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Save on the cost of errands

By Paula Pant · Bankrate.com
Monday, March 18, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

As gas prices reach $4 per gallon -- and beyond -- in some parts of the nation, the cost of running errands is growing. Here are some ways you can save money on the cost of doing normal errands and chores.

Bundle errands together

It's tempting to split errands apart. You would rather go to the grocery store on Monday night after work, hit Target on Tuesday and swing by the dry cleaners on Thursday.

But if many of the stores you visit are located in the same vicinity, save money on gasoline by "bundling" those errands together.

Shop hours that are not busy

If your schedule is flexible, run errands when stores and other businesses are less busy.

You will spend less time idling in traffic or looking for a parking spot. That will increase your fuel efficiency. Most likely, you also will finish your errands faster.

Buy online

Plenty of products are cheaper online than they are in the store. Many merchants also offer free shipping on select merchandise to customers who spend above a minimum threshold.

Of course, you also will save gasoline. Why waste time and money climbing into the car if a postal worker can deliver things to your door at lower prices?

Ride a bike

If you live in a densely populated area, ride a bicycle to the store. You can attach panniers to the sides of your bike, which can be used for storing groceries and other goodies. You can also pull a trailer along the back.

You will save on gas and get some exercise at the same time.

Carpool with friends

Want to make running errands more fun while also saving money? Bring a friend.

If you know that one of your pals shops at the same stores you do, make a regular weekly or monthly date to shop together. Take turns driving. You will shave off half the cost of running errands, and have a lot more fun.

Inflate your tires

According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency blog, underinflated tires on passenger vehicles "lower your fuel efficiency and ultimately cost you more money at the pump."

Make a habit of checking your tire pressure regularly, such as every time you pump gas.

Paula Pant blogs at AffordAnything.com about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental units and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything.

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