MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

15 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline (Part 1)

 

1. Have a cash budget for gas.

We used to always pay for gas with our debit card, but while we tried to stick with our allotted budget, we found it was easy to go a little over every month — especially with fluctuating gas prices. We switched to using cash only for gas last year and we’ve seen a decrease in our gas budget. Why? Because we are more mindful of our gas usage and because cash forces us to stick with our budget.

2. Buy lower-grade fuel.

Unless your vehicle requires higher grade fuel, there’s no need to spend the extra cents on it per gallon. While it might not seem like much, those extra cents add up quickly!

3. Observe the speed limit.

Each vehicle is different, but typically gas mileage plummets when you drive over 60 miles per hour. In fact, it’s estimated that for each five miles over 60 miles per hour you drive, it’s the equivalent of paying an additional $0.24 per gallon!

4. Combine errands.

Have a general rule of thumb that you won’t go out shopping or running errands unless you have at least three stops to make. Before you go, map out the most efficient route. Not only will this save you time, it will also lower your gasoline expenses. Plus, you’ll likely carefully consider whether or not that quick trip to the store for milk or bread is worth it or whether you can make-do with what you have on hand.

I’ve also found it helpful to limit errands and shopping to one or two days per week and to work errands or shopping trips into driving I’m already planning to do. For instance, if I’m going somewhere close to the health food store, I’m going to try and work in a stop there to save me making an extra trip later in the week. It only takes a little bit extra time and it costs me almost nothing in fuel since I’m already going to be driving by.

5. Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle.

If you have more than one vehicle in your household, use the vehicle with the highest miles per gallon as often as you can. According to FuelEconomy.gov:

A vehicle that gets 30 MPG will cost you $880 less to fuel each year than one that gets 20 MPG (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.52).

Over a period of 5 years, the 30-MPG vehicle will save you $4,400.

Jesse’s car gets better gas mileage, so we’ve been piling into it for much of our driving as a family. With three car seats in the back, it’s a tighter squeeze than our roomier minivan, but the cost in gas savings is worth it.

Planning to buy a car in the near future? Aid your decision-making by using the Fuel Cost Comparison Calculator.

6. Travel during non-peak hours.

As much as you possibly can, plan your trips when it’s non rush-hour traffic. You’ll get to your destination(s) more quickly and you’ll conserve gas.

7. Consider using public transportation.

While public transportation might not seem feasible for you, if gas is eating your budget alive, it’s worth checking into. According to a study by the American Public Transportation Association, you can save close to $10,000 per year by using public transportation.

Of course, this number is going to be inflated for you if you don’t work outside the home and have a regular commute, however, it’s important to note that this figure was based on a $2.75 per gallon price. With most of us paying at least $3.50 to $4 per gallon, if you have a daily commute, the savings could even be higher than $10,000 per year if you use public transportation!

To be continued next week…

How do you save money on gas?

photo credit; photo credit

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

Read Newer Post
«
Read Older Post
»

181 Comments

  • Diane says:

    My husband bikes 4 miles to work if it’s not too snowy/icy or thunderstorming. Walk wherever you can, find friends to meet you at a park within walking distance vs going to a more distant play area.

    • Shannon says:

      We live too far away for my husband to bike to work, but he does try to ride his motorcycle (which gets much better MPG than his truck) as much as possible when it’s nice out. We’re less than half a mile from a Dillon’s, so whenever I need minimal groceries I’ll walk there with the kids instead of driving. Every little bit helps, right? 🙂

  • Diane says:

    I forgot to add, carpool when possible.

  • Amy says:

    I really wish this was one of the areas I could save money on. However, since I have a 40 mile round trip commute to work everyday that means I have to drive. Gas is one of those things that takes priority in our budget because I have to keep my job so that means cutting back in other areas.

    • Jessica says:

      I agree. A cash budget is not possible for us because I drive 35 miles EACH WAY to work 5 days a week. Regardless of the cost, I need the as to get to work. If I were to use cash and run out, I would still need to find that money from somewhere.

      • Jessica says:

        I use the cash envelope system for gas and haven’t had an issue. I commute 57 miles round trip and in a given two week pay period will make that commute 12-14 times. Additionally, I have to sometimes make the commute for work related meetings and appointments (as part of my job, I have to transport people to these meetings and appointments so I have to report to work and then drive back to town).

        I overestimate how much money I will need for a given pay period and place that in an envelope. Then, at the end, if there is leftovers, it goes into savings or to cover other stuff. I have found this way actually easier because I know I have gas money set aside. Like you said, just not going to work is not an option. With this system I know I have the money to cover gas.

    • Laura Jane says:

      I’m in a similar situation. My commute is 35 miles each way (so 70 miles roundtrip) plus $5.20 in tolls daily! It adds up fast and the amount of money I spend on gas varies greatly as the gas prices vary. In a situation where someone has a somewhat lengthy commute to work, I really don’t think that the cash envelope system really works for this category. It’s not like if I’m halfway through the month and I were to run out of money in my gas envelope, I’d say “Well, guess I can’t go to work anymore this month.” I think it’s helpful to focus on the areas of the budget that I do have more control over, like food/toiletries, trips in the car that aren’t to work (like combining errands, etc), convincing the powers that be at work to move their entire headquarters building with 7,500+ employees nearer to my home (just kidding on that one, but it is nice to dream 🙂

      • Chrys says:

        Would carpooling be an option? With that many employees, I’d hope you weren’t the only employee in your area.

      • sarah says:

        We also live way out from the workplaces and in our area there are charter buses (like tour buses) that you pay to ride. With the price of gas, the bus is probably getting more economical.

        I try to drive efficiently by accelerating slowly, not speeding up to red lights, and coasting down hills. I’m amazed by how people want to race up to a red light and zoom off as soon as it turns green.

        My husband saves by filling up as often as possible – he says since gas is just going up each day, it makes sense to fill up when it’s cheaper.

        • Koree says:

          I feel ya girl! I am a substitute teacher and then head to class after work. So, I can’t really carpool with anyone since I am going to a different place everyday.

      • Jill says:

        My husband works 30 miles away and has been carpooling for years. They even give him a closer parking spot for carpooling. It can be done. It takes organization but the savings are enormous.

        • Emily says:

          It is hard to carpool, though, if you are responsible for dropping off/picking up kids from childcare. My husband and I share that responsibility (I drop off, he picks up). I doubt anyone my husband or I could potentially commute with would be interested in that little extra 10 minute stop. I know I wouldn’t. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do because it is best for your family. I’m in the same boat with other ladies. Gas is what it is, and I have to have it regardless to get to work, so I pay whatever price it is and try to adjust my budget in other categories. I am thinking that commuting and paying cash for gas would only work well for certain families’ situations, such as if only one parent does drop off/pick up, the parents happen to work at the same place, one parent stays home, etc.

      • Tiffany says:

        I drive 50 miles round trip to work, my husband drives 40 miles round trip, and we have been using a cash budget envelope system for almost a year now. We plan exactly how many days we will be driving to work each month and what We expect to be the average gas price for the month in order to estimate our budget for the month. There is a gas station very close to us that offers a 5 cent discount if you pay cash so we have to plan ahead to make sure we are always stopping there. We have gone slightly over during some months, but that just means we have to cut back in another envelope category. So I do think it’s possible even if you have a longer commute!

    • Stacy says:

      I’m in this boat too, with driving for work. I’m a home therapist so I drive from house to house seeing families all day. I’ve put as much as 120 miles on my car in one day for work! Thankfully my mileage has gone down a bit recently but it is still in the 40-60 mile range most days and I average over 1000 miles/month for work. One thing that I do is to try and take advantage of the $.10 off/gallon deals that our Fry’s (Kroger) has, although with eating healthier we aren’t spending as much at that store either!

  • Emma K says:

    I’m curious about if people know of good deals at gas stations?
    My parents somehow got $10 BP giftcards for buying gas there. I remember when I was younger, my mom would always fill up her van on Wed or Thurs because the gas was usually cheaper than the weekend.

    I have not been so diligent with doing that. I usually get my gas at Kroger because I get $0.03 off (at least); it is close to my house; and it is cheaper than the other gas stations.

    When we travel I try to do some of the truck stops because it used to be that there gas was a little bit lower.

    • Sarah says:

      Do you have a Speedway nearby?

    • Patti says:

      Our closest gas station raises the gas price every Friday and lowers it again on Monday. They know that people gas up after they get paid on Friday for the weekend – and have long lines every week to prove it. So, yes, observe your own gas station’s habits and see if there is a pattern.
      Also check out http://www.gasbuddy.com to see where the price is the cheapest and see if you can work that into your stop (don’t drive there, though, unless it is a really good deal… do the math.)

    • If you have a Publix near you, a few weeks ago ours did some kind of buy a $50 gas gift card get $10 off. Im not sure of the details but it may be worst watching out for. I do remember it was for BP gas. Also our Winn Dixie has cents off per gallon when you buy certain products and an additional when you spend some much in one trip. Hope this helps!

    • Christine says:

      My husband and many friends have worked with or at oil refineries over the years. Other than some additives that some places add to the gasoline, they all run basically the same operation. 87 gas is 87 gas, 89 octane, 89. The refineries themselves often change hands every few years, so a refinery that was BP is then Texaco and then Tesoro before being Conoco. So, when one gas station is cheaper, I generally fill up there, regardless of the “brand” name.

      However, due to a recommendation years ago, I make sure to never fill up at a place where the truck is unloading gas into the tanks. Apparently this stirs up debris in the bottom of the tanks that generally settles out of the gasoline (after being filled so many times, these small particles can really add up). If you fill up when the gas is being pumped in or soon after, you can pump all of that junk into your car and it can, apparently, hurt your engine.

      I could be totally wrong about these things, but they’ve been what’s been recommended to me.

    • Rachael says:

      My husband commutes 40 miles every day and he buys almost all his gas at Sam’s Club. It is generally 5 cents off per gallon cheaper, and we are members, which gives us an additional 5 cents off per gallon. We have found that we save enough on gas to pay for the membership.

  • April P says:

    My husband taught me to drive his much smaller, more fuel efficient standard transmission car this weekend so I wouldn’t have to take my huge Suburban (by myself) when I run errands! That was huge for me! I’ve been trying to learn since I was 16! (and I just turned 33 yesterday!) LOL
    I think this move is going to save us a lot of gasoline! That’s how he encouraged me to keep trying…. “Just think of all the money we’ll save…” 😉 Smart man… he knows my motivation.

    • Eleanor says:

      April, I second the standard car driving for fuel efficiency! Both my boyfriend and a good friend swear by this, and just yesterday my bf proved that he can coast a good 1/4 mile with the stick-shift and not run out of steam.

  • Rebecca Strong says:

    Buy gift cards at Dillons. They count towards your fuel points. For example when we were renovating our house we bought 500 Home Depot gift cards which gave us double fuel points. So we quickly had over 3000 fuel points so I was getting a dollar off on the fuel. Just one way to help save.

    • Shauna says:

      My Aunt does this at Smith’s. When she was redoing her bathroom she would buy gift cards for Home Depot. She also took her family out to eat at Olive Garden and bought a gift card ahead of time. She is able to save .15 per gallon gas.

    • Emma K says:

      Good idea. I never thought about doing that at Kroger.

    • maggie says:

      As a side note, the Dillons/Kroger gift cards don’t count toward the gift card extra bonuses. I tried…thinking I could just buy my groceries with the gift card and get the extra fuel points.

  • Sandra Lee says:

    My sisters and I get together and combine our shopping trips. I will go to Walgreen’s and a local grocer while my oldest sister will go to Target and Panera a different grocer, and my other sister will go to yet a third grocer and CVS. We meet back at my house, exchange items, pay what we owe and we not only save gas, but TIME. Has worked out well for almost a year now.

    • Charity says:

      That is an awesome idea! I wish I had someone I could do that with. It’d be worth it to me to save the *time* more than the gas! 🙂

      • Sandra Lee says:

        We love it! We do switch off each week. That way we all get a chance to do the quickie shop and we all endure the big one at the large grocer. So, once every 3 weeks you do the bigger grocery shop for all but, you don’t have to do it every week and all of your other shopping is done! It really doesn’t take all that much longer to do a large grocery shop for 3 vs. 1. If you all want ground meat, picking up 3 packages instead of one isn’t all that time consuming. You just have to juggle 3 lists. We tied the bigger grocer to CVS for we don’t utilize CVS all that much, so often times there is no CVS run, which means we only go to one store. We all have our cell phones with us in case we find their isn’t something on someone’s list to see if she wants a substitution. Plus, we’ve gotten to know each other’s product usage so well, we can call if we see a deal.

        When my sisters children we small, they hooked up with 3 of their neighbors and did a switch with Saturday child care during the holiday season. Each mom would take the others’ children for one Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The kids would be dropped off at 8:00 A.M. and picked up by 8:00 P.M. The 12 hours were long, but it allowed for 4 Saturdays, each with 12 hours of free time to get all you wanted to do for the holidays done. One of the neighbor ladies doesn’t care for Chicago, but the rest love it, so on the week it was Carol’s turn the other 4 would head down to Michigan Avenue for the day. We only live 90 minutes outside of Chicago…a totally doable Saturday trip. So productive! Plus, the schedule is agreed upon by all the ladies so you know when your Saturday is. Great for planning ahead.

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been considering going cash-only for non bill purchases, but I’ve been unsure about gas because it fluctuates so much. Thinking we might give it a try now.

    • My husband and I estimated the number of fill ups we would need for each car in a pay period and then estimated the cost of filling up to be $40 (obviously this was while gas was still under $3) which helped us figure out how much to put into the gas envelope. The first few months we had about $100 left in the envelope at the end, so we readjusted. You would be surprised how easy it is to figure out the cash for gas after working the system for a few months. Maybe that will help you get started.

  • Kristen says:

    I found it very educating last summer on a 6 hour round trip using the GPS. I drove to my destination at 65 mph. On the way home I drove nearly 80, it was late and I wanted to get home. I know that I get much better gas mileage at 65, but what shocked me was that I got home 4 minutes faster than I got there???? All that speed, risk of a costly ticket, and a lot more gas didn’t get me what I thought it would. The GPS showed the speed, mileage and time so it was all very easy to figure out.

    • melissa says:

      It’s amazing when you figure out how little speeding actually gets you in terms of time saved. We logically know this, but when we are running late, it’s hard not to be tempted to speed because it simply makes us FEEL like we will get there faster.

  • Emily says:

    Here is a tip I heard about from a friend:
    We have a King Soopers in town (Kroger) that is stocked with many gift cards to several stores in town (ie: Best Buy, Kohls, restaurants etc)- if they know they will be shopping at one of these stores they will buy the gift card here in order to rack up point for money off gas. For example, they knew they would be buying a lap top soon, so they bought $450 worth of Best Buy gift cards and ended up getting $.90/gallon off gas! I thought that was a great idea!

  • Jennifer says:

    In Iowa, the higher grade fuel (89) is actually cheaper than 87 because of ethanol/subsidies. So, I put the 89 in my CR-V.

    I am starting to be more conscious of my driving/trips now. Less trips to grandma’s or other relatives and this summer, my boy and I will be walking/riding bikes to the library and post office. He’ll love it and we’ll both get exercise!

    I go to school 4 days/week with clinical on 2 of them. No carpooling for me since no one in class lives in the same town. 🙁

    • Adam says:

      89 Octane here in Iowa also contains up to 10% ethanol. This blend can actually decrease your mileage up to 4% compared to using the full strength 87 Octane. Might want to run a few tanks of each and compare your average mileage of both to determine if it’s actually cheaper to use 89.

  • Elizabeth says:

    At the beginning of the month, we add $35 to 5 Walmart gift cards and $60 to 4 Walmart gift cards. He drives every day in a smaller vehicle, while I have a gas-guzzler and only try to get out on Sundays and Wednesdays for church and one trip to Waco (40 miles away) a week. We do separate cards, so we don’t go over at the beginning of the month and have nothing left at the end. The Walmart usually has the cheapest gas, plus with the card we get another .03 off each gallon. It’s worked well these past few month.

    (We also do this with groceries and then only carry the weekly gift card in when getting groceries. We know how much we have and can’t go over that way. It keeps us from coming out of Walmart with unnecessary things.)

  • Michelle says:

    Always watch what’s going on ahead of you! If a light 1/2 mile up the road is red, go ahead and take your foot off the gas pedal. It may take you longer to get to the light, but if it’s red anyway, it’s not wasting any extra time, but also no using any fuel. It also prevents you from coming to a premature full stop. If that light turns green before you get there, you’ll use less gas getting it back to full speed than if you were at a complete stop Figure out if back roads or busy roads are better. Many roads run
    parallel and although it may seem more fuel efficient to take the 35 mph back road, if there are a ton of stop
    signs, you may be wasting gas. Also, the convenience of drive thu may be coating you. I read that only 6 seconds of idling using as much gas as starting your car! That stop at the bank or fast food joint may be costing you extra if you have several cars ahead and slow service!

    • melissa says:

      I watch the lights too. It’s kind of fun, actually. I love watching fools speed up and pass me so they can be the first to stop at the light. Hilarious!

  • Heather says:

    I am a HUGE proponent of using cash but there are time when things come up and I borrow from different envelopes to make ends meet. In order to not be short on gas money becuase I have borrowed from that envelope, I will buy gas gift cards for myself. That way at the end of the month, I may have to eat from the pantry, go with out some things, but I WILL have money for gas to get to work 🙂

  • Tammy says:

    When my husband was unemployed when asked what do we need I said gas cards .You need gas to go on an interview.

    I do try to save on gas by using my Kroger card at Shell stations to get 10cents off each gallon.

  • Lea Stormhammer says:

    We use cash for our gas budget and have always budgeted high ($60/tank – at $3.50/gal our tanks run right around $40). We don’t roll the leftovers into savings or anything else. When prices go high, we just use this ‘leftover’. If gas, prices are lower, we use the ‘leftover’ for gas money on trips and such. When gas prices are higher, we add gas cost to the trip budget.

    We haven’t had any problems with the system working – even now with $50+ tanks of gas! We have a mini-van and a sedan. My husband drives the van that has lower milage because his commute is 6 miles one way each day. My commute is 18 miles one way each day + another 12 to run the kids to and from school (no bussing available and no one lives nearby enough to carpool). We each go through 1 tank of gas per week.

    Thanks for this article!
    Lea

    PS I love the idea in the comments about splitting errands between people! What a great idea!

  • Andrea says:

    I wish we could slash our gas budget, but I do a paper route every morning and its about 31 miles round trip and my husband commutes and its 42 miles ONE way.

    • anonymous says:

      My husband works as a driver and the diesel for his truck is very costly. There is nothing we can do about it though; if he doesn’t put fuel in his truck then he can’t work.

  • Sarah says:

    We frequent our local Speedway and use their member card. With purchases you earn points per $$ and such. Every time we purchase a $50 gift card we get 1000 points. Well, our weekly gas budget is $50 so works out perfectly. We just load the card and then immediately use it. Every 9,850 points we earn a $10 gift card! So that $10 every 8 weeks. Also, I get $0.03 off by using the member card.

    • RuthS says:

      Yes, we do the speedway points too. I just cashed in for $50 gc!

      • Sarah says:

        That’s awesome! I have never met anyone who does it!

        • RuthS says:

          Actually, neither have I, now that you mention it. 🙂 I’d guess we’ve probably gotten at least $300 in free gas over the last couple years. Can’t imagine a better deal!

        • Casey B says:

          I have cashed in points for 3 $50 cards and 1 $25 card. It can be done! Points take a while to add up, but when they do it’s totally worth it! I reload my gift card with $50 every 2 weeks for the 1,000 bonus points. Speedway is great! I traveled out west this past summer and was so disappointed to find that Speedway is only a Mid-West thing!!

          • Emily says:

            Ok ladies, now I’m intrigued and will be looking into this. I have a Speedway on the corner of the road my kids daycare is on. It’s one of two gas stations that are very conveniently located near our house, and both my husband and I often fill up at either of the 2 stations. I never knew Speedway had rewards and I’ll be checking this out next time I need gas. THANK YOU!!!!

  • JoAnne says:

    Our grocery store’s card earns us cents off on gas at a local station! We use that…plus they double coupons!! (only up to $1, but every little bit helps!)

  • WilliamB says:

    – Keep your tires properly inflated.

    – Don’t jackrabbit (start really fast) or brake hard.

    – Maintain constant speed, use cruise control when you can.

    – Don’t carry unnecessary weight: take out winter-time salt & kitty litter, don’t lug around stuff (such as donations) in your car, etc.

    – Don’t carry unnecessary air flow disturbers: take off bike carriers, ski racks, etc, particularly from the top of your car.

  • Lauren says:

    1) I use GasBuddy.com to find the lowest prices.
    2) I drive to another state, or at the very least, to another county. In the “Worker’s Paradise/Sanctuary City” of Chicago, we pay a flat 50.4 cents per gallon tax plus 6.25% IL State sales tax on gasoline.

  • Anitra says:

    We already use a fuel-efficient car for my husband’s long commute… other than that, I don’t really know how I can use less gas except not driving… and with two young kids, “walking distance” for me is less than a mile.

    I walked to our closest grocery store the other day, and had a really hard time walking home. I realized that I was pushing 50lbs of kid, 30lbs of stroller, and probably 30lbs of groceries… wow!

    • Valerie says:

      Another way to handle that would be to do one big shopping trip a month, stock up on everything except what won’t stay fresh the whole month, and then once a week or every other week, walk to the store with your kiddos in the stroller(or you could look into getting a bike and bike trailer), and get the few items you need. I have a general but fairly flexible rule(things like cold, time and weather can factor into it) about not driving to a destination in town, but if I happen to be coming back home and happen to pass the store then I will stop there and buy what I need(sometimes-most of the time I don’t… I figure if I really want the item and am willing to walk the 3/4 of a mile to the store to buy it with a 1yo in tow and can afford it then it probably is okay to buy). Good luck.

      • Anitra says:

        Grocery shopping is just one example – there are no other stay-at-home moms in my neighborhood and the playground is about 2 miles away, so if I want to see anyone other than my 2-year-old and infant during the week, I pretty much have to drive.

  • Mary says:

    Cash for gas? Do you then take three children out of their carseats since you have to go inside to pay? I don’t know that it would be worth it!

    • Crystal says:

      We fill up the van when we’re all out together so that one of us can stay in the car with the children and my husband fills up his car on his way home from work. It takes a little planning ahead, but it’s working well for us. If I was messing with taking children in and out of their car seats just to go in and pay, it’d be a lot more work!

    • Amy says:

      Amen girl! This is one thing where paying cash is way more inconvenient and time-consuming, especially if you have the kids with you, which I always do. I just put it on my debit card then go home and mark the amount off of my monthly gas budget. It is good to be mindful of it; you can easily do that with your debit card and not overspend.

    • Adam says:

      How did the world function before pay at the pump, and before debit and credit cards? Oh that’s right – people had no choice but to live within their means! What a concept!

      • Heather says:

        People have been getting themselves into debt for centuries using methods other than credit cards. Although credit cards have made it easier!
        Before pay at the pump, you could pay the full-service attendant to avoid going inside.

    • melissa says:

      I was wondering the same thing…during this transition, I’m commuting to Iowa and Missouri solo with my 2 and 1 yr. old…gas is one thing I use a card for…but I think all these ideas ate so helpful and I plan to put some into practice asap! 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    These seem like good ideas, but are there others? My husband and I each work full-time and because of our schedules we can’t carpool. (even though we go the same direction!) Both of our cars get around 30 mpg, but we still go through a tank of gas a week each. My husband recently changed jobs which led to a $50 a week pay cut. He’s home more, but it’s thrown our budget for a loop with the gas prices going up so quickly.

    Any other ideas would be appreciated!
    I need ideas to help cut costs as much as I can.

  • Noah says:

    gasbuddy.com

    I also try to use the grocery store discounts (usually kroger – I can get 10cents off/gallon like Tammy, also can do that at Safeway/Vons gas stations and sometimes the Costco gas line when it’s not a 15 minute wait).

  • Tonya says:

    Some of my family and I have decided that we would start car pooling for trips such as to the grocery store or down the mountain (we live on the Cumberland Plateau and have to drive down the mountain to do most of the big shopping). My mother drives my daughter to school since she goes right by her school every morning. This keeps me down to one 16 mile trip a day rather than twice a day! We are not only trying cash for gas but most other things as well trying to get spending under control. Love this story!!

  • Mary says:

    My husband and I chose to live in a place where we can walk to almost any of our regular destinations, including work. If we can’t walk, we pull out our bikes (weather permitting). We pay a little more for housing because of the location, but it is still less than what we would spend on gas living elsewhere!

    Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Emily says:

    Crystal,
    What car seats do you use in your husband’s car? I have a 3-year-old daughter and watch my 3-year-old niece during the week while her mom is at work. I’m expecting a son in July and am trying to figure out how to transport all three of them since we don’t have a minivan. I can’t figure out how to get the three to fit in the backseat.

    • When I drove our Malibu, with a 6 month old son and a 22 month old son. I often watch my niec who is 9 months. My youngest son and my niece are both in infant carriers. What I found that worked the best was to not use the bases with those. Might be something worth trying. I have since gave the husband the car and I “upgraded” to an Expedition. I get about 8 miles less to each gallon but the room is well worth it. Congrats on the new addition.

    • Cindi says:

      Sunshine Kids Radians are probably the narrowest car seats you can find–I have two of those plus a Graco Nautilus across the backseat of my Audi wagon. You could use two of those and a rear-facing infant seat, depending on your vehicle. You can always check the boards at carseat.org, too. They’re very helpful!

      • Lauren says:

        I agree with the Radians. We have a Pontiac G6 (NOT roomy) and managed 3 across with 2 Radians and a booster for my 6 year old. They are great seats, and really feel secure.

    • Rebecca says:

      We can fit 3 car seats across the back seat of a Dodge Neon (a very small car). We use Graco seats. It can be done!

    • My Boaz's Ruth says:

      Go to car-seat.org They’ve got lots of experience with different types of cars and different configurations that work for 3-across!

  • Ann says:

    #7 works for me! My college offers free bus rides on certain routes. The local CVS & RiteAid happens to be on those routes, too. 😉

  • Dani Wegman says:

    My trip is 47 miles each way! Unfortunately we need to be close to Manhattan, but when we were looking for a house, we couldn’t afford ANYTHING closer (things were half the size and over twice the cost).

    My husband works in Manhattan, while I work just outside, so I drop him off on my way in and pick him up on my way home, to save the added train ticket cost.

    I carpool with two other people from work as well. But it still adds up, and gas is not something that we can do without.

  • rle says:

    We recently moved to the Portland area where the climate is so much more mild. We had to give up my husband’s very old car. We bought him a good quality bike and made sure we lived less than two miles from his workplace. He now bikes to work everyday. He actually loves it, since he is getting exercise without having to make time for a workout.

    We now just own our minivan, which many days just sits in the drive way.

    • Carrie says:

      This sounds like our life, but on the other coast!:) We specifically bought our house within biking distance of my husband’s job. I can get to the library, grocery store, bank, park, etc. all within 2 miles. I walk to those places (when I can) and he bikes to work and the car sits in the driveway. The only place we have to drive to is church and it’s worth it for that!

  • jjoiner says:

    we have the bp credit card, which gives us 5% cash back on all gas purchases at bp. we use cash on most things, but not gas. i know a lot of people have reward credit cards but we prefer cash back cards because cash is cash. you don’t have to figure out how to use it.

    we also try to lay off the gas pedal and keep the rpms low. my husband bikes to work occasionally. we do our banking online. we got a smaller minivan that gets better gas mileage.

    i like the idea of coordinating shopping trips with a friend…i’m going to work on that one.

    • Julie in IN says:

      BP offered 10% back on the first 3 months of gas purchases with their cc; their fill up with 8 gallons 5 times to get a $10 gift card is finished.

      I’ll be watching for other offers in a few months when my 10% offer expires; if you pay your cc each month–it is worth the bonuses!

    • Jay says:

      We have the BP credit card too. At $3.60 a gallon, 5% off is 18 cents cash back per gallon, which is usually more than I have saved up on my grocery gas rewards since we spend so relatively little on groceries (due to combining couponing and sales). Plus we got 3 $10 BP rewards cards December – February when they were running their special incentive program.

  • Chelsea says:

    I’m a bit confused by number 3- observing the speed limit. Are you setting 60mph as the general speed and saying every 5mph beyond that, so 65 and up, you are spending .24 more? Because the speed limit on my local interstate is 70, do i’m just confused about how number 3 applies to that.

    • Crystal says:

      Sorry if I was confusing! I was just saying that, as a general rule of thumb, if you drive over 60 mph, it costs $0.24 more per mile for every five miles over 60 mph you drive. So, if your speed limit is 70, if you drive 80mph, you’re spending approximately $0.48 per mile to speed.

      • carrie says:

        i think i read that 55 mph is the ideal speed for gas mileage, above that is when it really starts ramping up.

      • holly says:

        Crystal,
        Thanks for posting these tips. I think that you mean $.24 per gallon, not per mile, right? That is the way you stated it in #3 and that makes sense.
        I drive a gas guzzler, and it *only* costs me about $.24 per mile on average to drive it at current prices. According to #3, I spend about $.90 per day round trip to speed, and I’m ok with that:)
        This is a great topic. Thanks again for posting it.

        • Crystal says:

          From FuelEconomy.gov:

          While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

          You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas.

          Observing the speed limit is also safer.

  • elisabeth says:

    We try and get our gas at country fair if you put money on a gift card you save 5 cents per gallon.

  • Ruth says:

    During the last gas hike, we spend 1200 dollars on gas a month, because of commuting for work. Plus tolls! We would have moved, but the commuters go in to two different directions and to two different counties. And it is hard to sell your house in the current market, besides. My brother said in Europe it is about 7 dollars a gallon for gas.

    • sarah says:

      My brother is in Spain – I think it’s around $6. We lived in Europe growing up and my Dad says gas there is cheaper now than it was then. It’s taxed pretty heavily. Back then, you would see big families pile into tiny cars – I’m not sure if they have tightened up on car seat use. But I think Americans gravitate toward larger cars than they need. I feel dwarfed in my county driving a Honda Accord with two kids surrounded by Ford F-250s.

  • Karen says:

    We save by using the “Fuel Bucks” from our nearby Food City–takes 15 cents off each gallon when you have enough points accumulated! I’ve thought about using Wal-Mart gift cards the rest of the time–takes cents off each gallon and keeps you in budget.

    I confess that I will probably never go to cash for gas. With two young children in the car, pay at the pump is too important to me. I don’t want to have to drag them out to go inside the station!

  • Amber says:

    My husband also bikes, especially now that it’s daylight savings time. He will take the bus when it’s too dark to bike. We’ve been a one-car household for over a year. If we both took the bus to work though, it would cost $6 a day round trip, which is more than it costs for me to take the car.

  • Jan says:

    Fuel Perks from Giant Eagle!!!

    • Jenny says:

      I miss Fuel Perks! It was the best! We no longer live in an area with a Giant Eagle, but when we rarely paid full price for gas.

    • Emily says:

      But I find that Giant Eagle’s prices are that much higher than, say Meijer, that it hardly makes it worth it to do most of my grocery shopping there. I may work my way up to saving $25 off a tank of gas in one month, but often I’ve paid $25 more for my groceries, so it is a wash. When they have good sales, though, I do find that their gas program is by far the best…..WAY better than Kroger.

      • Judy says:

        I wish I lived in an area that had Meijer or Kroger, but all we have is Giant Eagle, as well as two local chains, Marc’s and Heinen’s, neither of which double coupon or have any sort of fuel program. GE has a monopoly around here (Cleveland, OH) but at least they do have their fuel perks. Plus, you can buy the gift cards for other spending things, as well as Rx’s, which is helpful.

  • Katy says:

    Years ago with two small children it was easy to save on gas. My f-i-l had a habit of starting cars in the winter to make sure they would run. I would beg him not to start my car for me! Now with 4 kids and lots of activities it is so much more difficult. If I am waiting for a pickup the van is idling. Ugh! The days the van sits in the driveway and doesn’t go anywhere is a rare one. But I still use cash and am very conscious of how much gas I use each week.

    • L says:

      I can relate! Kids activities/sports – big gas guzzler 🙂 We live 15 minutes away from the school so I try to be creative with that hour or so that their activity takes, to avoid driving back home and then back to the school.

      • Katy says:

        Me too. My youngest are now old enough to ride bikes into town. As soon as the snow melts we will be hitting the bike path. For now, sometimes we exercise while we are waiting and sometimes hit the library or Rite Aid ; )

  • Wendy says:

    How do you pay cash only for gas with little kids? Do you just try to get gas when they are not with you or wait until your husband is with you?

  • Sweta says:

    Great tips!

    I save money on gas by checking gas prices on gasbuddy.com. I have a list of about 10 gas stations that are near my house and whenever I am running low I log in and see where gas is the cheapest and go there.

  • Julie in IN says:

    I am going to watch the gas prices on Gas Buddy carefully over the weekend to look for the trend mentioned; it will be simple to fill up during the week instead.

  • Koree says:

    I live right by Kroger, Target, Walmart, Meijer, and all the drugstores. Since the weather is nicer I walk/bike to the stores. It helps too because you know you can only buy as much as you can carry back.

  • Cris says:

    As others mentioned Kroger gives you 10 cents of a gallon for every $100 in purchases (doesn’t have to be all at once). I often get the points needed but noticed recently it counts pre-coupons, so I truly never spend $100 there a month but still get the discount! One time I spent $9 but the receipt said I got something like $23.

  • Janet says:

    Crystal,

    Once again you have hit on a subject that is so close to home!
    How wonderful that you turn this blog into a helpful ministry for all who come here.
    I don’t have any answers for us as we live way out. We do not drive much but when we do it is expensive and it is getting to the point where it is getting to be too much but we have no other choice our car is small we travel only one or two days per week. We group errands , we use the gas buddy, we have done the gift cards and points to get the lowest price.
    IT seems we are being priced out of a normal budget on the essentials in life. We can not walk or use a bike where we live as we too live way up a mountain and there are no side walks plus our ages are just beyond riding or walking too far. I try to stick to $25.00 per week and this is over our budget but it is just for what has to be. NO public transportation anywhere close.

  • We try to pile into our small car as much as we can to save gas, but our boys are getting big enough that three people back there is totally miserable and will only work for short distances. We have a 9 hour drive coming up, and hubby asked if we should take the camry instead of the Suburban, and I pretended not to hear him. (hee hee)

  • Lucy says:

    I drive a Chevy Equinox, and travel in the opposite direction of the heavy traffic to and from work, so I was doing 80 mph on the tollway every day and was averaging about 19 mpg, which is the EPA rating for city driving, not highway. When the gas when sky high in 2008, I slowed down to 60 mph and used the cruise control, thereby taking my lead foot out of the equiation. I averaged 26 mpg. That is over 25% savings on gas. When gas prices dropped I never went back to my old driving habits. It helps when your car displays your average fuel economy and you have it staring you in the face all the time, lol.

  • Misty says:

    Also, for anyone who has an iPhone (or other smartphone, I guess) you can download the app “GasBuddy” and it will tell you the gas prices of all the gas stations around you (no matter where you are) so that you can go to the cheapest one 🙂 This is always Sam’s Club for me!

  • Jolene says:

    We do gas points from Giant, this month they have a promo going that if you spend 300.00 you get an extra 30cents of a gallon/ so 60 cents off. We’ve been trying to combine that promo with the one on the back of the flier that if you buy so many of each color group you get so much off a gallon. Did this last year, the back page thing and ended up paying 27 cents a gallon. Only bad part, i just finished using all my boulion cubes. Oh well, lots of homemade soup. lol.

  • carrie says:

    I’m glad that at least one person mentioned choosing somewhere to live that is within biking distance of work. I know it’s not necessariy feasible to up and move just because gas prices are high, but when choosing a home, we have always prioritized being walking distance from a train line. We would not want to live in a suburban or rural area and have to drive everywhere. We pay more for real estate, but we feel like living on a small home and lot in a walkable community, where we can commute by public transportation to work, is worth the extra cost in mortgage payments.

  • Ann says:

    I can’t wait to hear what you have for us next week. I’m a Home Health nurse and do a lot of driving. I try to group my clients together that live close together, but that doesn’t always work.
    I do try to run my errands when I’m already out. I’ll sometimes carry my CVS list and coupons, so that if I’m near a CVS (there seems to be one on every corner around here anymore), I’ll make a quick stop.

  • Danielle says:

    Crystal, what kind of car seats do you have that you can fit 3 in the backseat?? Of course, we’ll be adding another baby to the family soon, so I guess it won’t matter; but when we added the 3rd child, I just couldn’t find one slim enough to fit into between the other 2.

    • Lauren says:

      I replied earlier also, but the Sunshine Kids Radian is what we used to fit 3 across the back seat of our Pontiac G6. I have 2 Radians and a booster, and in the other car, a Radian, a regular toddler booster (Evenflo?) and a seat belt booster. I managed to configure them all by myself at 9 months pregnant too- it can be done!!!

      • Krista says:

        I have this problem, too. I can find narrow seats (like your Radian), but most are too tall/long to fit in my car rear facing. My 7 month old is about to outgrow his infant carrier (19#, 29″ – limit 22#, 28″) but we haven’t been able to find a convertible carseat that will fit in our car rear facing without the front seat pushed all the way up (which won’t work for us since we’re both tall). Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!!

        • Anitra says:

          Krista: We have the same problem. Even with a relatively short convertible seat (Cosco Scenera), we had to push the passenger seat in front ALL the way up in our sedan. (Basically, the car could not fit anyone besides a driver and the baby.) We ended up getting a big family car, since we were about to need a new car for my husband’s commute anyway (he now drives the sedan).

          Check the car-seat.org forums. They might have a suggestion for you.

  • Cindi says:

    We do a few things:
    – Sold my minivan to get a manual-transmission wagon (and put in three skinny car seats to fit the kids in the back)–went from 18 mpg to almost 30!
    – Combine trips, when possible (though I still end up shlepping the kids all over)
    – Use the GasBuddy app on my phone to find the lowest gas
    – Use the gas station at either Safeway or the one associated with King Soopers/Kroger, wherever I’ve accumulated enough points to get 10 cents off per gallon
    – Keep my display on my car set to ‘instantaneous mpg’ — I can instantly see when/how my mileage is dropping and drive more smoothly to try and get the best number!
    – Keep the car well maintained to ensure I’m getting the best mileage
    – Oh, and shortly we’re moving to another state where we purposely chose a house within walking/biking distance of the grocery store. It might not always be reasonable with groceries for a family of 5, but for smaller trips, it will be nice to be so close!

  • In addition to all these great ideas, I will add: Get regular maintenance on your car, including oil changes, filter changes, fuel injector cleaning, checking your tire pressure, etc. I recently noticed that my gas mileage was decreasing greatly. It was at 14 mpg in the city, when it used to get 21mpg!!! I thought it was due to the ethanol they put in the gas this time of year, but our car started to run pretty badly. After a check-up at the car doctor (ha), I found out the cars fuel injectors were clogged. I had some other routine maintenance done, and the so far the car is running better and is getting its previous gas mileage.

    • Amy says:

      Good for you! Not cleaning the fuel injectors is what killed my old Camry–cost nearly $2000 to repair all the damage caused by improper maintenance. Now I’m reformed, and I do whatever they tell me to at the oil change places. 🙂

  • Kimberly says:

    I wish I remember where I read this… but, it is best not to fill your tank while the gas station is filling up theirs. It stirs things up and you can get gunk in your engine.

    Also, one thing that I have FINALLY learned! It is always better to get gas at a slightly higher price, than to run around on fumes waiting for the better price. I have bought at least 2 of those red tanks and walked back to my car in my 20+ years of driving!! 😉 (slow learner, I am…)

  • I have a tip to add! Pick up milk while you are filling up for gas. I have found in our area milk is cheapest at the convenience store. Always!

  • Amy says:

    Six years ago we treaded in one of our cars and purchased a scooter (65 mpg) which my spouse drives to work. The following year we made the decision to acquire a diesel car & converted it to run on waste vegetable oil which we obtain for free from local restaurants. These two actions have saved us thousands of dollars in fuel costs.

    • Anna says:

      Is it pretty usual to get the WVO for free? My husband is dying to get a diesel and convert it.

      • amy says:

        For the past 5 years we have gotten all of our WVO for free. I admit I was concerned initially about our ability to acquire a source of WVO and the process of networking, making connections & asking various owners took about 4 weeks before we found a restaurant willing to enter into a verbal agreement. I think one of the challenging elements for us was that we were new to the area and didn’t have many relationships we could build upon.

        When we were initially considering converting to WVO the website http://www.greasecar.com was incredibly helpful. I’m not affiliated with them in any way but just recommend their knowledge base if you have questions/concerns. It’s not an option for everyone but it’s been a huge money saver for us.

  • Coupon Christy says:

    We save money on gas by turning off the engine while waiting for a train to pass.

    • My grandpa used to tell me “It takes more gas and more wear on the vehicle to turnoff and restart then to ilde for 10 minutes”. My grandpa was a mechanic and would get so mad at me for turning my car off to run in his house for a few minutes.

      • Becky says:

        My husband is a mechanic and he disagrees. I think that was true at one time, but no longer. Cars are built differently (and hopefully better) these days.

    • Lana says:

      I do that too. I have to pass an intersection on my way into town where I often get stopped by LONG trains and I just roll down the windows and shut off the engine. I know the pattern of the lights and sometimes it is 5 minutes after the train before my light is green so I just wait. It could easily be 10-15 minutes that I save by not idling there.

  • Adrienne says:

    I am going to argue always buying lower grade gas (#2) because we’ve experimented with our last two cars (both older 10 years old and one of them is now 14 years old) and found that as the gas price climbed, it was cheaper to buy the highest grade gas.

    With the green car (10 years old) I found that a tankful of highest grade gas let us go 325 miles while the lowest grade only let us go about 250. In that car, that was equivalent of 1-1.5 gallons of the lower grade which at the time was 3.50 in california. If I spent $2 more per fill-up to buy the higher grade gas which meant I saved $1.50 per fill up AND I was reducing how much repairs our poor old car needed.

    It was the same with our white car which we still own and it’s 14 years old, although the tank is smaller so it’s not as drastic each time. That said, this car likes the premium even more and doesn’t grind and make horrible sounds the way it does on the cheaper stuff which makes us more confident about driving it long distances, such as for DH’s commute. (We miss the public transport available to us in Cali for sure!)

    Obviously, there price point at which this does not make sense (for us it was under $3 for the cheap stuff, but when the gas was close to $5 per gallon in California, it made major cents (and dollars) to get the premium gas. I haven’t done the experiment in our (new to us) van yet, but mostly because the gas mileage fluctuates depending on if I am driving in town our on the interstate.

    • SoGoodHeart says:

      Your absolutely right about higher-grade fuel giving you more miles. My husband and I are in the auto industry and we both vouch for higher-octane fuel as being better for your wallet and your car!

  • Sara says:

    I used to take my oldest year old to a library that had a “move with music” class. With my second I decided instead of driving 30 minutes and searching for parking I would just do the class at my house. I bought some “shakers” to add to our play instruments we already had, read a story and play music off my ipod! We have 4 kids in the neighborhood come over and so far everyone likes it. Saves me an hour of time and gas!
    That is one of the ways that I just dont make as many trips as I used too. Being more concious of our budget and a toddler who hates to shop has cut down on shopping, which of course saves on gas.

  • Tania says:

    I appreciate the thought for these ideas but don’t think that they work well for many people. Largely in part because there is the time versus money issue. At my last job, I could take the bus to work and get there 1.5 hours later (3 hours each day) or I could drive an be there in 10 minutes (20 minutes each day). The calculator for our local bus company even agreed that it was the cheaper option when all other costs were included (gas, insurance, maintenance, etc.).

    For us, we only use the car for “pleasure” (aka: going to the zoo) or chores so every day tips don’t work for us anymore but I’d love to hear more solutions for those who don’t use a car to commute. Come on, whose got ideas? Thanks!

    • B says:

      In at least my area public transportation is extremely unsafe. There are rapes/kidknappings often on the bus lines.

      My father used to utilize public transportation and my parents discovered it was not saving them as much as they had thought it would. Not to mention it was “costing” my dad a huge amount of time.

      Also, sometimes buying the lower grade fuel isn’t the most cost effective purchase.

      My job requires use of my own car. So establishing a gas budget is not even an option.

    • Rachael says:

      Thanks for this different perspective. We live in a very rural area with no public transportation at all, so we are stuck driving a lot.

  • Anne says:

    We have a Price Chopper and a Weis where we live. Both grocery stores have a deal where when you spend $50.00 in groceries, you get .10 cents off per gallon. 20 gallons max. With our family of 8 we spend a good amount of money on groceries so it adds up fairly quickly. Just yesterday I saved .40 cents a gallon. My gas light was on yesterday, filled up to the max of 20 gallons and still did not have a full tank (almost), and it still cost me 71.00! If prices get much more expensive we will need to come up with some alternative!

  • I understand how it’s easy to go over budget using a debit card (we do it sometimes), but often I am refueling when I’m alone with the kids, and the convenience of paying at the pump is paramount.

    One thing I’m considering is getting the QuikTrip (a regional gas station) debit card, so we can at least save some money/gallon and still not get back into using credit.

  • Carla Sorensen says:

    This is one area I have not been as frugally minded as I should. Thanks for the reminders and the ideas. I normally have not thought too much about this. I just drive where I want to when I want to! Not good!! My husband has two jobs, both basically out of the home, and we only have one car to share, so we do save a lot that way, but could do so much better. I may even consider walking to the local grocery store. It is not *that* far.
    Thanks again and God Bless You all.

  • Mrs K says:

    We do something similar to Elizabeth, by buying gift cards at Speedway. Not only does this help our budget but we get bonus points by buying a $50 gift card and when we get enough points we can get free gift cards for gas or restaraunts. When we are organized and work is going well we like to bless others with these cards…the single lady who will never go out to eat with her own money, the minster who drives everywhere without being compensated, etc. Sometimes we are in a bind and need the gas cards to get us through to the end of the month but it’s such a blessing to be able to give to others.

  • I plan my shopping trips to save gas and time. Running up to the store for 1 forgotten item can also waste money and gas.

    I love shopping at Trader Joe’s but it’s a haul for me. I only shop there if I’m planning a trip to my mom’s since she’s so close.

  • We live 2 blocks from a grocery store. For small things like a loaf of bread or something we walk (weather permitted, we live in iowa) we also walk to and from school when weather permits, it’s across the street from the grocery store. We drive an f150, it was the only option and are trying very hard to save for something more economical, even if it is an old beater. I hate that we have to spend so much on gas!! it is the biggest part of our budget outside of rent!

  • mary g says:

    i use shop n save gas points for sunoco. I dont like shopping there much so i gave one of the key chain cards to my dad who doesnt drive and likes that store. so we add them up together for my car. he usually gets it up to .85 off a gallon by himself

  • Sara says:

    We don’t save on gas! I will always find the cheapest gas but around here there are no public transportation options and walking/biking is extremely unsafe along the busy, country roads. Neither of our cars get good gas mileage and we have the van of the family so it’s always our car we drive when going out to dinner with everyone. We also live 25 minutes away from church. We make that trip eight times a week at least. Our town doesn’t have all of the shopping we need sometimes too, so add another 30-35 minute trip into town. One major unexpected blessing to my husbands new work from home job is the gas cost though. He was driving to work every day…about 40-45 minutes one way. At least now it’s my car we’re driving into the ground.

    • Sara says:

      As a side note: Cash for gas isn’t even worth my trouble. I fill up the car more often than not and if they don’t have a pay at the pump, they don’t get my business!

  • Lana says:

    Back when Publix had the $50 BP gas card for $40 deal and did not limit them I bought $300 worth at once. We found out that only using BP gas gives us an average of 4 more miles to the gallon. I had always had the mindset the buying the cheapest gas was the best thing to do but I have found that the really cheap gas gives me way less miles. I get the worst milage on gas from Sam’s.

  • Charity says:

    While reading this post and the comments, I giggled, realizing that I haven’t filled a vehicle up with gas since I met my husband! I don’t even know where the lever is to open the little door to fill up the gas in our minivan! Am I spoiled or what? 😀

  • melissa says:

    Someone might have said this already. Know about what rate of miles per gallon your car gets. Then figure out (google maps, perhaps) how many miles your round trip is. Then you can figure out how much it will cost to get to a place and back. I did this once when AFTER I traveled 20 minutes to a Half Price Books to sell a box of books. They gave me about $14 for my items, but it cost me nearly that much in gas for my round trip. Doh! I should have thought that one through a little more! Luckily, there’s a Half Price Books much closer to us now. But that was the lesson…have an idea of what your trip will cost in fuel.

  • A.S. says:

    I agree with “Amy” (one of the 1st comments). This isn’t an area where I’d ever like to worry about budgeting/dealing with cash. We keep our car up-to-date (maintenance-wise) and fill-up at the least $$ station in our area, which is fortunately in our town, and also do the other items mentioned, such as ease up on the gas pedal, etc. My husband and I both drive to work (there is no other option, as we live and work in the suburbs), and when together, we use our sedan versus SUV. I personally prefer to cut back on dining/entertainment/etc. and do a lot of couponing than to worry about a budget for gas.

  • Broke Girl says:

    How do I save money on gas? By walking and bicycling, not driving. Also, by just staying home.

  • Anna says:

    Lots of great comments and tips here!

    Wow, I can’t imagine spending so much on gas that you could save $880 in a year by changing a few things! A couple years ago when the price of gas was half what it is now, I spent $167 in a year on gas. That included driving to school and back weekdays, to work and back several times a week, shopping, trips out of town, etc. But most of these things were within ten miles radius. I can’t imagine a 35 mile commute, especially the time it takes!

    I love driving a stick shift. There are so many things you can do driving one of those to cut down on gas. We live in a very hilly city, so I get a lot of coasting in. And of course, as others have mentioned, coasting into red lights, going the speed the car likes, etc.

    As Tania said, the time wasted in public transportation is huge. Not to mention inconsistent bus times, leading to being late sometimes when you’re counting on catching that second bus.

    If there is someone knowledgeable about vehicles in the house, you could get a diesel and make it run off of filtered waste vegetable oil that restaurants discard. 🙂 But of course, there is a big coast initially.

  • chris says:

    Moving is my method of saving gas.

    DH and I both had long, crummy commutes and it was actually cheaper to rent a house closer to work and leave our other house empty (because of our savings in gas and childcare). Then we found a good tenant for the house that we own and had lived in for the past nine years and now we are way ahead finaicially as a result and are fitter (because we no walk to work) and have way more family time (because we are spending 12 hours less per week driving). A bit unconventional, but it worked for us.

  • Tammy L says:

    Unfortunately we figured out that there really isn’t a way for us to save money on gas right now. We have 1 vehicle, it’s driven to work 5 days a week (could commute by bus but the 75 minute daily commute would turn into a 240 minute daily commute… not an option to commute 4 hours a day!)… and we figured out our mileage for last year. After we subtracted the work commute, we were driving an average of just 12 miles a week. That’s the store and church (sometimes). 🙂 Not ready to cut out those two yet, heehee 🙂

  • maggie says:

    One tip: if you have Amazon Mom, use the Free Prime shipping for those things you forgot to get at the store. If they are truly “need” items, use it to save you the time, gas, and other impulse buys. Just bought a $3 formula sorter on Amazon to save me the effort (and temptations!) of taking the kiddos out to Target.

  • CJ says:

    Taking the bus to work would actually cost me more per day – $4 in bus fees vs. less than $4 for the gas that I would use for my 16 mile round trip. I work odd hours that would make taking the bus inconvenient or even not possible some days. And I wouldnt be able to get my errands done to and from work, so I’d actually use more gas having to do those errands on non-work days. My biggest saving on gas is using my Discover gas card, I get 5% back on all my gas purchases. I live close to Walgreens, the bank and post office so I walk to those to save gas.

  • Amy says:

    We just bought the ugliest 1996 Suzuki Sidekick for cheap and for cash it a has a 4 cylinder and 5 speed so we will save money by driving this and parking my husband’s 2500HD Chevy pickup.

  • Kristen says:

    I agree with this to an extent – with the exception of using a lower grade fuel. My husband is super vigilant about making sure we are getting the most for our money and actually did an experiment using two different grades of fuel in our truck. He found it’s actually more cost effective to use the higher grade because our truck got an extra few miles to the gallon on average over the lower grade. So, depending on your vehicle it may actually be more cost effective to use a higher grade fuel.

  • Margaret says:

    I know this will go against the grain, but I’m saving money on gasoline by buying PREMIUM gas for my 1977 Lincoln!!!

    There was a gas shortage here one day. I happened to be in town and heard about it. So I went to the station to fill up. They were out of regular unleaded and the mid-way gas and only had PREMIUM High-Octane!

    I filled up with it, since the prevailing rumor was that there would soon be NO GAS for nobody knew how long!

    The next day, it turned out, the rumors were all false, and an actual gas shortage had been CAUSED BY everybody going to the gas stations and filling up on the same day!!! (I love it!)

    But funny thing, I drove on that gas for much longer than usual, and my car — I admit, it is gas lover — ran much better, so much so that even with high gas prices, I still use only PREMIUM in my older model Lincoln.

    I have a newer Saturn but it is in need of one more repair before I can begin driving it full time!

    Till then, I’ve found it best not to focus so much energy on responding to a temporary situation with higher gas prices. It truly does not exist in my mind, and has not been a problem to me.

  • Michele says:

    Number 3 does not make sense to me. No matter how fast you drive a car, the cost per gallon would be the same. Cost per mile would change, as you drive faster/slower, although the amount it would change by would depend on the cost per gallon of gas.

  • Rachel says:

    We tried the cash for gas thing and it was not helpful at all. My husband and I both have fixed (and long) drives to work, in addition to other errands, etc. While $300 was enough last month, now it takes $400 to cover the same amount of miles. And on top of that, it required my husband to go inside to pay for gas, subjecting him to the temptations of convenience store food and cigarettes (both of which he’s trying to cut back on). We decided it’s better to put it on our credit card (and get 5% cash back) and avoid the temptation of a convenience store than to try (and fail continually) to keep under a cash amount.

    We do, however, religiously subscribe to “hypermiling” and were able to increase our gas mileage almost 40% on one of our vehicles!

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, cash could definitely prove to be a greater temptation in that situation. Thanks for sharing a different perspective; I appreciate it!

  • Jenny Lenarz says:

    While my husband finishes law school and we are living on one income, we find a way to drive to work together. He drops me off and drives on to school. It makes for a long day with me and the kids at the christian school I teach at (and they go to), but it is well worth the money we would spend if both of us were driving. And we drive a hybrid!

  • jane says:

    If you’ve got a little time, you can save $250 on gas in 3 months (I did it). http://liverichandfree.blogspot.com/2010/11/idea-for-getting-gas-at-98-off.html

  • Blake says:

    At HEB they give you a 3 dollar off HEB gas coupon if you spend 75 dollars or more. And since we try to bulk buy, we seperate each transaction and get like 3 or more each time. And then go fill up on gas.

  • Jennifer says:

    When I was working (40 miles from home!) I was lucky to be able to carpool with 2 others. Also, we all signed up for a gov program in our state (Alabama) called Commute Smart. Basically it paid us, via gas giftcard, $25 for every so many carpooled commutes we made. Commute Smart also had a van for people who work in same areas. One person drives and they have designated meeting place and drop everyone off where they need to go. I don’t know if this is available in other states, but it is worth checking!

  • Jennifer Madigan says:

    My mother and I combine our grocery shopping into one trip. That way we each only drive every other week.

    I do have a question though. I know that you have young ones. Are you able to fit all 3 kids into car seats or safety seats in the back of your husbands car? If so what kind of car does he have? We have a small commuter car for my husband but I can’t fathom being able to fit 3 car seats in the back. I wasn’t sure how you figured out how to do it :).

    Thanks,
    Jenn

  • Stasia says:

    Carpool! I am a teacher and work at a school that is about thirty minutes away. That puts me out about a tank every work week. Fortunately there are two other teachers that live about where I am. We carpool and now we only have to pay for gas every three weeks. If we do this everyday for the whole year we could save around $1200 each!

  • Sheila says:

    One way our family has cut back in fuel is we now let our kids ride the bus home from school. We live about 7 miles from town and I was filling up twice a week at around $70 per fill up ( I have an SUV). My youngest son is really the one that gave me the push to starting letting them ride ( I am one of these moms thats like to take and pick up my kids from school), but honestly its one of the best decisions we have ever made. I am only having to fill up about once a week now and I am saving myself about an hour and a half in the afternoons not having to wait in the car line and go to two different schools. It definitely something to consider 🙂 I would have never considered it if I didnt think my kids would be safe, but we live in a small enough community ( about 6,000 people) where I am comfortable with it.

    I still take my kids to school every morning (bus runs at 6:50 and we are not up) and partly because I dont want to give up taking them if I dont have too 🙂

  • JOYCE says:

    My Mechanic of a husband says keep your windows closed saves gas. It’s actually cheaper to use your A/C also running your car instead of turning it off/on again like to pick someone up or running into the store a second or back into the house saves.

  • Ted Newell says:

    Everytime I go out for a cup of McDonalds coffee ( 1.00 ) I was spending $2.00 in gas. I now make my own coffee. As a senior citizen I used to go out more often ro shop. I now limit myself to go out 2 days a week when the sales start.
    I also asked my children to call me instead of driving about 2 hrs. to visit.
    On a fixed income it is very hard to manage the cost of gas.

  • Kathryn says:

    We’ve done quite a bit of research on saving money by buying a more fuel efficient car. For us it’s just not worth it, the higher price for the car, and the higher price tag for repairs, (my husband can do many repairs on older domestic vehicles) is more than what we’d save in gas mileage. This is ESPECIALLY true with hybrid cars, that are expensive to keep up with as far as replacing batteries etc. even with the tax break!

  • melanie says:

    We have an SUV which guzzles lots of gas. We also live near a Kroger which has a fuel center. Our Kroger offers one point per every dollar spent at the grocery store. It also offers double points when you buy gift cards from the Kroger store. Points can be accumulated to get a discount at the pump. For example, I bought a $50 BP gas card, $25 Shell gas card and a $25 Subway restaurant card at Kroger. $100 worth of gift cards equals 200 Kroger fuel points, which in turn equals 20 cents of a gallon at the Kroger fuel center. Kroger offers many gift cards so I’ve learned to shop and eat out using as many gift cards as possible. You can accumulate as much as a dollar off a gallon, up to thirty five gallons per fill up. Since our SUV holds 22 gallons and our van holds 17 gallons. I use the BP and Shell gas cards til both of our vehicles are low. My husband and I take them to the Kroger fuel center and fill them both using our discount. Maybe a little complicated for some people, but its helped us save! Beware that the points do expire and do not accumulate month to month. This is a great strategy if you’re driving on vacation this year. Just buy you’re gas cards ahead of time at Kroger.

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *