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Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t need to spend so much of your hard-earned money just filling up your gas tank to get around? For many people, a lack of funds for gas for their cars can limit social interaction, and can even make it difficult to maintain employment. If you are in a situation where your travel requirements exceed your available funds, there are lots of simple and legitimate ways to earn discounted or even free gas. Keep reading to find out how.
Best Ways to Get Deeply Discounted and Free Gas
We all know that gas is one of the biggest expenses we all incur on a monthly basis. There are many ways to reduce the amount of money we spend on gas such as using public transportation, carpooling and getting a fuel-efficient vehicle. However, there are also non-traditional ways to get free gas like using coupons. We’ve compiled a list of the best ways to get cheap or free gas so you can save more money to do the things you love.
Earn Free Gas Cards Online
There are plenty of websites that allow you to earn points for completing tasks — points that you can trade-in for free gas cards.
Websites like Swagbucks pay users points for things they are already doing online, like searching, watching videos, and shopping. Using these platforms, users can easily secure anywhere from a few dollars in gas cards to a few hundred dollars (depending on the time they are willing to put in).
Earning on these platforms is simple. Just sign up! It can take a while to earn a significant amount of points (depending on how you use these platforms), so websites like these aren’t a great option for an urgent situation, but dedicated users can expect to earn between $5 to $10 a day through each platform.
Purchase Gas Cards at a Discount Through Gift Card Websites
You can find discounted gas cards for sale through gift card-buying websites like Gift Card Granny and Raise. These websites purchase gift cards for a portion of their total value from people looking to trade in gift cards for cash; you can save on your gas bill by purchasing cards from the site at a discount.
Take Surveys to Help You Earn Points Towards Gas Gift Cards
While websites like Swagbucks offer users a wide assortment of ways to earn virtual points towards gift cards, other websites like Survey Junkie are focused specifically on paying users for completing paid online surveys. These platforms make it easy for you to earn points as a regular part of your day because you can take surveys whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
One of the biggest advantages of using a focused platform like Survey Junkie is that you will get points for your time, even if you don’t qualify for the survey you match with, so you’re never wasting time filling out dead-end questionnaires. Another good survey site to get free gift cards that you can then exchange for free gas is Inboxdollars.
Participate in Product Offers and Giveaways
If you’re just looking to save a little extra where you can, keep an eye out for product offers in-store and online. Some stores offer discounted gas with the purchase of a specific item, and there are plenty of temporary offers and promotions online. The search terms “free gas” or “win gas” will return lots of results, and plenty of them are legitimate. Be careful as you’re going through your results — If you don’t have a good feeling about a website, move on.
Advertise with Your Car
If you aren’t driving a company car, you can earn free gas cards each month by selling advertising space on your vehicle.
Companies will pay as much as $200 in gas cards monthly for a full-wrap advertisement on your vehicle.
If this is something you are interested in, make sure you read the fine print before you sign up. Some advertisers require that you drive a minimum number of miles (such as 1,000 miles each month) to qualify for payment. You may be able to secure additional payment for significant mileage — so if you are about to do some travelling, this option might be worth looking into.
Service providers and their offerings may vary by location, but popular providers include Carvertise and Wrapify. A quick search will tell you if they are in your area and if they have any advertising spots open.
Use Cash Back Credit Cards
If you have a cash back rewards credit card, you can redeem the points and rewards you earn through regular usage for free gas. (Note that this method will only work if you use your card responsibly by paying your balance off in full each month to avoid incurring interest charges.)
To maximize cash back, consider buying your groceries and paying for other necessary expenses with your rewards card (and immediately paying off the purchases). This is a great way to safely accumulate points without spending irresponsibly or losing your cash back rebates to unnecessary fees.
Cash In Travel Rebates
Next time you are getting ready to travel, keep your eyes open for hotels that offer travel rebates. A number of nationwide hotel chains (including Best Western) offer rewards programs that let guests accumulate points on each stay. These points can later be redeemed at participating gas stations for free gas cards.
If you already stay at hotels regularly for work or have other upcoming travel planned, consider shopping around for hotels with rewards programs, and you can turn your stay into free gas cards to offset your travel costs.
Get a Discount Through a Supermarket Loyalty Program
Most grocery chains offer some sort of loyalty or membership program designed to keep shoppers coming in. Some of these loyalty programs provide members with discounted (and even free!) gas, so if you are looking to save, consider making your next grocery shopping trip to one of the following stores:
Costco doesn’t technically have a loyalty program for gas, but Costco members can save more by filling their tanks at the Costco Members Only gas station, which often offers some of the lowest prices available on gas.
Kroger’s shopper loyalty program offers more than just discounts on groceries. Members can earn one fuel point per dollar on all purchases every day, which can be used at any participating gas station in your area. And if you need gift cards, buying them at a Kroger store can earn you up to four times more fuel points, depending on current promotions and participating Kroger store locations.
If you shop at Safeway, you can earn one point for every dollar spent using the Safeway Club Card. Points can be redeemed for groceries or gas rewards. In addition, Safeway offers double points on gift card purchases.
Stop and Shop
At Stop and Shop, for each dollar spent using the Stop and Shop rewards card, you earn one point. For every 100 points, rewards card users can take $0.10 off per gallon, to a maximum discount of $1.50 per gallon of fuel.
Take Advantage of Retail Promotions
If you keep an eye out for local flyers, you might find an easy way to earn some free gas. A number of retailers run promotions for a free gas card with the purchase of a qualifying item.
Note that deals like these are only beneficial if you will actually use the item you purchase. Avoid offers with a high price point — in most cases, you’ll likely spend more than you’d save.
Look into Local Charities
As one option, church organizations and nonprofits like the Salvation Army may provide gas cards to those in need.
Your local community action agency (designated by state government) and United Way are two more nonprofits that can help you fill your tank. Help from the United Way is available in more than 40 countries and territories.
Cut Down On Gas Usage
One way to save on gas is to focus on efficiency. The following tips are simple ways to increase gas mileage:
Maintain a Steady Pace While Driving
Driving with lots of sudden starts and stops or unnecessary acceleration and deceleration burns extra fuel. Maintain the speed limit and don’t rush. If you want to save money, confident and steady driving is the way to go.
Keep Your Car Maintained
Routine car maintenance is important to keep your vehicle safe and in good condition. And don’t forget your tires. Maintaining the right tire pressure can make a big difference in your fuel efficiency — You can save as much as 3 percent on fuel usage.
Avoid Using Your Car’s Air Conditioning
Turning off your AC whenever possible can cut down on gas usage. So can keeping your windows and sunroof closed (which reduces wind resistance).
Stay Aware of the Best Deals at Gas Stations
When you do have to buy gas, you can save a lot just by knowing which stations in your area offer the best prices. You should be able to find the best gas rates for your area using websites like GasBuddy (GasBuddy is also available as a mobile app). Many communities also have social media pages where users post information on gas prices.
Incorporate Carpooling or Public Transit into Your Routine
If part of your regular gas expenses includes driving to the office every day or getting your kids to school and to their activities, you might be able to save a significant amount of money by carpooling. There are several carpooling websites and apps available, like CarpoolWorld or Zimride (by Enterprise). Do some research. If there isn’t a carpooling group in your area, it may be easy to set one up.
If you live in a city, you can also take advantage of its public transit system. It might not be a perfect solution for daily use, but with a little planning, you can significantly pare down your expenses — not just on gas, but on vehicle maintenance and parking as well.
Trade-in Your Vehicle for a More Efficient One
If you are desperate for gas and seem to always run out before you can afford to fill up again, it might be time to consider trading in your vehicle. If you have an older vehicle, give some thought to swapping it out for something with better fuel efficiency. If you can avoid taking out a loan, you’ll see significant savings.
Whether you want to cut down on expenses, create a little extra room in your budget, or your financial circumstances have changed dramatically and you need help, there are lots of ways to get discounted or free gas to keep you on the road.
Ricardo is an entrepreneur, investor and personal finance nerd who enjoys spending time with his family and friends, travelling and helping others achieve their financial goals. Ricardo has been quoted as a personal finance expert in several online publications including Healthline, Bankrate, GOBankingRates, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and USA Today.