No viral video, but you could save some money

10 Things You Don't Want to Get Caught Doing in Your Garage

by Shari Smith

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No, I'm not talking about anything that could show up on YouTube or Entertainment Tonight. But, you might be throwing away money if you get caught doing these things in your garage. There are many potential savings you could be overlooking. See if you've ever committed these budget busters.

  1. Throw out any old paint that just has a smidgen left because it's taking up space. This could be costly if you need to touch-up and are forced to buy a quart just for a tiny bit of paint. Savings potential: $10 - $15.
  2. Don't worry about draining the gas from your lawn mower or snow blower when the season is over because you can use it later. This is bad for the engine, as it can cause ethanol separation. Instead, use up the gas, drain it, or add STA-BIL® to store it safely. Savings potential: $80 - $100 for lawnmower tune-ups or repairs.
  3. Use all that extra space for storage. Your garage could become so cluttered you won't be able to park in it, leaving your vehicles vulnerable to the weather and thieves. Keep the clutter under control. Savings potential: $100s of dollars in insurance claims.
  4. Ignore the check engine light. If it runs, the car is okay. This could lead to serious problems. Read the manual, go to, or get a free diagnosis at O'Reilly Auto Parts stores. Then determine what needs to be fixed. Savings potential: $100s of dollars.
  5. Don't be concerned with sticking to the oil change schedule. The shops are just out to get more money. Changing the oil on schedule is the easiest and, in the long run, cheapest way to keep your vehicle running smoothly, especially older models. The mechanics can spot pending problems for early fixes. Savings potential: $100s of dollars.
  6. Store gas in any old container you have. This can be deadly. Always use a gas can with a safety valve, which prevents dangerous gasses from building up and causing an explosion. Savings potential: $1,000s of dollars in repairs and possible medical bills.
  7. The garage is a great place to store holiday decorations. Actually, you should never store candles or snow globes in the garage. The extreme changes in temperature can cause candles to melt and snow globes to crack or shatter. Savings potential: $25 - $100 for replacements. Actually this is priceless because you can't replace treasured items from your grandma.
  8. Toss tools wherever they fit. Instead, create a simple workbench with large landscape bricks and sturdy wooden shelves, or hang hooks and nails on a wall. This keeps everything in its place, ready to go and easy to find. Savings potential: $25 to $100s of dollars if you can't find the proper tools for the job.
  9. Ignore oil leaks or other mysterious puddles on the garage floor. My daughter did this, until I realized her car was leaking antifreeze. By the time we got into the shop, the car was running dry. It could have ruined the whole engine. Always figure out what the leaks are and repair them. Savings potential: $100s to $1,000s of dollars if your engine is seriously damaged.
  10. Don't worry about locking the garage door. This could be the most costly error yet if thieves gain access to your home or even the valuables out in your garage, including but not limited to your vehicles. Lawn and snow removal equipment, tools, sporting equipment, antiques, old collectibles, and more could be enticing to crooks, especially if it's as easy as opening the door. Keep the garage locked. Install security lights as well to deter would-be thieves. Savings potential: $1,000s of dollars.

There are lots of ways to save money in the garage. Don't get caught doing these things in your garage. I guarantee you'll save money!

Take the Next Step

  • An organized home can save you quite a bit. The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to an Organized Home can help you save both time and money getting organized and staying organized.
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