Save Money on Gas – How I Saved 11.9% at the Pump With a Sneaky Trick

May 17, 2008

Saving money on gas is on everyone’s mind so I just had to share a tip I ran across yesterday that might help cut your gas costs.  It won’t work for everyone but with this method I was able to save 6.9% on my gas bill, on top of the cash back from our American Express Blue Cash card.

Gas Rebates for Purchases
Some grocery store chains have installed gas stations alongside their stores and will give you a discount on gas if you take your receipt along to show how much you spent in the store.  They typically use a tiered savings structure, the more money you spend on groceries, the higher your gas discount.

When I first heard about this promotion I thought maybe they just kept the price of their gas higher to make up for the difference but after some price comparison I determined they had similar fuel prices as other gas stations on the same street.  We do a majority of our shopping at this grocery store so our bills get pretty big and can bump us up into the higher savings tiers.

Double – Double Cashback
What I recently discovered is that on certain days of the week they have a “Double Day” where they’ll double the discount you get on gas.  After grocery shopping last night we took our receipt over to the gas station to find a nice surprise, two surprises actually.

First off, it was a Double Day so we doubled our savings on gas.  We only needed half a tank of gas but as I got out of the car I discovered the second surprise.  The car before us had left their receipt at the pump and had spent almost twice as much we. I realized right away that due to the way they give their gas discounts I could use their receipt to almost double our already doubled fuel savings. 

How I Saved 11.9% on Gas

Savemoneyongas

1) Filled up our gas tank and paid with our American Express Blue Cash card that earns cash back on gas.

2) Earned Double Cash back from Grocery Store Chain. Took grocery receipt to gas station on double savings day to redeem gas discount.

3) Submitted Receipt for almost Double the Amount we Paid.  The picture shows our receipt along with the one from the previous customer.  Not everyone takes advantage of the gas savings, they just left their receipt at the pump.  When I took the grocery receipt and gas receipt into the gas station to redeem our rebate, I just gave them the gas receipt for the higher amount. We’d only spent $25.63 on gas but I was trying to get cashback for $46.00

The lady behind the counter pulled out her calculator, figured out 6.9% of the higher gas bill, and handed me the cash.  I did have my receipt in my pocket just in case she questioned the one I gave her but she didn’t blink and I was shortly out the door with a total savings of almost 12%!

When I took a look at the best gas rewards credit cards I mentioned that the Chase BP Visa does offer 10% back on gas for the first two billing cycles but I don’t know where you can find almost 12% savings on gas.  I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for their next double savings day and discarded receipts, with the price of gas as high as it is every little bit of savings makes a difference.

Ben

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Ben

Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn’t like the other kids… His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he’s helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.


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Comments

14 Responses to Save Money on Gas – How I Saved 11.9% at the Pump With a Sneaky Trick

  • marissa

    I am totally guilty of leaving my receipts at the gas station. I need to start collecting those.

  • Ben

    TJS, sorry to have lost you as a reader. Perhaps you could keep me “on probation” in your feed reader and see if I can redeem myself : ) Hopefully I addressed your concern in the comments above.

    As I mentioned, I listed three steps to this gas savings. You could always follow the first two and then submit your own receipt for the third step. Your savings wouldn’t be as high but you could still save money with the double day discount.

  • TJS

    Had enjoyed many of your posts, this one a read a week ago and it has bothered me since, but now could not help but comment on the fact that blurring the lines of ethics and money is a slippery slope. The result of your actions is the grocery store gave a rebate to someone who was not entitled to it (at the level). I have canceled by “feed” to this blog simply because of this post. Best of luck.

  • Ben

    mgm and bpr, have you been talking with my wife : ) After I told her about the receipt she said the same thing.

    Basically, the gas rebate system has a hole in it, they don’t have a way to verify the receipt you give them is actually your receipt. I imagine they’ll fix this someday by having people swipe their frequent shopper card to automatically calculate the discount.

    For now they depend on the honor system to police the rebates. Was this the most honorable way to save money on gas, arguably not, but in the heat of the money saving moment it seemed like a good idea.

    There are three steps to this gas savings, you could always follow the first two and then submit your own receipt for the third step. Your savings wouldn’t be as high but you could still save money with the double day discount.

    Thanks for keeping me honest!

  • bpr

    Hmmm… but do you not think that maybe you were defrauding the grocery store? After all, the person who discarded their receipt may not have qualified for the discount. You may have used a non-qualified receipt to get cash back from the store. Seems like it could be unethical to get cash back on money you didn’t spend.

  • mgm

    Regardless of whether it was stealing or not, it’s unethical to get a rebate on something you didn’t pay for.

  • Ben

    mik, the person before me didn’t take advantage of the cash back offer. They left their receipt at the pump and drove off.

    This gas station is right on a main road and anyone can fill up there, whether they shopped at the grocery store or not. A lot of people stop there for gas and don’t need their receipt since they don’t qualify for the rebate.

    Some people stick their receipt in their wallet and others just leave it at the pump when they drive away. Kind of a long answer to your question but no, I wasn’t stealing their receipt, they had discarded it.

  • mik

    I understand the need to save but wasn’t it stealing using the other person’s receipt? you took something you didn’t belong to you.

  • Ben

    John, you don’t have to carry a balance to get the cashback. You don’t earn the cashback until you’ve paid your bill but all credit cards work that way. Here’s how the rewards process works for the AmEx Blue Cash:

    1) You charge gas or anything else on your card
    2) You pay your credit card bill
    3) You earn the cashback once the payment clears
    4) The cash rewards accumulate in your account and once a year you’re paid you’re cashback. You have the option of having your rewards money applied to your balance or mailed to you.

    I agree if I was carrying a balance on the card I’d be losing money but thankfully that’s not how it works. I pay our card off in full each month and still earn the cash back.

  • John

    Regarding that 5% American Express Savings, if I remember correctly, you get a 5% rebate on purchases only when you carry a balance. So actually, you are paying (X-5)% – where X is your cc interest rate – so you’re actually losing money with your amex card. Am I right on this? Please clarify.

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