Sunoco’s APlus Rewards Card & Your Budget

With gas prices over $3 per gallon in many places across the US, and considering many Americans rely on gasoline in their monthly budget the Sunoco APlus Reward Card program can help save some money. The card is of course free, and when you make qualifying purchases in the store you save at the pump.

The Smart Way to Save

The trick to saving though, is to only buy the things you would normally buy at Sunoco for the convenience or if they happen to have better prices considering what you save. For example, I grab a drink or two during the day at a local gas station during the work day, and there’s a Sunoco about the same distance away. If their qualifying APlus purchases include things I’ll buy anyway, then I can save some money. But if I simply go to the store and buy products to get a lower price at the pump then you may be losing money instead of saving. Continue reading “Sunoco’s APlus Rewards Card & Your Budget”

Idling Wastes Money

The Daily Green and LifeHacker both recently posted articles exposing myths about idling your car when you first start it up.

Here are some key points from these articles/posts:

  • it costs less money to turn your car off and restart it if you will be idling for more than about ten seconds (errands, pre-heating during winter)
  • if you want heat up your car quicker during the winter, after you have cleared your windshields etc, let the car idle for about a minute then get in and drive. Your car heats up faster while driving than while idling
  • idling puts the car in this gas-rich mode which can waste upwards of 20 gallons of gas per year (about $61.00/ year locally)
  • block heaters (about $20) save money compared to remote starters
  • big cities will start enforcing idling restrictions, best get yourself prepared. A 2009 New York report stated “31 states and dozens of municipalities have enacted anti-idling laws” [PDF on EDF.org]
  • idling can reduce fuel efficiency

MORE INFO

8 Facts and Myths About Warming Up Your Car in Winter [The Daily Green]
Idling Your Car to Warm It Up Wastes Gas and Decreases Performance Over Time [LifeHacker]

Saving Money Inside Your Budget

I wanted to post something today (one of the reasons I blog is because I enjoy it) and I decided on the subject of saving money to stay in your budget.

Spend Money Wisely, A Frame of Mind

One way to increase your budget without extra money is to spend it in a smarter way, but like your diet approaching it as a lifestyle and not a fad will help you to be more successful. Let’s say you get that promotion and you are looking forward to a bigger house, or some cool car… or however you envision spending your new extra money. STOP RIGHT THERE. First off, don’t think of your raise as extra money, think of it as extra financial security. Maybe you can afford to go to that expensive restaurant you’ve always wanted to visit. Instead of eating there each and every week now, just because you can, resist the urge! Sure you can go there, but “save money” by not doing it often. That new care or house? Try to “save money” by spending less than you can.

See? Its a lifestyle, a mindset. You are going to want to spend your new found raise, increase your budget across the board, and have better stuff… but now is the time you can really save more than before, have everything you really need, and some of that other stuff you want. Its important to prioritize, and still save up for some purchases. You really don’t need to have a raise to think this way, you are basically separating what you need from what you want. Societal pressure to have great stuff, and poor self-control will tempt you to buy all that stuff that you want simply because you can. But, you can stretch your budgeting dollars further by getting those things you need first (food, utility payments, vehicle repairs, etc) and wait for those things you want (a new car, new house, expensive dining, going out often to dinner and movies, that cool dishwasher with 95 features you “need”).

Take a step back, take a breath, sit down, and write out a list of what you need and what you want. Then review the list to make sure things haven’t made their way into the wrong side of the list. Then choose one thing you want (like maybe that dishwasher with 95 cool features) and budget the purchase. Maybe you can save up for it during the next 6 to 12 months, then either buy one used or buy a newer model with 96 cool features that wasn’t available when you started saving. If you do this, your sure to have more success with your budget.

MORE SAVING MONEY

10 Money Saving Tips
Save Money For Your Future Self

Long Term Savings, Shorter Term Weight Loss

Budget For Your Finances and Your Weight

Looking at ways to trim the budget and trim your waist line? Consider eating smaller lunches. For example, on this blog you may have noticed I eat fast food often. I’ve slimmed that down some but here are some conservative estimates on savings I could have, that you could have, by buying smaller portions.

Taco Bell has $2 meal deals (plus tax) with a food item (like a Gordita, or a 5 Layer burrito, etc), a bag of doritos and a small drink. The meal I normally get is $5.79 + tax, so let’s look at some quick numbers here -estimated cost per year for both meals and the savings by eating the smaller meal.

Budgeting for Wallet and Waist

My “Regular” Meal @ 5.79/meal = $579.00/year*
$2 Meals @ 2.00/meal = $200.00/year*
SAVINGS = $379.00 per year

$avings = $379/year + untold calories – what could YOU do with almost $400?? So, this approach would benefit your wallet and your waist. Most fast-food places have value menus, and if yours doesn’t you should consider looking around. Even making a $3 lunch instead of your regular fast food meal from as is available at most fast-food places would help in your finances and your weight.

Also keep in mind you may see the savings on your waist before you see it in your finances. Sock that extra money away for something, or use it somewhere else in your budget if finances are tough!

* estimate uses 50 weeks of work per year, and 2 Taco Bell meals per week (much less than I used to), estimates don’t include tax