Road Trip Tips:
•Rewards cards for grocery stores and gas stations
We never imagined that gas prices would increase by over a dollar a gallon during the time we were on the road. And we had no idea that prices at the pump varied so much from state to state.
Searching for the cheapest gas felt like rolling dice. $2.35…..but we saw $2.25 a few miles back….but we can’t turn around; that would waste gas….well, maybe this neighborhood will be better….$2.45! Doh! Here are some tips to help alleviate at least some of that anxiety.
Gasbuddy.com really is your buddy. This website quickly became part of our morning routine. If we were staying at a hotel or motel, we would type in its zip code and plan our exit according to the location of the cheapest gas. If we knew we would be crossing state lines within the next day or so, we would survey the region to see if we should fill up before or after we reached the “Welcome to [insert state here]” sign on the highway.
www.gasbuddy.com also offers its own page of great money-saving tips.
Fill your tank and your cooler at the same time. Several grocery store chains, like Giant, Kroger and Albertsons, have rewards programs that translate dollars spent in the stores to pennies saved at the pump. Rewards cards are free and applications take less than a minute to fill out – we now have a stash of several in the glove compartment.
Each chain has its own equation for cheap gas. At Giant, every $100 in the store equals a 10 cents per gallon savings. Krogers and Albertsons give you automatic discounts just for having a card, and more for buying groceries.
Take advantage of special offers. Many gas stations offer discounts if you use their preferred credit cards. We did not do this on the road. But we did make sure we were using a credit card that gave us something back (like extra Delta miles for our American Express) every time we filled up.
Even if your current credit cards aren’t specifically connected to frequent flier or cash back programs, there are programs, like UPromise, that will earn you dollars every time you use them. At the time of this writing, we have earned over $160 to use towards our own student loans.
Keep you eyes open . We found that locally owned stations often had weekly specials, like a “Super Tuesday” with ten cents a gallon off their higher grade gas or a free car wash with a full tank. The ‘Tima particularly like these fill ups. Spotting these deals requires quick eyes and quicker reflexes. Luckily, Michael has both. We were usually veering into a station before Gab even picked her head up from the computer.
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