Sunday, December 16, 2012

How To Save Money

There are so many ways to reduce your energy costs. Get new windows, seal your old windows, seal your doors, get a new high-efficiency furnace, use central air conditioning instead of the window units which use way more energy, ceiling fans are great for keeping rooms cool, use your dishwasher and washing machine during off-peak hours, buy those new fluorescent twisty light bulbs (and turn off lights in rooms you're not using... unless you have teenagers, who have no clue), and plant trees to keep the sunlight from your house. All of these will sharply reduce your energy use.
The most important thing you can do for your car is to change the oil every 5000km (3000miles). As you drive, your oil becomes thinner, resulting in less lubrication for your engine's parts. By doing this on a regular basis, you will add years to your cars life (and oil changes are cheap). Follow the owner's manual for regular maintenance, and follow their recommendations. Check your tire pressure every 2 weeks, because if they are low your gas mileage will be reduced. Wash the salt off your car to help keep the body and paint in good shape.
Buy winter tires when the temperature get's below 7 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit), this will improve gas mileage, and reduce accidents because you will have more control. You will also get double the life out of your tires. Don't take off from a standstill fast, nice and easy does it. This will also improve gas mileage. Anticipate what's ahead so you don't have to slam on the brakes, reducing their life. Don't let your car idle in parking lots for longer then a few minutes. Bad for gas usage, bad for the environment. Finally, use the grade of gas recommended for your car. If your car requires premium gas and you use regular to save money, your engine has to compensate and will wear out faster, costing you more in the long run.
Credit cards are one of the worst things to ever happen to us, financially speaking. We were watching that TV show "Debt Do Us Part" where this couple used like 20 credit cards every month to pay off the other credit cards. They are $80,000 in debt, and the host of the show pointed out that at the rate they were going they would amass $500,000 in debt within 5 years. Credit cards are a lot of fun to use, not so much to pay back. I don't know how many people I speak with who only make the minimum payment, ensuring they will never, ever pay off the debt. Scary. They're great for the banks, they hope all of us act this way. It's gotten so bad, they sent our son a credit card while he was in university, with no way to pay it back. Guess who had to pay? They're legal loan sharks. So, only use your credit card for emergencies, or if you collect points, be sure to never carry a balance, that way you will never get behind, and you won't have to pay any interest. All credit cards have a 21-30 day grace period before the interest kicks in, except on cash advances, which start charging interest from day 1. Also, you can set up a pre-authorized payment plan with your bank to be sure you're never late with your payment. Late fees add up quickly, and they damage your credit rating. If you have a $1500 balance on your card, paying one day late will cost you $23.75 at 19%. this will compound over the year, and add up fast.

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