger van or a little sedan, there are things that can lessen the impact on your budget.

Too bad...not an option  :)
1. Buy what you can afford.  If you can only afford a used car, buy the best you can find within your price range.  Be realistic.
2. Maintain that car!  Especially if it's used, you want to get all the miles out of it as you can.  Regular oil changes, tire rotation, and tuneups will prolong its life.
3. Combine trips whenever possible.  We had a town day once a week (we lived 20 miles from the nearest town when we had the Dodge) where we combined doctors appointments, shopping and fun activities, like meeting Daddy for lunch!
4. Don't be so quick to trade in a car.  If yours is still functional and dependable, use it a little longer.  However, if you no longer need a huge van, replacing it with something more fuel efficient might be worth it.
5. Drive carefully.  Getting a speeding ticket or having an accident is usually avoidable and costly.

For most of us, having a car is a necessity.  Sometimes, having two cars is a necessity.  Whatever your situation,  a car is a big expenditure but you do have some control over how much it impacts your budget.

I still miss my Dodge van  :)


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