Like most families in America, a large chunk of our budget goes towards gas purchases. But unlike some of my husband’s relatives, I don’t obsess over the price. My late FIL actually showed me photographs of his trips when he was a kid, and on the back his father wrote how much they have paid for gas along the way.
He certainly inherited this obsession with finding the cheapest gas in the area. For example, we were once driving in Alaska in the middle of nowhere. We needed gas, but my FIL decided to hold out, thinking we will find a cheaper price if we keep going. Spoiler alert! We didn’t. In fact, our rental car was basically running on fumes and we ended up paying more. It was a self-inflicted “injury”, though we laughed about it afterwards.
Anyway, I’m not like that at all. I don’t really obsess over finding the lowest rate in town, and you will never see me going out of my way to save a few cents. In fact, you will usually find me at one of two gas stations in town, because they happen to be convenient in relation to my commute.
That said, if I’m going to get gas at a certain station, I might as well take advantage of all available discounts and offers.
A triple dip
I’m currently enrolled to earn 10 Hyatt points per dollar on gas purchases via my World of Hyatt credit card. This is an absolute no-brainer and beats earning 5% cash back or using my newest card to satisfy minimum spending requirements. I value 10 Hyatt points at 13 cents, so that’s a pretty good incentive. I’m thinking about buying some gift cards at my favorite gas station in order to lock in savings on my future gas purchases, since I’m unlikely to beat this return in the future. So, that’s my tip number one: using the right credit card, always.
But it gets better. The other day, I was going to a local Marathon station because my kids like getting snacks there while I fill up my car. So, I checked the profile of my Hyatt card and lo and behold, there was an offer on Marathon gas stations:
So, now we are talking about 18% discount on something I was planning to do anyway. But wait, there is more! By participating in Marathon Make it Count program, I would be able to save an additional 5 cents per gallon and earn Southwest points in the process. I use the word “would” because Make It Count button on my gas pump was stuck and I didn’t feel like going inside to sort it out. But normally, this triple dip would work flawlessly if I wasn’t so lazy.
Some other easy ways to save on gas
1)Kroger fuel rewards
I was thrilled when we got Kroger grocery delivery in our area. It’s a thing of beauty, and I highly recommend looking into it. One of the benefits of buying groceries through Kroger.com is the ability to earn points and then use them towards significant discounts on gas at participating Shell stations. Unfortunately, the one in our area is not part of the network, but my cousin-in-law who lives on Florida coast swears by it. In fact, I gave her my membership info, so she could utilize our Kroger points each month.
2) Upside mobile app
This is something a friend told me about. I reluctantly signed up via her link, but didn’t think I would use it a whole lot. I really don’t like convoluted savings schemes, but this one turned out to be extremely simple. Now I tell everyone about it. It costs nothing, and allows you to save money on things you do anyway, like grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations. It takes a few seconds to upload a receipt, and a few days later you get cash back.
I particularly like the app because it gives 12 cents off per gallon on regular gas at my favorite Mobil gas station. I go there anyway, so why not earn a few bucks while I’m at it. Before I know it, there is $20 in my Upside account, which I can easily transfer to PayPal. Seriously, I highly recommend it, as it’s very easy to use, and literally takes seconds.
I you don’t have the Upside app, you can easily download it on your mobile phone. If you use my referral code JC9GDQ (thanks if you do!), you’ll also get $5 and 15 cents off per gallon the first time you use it. That should be in addition to any other offers.
If you have a referral code of your own, feel free to leave it in the comments section. I would never recommend something I haven’t personally tried, and this one is 100% free. Your offers will depend on the area you live in, but every little bit helps.
Readers, if you have any other easy ideas on saving money on gas, please share them in the comments.
How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.