Manage Rising Fuel Costs With Plastic

Posted on May 12, 2008 by Eric 
Filed Under Automobile, Credit Cards

My feelings exactly!Gas prices have been out of control lately. Now that Melissa is driving to school everyday, our monthly gas costs have gotten much higher and our budget is feeling the pinch (or should I say punch).

We do have a plan for reducing our gas costs outside of the obvious suggestion of driving less.

First, using the Internet we can find the cheapest gas around. Personally I prefer Gas Price Watch. There is a good article with several options for finding cheap gas at Search Engine Watch. The article is a bit dated, but the few links I checked beyond Gas Price Watch still had some useful information.

Even though I like to confirm the information on the Internet, I know the cheapest place in our area already. There is a huge Mr. Car Wash nearby with a ton of pumps that uses cheaper gas prices to pull in more folks. I try to fill up at that location exclusively and judging by the traffic, I’m not the only one.

This location’s strategy relies on high volume and upselling with their car washes and oil changes (both heavily advertised). They even have unique gifts like local jellys and gifts inside the store. I bet they more than make up for the cheaper gas prices through these other services. This isn’t an issue for me as I generally won’t pay to get my car washed – it’s just too expensive – and I always pay at the pump so I avoid all temptation by not even going inside the store.

Another way we’re looking to save money at the pump is through our credit card. We have a Citibank Driver’s Edge card and get 3% back on gas and automotive purchases (as well as on grocery store purchases – our other big expense every month.) We took a while to choose our credit card and now it’s paying off. By transferring our Driver’s Edge rewards points to ThankYou network points, we can get rewards of $50 Shell gift cards.

Originally we wanted to use our reward points to get gift cards to chain restaurants so we could eat out without affecting our budget. These days we eat nearly all of our meals in as Melissa practices new techniques for culinary school. When we do get a chance to go out, we rarely want to go to a chain restaurant but instead want to try new and interesting foods.

Because we haven’t been choosing the same old restaurants (the only restaurants for which we can use our ThankYou reward points), we have a backlog of unspent points that will now be buying us gas. Even just one giftcard will make a noticeable dent in our monthly gasoline purchases. Short of changing to a motorcycle for a commute, I think this will be one of our best bets for helping our budget absorb higher gas prices in the short term.

So what are you doing to save money on your fuel costs? How has it affected your household?

Image Source: A_Siegel

Comments

23 Responses to “Manage Rising Fuel Costs With Plastic”

  1. Sarah on May 12th, 2008 6:43 pm

    We have done several things including the following:

    Trim fat from the budget so we can afford gas.
    Example: We downgraded from Roadrunner Standard to RR lite, saving 20$/month and I haven’t noticed a difference when it comes to download speed. We also cancelled our daily subscription to the newspaper saving over 200$/yr. We also decided not to renew our Costco membership as we spend too much money when we go and if we need to will probably tag along with friends when they go.

    I have also been checking those gas price websites more often to see who has the cheapest gas in our area.

    I have also tried to cut down on unnecessary driving and am trying to hypermile as much as I can. Luckily I drive a Honda Civic so I’m not paying as much to fill a tank as many people.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Ben | MilkYourMoney.com on May 13th, 2008 10:18 am

    I thought I would quit lurking and submit my two pennies…

    I like GasBuddy.com and we have an article on saving as well: http://milkyourmoney.com/2008/02/17/gassing-up/

    Great site!

  3. Sabrina on May 16th, 2008 8:56 am

    I heard a gas expert say that you should fill up when your tank gets half empty … something about the car processing fuel more efficiently if it’s half or more full.

  4. Pamela Grundy on May 18th, 2008 7:11 am

    We just don’t spend money on ANYTHING extra anymore. It all goes to gas and food lately. I check out GasBuddy.com for our zip code and use a points rewards card to buy the gas. Even so, saving 5 cents per gallon nets me all of .75 cents in savings on a fill-up. I just don’t see that these sites are the solution. Helpful and interesting, but they aren’t having any big impact on my gas costs.

  5. scott on May 20th, 2008 1:20 pm

    Our family uses gasbuddy.com and we are planning on taking a trip this summer to Las Vegas and Disneyland. I will definitely be using Costco gas and my American Express card rewards. Both of them can help us shave a few cents off of our gas. If you want some investment ideas, you can always do what the airlines do and hedge your gas costs.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog!

    Scott

  6. Jerry on May 23rd, 2008 9:03 am

    We already sold one of our cars, to save on both gas and insurance, and now we are moving to a city where we can walk and/or use public transportation extensively (in Europe). The latter decision was not made to save on gas, but it’s a perk… especially since gas is selling for even MORE over there! Sad, but true.
    Jerry
    http://www.leads4insurance.com

  7. Dawn on May 27th, 2008 1:44 pm

    I’ve been using gas watch style websites a lot and trying to consolidate trips as much as possible. I’m also taking my bike into the repair shop this week and seeing if I can start using it for local trips.

  8. Sam on May 28th, 2008 11:35 pm

    I am using GasPriceWatch for checking gas price. It is very hard to maintain proper budget in these days for increasing rate of gas price. Also I have reduced using car in my daily life, otherwise my expense will cross my budget.

  9. Make Friends, Earn Money on May 31st, 2008 11:10 am

    the citibank cashback credit card is perfect at the moment and this is definately where consumers can use it to their advantage, providing of course that you can pay your bill in full at the end of the month.

  10. Nancy(new comment) on July 16th, 2008 8:34 am

    I too, have made a list on my site on how to cut cost. Gasbuddy.com is a big help in finding the best price around. Just think, if gas goes up more……. what will we all do. It is getting to the point that people are not able to heat their homes. I also use a Wal-Mart discovery card at our Wal-mart gas station. Everyone must be doing the same, because you get 3 cents off the price, and 1% back at the end of the year. There are LINES of cars, waiting to fill-up. I now go really early in the morning, or late at night in order to fill up without waiting 20 minutes to do so. Thanks for all the tips!

  11. Slb(new comment) on July 26th, 2008 11:47 am

    We shop at Price Chopper for our food. For every $50.00 we spend we get 10 cents off per gallon of gas. I like to save it until it hits $1.00 or more (have to be careful though as the discount expires in 90 days). I paid .159 per gallon when we drove to Fl last August (at $2.399 a gallon then). We also stocked up on our food and filled our large freezer. We haven’t had to do any major shopping since January. I buy in bulk and use coupons whenever possible (I got 26 tubes of toothpaste for .50 each with coupons and sales). We rarely eat out any more as well. There are lots of things to be done if you can get past the shock of the actual change. I am still working on the hubby and kids to at least let me downgrade our satellite service if they won’t let me cancel it completely.

  12. Popular Credit Card Rewards(new comment) on July 27th, 2008 11:38 pm

    Feeling down about your rising gas bills? Why not check out these Popular Gas Reward Credit Cards

    Also have you heard of converting your car from gas to “water + gas”? (Also from that page above)

    And how about this related article:
    Auto Gasoline Cards – Compare Gas Rebate Credit Cards

  13. Popular Credit Card Rewards(new comment) on July 30th, 2008 2:25 am

    Many consumers appreciate the savings they get from gas reward credit cards. This is because gas reward cards give its members rebates every time they use their card on gasoline purchases. Aside from these, gas reward credit cards also come with other perks such as discounts and freebies. However, some gas reward credit cards do have a bad side too. If you’re not aware of these factors, you might find that you’re not benefiting from your gas reward credit card at all.

    “Learn and Avoid the Bad Side of Gas Reward Credit Card”
    http://www.rewardcreditcardsite.com/learn-and-avoid-the-bad-side-of-gas-reward-credit-card/

  14. Gary Diamond(new comment) on August 1st, 2008 1:01 am

    As everyone will still notice the price of petrol and food is still rising causing problems all over the world. Its very sad

  15. Pays to live green(new comment) on August 9th, 2008 8:32 am

    I have a Chase credit card that brings in 3% for gas purchases. They actually provide you with cash for your rewards that are much better than points. You can also get a $250 check when you earn $200 worth of rewards.

  16. Scott @ The Passive Dad(new comment) on September 1st, 2008 2:46 pm

    We are fortunate to have a Costco gas station nearby and use our Amex card to fuel-up. We spend less than $200 a month on gas, but it sure helps to save every bit we can.

  17. stocks(new comment) on September 7th, 2008 6:08 pm

    Out here in California, we were paying upwards of $4.50 a gallon for regular gas. It’s dropped down to $3.77 as the lowest I’ve seen, but in the bay area, where there is a lot of traffic, and everything is spread apart, gas really takes it’s toll on us… It’s good to car-pool as that saves money on toll bridges and not being stuck in traffic since we can use the carpool lane.

  18. graydog(new comment) on September 21st, 2008 9:26 am

    Advanta Card gives 5% cashback reward, making $3.60 gas cost only $3.42.

    10% Ethanol / 90% Gasoline fuel mix will ruin rubber and cork gaskets, neoprene O-rings, rubber fuel lines, eat up aluminum and magnesium.

    100% gasoline is a better buy at $3.60 per gallon than mix at $3.30 because of BTU content.

  19. KimdaCook(new comment) on October 1st, 2008 1:32 am

    I have to agree with most comments here, was just wondering when there will be updated post on this site???

  20. Gary Diamond(new comment) on October 3rd, 2008 2:58 am

    Hey there.
    Really like your site, just want to see some new posts maybe.

  21. Gregory Pennington(new comment) on October 13th, 2008 9:24 am

    Just another suggestion to save on fuel bills: I read recently that it is cheaper to fill up at night. This is because the pressure is lower when it is cold & as pumps are calculated by pressure, you can get more for your money at night!

    Quite how much, I don’t know…

  22. isa savings(new comment) on November 2nd, 2008 1:54 pm

    I dont really believe with most gas expert says that you should fill up when your tank gets half empty … something about the car processing fuel more efficiently if it’s half or more full.What I reckon is we should use it wisely and when necessary. Thanks

  23. dance folk(new comment) on December 15th, 2009 8:59 am

    Direct and indirect costs combined, are projected to be $1.6 Billion to $3Billion dollars per day. (Triple these figures if the war continues for another 5 years!)

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