Self admittedly, there are a few things I’ve always been neurotic about in my life. Those who know me best would probably argue that there are more than a “few things.” Honestly though, I think the list is rather short. One of those items on the list is the level of gas in the tank in my car.

I know, it’s kind of a random thing to obsess over, but I can’t help myself. I’m not willing to admit how many years I’ve been driving and worrying about these issues. However, I will say that my reasons have drastically changed over the years.

In a true embarrassing self confession, I will say that I used to HATE putting gas in my car. In fact, I didn’t just hate it, I didn’t do it. So I had to obsess over the level. I always made sure to fill up when I had a friend with me. In hindsight, I’m sure my friends hated me for this, but it was also a well known fact that they all came to accept.

At some point in my twenties I ran out of gas while driving. Well, actually, that’s how I remember the story in my head. In reality, I almost ran out. But I felt just as horrible as if it had really happened. I decided that day (or maybe my husband decided for me…) that enough was enough- I was going to have to start putting gas in my car by myself.

Around the same time gas prices began to spike around the country. I drove a big SUV that burned through gas like crazy. Therefore, saving $.10 to $.12 per gallon made a big difference. I transferred my obsession of not wanting to get gas, to wanting to pay the best price at the gas pump. Of course, those were the days before iPhones and Apps. I actually had to look for the best price.

Thankfully, these days I have TONS of resources to make sure I’m paying the best price for gas. Here are a few things I keep in mind to stick to my gas budget whether at home or when we’re traveling:

  1.  State By State: If you travel often or live close to a state border, surely you’ve noticed a difference in gas prices. Some states are traditionally lower than others. As we travel, we try to monitor state gas prices and fill up (or wait) prior to crossing state lines. While the actual price might have fluctuated a bit, these websites will give you and idea of the states where you can expect to pay less: Average Price Per State, 10 Cheapest States, States With The Highest and Lowest Gas Tax.
  2. Costco Membership: For many reasons we love our Costco membership. Saving money on gas certainly tops the list. Their prices are consistently lower than the area. Although you don’t find them on every corner, we try to be mindful of their locations and fill up whenever we’re close.
  3. Gas Card Offers (This type of Gas Card is not to be confused with Gas Cards that are used by companies to pay for gas): Many grocery stores offer gas advantages. The offers may be different depending on what chain you use, but the savings should be relatively the same. Locally we are able to purchase $50 gas cards for $40 for every $50 we spend on groceries. This is a 20% savings! Be sure to check your local grocery stores, find out what they offer, and take advantage.
  4. Gas Buddy: If you aren’t using this app, you are definitely missing out on savings. Gas Buddy easily shows you the best prices in the area close to you. As you travel, you can check gas stations coming up and know where to exit for the best gas prices.

    Gas Buddy has a new logo, but it's the same great App

    Gas Buddy has a new logo, but it’s the same great App

  5. Time Is Money: At the end of the day, running out of gas is going to cost you WAY more than the money you will save by holding out for the best price. I need to be reminded of this often as I stress over my next fill up being the absolute rock bottom gas price in a 30-mile radius.

What are your tips for finding the best price at the gas pump?

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