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Feeling Like You Can’t Get Started?

January 18, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Sometimes we have projects or tasks ahead of us that we perceive to be overwhelming. Maybe we know it’s going to take a zillion hours to complete, and we fear once we do that, nothing else is going to get accomplished. Perhaps we don’t know where to even begin? Maybe it’s something that we really don’t like doing, but we know it has to get done regardless.

These are the types of projects people end up procrastinating on, and often get stressed that these projects are constantly hanging over their heads.

Anytime I have a project or task ahead of me, no matter how big or vague it is, I start by breaking it down into tiny baby steps.

For instance, if I had to organize a garage, I would begin by visualizing what I’d like the garage to look like. Then, I’d write down some of my ideas. Then, I’d get a set of index cards and start coming up with ‘zones’ (garden zone, sporting equipment zone, car care zone, kids toy zone, etc.

Then I would stick each card to where I would like those zones to be–even if I decide to change those zones later, that’s OK. It’s just a preliminary plan. Then, I’d be sure to have some trash bags or boxes on hand.

Then I’d start clearing out one corner–the sporting goods corner for example. Once that’s done, I would move all sporting goods to that corner. I’d do this for all other zones, and then begin thinking about proper storage for these areas.

You get the point. Each sentence I mentioned above is one tiny step of the process. You could go about your organizing efforts, one sentence at a time each day.

Break your big projects down to the lowest point and then just focus on that one tiny point each day. Once that task is done, you can move onto another, or take a break and do more the next day.

Using this system, before you know it, all of your projects will begin getting started…and completed.

Trying to Stay Organized, When You’re Not Feeling Well

January 16, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

It’s not fun when you’re not feeling well, and staying organized when you’re under the weather can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you be productive, while also taking care of yourself.

1) Sandwich rest time and task time.

It’s very important to get a good night’s sleep AND some naps throughout the day when you’re feeling blah.

If you’re dealing with a nasty cold or another issue that’s not too severe, you can use the ‘sleep a little/ work a little’ philosophy.’

No, you won’t be able to complete everything on your To Do list, but you will get some stuff done. Easy tasks like reading and responding to email, writing out some bill payments, catching on on your reading, or writing thank you notes are all easy tasks that don’t require a whole lot of energy or effort.

If you’re really sick, like with the flu, skip your To Do list altogether and sleep as much as possible. Don’t worry, your To Do list will still be there tomorrow.

 2) Delegate when you can.

It’s important to realize that when you’re not feeling well, delegation is key.

Perhaps your co-workers can help you out with some of your tasks or projects?

Perhaps your family can take on some extra cleaning chores? It’s not too difficult to toss clothes in the washer, or fold clothes out of the dryer.

Just because you always cook at home, doesn’t mean your significant other (or older children) can’t help out with this task.

Easy meal choices like salads, sandwiches, or an easy casserole recipe that you know of in your recipe box can be whipped up by others who live in your house.

If the thought of your spouse and kids in the kitchen freaks you out, they can always get pizza delivery.

Live alone? Get a local restaurant to deliver something to you, or ask a friend to pick up some prepared soup or other meal at the supermarket. Reciprocate when your friend is not feeling well.

3) The Little Things Matter.

Sometimes, the little things can make you feel much better in a jiffy.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m sitting in a dark, drab room, it’s going to take me a whole lot longer to recover. Open your window shades and let the sunshine in. If it’s not freezing outside, crack open the windows and let in some fresh air.

Keep some cinnamon apple cider packets in your house at all times. When you’re not feeling well, this may be the perfect anecdote to boosting your spirits.

Wear something that makes you feel cozy, but not sloppy. Ladies, put on some cosmetics, specifically lipstick! If you look sick, it’s difficult not to feel sick.

Avoid unhealthy foods. Instead, eat foods that are filled with vitamins–fruit, salad, vegetable soup…and drink lots of water.

Watch a comedy on TV or read a funny book. Very often, laughter is the best medicine.

Just doing some of these simple acts can entice you to get through some items on your To Do list.

Stop by Get Organized Now – and check out the amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

Winter Tire Tips

January 09, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Winter is hear and with that comes unpredictible weather.  If you regularly encounter ice, unplowed snow, or slush, then you’re going to need to prepare your car or truck accordingly. 
 
Here are some treat winter tire tips that will help to keep you and your loved ones safe while on the road.
 
 
(ARA) – As the weather outside gets frightful, now is a good time to make sure your vehicle’s tires are prepared for snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Sixty-three percent of Americans are concerned about skidding and icy roadways as the thermometer’s mercury drops, according to a recent survey commissioned by Hankook Tire America Corp. To ensure safety and peace of mind as you venture out on a snowy day, here are some tire tips to consider:

* Buy your loved one a set of winter tires:  The Hankook Tire Winter Gauge Index revealed that 84 percent of Americans would not mind receiving tires as a gift and 35 percent would actually love it. In these tough economic times a brand new car may not be in your budget; however a set of tires can be a more affordable way to upgrade your current car and keep your loved ones safe on the road.

* Plan accordingly when putting winter tires on:  Winter tires, such as the Winter i*cept evo are optimized specifically for icy and snowy conditions, providing enhanced traction to prevent skidding. Put snow tires on your car one to two weeks before the first anticipated snowstorm of the season. Also check your tire tread before the first storm. Worn tread is the No. 1 cause of skidding. If the tread is low, consider replacing your tires with a winter tire.

* Check your tire pressure:  Every 10 degree drop in air temperature can actually cause a vehicle’s tires to drop up to 2 pounds per square inch (psi) in tire pressure. Improper tire pressure can result in increased tread wear and lowered performance, factors that are highly detrimental to one’s safety in undesirable weather conditions.

* Have a kit handy:  Because winter weather is unpredictable, it’s important to be prepared. Always keep in your car a winter driving kit consisting of a spare tire, ice scraper, snow  shovel and brush, booster cables, a flash light and a blanket.

* Check your tire carrying capacity and speed rating:  One of the most important winter tire tips is to never overload your vehicle. Check the tire load carrying capacity indicated on the tire or owner’s manual for the maximum recommended load. Also, when replacing tires, the speed rating of the replacement tires must be equal to or greater than that of the tire being replaced to maintain the speed capability.

It is vitally important to take appropriate steps to ensure your vehicle is properly prepared as we head into the coming months that bring snow and blustery conditions. Make it part of your routine to check tire pressure and tread wear, and keep yourself educated on ways to protect yourself, your friends, and your family.

By using the winter tire tips noted above, you and your loved ones will be better prepare for what the weather may hold.
 

Tips to Prevent Cold and Flu

January 02, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

If you are anything like me, you are always looking for tips to prevent cold and flu germs!  Keeping yourself andyour family health can be a tall order in the fall and winter seasons.
 
(ARA) – Each year, millions of people suffer from a cold or flu and this year is likely to be no different. Between 15 and 61 million people in the United States will get the flu this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
Temperature taking is a key indicator of flu patterns and should be taken seriously, says Mary Pappas, the New York area school nurse credited with first alerting officials about the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. “The flu usually comes with a fever while the common cold does not, so taking your temperature is the easiest way to tell the difference,” she says. A high or prolonged fever can be an indicator of when to seek medical attention, so it’s important to monitor your temperature on an ongoing basis when you are sick.

Pappas has been taking temperatures for nearly 30 years and, as a school nurse, takes as many as 50 per day. But whether it’s one temperature or 100, she maintains that the most important consideration is that it be accurate. While there are many types of thermometers available, Pappas favors the Exergen TemporalScanner because of its proven accuracy and ease-of-use; all it requires is a simple swipe across the forehead.

“Whether it’s a student at my school or a parent at home, I know taking a temperature can be a challenge, especially with young children who may be uncomfortable and fussy,” says Pappas. “What I love about the TemporalScanner is that it’s not invasive like an ear, rectal or oral thermometer. No matter what a student comes to see me for, I’m able to get an accurate reading. It’s so easy to use that you can take someone’s temperature even when they are sleeping and not disturb them.”

To help you prepare and cope throughout the cold and flu season Pappas recommends the following school nurse-approved tips to prevent cold and flu:

1. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water to help prevent the spread of germs, or use hand sanitizer. Many public buildings provide hand sanitizer, so when you see it, use it.

2. Avoid sharing drinks or food with others unless you want to share their germs.

3. Frequently clean commonly touched areas like doorknobs and light switches.

4. Always cover your mouth with your elbow or sleeve when you cough or sneeze.

5. Throw away tissues immediately after use.

6. If you have a fever, monitor your temperature regularly and check with your doctor about taking a fever reducer and an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.

7. Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.

8. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air and help drain congestion.

9. Stay home from work or school if you are sick to avoid spreading germs and make sure your fever is gone for at least 24 hours before you return.

10. Consider speaking with your doctor about getting a flu shot. They are conveniently available in many physicians’ offices, pharmacies and public health centers.

Remember that while a cold is rarely serious, the flu can lead to additional complications, particularly in young children and the elderly. For more information on how to prepare for the cold and flu season, visit www.exergen.com/coldfluseason.

By following a few, many or all of the tips to prevent cold and flu mentioned above, you will be on your way to staying healthy during the cold and flu season.   Also be sure to check out these Home Remedies for Great Health.

15 Minute Organizing

November 17, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Here are some organizing ideas that you can start and fininsh in just 15 minutes

In a perfect word we would put everything in its place as soon as it enters our home. But unfortunately that is not the way most days go–even when we really try. On a daily basis I try to do 15-minute organizing. Here are 10 things you can do in 15 minutes or less. You would be amazed at what a difference it makes.

1. Update Your File Cabinet There is always a new folder you need to add or one that needs to be deleted. It’s very easy to skim your files and pull out the unneeded ones. Be sure to have a recycle container nearby so you can ditch those unneeded contents instead of them going in a pile on your desk. After you weed out the unneeded ones re-purpose those folders for ones that really should have a more permanent home. File appropriate papers that have been living in the infamous ‘miscellaneous’ folder.

2. Organize Your Desk Storage. If your home is anything like mine, the desk is a ‘safe place’ for all those things no one wants to loose. Start by determining what types of things you need at your fingertips and designate a space for those items. Set up a file system with areas for mail going out in the next few days, library books, things that need to be handled soon but not immediately, current receipts, several slots for mail/paperwork for different groups that you are part of and other things that need to be in easy reach. Drop items into the appropriate space. You should also discard items that are no longer needed during this time. This also makes for a way to easily grab those important items and complete what needed to be done with them.

3. Zone in on the Laundry Area If you sort clothes as soon as you take them to the laundry room, it is much easier than cleaning up after. As you are putting a load into the washer, use a rag to wipe the shelves where your supplies are housed and the top of the washer and dryer. After taking the clothes out of the dryer, fold them immediately and sweep the floor picking up any dryer sheets or other trash that may have fallen.

4. Focus on the Bathroom Sink/Linen Closet When you are doing your nightly bathroom routine, take an extra few minutes and put away any hair brushes and accessories. Put sprays and other hygiene beauty products away. Straighten up towels, wash clothes and other linens. Arrange other products on the shelves in the linen closet. Replenish toiletries as needed. Wipe sinks, the toilet, and clean the mirror.

5. Organize the Fridge Start with the shelf of your choice, such as your staples shelf–the shelf where you keep things like drinks, butter and other things you use daily. Remove anything that shouldn’t be on that shelf to a counter. Go next to the top shelf and remove outdated items. Mark leftovers with dates so you know when something is expiring. After all the shelves are done, quickly look over the doors and drawers for any undesirables. Then wipe up any spills or accidents.

6. Straighten your DVD/Video Game Collection Start by determining about how many cases you can fit on each shelf and how much space you’ll need. Take the top shelf of cases off and put them in a close by place with spines up. Start pulling the letters you assume will now live on that shelf. Once you get all those pulled from your collection do the same with the remaining shelves one at a time. After the rough draft has been completed go back and clean up each letter. After all cases are organized with spines facing out, put all un-cased movies and games into piles on the couch. Start at the top of the pile and see how quickly you can put them into the appropriate case.

7. Sort Seasonal Items Move all clothes/shoes to the area you are putting them. Start by weeding out any items that are seasonally inappropriately. Move them to a storage or donation area. Next, eliminate anything that no longer fits by placing them in the donation area. Third remove any item that would be better stored somewhere else. Finally hang coats/jackets up, and place shoes on rack or in organizer.

8. Speed Clean Any Room The best way to do a 15 minute cleaning is a game of speed cleaning. Set the timer for 15 minutes, stand at the main entrance way, and see how many things you can pick up and put away before the bell rings. Set a rule that you don’t leave the room until the timer dings or everything is in its place. If there is something that belongs in another room set it next to the timer. Many times you will find that you are done cleaning before the timer goes off and then you can take those set aside items to their correct homes.

9. Update Your Drawers – When putting laundry away, take an extra minute to update your drawers. Start by removing all items in one drawer and place any ill-fitting or no-longer-worn clothes in a donation area and any off-season items in storage. Refold any remaining clothes and replace in the drawer. Continue through all drawers containing similar clothes until completed. Finish putting any original laundry away.

10. Organize Kitchen Counters After doing dishes or cleaning up after dinner, start at the entrance of the kitchen and walk around the perimeter picking up anything that isn’t in the right or most appropriate place. Once all items are moved off of counter tops, take a dishrag and all-purpose cleaner and wipe counters and all appliances.

Stop by Get Organized Now – and check out the amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

Holiday Shopping Tips

November 14, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Here are some holiday shopping tips that will make your shopping trips a breeze this holiday season!
Weary of the hassle of holiday shopping? Many shoppers line up for hours on end to get a deal on the hottest toy of the season, or newest fashion craze, then there are those who dread shopping and just put it off until the last minute, or give gift certificates to get out of shopping altogether.

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a hassle. It can be quickly executed without so much stress and anxiety, if you plan ahead. Try these tips to make your holiday shopping a breeze this year:

1. Set a budget in place. Do you know how much money you can afford to spend on gifts? If not, sit down right now and make that budget. This will be a huge time-saver in the end.

2. Make your list; check it twice. Create a list of who you need to buy gifts for this year. Start with family first, then add friends, co-workers, etc. How does this list look, compared with your budget? Too long? Pare it down. Despite what you think, you don’t have to buy as many gifts as you think you do. Trim your list until you have it down to a reasonable number.

3. What do they like? Now that you know who you will be buying gifts for, start thinking about what these people like. You may already have a good idea of what kinds of things they like. If not, do some snooping and find out. Make a shopping list of these things for each person.

4. Shop early. If possible try to avoid the last minute rush and shop early. Another good option is to go late at night. Many department stores operate late hours during the holidays. It’s a good time to leave the kids with your spouse and do the shopping on your own without worrying about the crowds or the kids needing to be fed or changed.

5. Shop online. Now that you know exactly what you need to buy, start by shopping online. You can find lots of good deals on auction and discount sites. Many online shops such as Amazon.com give you the option of mailing out your gifts (gift wrap included) to relatives and friends, this could save you a lot of time wrapping presents and fighting the crowds at the post office. Shopping online could save you a lot more money than you’d think, and it will definitely save you the hassle of fighting those Christmas crowds!

By using the above holiday shopping tips, you are sure to save money, time and sanity!

Time Saving Back To School Tips

August 08, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

(ARA) – Summer trips are wrapping up and kids are counting down the days until they have to go back to school. With many parents weighed down by worries about escalating back-to-school costs, brushing up on tips and tricks for making the summer-to-school transition smoother will be helpful for the entire family.

In fact, a recent survey by Bing and Impulse found that 52 percent of parents are the most concerned with the price of school supplies. To save time, money, and lighten up the mood, try implementing these tips from Lisa Gurry, a past recipient of Working Mother Magazine’s Mom of the Year award.

“These simple tricks can make the back-to-school transition go from stressful to stress-free,” Gurry says.

* Shop early: Schools often provide a long and daunting list of required school supplies. Don’t try to buy everything in one day. Rather, be open to grabbing items you see on sale while out and about throughout the summer. Use local coupon-finding tools, like Bing for Mobile Deals on m.bing.com to find daily deals on all the supplies you’re looking for.

* Get (cleverly) organized: Reduce the amount of time you spend running around the house looking for the keys, backpack, and lunch boxes by picking a location for each item. Try leaving your keys in the fridge with your lunchbox so you’ll never forget the lunch again.

* Pack a healthy lunch and freeze a few dinners: Make sure to pack healthy lunches for your children that will help protect their immune systems and energy levels during the new transition. Great lunch options include chicken wraps and strawberry and cream cheese sandwiches. Another great idea is to prepare a few healthy dinners in advance and freeze them so you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Check out Bing.com for healthy dinner recipes like chicken noodle soup.

* Get advice: Don’t forget to use your network of friends to find the best deals. Share your shopping list with your friends using Bing Shopping and get advice from your trusted friends about what they think are the best purchases.

* Routines rule: Nothing causes more stress or confusion than an inconsistent schedule. Create a schedule early on and make sure you stick to it. Try to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines at least one week before school starts to prepare your children in advance.

Going back to school doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With a few simple tips, you can make back-to-school transition more efficient, less of a hassle and even easier on your wallet.

Be sure to Download Your Free Back To School Report Here

Time Management is Not About Working Harder

May 20, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Effective time management is not about working harder. It’s not about adding more tasks to your to do list, staying up later at night to complete your lists, or constantly multi- tasking.

You can become a master of your time simply by working smarter. Once you know the secrets, you’ll actually work less, but get more done. You’ll also have all the time you need for the people you love and the things you want to do.

There was so much interest in this particular subject, that I took the ‘time’ to write a brand new book called, ’501 Tips and Ideas for Finding More Time for the Things You Love.’

This book is designed to help you save countless hours in your day AND help you build the time you need to do whatever it is you desire.  Stop By Get Organized Now – and browse through all of the resources. 

Spring Cleaning Secrets For a Healthy Home

April 18, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

(ARA) – For all the joys spring brings, you can find some not-so-fun harbingers as well – like sneezing, sniffling and itchy, watery eyes. When spring cleaning season arrives, allergy season does, too.

Get Organized Now – An amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

 

More than half of Americans test positive when exposed to one or more allergens, according to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And more than half of all homes in the U.S. have at least six detectable allergens in the air, such as cat and dog dander, dust mites, pollen or mold spores. As the weather warms, more allergens are present in the air. Reducing the amount of allergens in your home can help improve indoor air quality and reduce your exposure to allergy triggers.

But if your spring cleaning routine doesn’t specifically focus on allergen removal, and only moves dust around (sending allergens airborne), or incorporates products that can add pollutants to indoor air, it won’t do much to help minimize allergens in your home.

If you suffer from allergies and asthma, consult with your doctor on the best course of treatment, and tackle spring cleaning with these simple tips – from the asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program, by the nonprofit Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) – to help control the allergens that can exacerbate allergies and trigger asthma.

Make your home asthma & allergy friendly

Consumers spend nearly $18 billion annually on asthma and allergy medications. But they also spend more than $20 billion on non-medical consumer products marketed for people with asthma and allergies, according to AAFA. While demand for such products continues to grow, there is little to no regulation governing their product claims, the Foundation notes. AAFA’s asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program helps consumers evaluate and verify the allergen-reducing effectiveness of a variety of products, from cleaning supplies, air cleaning devices and vacuums to toys, bedding, home improvement products, paints, clothes washers and more.

Created in 2005 in collaboration with a leading testing and certification partner, Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), and top medical experts, the program independently tests and certifies products that are more suitable for people living with asthma and allergies. The products that have successfully passed testing are “certified” and identified by a distinctive certification mark on their packaging. You can learn about the certification process and certified products at www.aafa.org/certified.

Cleaning tips for maximum effectiveness

* House dust is one of the most common irritants for allergy sufferers. You may think dusting your home will help reduce allergens, but if you use a feather duster that simply lifts the dust off surfaces and into the air, you will actually increase airborne dust particles. Always use moist cloths or special dry cloths designed to trap and lock dust from hard and soft surfaces.

* Certain cleaning products can also contribute to airborne irritants, especially if they contain harsh chemicals, strong odors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Choose products that contain none of these irritants, but also beware of “green” labels, as some of these solutions may be made with natural allergenic ingredients, too, such as lemon oils, tea-tree oils or coconut extracts.

* A vacuum that leaks more dust than it captures can make your indoor air quality worse. Use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter and tight seams and seals to prevent particles from leaking out while you vacuum. Also, choose a style that requires minimal exposure during canister emptying or bag changes.

* Pests become more active during spring and rodent dander and cockroach particles are common household asthma triggers. However, some pesticides may do more harm than good for people with asthma and allergies. If you have a pest problem, look for an exterminator with expertise in integrated pest management and who can advise you on traps and solvents that are safer for people with asthma.

* Cat dander is present in most U.S. homes, even where no cats have lived, studies have shown. Your spring cleaning routine should include freshening linens in your bedroom, where cat or dog dander can settle, becoming food for dust mites. Place mite-proof bedding on your mattresses and pillows. Wash sheets at least once a week in 130-degree water to kill mites and their eggs.

* Mold can grow anywhere in your home where moisture is present, and mold spores are a common asthma and allergy trigger. To remove mold and mildew look for cleaning products that help kill and prevent mold from returning. Also, keep household humidity below 50 percent and fix leaky pipes and cracks to reduce standing puddles of moisture where mold can prosper.

* Gather stuffed toys, where dust mites, mold and pet dander can accumulate, and wash them in hot water and dry completely before using again. Place stuffed toys that can’t be washed in the freezer for 24 hours, then rinse in cold water to remove dead mites, and dry completely. Use your spring cleaning routine to help turn this into a monthly habit.

* Lots of air passes through window areas, and airborne dust and allergens accumulate on all types of window treatments – which are rarely cleaned. In the family room and throughout the home, replace big, heavy linen drapes with more sensible window treatments such as wood blinds or flat screens that are easy to wipe and keep clean.

Spring cleaning season is a great time to adopt new allergy and asthma friendly cleaning habits and products. You can learn more at www.AAFA.org/certified.

Save Money On Fuel

April 13, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

How to spend less on fuel when gas prices rise

This article will explain to you how to spend less on fuel when gas prices rise.

(ARA) – Remember when $4 seemed like an outrageous amount to spend on a gallon of gasoline? Now that number doesn’t seem so far-fetched. While you can’t do anything to control the unrest in the Middle East or oil rig explosions that could lead to gas prices spiking at a moment’s notice, there are a few things you can do to help ease the pain of high gas prices.

While buying a more fuel-efficient car might be an option for some, new and used cars that get more miles per gallon tend to be more in demand – and more expensive – when gas prices are high. If a new car isn’t an option for you, implementing the following changes can help ensure that you get the most from the fuel in your gas tank:

Tips to Save Money on Fuel

* Keep the gas you buy in your car. When gas prices are low, stealing gas would likely be more trouble than it’s worth, but when prices are high, it’s not uncommon for thieves to siphon gas from vehicles, especially those with larger tanks. Adding a locking gas cap can be done for much less than the cost of a tank of gas. In addition to preventing theft, locking fuel tank caps can also prevent anyone from tampering with your gas tank.

* Keep your tank full. While you’re looking to reduce the amount of gasoline you are using, constantly running your car with the tank close to empty can wear down your fuel pump. “The gasoline in the tank keeps the fuel pump cool. Take away the gas and the fuel pump runs hot and has a shorter life,” says Tom Taylor, engineer and vice president of RockAuto.com. If you have an older car that has accumulated dirt and rust at the bottom of the tank, keeping a full tank can help your fuel burn cleaner.

* Keep your car in shape. Keeping your engine properly tuned improves fuel efficiency by an average of 4 percent and repairing a major issue like a faulty oxygen sensor could improve efficiency by up to 40 percent, according the U.S. Department of Energy. The RockAuto.com parts catalog has oxygen sensors from $10 to more than $100 depending on the car,” says Taylor. Especially if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you could quickly recoup the cost of an oxygen sensor or other repair after as little as one tank of gas through improved fuel economy.

* Keep your tires inflated properly. Keeping your tires at the optimal level not only keeps you safer, but can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, according to the Department of Energy. Your owner’s manual should tell you the proper psi (pounds per square inch) levels for your vehicle.

* Drive for optimal gas mileage. How you drive can affect how much gas you use. Most cars run at peak efficiency at around 60 mph, with fuel economy decreasing sharply when traveling faster. Aggressive driving with rapid acceleration and slowing will also have a negative effect on your fuel economy.

* Reduce weight and drag. Getting rid of items such as roof equipment when they aren’t being used can help your car become more aerodynamic and run more efficiently. Keeping unnecessary items in your car, especially if they are heavy, can also make your car work harder and use more fuel than it needs to.

By adding up the small savings gained by each of these tips, you can really notice a difference on how much you are paying at the pump, especially over a long period of time.