We’ll be doing some traveling over the next couple of weeks, and that can be a huge expense if we’re not careful. One stop at the gas station’s convenience store can empty our wallets of $10 before we know it. Here are a few tips for keeping the cost of those road trips manageable.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’m famous for scrambling around the house the night before we leave, searching for the things that I just knew we had! I always end up finding at least a couple of things that we really don’t have, usually resulting in a late-night Walmart run for my hubby. That’s not a good way to start a fun family trip.
Instead of replaying my scenario, you could save yourself a headache or two by taking a quick inventory of what you really do have. Need sippy cups and Pull-Ups for the little ones? Or maybe a prescription that you’re almost out of? Making a list of the basics you’ll need for a trip means that you’ll have some time to gather those things ahead of time.
Raid Your Snack Stash
If you’ve been couponing for a while, you may have a nice stockpile of snack foods built up. Why not grab some of those items (instead of the single-serve equivalents at the convenience store) and pack a bag of snacks for the whole family. Odds are good that this will not only save you money but also result in healthier snacks while you’re on the road.
Think Bigger… Think Meals
If you’re taking a longer road trip, peanut butter and jelly may not be all that appetizing for multiple meals. But if your trip spans just one meal, you might be able to pack your own and avoid the drive-through. Peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, or pita sandwiches can easily be packed into a small cooler or lunchbox along with some fruit and veggies. It’s easier on your wallet and your health.
Don’t Forget the Drinks
We tend to caffeinate when we’re traveling, and that means stopping for a Mt. Dew from time to time. At a convenience store, we could pay close to $2 for a 20-ounce bottle. For just a little bit more, I can usually get a 6-pack of bottles that can be put into a cooler in the back of our van.
The first time we tried the bring-your-own-drinks route, I grabbed cans instead of bottles. I figured they were cheaper, and it’s what we already had at home. What I forgot was the fact that the cup holders in the vehicle we were driving at the time weren’t the greatest. It’s just nicer (for flavor and spill avoidance) to have something you can cap… soda, water, or juice.
Baby Your Ride
While we’ve talked about snacks and drinks, we can’t forget about saving money on gas. We’re always on the lookout for the cheapest gas prices when we travel. In fact, there are apps and GPS functions that will help you find the best price wherever you are. But even simple things like getting that oil change you’ve been putting off (yes, I’m reminding myself here!) or checking your tire pressure can add miles to each gallon of gas you use. Checking the coolant and other fluids keep your ride running smoothly and your gas mileage in check.
Plan for Extra
If you’re traveling to (or through) an area that tends to get hit with lots of wintry weather, it can also be helpful to over-pack. If you take along an extra day’s worth of clothes, prescriptions, diapers, and toiletries, you’re less likely to have to make an emergency purchase if you’re stranded away from home for an extra night.
Have any more tips that will help us all save money on our holiday road trips? Feel free to share them in the comments section.
This post is linked to:
:: Works for Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family
:: Frugal Friday hosted by Life As MOM
:: Thrifty Thursday hosted by Coupon Teacher