Don’t Allow Gas to Guzzle Up your Budget

by Guest Contributor · 7 comments

Gas prices are on the rise again, and even though there is no actual correlation between supply, production, demand, and cost, the result is the same when it comes to your budget. Even a $0.10 increase per gallon can have an impact, and in the last few weeks the increase has been double that.

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize your gas usage and costs.

Use Online Gas Price Monitors

There are several sites that allow people to enter gas prices they spot at stations around town. The difference between one station and another can be 10 cents or more. If you know where to get your gas for less, over time it can really add up. $1 a week may not seem like much, but invest that $50 each year and they do.

Shop for Food and Gas at the Same Chain

Many stores offer both gas and groceries at one location. In order to draw people to their gas station, they offer discounts for loyal grocery customers. In addition to the usual cents-off offers, they also run special promotions from time to time.

One of the local supermarkets offers $0.10 off their gas if you purchase $100 in groceries. The savings can be accumulated up to a certain amount – $0.40, and then used in one gas purchase. That is a significant savings if you make good use of it.

Another regular promotion involves credit for switching prescriptions to the supermarket pharmacy and another revolves around purchasing a certain amount of gift certificates. During the holidays they allow up to $1.00 discount per gallon.

Maintenance Helps

One of the best ways to ensure that you get the most for your money when it comes to gas is to maintain your vehicle properly. Keep your tires inflated properly; low pressure causes an increase in friction, costing you several miles per gallon as you drive.

Change your oil and air filters on schedule to keep your engine running smoothly and effectively.

Decrease Trips, Weight, and Resistance

You already know that you should plan your trips so you donโ€™t go back and forth over the same route. Carpooling is another wonderful way to save on gas. You can also improve gas mileage by taking unnecessary items out of your car. The less your car carries, the less gas it will use. By the same token, remove ski or bicycle racks or anything else that adds drag to the vehicle.

Finally, donโ€™t sit in idle. If you are going to be sitting at a bank window, take-out window, or any other place for more than a couple minutes, turn off the engine. Yes, the engine does take a bit more fuel in start up than in idle, but the break-even point is fairly low.

Chances are that the current price of gas wonโ€™t last, and summer always brings a rise in prices at the pump. Start adapting your driving patterns and gas-buying behaviors now and by summer time you will be ready.

Everyone wants to save more money right? Here’s a link that you can go to in order to sign up for the free frugal newsletter, which includes a massive How to Save Money on Everything ebook.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Banjo Steve says:

    I’m still astonished to hear complaints about the cost of gas – while still encountering so many other drivers who are so inefficient in their car handling (e.g. jackrabbit starts, way too fast driving, aggressive in and out of lane passing, etc.). My theory is that the cost of gas doesn’t really change driving habits but a scarcity of gas will.

    As in, “I regret that I have but one country to sacrifice for my lifestyle.” ๐Ÿ™

  • Dr.Tarun says:

    It seems that it is the rising price of gas which is snowballing all the items of daily need.Whole the grocery,apparels,apples,shoes etc. are revolving around this ‘gas price’.
    It is high time we switch over to other form of energy….may be solar or electrical but sooner the better.

  • Barb Friedberg says:

    Fortunately, I telecommute and have lots of control over driving. I am excited to be moving to a location where I can walk to commerce. That should enable me to cut driving a bit. (Unless I go overboard with trips to my favorite store, IKEA) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Bret @ Hope to Prosper says:

    I plan to buy an electric car and skip gas altogether. I will still have my F-150 if I need to haul something or drive a long distance. But, I plan to use my EV for my daily commute and other small trips.

    I checked out the Nissan LEAF, but I don’t like the body style. I am waiting for the 2012 Ford Focus EV that is coming out later this year. I will probably buy it next year, after they have worked the bugs out.

  • Jon says:

    Great post. Gas is astronomically expensive. However, I do the buddy system with a coworker. We alternate daily on driving to work. It saves on gas and it is a great avenue for building relationships.

  • Patty says:

    I don’t think we will ever see cheap gas again. The world demand is just too strong. Get use to paying far more for gas than you are now. In Europe and other countries gas is incredibly expensive (about double what we pay) When the price goes down it never goes down below what you were paying before the sudden rise.

    About grocery stores giving discounts on gas. The grocery store near my house offers such a program but the prices are incredibly high for their items. The discount doesn’t necessarily make this a smart purchase at said grocery store.

  • Justin says:

    I got married last August and I was looking forward to saving a lot of money due to having only one rent, one electric bill, etc… Lately the extra money has been going to gas, $4.19 in Texas last week, it cost $61 dollars to fill up a Ford Fusion, I almost fainted. ๐Ÿ™‚

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