Gas prices got you down? Yes, fuel costs these past few months have been the highest since 2014. Most drivers are feeling their budgets getting squeezed. If driving is part of your everyday routine, you may think that rising gas prices are unavoidable.
While you can’t control the market’s prices, there are still many practical ways to save money on fuel costs. Some of these ideas are simple actions that you may not have considered in the past. However, if the monthly amount you spend on gas has nearly doubled, these savings strategies can help you out.
Carpooling is one of the easiest ways to combat rising gas prices. If someone else in your household has a vehicle, see if you can put your gas money together and share a ride during the week. This can work well for couples, roommates, or even people outside of your home like coworkers and friends.
My husband and I actually share a car right now so I might take him to work some days and vice versa. If I know I have to pick him up and give him a ride somewhere, I may plan to run an errand on the way.
2. Join a Gas Station Rewards Program
If you’ve often overlooked gas station rewards programs, you may want to reconsider them now. Many gas stations offer rewards programs which are different from a rewards credit card.
Usually, you can earn points or rewards for pumping gas. These rewards often consist of free merchandise you can get at the gas station or even free or discounted fuel for a future fillup. Even if you’re not being rewarded with free fuel, you can use the free merchandise to supplement the money you spend on gas.
For example, let’s say you like to buy energy drinks and an occasional lunch from the hot bar at your favorite gas station. If you can get these items for free, it frees up money you can spend on filling up your car’s tank.
3. See If You Can Walk or Bike
With summer nearly here and the weather warming up in most places, you may be able to ditch the car for a day or two and walk or ride your bike instead.
If you live in a very walkable area or have a bike, challenge yourself to not use your car for one or two days out of the week. This could be a challenge depending on where you live, but I still believe this could still work if you live in the suburbs vs. a big city.
A few years ago, my husband and I rented an apartment in a sizable suburb. Generally, yes, we needed a car to get around most of the time. But we also could have survived by riding a bike or walking some days too. We lived within walking (or biking) distance of a few stores, some parks, the local library, and other helpful places in the community.
One of your biggest driving expenses might be commuting back and forth to work. While this may not work for everyone, see if you can get a job closer to home so you can literally cut your gas expenses out if you really needed to.
4. Plan Trips More Strategically
If fuel prices stay as high as they have been in the past few weeks, I doubt I’ll see as many people joy riding over the next few months. Personally, I’m not a fan of driving, so I like to plan my trips strategically so I can get from point A to B quickly with less hassle.
Planning your trips strategically can come in handy if you’re trying to lower your fuel costs. One thing we started doing in my household is planning one store trip per week to grab household goods, and run other errands. We try to make lists that everyone can contribute to. That way, everything can be grabbed in one store run whether someone needs batteries or we need more soap.
Going to the store every day gets expensive not just due to what you buy but also due to all the extra gas you’re burning. If my husband is going on a store run and happens to pass the post office, I’ll make sure he has any packages we need to mail off.
I encourage you to sit down each week and get organized to see what you need and which errands are most important so you can make the most of the gas in your vehicle and plan your trips strategically.
5. Get a Warehouse Club Membership
Warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco are great for purchasing different items in bulk at a good price. Another underlying benefit of these warehouse clubs is that they often have a gas station right outside the store.
That way, you can do your shopping and fill up your car right afterward. The best part is that warehouse club gas stations tend to charge less than the current market rate for fuel. Yes, you usually have to be a member to access the store and even the gas station, but it’s worth the annual fee in my opinion.
Sam’s Club usually charges $40 to $50 per household per year for a membership. This allows you to shop, get gas, and use any of their other products or services.
6. Use GasBuddy.com or Similar Gas Reward Tools
Another clever way to save money on fuel costs is to use a rewards app like GasBuddy. GasBuddy helps you find the best gas prices in your area. They also have a ‘Pay With GasBuddy’ option where you can get a free GasBuddy card and use it to earn fuel rewards.
How it works is you connect it to your debit card to use when you fill up your car’s tank. This card unlocks fuel savings opportunities up to $0.25 per gallon. The best part is that there’s no credit check as this is not a credit card. It’s simply linked to your checking account and allows you to earn more fuel discounts.
Summary: Save Money on Fuel Costs With These Tips
Saving money on fuel costs has never been easier when you consider ideas like rewards apps, gas station loyalty rewards programs, and carefully planning your trips for the week.
While these tips will help you stretch your dollar when it comes to getting gas, realize that you may have to adjust other budget categories as well and change some of your daily and weekly routines to help you deal with rising fuel prices.
What are your favorite ways to save on gas each week?