Day 6: Save Big at the Pump

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This post is part of the 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses series. Visit this page for even more ways to slash costs and eliminate unnecessary spending! 

Try one of these 6 strategies to save at the pump and maximize each tank of gas to it's fullest potential!

Is there any bigger pain than the “pain at the pump”? Granted, gas prices are much more affordable down here in Florida than they were in NY, but still — I don’t like paying any more than I have to!

But until we find something else to fuel our vehicles, there’s not much we can do to prevent this painful purchase. Even though our world is more closely connected than ever before, we don’t all live within walking distance to our favorite stores, nor do we have the means to always take advantage of public transportation.

We do, however, have the power to maximize how far we travel one one tank of gas, and try our absolute best to make that tank last as long as possible. Here are some awesome gas saving tips for cars that you will want to try right away!

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How to Save Big at the Pump:

1. Stay Home – Seems like a no-brainer, right? But the more days you can stay at home and not go out, {even for a quick errand}, will prevent extra guzzling and help you go even longer between fill-ups. If you’re not sure what you would do with an entire day at home, these brilliant ideas from And Then We Saved will keep you busy without spending any money!

2. Walk, or Ride Your Bike – If you are lucky enough to live downtown, or very close to a metro area, try walking or riding your bike the next time you have to run out and grab something. Yes, it will take longer, but if you view this process as slowing down and savoring the everyday, it can be a great way to get out of the house for a while and stretch your legs. Just make sure to take a sturdy reusable bag with you. I lost a few cans of pasta sauce because the plastic ones ripped while carrying all that weight!

3. Batch Errands – When you do go out, make sure you run all your errands at one time, and/or batch stores together based on location. This eliminates unnecessary travel to only stop by one store. Keep a detailed grocery or supply list and when you’re low on an item, don’t forget to write it down. I am the queen of unnecessary errands because I run out of something I’ve forgotten to put on the list, but I’m trying to do better!

4. Research Gas Reward Programs – If you live in an area where one of the local grocery stores has partnered with a local gas station {or has a gas station}, do a little bit of math to see if the discount might be worth buying all your groceries at that one store. Depending on what you buy, you can usually get $.10-$.50 off per gallon, and every little bit does help! There are also credit cards that offer a higher percentage of cash back on gas purchases, but you MUST pay off these cards every single month, otherwise, forget I said anything!

5. Use a Gas-Saving App – You shouldn’t drive miles out of your way to save $.03/gallon, but if you live in a metro area with access to multiple gas stations, you might want to download a gas-saving app to see which stations sell the cheapest gas near your location. Gas Buddy and Exxon Mobil Fuel Finder are two free apps you can download.

Today’s Challenge:

If you haven’t downloaded a gas-saving app yet, grab one and get a feel for the range of gas prices nearby. Choosing to be intentional about where you fill up is one of the easiest ways to see any sort of immediate savings! Then let me know in the comments below what the average price is for gas in your area, or you can tweet @KalynBr00ke using #ReduceYourExpenses.

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  1. Remember gift cards. Our local grocery store gives 2x up to 4x gas points when you purchase gift cards… So I budget a certain amount for eating out each month so I purchase gift cards for those restaurants on payday. Once the gift card is empty, we don’t go out until payday. This plus buying groceries there gets me up to $1 off pergall. I just filled up last friday for $0.54 a gallon. Yes that right less than a $1 a gallon.

    We also have a gas station that gives you a nickel off for using a their prepaid store gift card. Guess where I buy those gift cards…yep at the grocery store. So I get a nickel off every time I gas up and a $1 off at the other station once a month.

    Now that gas prices are down, I have not changed my gas portion of my budget. I keep buying my gas cards for amount. I save the extra money on the card. When summer comes and we go on vacation I already have gas money set aside that doesn’t have to come out of the vacation budget.

  2. Don’t speed on the highways! This summer my husband and I found that if we drive 95 kph instead of 100 kph (which is the limit on most highways here in Canada) we save about 20% on gas! That’s 59 mph instead of 62. He drives an hour on the highway to get to work, so this has been huge for us. Even when we travel and the limit goes up to 110 on more major highways, we stick to our slow speed and save big!

  3. This may be common knowledge, but every so often Publix has a deal (and they are running it this week) that, if you buy $50 of groceries then you can buy a $50 prepaid gas card for $40. Yea! $10 of free gas! And this can be repeated several times for every $50 you spend. If you match grocery manufacturer coupons to Publix sales and then add gas card deals on top of that it really adds up!

    1. I just saw this at Publix this week and never knew they did it before, so thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  4. Also, get gas in the coolest part of the day – liquid gasoline expands as the temps rise so you actually get less gas if you fill up during hotter parts of the day. And, NEVER get gas when the gas truck is there – when the gas trucks are there, the action of them pumping gas into the tanks for the gas station will kick up all the sludge and sediments that settle in the bottom of the holding tanks – you don’t want that garbage in your car’s tank. (Tips given to me be someone working in the gasoline biz.)

  5. Don’t forget keeping your car tuned and your tires properly inflated. Those two alone will go a long way towards your car’s ability to efficiently use gasoline. Also, running the a/c excessively in the car or driving with the windows all down impact your gas mileage.

  6. The main two saving strategies for our family is staying home and batching errands. It takes us several minutes to get to the freeway and to our main shopping center so we make sure that we really really need to go out before we head into town.

  7. Right now in Indiana we can get gas for $2.93 a gallon. I can’t believe I just said TWO at the beginning of a gas price!
    I use gas buddy app and save all the time. They alert you when gas prices are about to hike up and sometimes when it goes up .30 cents or more it is worth filling up both vehicles even when they aren’t empty on gas yet. Walmart in our area usually hikes their gas up only at the end of the day so when other gas stations have hiked up their prices I can go over to Walmart gas and their prices are still at the cheaper price.

    1. Yes, I remember when I was paying $4+ per gallon over a year ago! So thankful it has gone down a little bit. Also, I didn’t know that Gas Buddy alerted you to price hikes – very cool!

  8. We are currently at #3.31-$3.35 a gallon for regular gas in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin. They keep claiming it will go under $3 this fall, but I still miss the days of under $2 a gallon!

        1. I have heard they are pretty high there {Europe too}. It’s crazy the difference in price depending on where you’re located!

  9. I’m trying to do better at staying home! I do batch my errands because that saves me time – and gas money. I found the gas buddy survey interesting, tracking gas prices. Sometimes I feel like I always miss the best prices by hours! I’ll have to try filling up on Monday’s like they suggest for Indiana.

    1. I am definitely going to experiment with it to see if the survey is truly accurate — I thought it was really interesting too!

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