Extreme Couponing at the Gas Pump
Excuse me while I whine about living in Chicagoland. Again. I know you're as tired of hearing me whine about this as I am of living here, but I just can't help it. Grocery stores all over the country are offering great savings at the gas pump for those who use store loyalty cards, all extreme couponers use store loyalty cards, and of course there's not a single store near me that is offering these savings. And gas prices in Chicagloand are high -- the highest in the country.
My mom is pretty anti-coupon; she's like most people and swears there aren't coupons for the things she buys. She would be wrong, but that's OK, I still like her. I tried to convince her to at least shop at a grocery store that offers discounts on gas. She didn't seem to think it was worth it for her to drive an extra couple of miles in order to save money on gas. She might be right, but it would depend on a) how much she spends on groceries b) how many trips she made to the grocery store that offered fuel rewards c) how many gallons she put into her gas tank.
I looked at the grocery stores within 10 miles of my mom's house. She lives in the Charlotte area. I looked at the difference in distance between the store(s) she prefers and the ones offering discounts on gas. There is a grocery store that gives fuel rewards seven miles from her house. And, let's say my mom goes to my sister's house to pick up or drop off the heir(s) to the throne, there's one only one mile from my sister's house. How convenient is that? Let's also look at the place my mom volunteers at, several times a week -- there's one five miles from that particular location, as well.
So let's say she has to drive five miles out of her way to get to a grocery store that offers fuel rewards. Five miles = .7 gallons (at 35 mpg) and at $3.50 a gallon, the cost would be $1.00 to make that drive (round trip) -- to make it worth the drive, she would need to spend (before coupons) $100.00 to save .10 per gallon on gas -- and put at least 10 gallons into her tank.
For me, that would be completely do-able and is exactly why I'm jealous about fuel rewards programs. If I lived in Florida or SC, my fuel reward grocery stores were even closer than the ones in my mom's area -- and I shopped at them, anyway! I'm totally missing out by living up here in the land of no-doubles and the land of no fuel-perks!
Fuel reward programs vary from store to store, and in some cases, location to location. You can learn more about some of the most common fuel rewards programs here:
- FuelPerks (Win Dixie, Bi-Lo, Rainbow stores etc.)
- Kroger Fuel Incentives
- Weis Markets
- Giant Foods
- Safeway Power Pump
I hope more stores offer fuel rewards in the future, but in the meantime, we have some other options.
If you have a Discover Card, you'll be able to earn 5% when you buy gas in July and August. And I've heard a rumor that you can use your CashBack Rewards to buy $40 gas cards for $20. (This is a rumor that I can't check out since I don't have a Discover card! If you've got one, go look and let me know if it's true.
CVS is running a free gas card ECB promotion all summer long. I've done it twice, and it's awesome. Here's how it works.
Every week, CVS will offer a $10 gas gift card ECB if you purchase $30 worth of some combination of products. The first week I participated, I bought two bags of chips, two jars of salsa, some VitaminWater, and some dish washing detergent for my kids. Last week, I bought vitamins and pain reliever. I had coupons for every single item I purchased, so the before-coupon cost was $30, but after coupons each purchase was between $20-25. Good deal, particularly if you regularly use the items in the promotion AND you have coupons. Take a sneak peek at next week's gas card promotion and start looking for coupons now.
How much are you paying for gas? Have you found good ways to save money at the pump?
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