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Budget Now, Travel Later

Have you heard? Economists and other various “experts” are predicting summer gas prices to reach or exceed $5.00 per gallon. It’s almost starting to sound cliche as each time we approach vacation and road travel season, we hear about astronomical gas price potentials. Whether this happens or not, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and save, especially if you are planning on traveling this summer.  We’ve put together a list of budget considerations and some thrifty ways some families are saving money while hitting the road.

Pre-Travel Budget Considerations

  1. tips to save money traveling 2012 high gas pricesAlways check your tires, proper air pressure, tread, and need for rotation are essential. Not only will this help you get the most efficient gas mileage, you’re more likely to arrive safely and without headaches along the way.
  2. Choose your most gas efficient vehicle that will also accommodate your family. If you are squished in and can’t move for 3 days, it may not be worth the savings. Instead, see if you can borrow or barter with a friend or grandparent for their vehicle. Can you house sit while they are on vacation, mow lawn or look after pets in exchange?
  3. Make sure your chosen vehicle has a a fresh oil change and tune-up before the long drive. You want to avoid towing charges or exorbitant repair expenses (and unbudgeted hotel stays, etc)  if you can anticipate any issues. [Read more…]

Rising Gas Prices: What Does It Mean For Your Family This Summer?

saving money on gasDo you think gas prices will get as high as some people are predicting? I’ve heard as high as $4.00 a gallon, and unfortunately gas prices don’t have to climb much higher to get there. For many families, high gas prices mean re-evaluating summer plans. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to figure the rising price of gas into your vacation budget or simply plan stay close to home this summer, here are a few tips to saving money on gas.

Gas and Money Saving Tips for this Summer

Tip #1: Being organized means saving money. The more planning you can do a head of time, the less gas you will use. Strategize your errands. Map out your routes. Make a list so you don’t arrive home and realize you forgot to buy milk. More trips equals more wasted gas money. For tips on how to save money by being more organized, visit mom blogger, TidyTightwads

Tip #2: Car pool when possible. If you’ve never done this, it can be very simple. Take turns with friends and neighbors transporting kids to vacation bible school, swimming lessons, and summer camp. The less vehicles used means less gas money spent.

Tip #3: Take advantage of public transit. Check into prices of riding the bus or train if you have them available. Many non-metro cities also have city transit vans available for everyone to use.

save money on gasTip #4: Bike and walk more. There are many safe street programs that are adding more bike and pedestrian trails, paths, and marked areas of streets for people to use. Buy or borrow a bike trailer to transport younger kids or groceries. The rise in people biking or walking to their destinations is up considerably. There are even nationally and state organized “bike to school” and bike to work” days! Plus, the exercise is good for all of us.

Tip #5: Plan closer to home destinations. It’s great to shop local when you can anyway, and the money you will save on gas will probably be more than any savings at a store two hours away! Think of the benefits to your local economy! For many people, “closer to home” destinations may include staying in-state for vacations, get-aways, and shopping trips. Your own state has wonderful events and vacation destinations; check with your local visitors bureau for free information. For great Minnesota, Midwest, and family travel ideas, visit Travels with Children.

Tip #6: Organize your own “Staycations”, a popular term given to money conscious families looking to enjoy a peaceful vacation without spending too much money. Plan to stay home or take advantage of your areas parks, swimming pools, lakes, and area attractions as you plan your “Staycation”. Invite friends over for a BBQ or go fishing, but the point of a “Staycation” is to relax. Don’t plan home improvement projects during this time. For more Staycation ideas, visit

saving money on rising fuel costsTip #7: Get involved in local activities that are fun, but close to home. If you can join a softball team close enough to walk, great! If the kids can bike to the pool or park, fantastic! Your local community education brochure is packed full of low-cost, local activities for all ages and interests.

Tip #8: Don’t leave the car running. When the warm air arrives, it is tempting to leave your vehicle running so you can have the air on. With gas prices high, get used to rolling down the windows and wearing cooler clothes.

Tip#10: Above all, check your tires! Make sure your tires are properly inflated so you don’t waste gas. Your vehicle will drive more efficiently with quality tires with proper inflation. While you have the air compressor out, pump up those bike tires, basketballs, and inflatable swimming pools. To read more about checking your tires, read past blog post, “Family Road Trips Begin with a Trip to the Tire Zoo”

Do you have a great money saving or gas saving tip you’d like to share? Please tell us!