Life is more convenient when you have a car, but it can also be much more expensive. The price of gas alone has a tendency to put quite the dent in your paycheck. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to save yourself at least a little money at the pump.
- Plan ahead. If you wait until your fuel light comes on, then chances are you are just going to have to pay whatever the price is at the nearest gas station – and rarely is that your cheapest option. Instead of waiting until it’s urgent, make a mental note when your gas gauge starts to get lower and take advantage of lower prices when you see them.
- Fill up early in the morning or late at night. These seem to be the times when gas is the least expensive. Gas stations know that they can charge more in the middle of the day when there is more traffic on the road.
- Find the lowest prices online. These days, you don’t have to use any gas to find cheap gas. There are several websites out there that can help you compare prices. In the Hamilton area, Gas Buddy is particularly helpful.
- Get an app. Again, there are many apps out there including a Gas Buddy app that can provide you with real-time gas prices straight to your smartphone. Just make sure you don’t check the app while you are driving!
- Don’t fill up near the highway. Gas stations along the highway are incredibly convenient, but that convenience usually comes with a higher price tag. These stations attract a lot of truckers and vacationers because of their convenience, but you can save yourself a bit of money filling up farther away from the highway.
- Membership has its privileges. Consider getting a wholesale membership at a place like Costco. More and more Costco stores in Canada have gas bars now, and these tend to be a few cents cheaper than other stations. Just make sure you weigh the cost of getting the membership to ensure that you are saving money. In other words, if you would use the card on other things like groceries and giant pallets of toilet paper, you could end up saving quite a bit on gas as well.
- Collect points. There are many programs under which you can collect points for buying gas at certain gas stations. For example, you can collect Airmiles at Shell stations, and you can collect PC points at Esso stations. Then there are cash back credit cards that you can use to purchase gas which gives you a percentage back of whatever you charge to the card. If you are members of any of these programs you can essentially get money back for the money that you are spending on gas.
Getting the best prices on gas takes a little planning, but it might just mean you’ll be able to afford a few more road trips.