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Trim the fat: 5 ways you can save money with your car

Whether your goal is to earn some extra money or to keep your money in the bank, a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle can help you (and your car) enjoy a more profitable life.

Making money is saving money.

You know that old chestnut about a penny saved? Well, it’s true. Thankfully, these days you can use apps like Roadie, Lyft, Postmates, Uber, Grub Hub, Via, Door Dash and so many more to earn money while you drive. I recently saw a car with three of the aforementioned brand logos attached to the windshield. When one service isn’t working well, this driver can simply shift to another one — and so can you.

As long as you have a car with insurance in your name, you can use it to pay for itself, which saves you money. Sometimes you don’t even need to own a car. Some of these platforms will let you use a rental car to fulfill your side hustle duties.

Pump your own gas.

Yes, getting full service at the gas station is convenient, but it costs more. Self-serve gas is cheaper than full serve. Perhaps not enough to notice at a glance, but if you avoid full-service gas stations all the time, your pocket will eventually feel the difference. This tactic will work just about anywhere if you’re willing to invest a little time and effort into finding the best gas price. Anywhere except New Jersey and Oregon, that is, where pumping your own gas is illegal.

Get your money back.

Some gas stations offer a reward card or a reward program through a Smartphone app. Just like frequent flyer miles on an airline, your loyalty can add up to big dividends down the line. Even if your chosen gas station doesn’t have a card, there are plenty of cash back reward credit cards that you can use.

Get some return on your expenditures. People often pass up these deals because they think the kickback is too small — but something is always better than nothing.

Get a hybrid car and drive it properly.

The rumors are true. It’s completely possible to own a hybrid car and have it make absolutely no difference in your gas consumption. The trick is, you have to work at it. In layman’s terms, the shiny, new hybrid in your garage is equipped with both a gas and an electric engine. As such, it will try to save you some gas, but if you don’t pay attention — read: keep your pedal off the metal — it won’t make much of a difference.

You have to keep your hybrid moving in the sweet spot if you want the gas saving to be measurable. For example, if you’re driving aggressively in a hybrid SUV, your gas mileage will probably end up in the 20s, at best. If, however, you pay attention to your speed and suppress your desire to prevent people from passing you, you can get back home with an MPG number in the 30s.

Avoid moving violations.

It’s self-explanatory but it bears emphasis. You can get a ticket for anything from simply holding an inactive cell phone in your hand to parking too close to a fire hydrant. The list of infractions is long. It may not seem like a big deal to get nabbed for an illegal turn or exceeding the speed limit by a few miles per hour, but each infraction will add “points” to your driver’s license. If you accumulate too many points, your license can actually be suspended. Not to mention that it’ll cost you money to pay for the fine. If you want to keep your money (and your driver’s license) safely in your pocket, drive safely.

There are plenty of ways to trim the financial fat with your car. This list will get you moving in the right direction.