Gas prices are on the rise. Here are some ways to save a little bit of money!
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine continuing to impact oil prices all around the world, at Bonsai Financial we think the best solution might be to start brainstorming some small life changes we can make to compensate.
AAA reported that the United States hit its highest average price per gallon in history this year, reaching $4.33 on Mar. 11 . Thankfully we have seen some lower prices lately. Some minor adjustments to your lifestyle might make today’s higher gas cost more palatable, potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars ! Fewer trips to the pump mean more money in your wallet, which means more money that you can spend, save or invest in your future.
Here are seven ways to save money on gas, whether high price or low:
- Start carpooling
For those with longer work commutes, carpooling can be a great option to save gas money. By finding a work friend who lives nearby and makes a similar commute, you could cut your gas expenditure in half, or even further if you decide to invite more people into your car pool. It can even offer more social outlets for adults looking to make friends at their jobs. Carpooling can also help the environment by reducing emissions, all while saving your valuable time by providing access to the high occupancy vehicle lane.
- Download price-viewing apps
Gas prices fluctuate based on location and company. Every driver knows that the worst feeling is getting gas, then driving one mile down the road, only to see prices 30 cents cheaper than the price you just paid. Luckily, there is an easy antidote. Phone apps, like GasBuddy , aggregate prices for nearly every gas station in your area. The prices are verified by users, typically daily or upon each change, to ensure that the prices you see are accurate. Then you are only a few taps away from pinpointing the least expensive gas near you. Simply checking nearby rates or prices in a specific city or zip code is free, but GasBuddy offers premium options with monthly fees that can help users save even more.
- Become a member of wholesale stores
Wholesale stores, like Costco, may feature lower gas prices depending on your area. While Costco’s Gold Star membership might cost you $60 per year , we can do some quick math to see just how that membership fee has the potential to pay for itself. Before the pandemic, the average American filled their gas tank roughly once per week . According to GasBuddy searches, in large metro areas, Costco’s average price per gallon might be somewhere between 25 cents and 50 cents per gallon less than the average price at other stations in the city . With a 12-gallon tank filled once per week, the lower end of the scale results in a savings of $3 per full tank. While that might not sound like much, the $60 annual membership fee is covered in less than half a year. The Gold Star membership also offers a second membership to an adult who lives in your household at no additional cost. If, for example, your spouse also fills their 12-gallon tank once per week, the membership is now paid for in just two-and-a-half months, and you could still get cheaper gas for the rest of the year in addition to other wholesale club benefits.
- Work from home
It’s no secret that the best way to save gas is to stop driving. Obviously, that isn’t an option for everyone, but according to the Pew Research Center, 59% of workers in the United States who are able to work from home are taking advantage of that opportunity . The pandemic forced the world to reevaluate work circumstances, but as the effects of the spread wane, working from home can be a great option for those still looking to cut down costs at the gas station.
- Pay cash
Some gas stations offer discounts to those who pay with cash because they don’t have to pay credit card transaction fees. In the transition to a cashless world, you might not carry cash as often as you used to, but a quick stop at your local ATM on your way to fill up or asking for cash back when you buy a drink at a convenience store might prove to be beneficial. GasBuddy and other apps with similar capabilities may be able to show whether or not a gas station provides a discounted rate for customers who pay with cash . Some gas stations have signs specifically showing the cash rate, or you may see signs that flash between two prices, showing the price for paying with card versus the price for paying with cash.
- Find alternatives to long-distance hobbies
If you’re concerned about high gas prices, staying home can be a good option. Weekend vacations or one-day getaways can easily be turned into staycations, and with some technological adaptations over the pandemic, there are so many great options for at-home activities. You can rent a recent movie, listen to music, play board games, grill out, invite friends over for a gathering, work out or play with your pets. Events like virtual happy hours and online hangouts have also become increasingly popular over the past two years, so if you just can’t reach your friends and family because of distance, you can still see them and interact with them extremely easily, all without spending a dime on fuel.
- Use public transportation
Depending upon your location and living situation, you may be able to save on gas by taking public transit. It may be a more difficult, or even impossible, option in wider-sprawling metro areas or cities without public transit systems, but in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia or Seattle, one household can save $10,000 or more each year by using public transit . That total could depend upon other factors like insurance, parking or the type of car you drive, but the high price of gas is certainly a consideration in that estimated savings.
If you have any questions about how you can save money or combat inflation and rising living costs, please give us a call. You can reach Bonsai Financial by calling 602-343-9309!