08 October 2009

I’m not gone.

A quick update for those who are not yet informed.  My son entered the world on September 1st.  Between him and my new job i have not been blogging much.  I have not been doing too much outside taking care of baby and mom, work, and some exercise.  I’ll work at being more regular with my posts.

18 September 2009


I am taking this moment to suggest everyone go buy something at Cabela’s this month.  What you buy is up to you.  Well i was offered a job working at Cabela’s in the Camping department.  They might have an IT position opening up soon that i might see about trying to transfer into.  Am i getting paid to write this???  I’m not getting a paid to write this but i am suggesting you buy from them to ensure that i’ll keep getting a paycheck.

14 September 2009

Save Money on Gas

Filling up your gas tank is expensive.  Even when you have a hybrid vehicle.  Diesel vehicles, or some tricks may get you better mileage but this post is not about reducing cost by getting better mileage.  There are a number of things that you can do to get cheaper gas at the pump.  Driving less would save a ton on gas.  Once again not the focus of this post.  So how do you reduce the price you pay at the pump.

Start by finding a cheaper gas station – Sites such as GasBuddy or MSN Gas Prices track gas prices for you.  By checking the gas map before you head out on your errands you might see a station that saves you money further along your route.  You can look and see that gas in some town is cheaper and a much cheaper place to fill-up on your road trip.  Both of these sites are Web 2.0 apps where users update the prices.  Both sites are great resources but driving out of your way, across town, to save a few cents might just cost you more.

Using a Gas Station card – You can save 5 cents a gallon by using a Valero Card to pay for your gas.  Shell, Texaco, Exxon all have their own cards.  You can usually save 5 to 10 cents per gallon with these cards.  These cards have the problem of tying you to a certain gas station.  You can get around this by just carrying a card for each station that has one.  Is that worth it to you?

Get your gas at your grocery store – Safeway and Albertsons both have gas rewards programs that save you money when you show at their store.  Costco passes their saving on in the listed gas price.  All require your membership rewards card.  Because they can track your every purchase to better market to you they sell you cheaper gas.

Pay with cash – Some gas stations give the same 5 cents per gallon discount when you pay with cash that they give with their credit card.  You are then not tied to the station you have the rewards or credit card for.  You will likely have to pay inside where your are more likely to make an impulse purchase on that candy bar since you saved money.

Look for coupons – Every week my parents pickup the local Nickel Ads because a local gas station has a new 5 cents off per gallon coupon.  This coupon requires you pay inside with all those tempting impulse purchase items.  Some stations even took other station’s coupons so you might not be limited to just the one that puts out the coupon.

Use your rewards credit card – The Discover Open Road (no longer available) credit card gave 5% cashback for gas station and automotive purchases.  Using this with my Safeway Rewards saved me much more than many other options.  With gas over $2.00 per gallon I saved more than paying with the Gas Station card or cash.  I could use it with my grocery rewards or coupons.  Discover might not be accepted at some establishments locally but every gas station and bar in town took it.  The same seemed true for American Express.  The one restriction i ran into was only getting 5% on my first $100 of gas purchases each month.


By using these methods i was able to save money so i know they work.  What methods have you found to save on the price you pay for gas?

25 August 2009

3 Surcharges Added into my Grocery Bill

Store loyalty rewards cards cost me money.  Safeway and Albertsons and I'm sure others in different parts of the US give gas discounts.  Having $1.30 per gallon savings off my next fill-up left me wondering how much extra I've spent to earn those rewards.  With credit cards a store will increase costs for everyone to cover expenses of processing those cards.  Albertsons is likely charging everyone extra to more than cover the gas fill-up savings.

By shopping at a store with loyalty or rewards cards with gas bonuses i am likely paying 3 surcharges that i might be able to avoid.  My prices must cover the loyalty discounts.  My prices must cover gas rewards.  My prices must cover credit card transaction fees.  Not many stores manage avoiding passing these fees onto their customers.  The only large retailer i know that avoids these surcharges is Costco.  They charge a membership fee that most stores do not charge.

What can you do to avoid these surcharges?  You may not want to.  I pay to shop at Costco and pay for these surcharges because i am spending less for the items i buy than shopping somewhere else that will not charge them.  Some smaller shops might save you some or all the surcharges.  Only avoid these charges if you are saving money by avoiding them.

Let us know what you do in the comments.

22 August 2009

Personal Finance Advice Readers

Welcome Personal Finance Advice readers. This morning PFAdvice became the first financial blog i read that linked back to here. If this is your first time here i started this blog March 30th and have averaged 1 post here a week. I also post on different blogs on other subjects. Look around and feel free to tell me if you want a post on a certain subject.