We’re all glad the quarantine days are in the rearview mirror, but we’ll miss those cheap gas prices. Now that we’re back to commuting and traveling regularly, we’re all starting to feel the pain at the pump.
We’ve got some tips to lessen that pain. Here are 11 ways to save money on gas.
11 Ways to Save Money on Gas
1. Shop around for the best gas prices.
Okay, so sometimes you’re riding on empty and you’ve got to get gas as quickly as possible. But if you plan ahead, you can really save money on gas. One way is to use an app like GasBuddy that searches your local area to find the cheapest gas prices around. Or you can pay attention on your way to and from work or the kids’ school to see what places offer the best price.
2. Combine your errands.
Don’t make a special trip to get milk when you can just pick it up on the way home from work. You can also cut back on trips to the grocery store in general by meal planning and keeping a list of all the household essentials you need. The fewer trips out, the less you pay in gas.
3. Use that cruise control.
Stumped on how to save gas while driving on the open road? If you’re spending lots of time on the interstate, here’s a simple tip. Turn on your cruise control and save on gasoline and leg cramps.
4. Keep your tires properly inflated.
There’s a savings myth out there that overinflating your tires can save you money on gas. The reality is, this is a bit of a Goldilocks situation. Overinflating doesn’t help anything, and underinflating can actually hurt your gas mileage. But getting the proper tire pressure is like that perfect bowl of porridge—just right. And those just-right savings will add up over time.
5. Ditch the extra weight.
Take everything off your roof rack and unpack the trunk or cargo space. Turns out, the more your car is weighed down, the harder your engine has to work to lug all your junk around. And a harder-working engine is a gas-guzzling engine. So, clean out your car, and enjoy less clutter and fewer trips to the gas station. Who knew figuring out how to save on gas was as simple as getting all the junk out of your car.
6. Join gas rewards programs.
Hear us loud and clear: We aren’t talking about credit card “reward” points here. (Ew.) We mean that your grocery store may offer gas rewards—discounts on gasoline for buying stuff you have to buy anyway. You might have to sign up for a rewards card, but these are often 100% free and 100% worth it. Cheaper gas from the place you already go to stock up on toilet paper and potato chips? Yes, please.
7. Join a warehouse membership.
Here’s how to save on gas with money you’re probably already spending at those bulk-buy stores (you know the ones). Some warehouse stores offer lower gas prices to members. Now, that membership will cost you something, but if you’re already a member, you might as well take advantage of that extra savings. And if you’re not a member, before you commit to anything, be sure the annual fee is worth it to save money on gas and other things (like all that bulk cereal shopping).
8. Stop buying premium.
Unless you have a fancy car with a manual that says it needs premium gas, the regular unleaded gas option works just fine. Switching to regular gas is probably the easiest way to save 20 to 60 cents per gallon, and most drivers don’t even notice the difference. Just be sure you double-check that premium gas isn’t a requirement for your car—or else things could get ugly.
9. Pay with cash.
Cash is king—even at the pump! Some gas stations charge a lower price per gallon if you pay with cash. It’s their way of avoiding processing fees. Sure, you’ll have to actually walk some extra steps to pay the cashier, but it’s worth it if you can save a few bucks every time you fill up.
10. Fill up earlier in the week (and never on weekends).
Monday is typically the cheapest day of the week to fill up your tank.1 If you can’t make it on Monday, try for Tuesday or Wednesday. Whatever you do, avoid the gas station on Friday, Saturday and Sunday if you want to save money on gas (and beat the lines).
11. Turn your car off while waiting.
Trying to figure out how to save gas when you’re actually using the car? Here’s a simple way: turn the car off. Think about it. You’re sitting in your car for 5, 10, maybe even 15 minutes waiting on someone else to get in—probably jamming out to your favorite song. We’ve all been there. But next time, turn the car off. Idling wastes gas even if you’re not driving anywhere, so keeping your car off when you’re not actively driving will save you money in the long run.
What to Do With the Money You Save on Gas
Okay, so you’re saving cash with those tips. Now what should you do with the extra money? We're glad you asked.
1. Save it.
Extra money in the budget every month is a beautiful feeling. But don’t ignore it, or you’ll spend it here and there without even noticing. The first thing you should do with any extra money is save up a starter emergency fund. That’s $1,000 in savings as a safety net for when life happens. Once you’ve got this, jump into our second step.
2. Pay off debt.
Debt keeps you and your money living in the past. You can’t get ahead when you’re paying off something from last month—or last year. So, once you’ve got your starter emergency fund, put any extra money toward paying off debt with the debt snowball method. Because being stuck in the past is bad for your hairstyle, your relationships and your money.
3. Save even more.
Once you’re debt-free, it’s back to saving until you’ve got a fully funded emergency fund of 3–6 months of expenses. Then you’ll be ready for even bigger unexpected life moments—like job loss.
4. Invest it.
When you’ve got solid savings, you should start investing 15% of your take-home pay. Retirement is coming—be ready for it!
Start budgeting with EveryDollar today!
These steps aren’t something we pulled out of a hat. They’re the first four of the 7 Baby Steps—the proven plan for ditching debt, saving for emergencies, and building wealth in just (you guessed it) seven steps!
Listen: Saving money on gas is an awesome way to make a small change with your money that can lead to big results. When you make lots of those small changes, you’ll get even bigger results. The 7 Baby Steps are just what you need to get there.
Learn how to walk those Baby Steps in Financial Peace University—an online Ramsey+ course you can check out today in a free trial. Plus, you’ll get the premium version of the EveryDollar budgeting tool so you can make saving money (on gas and in life!), paying off debt, and investing a reality.