As gas prices continue to rise, we are all feeling the strain on our budgets. If you are like me and spend most of your time driving, you have a firsthand account of the prices creeping up. I know for me, between my commute to and from work and playing the role of an Uber driver for my children, I am always looking for the least expensive gas prices in the area. After doing some research to see where and how I can save and stretch the miles between fill-ups, here is what I found.
Get the best price by using reward programs: Joining a rewards program can help save money during each fill-up. Many gas station reward programs are connected to your checking account so use your debit card versus a credit card. Gas station rewards should be 100% free and 100% worth it. Depending on the rewards program, the amount per gallon saved can increase by sliding your rewards card in stores as well. Just think, if you stop at the gas station daily for breakfast or lunch, these purchases can help you save money at the pump. All rewards programs have stipulations on how to earn and redeem them so make sure you read the fine print and choose the rewards program that will best fit your needs and the area you travel. Besides the rewards programs, Gasbuddy.com can help you search for the best gas prices in your area.
Make your trips count: Every time you venture out try to incorporate your errands into the trip. Instead of making random trips to town for an item or two, try stopping on your way home from work. If you usually run your errands on the weekends, make a list. This list will help you eliminate unnecessary trips to the store, saving your tank and wallet. Also, try carpooling if you and your neighbor need to run errands, taking turns driving can help save both of you money on gas.
Drive with efficiency in mind: How we drive, maintain our vehicle, and what we haul can affect our gas mileage. If you are like many Americans that must commute to work via the interstate, try using cruise control to stay at a constant speed. Not only can using cruise control save you at the pump but can save you from a speeding ticket! Ensuring that your vehicle’s tires are inflated properly can also help your vehicle get the best gas mileage. Under-inflated tires can lower your gas mileage by 1% for every five psi (pound-force per square inch) below the recommended amount. Hauling or carrying around extra weight can reduce your gas mileage as well. Cleaning out those luggage racks and your cargo/trunk area can reduce the weight and increase your gas mileage.
If we are actively conscious of our driving time and limit unnecessary trips, we can save on our gas budgets. This month, I am going to focus on my gas budget to see how much I can save, especially with the climbing gas prices. If you have some gas-saving tips or tricks, I would love to hear them! Send them to me at Creynolds@newdimensionsfcu.com. If you need help trimming your overall budget, call me at (207) 660-6267 to set an appointment.