Okay, I know am a little bit of an eccentric nut case when it comes to gas sometimes. However, I love feeling like I’ve figured this out and it all revolves around Fry’s fuel points.
Fry’s Fuel Points
I do 90% of my grocery shopping at Fry’s/Kroger. In doing my normal shopping, I accrue fuel points for all of my spending. In addition to that, I buy gift cards from Fry’s because you get double fuel points. And even better, every couple months they run promotions for 4X FUEL POINTS!! Whenever they run that promo, I try to think of anything we have coming up, such as weddings, graduations, birthdays, or other major purchases, and try to get gift cards for those occasions.
I will also get gift cards to restaurants that I know we eat at often and put those right into our eating out budget. For example, we eat a solid amount of Chipotle and Raising Canes, so we basically always have a gift card to those places. I enter it in the ‘eating out’ budget the day we buy it (since that’s the day that money came out of our account), and won’t need to worry about it on the day we eat there.
The other thing that I do to get extra fuel points is to take the survey at the bottom of my receipt. You get 50 points each time you take a survey and you can take them once a week, which means that at 200 free points for the month, that saves you 20 cents a gallon! (I will admit though, I don’t know if it’s the virus or what, but none of my Fry’s receipts have had surveys on the bottom in the past month or so! Such a bummer. But keep it in mind for the future when things aren’t the worst.)
Now you do have to be a little careful with fuel points, as they do expire the following month, and you can only use them in increments of 100. The only time the expiration comes into play for us is when we have gotten quadruple the points and have bought A LOT of gift cards. The few times I’ve had to worry about it is at Christmas time when I’m buying Amazon gift cards like we are freaking Santa Clause (because Santa gets a lot of stuff from there), last year when I was making large purchases for our house and had bought gift cards to Wayfair, West Elm, Home Depot, etc., and lastly when I have booked Disney vacations, and then will subsequently buy $500 Disney gift cards to pay for the trip. Yep, in those instances, the points add up quickly and you want to make sure you can use them. Otherwise, for us it is normally just 30 cents up to $1 off each gallon of gas when we go to fill up the truck.
Know your Gas Tanks and Plan Accordingly
As far as buying gas goes, we use the Shell gas stations (they are partnered with Fry’s) and I have found one by my house and by my work that almost always are less expensive than others in the area. We also are selective of when we use the points. Our car takes approximately 12 gallons of gas to fill up completely. Contrast that with our truck that takes about twice that, yowza! So we will typically reserve the points for when we are filling up the truck with gas. That way we save about twice as much!
No, but really, BUY GIFT CARDS!
I wish that I was getting some sort of commission somehow by promoting buying gift cards from Fry’s, because honestly, it is such a no brainer for us! Not only do we do restaurants, but Home Depot, home decor stores (like mentioned above), clothing stores (I cannot tell you how many Gap/Old Navy gift cards I’ve purchased over the years), Disney, Southwest Airlines, Target, Amazon, they seriously have almost everything you could need!
Obviously right now, we are spending much less on gas because we are just driving so much less too! But in normal circumstances, we are also very thoughtful about what cars we drive due to gas milage. If Philip or I ever have to go anywhere alone, or with one or two kids, we always take the car. It gets way better gas milage and it just makes sense to take it. I also will always drive our car to work since my office is further away, and if Philip isn’t going to be home when I get home but I know I’ll need to take all three kids somewhere, I will swing by his work and we will trade keys. It is a bit of a hassle, but we’ve become so accustomed to it that it doesn’t feel like a chore at all. It all takes a little more thought and planning, but it feels awesome to know that we’ve really optimized in this category.
So that’s it! Not rocket science by any means, but it does require a little paying attention. And honestly, are we saving millions of dollars every year by doing this? Obviously not, but probably a hundred? Probably more? To me that is worth it! It’s saving on a lot of little things that will add up over time, or rather, the aggregation of marginal gains. Ha! How’s that for the wordiest description ever? But really, more on that later. Let me know if you have any gas tips that I missed!