How to Get Free Gas: 10 Simple Options - Financial Analyst Insider
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How to Get Free Gas: 10 Simple Options

Gas expenses might not seem like a big part of your budget, but you would be surprised at how much it can add up to each month, especially if you commute to work every day.

When I was driving to work, I would regularly spend close to $300 a month in gas expenses.  During that time, I really focused on how to budget money and finding ways to save more money.  In the process I found some really easy ways to save significant amounts of money on gas.

To make it easier to follow, I’ve organized each gas saving tip as a top ten list.  Keep in mind some of the earlier tips can be combined with other tips to stack extra savings.

Whenever there is an opportunity to combine savings, I make it a point to highlight that option.

#1 – Free Gas with Grocery Store Gas Points

Grocery store gas points are another easy way to get free gas.  A large number of grocery stores have their own version of the program.  Each program follows the same general parameters, but will have slightly different restrictions.

In most of the programs you earn 1 gas point for every $1 you spend.  100 gas points will get you a 10¢ per gallon reduction when you buy gas.  In most cases you have to redeem your points before the end of the month because they will expire.

The main things you have to be aware of is your fill limit and the redemption limit.  I use the Giant gas program and they limit you to 20 gallons of gas at time and you can only get up to a $1.50 per gallon discount at a time.

If you only earned that from groceries, you would have to spend $1,500 a month to redeem it.  There is a much easier way to do that at Giant which I explain below in tip #1.

How to Maximize Grocery Store Gas Points

Some grocery stores will offer gas points gift card promotions.  Normally gift cards are not eligible for gas points, except during the promotion.  The promotions will usually offer a multiple of gas points if you buy specific gift cards.

The multiple can range anywhere from 2x to 10x.  When these promotions are available, it’s easy to purchase a few gift cards and meet the maximum monthly redemption amount for free gas.

Gift Card Promotions

The best promotions are with the cash gift cards, either Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.  The gift cards can be redeemed anywhere, so you can use them towards your normal monthly spending and earn free gas in the process.

The only downside is the promotions for these cards typically give you lower gas points multiples (2x and 3x).

So, if you were trying to meet a 1,500 fuel points redemption maximum, you would need to purchase:

  • $500 of gift cards for a 3x gas points promotion.
  • $750 of gift cards for the 2x gas points promotion.
  • The Visa and Mastercard gift cards usually only available in $500, $200, $100, and $50 increments.  So you would have to buy three gift cards to get $750 exactly or just buy two $500 gift cards.
  • Each gift card has a $6.95 fee.
  • If you buy the gift cards with a cash back credit card, you can make up the gift card fees.

Retailer Gift Card Promotions

Sometimes the promotions will be for retailer gift cards like Best Buy, Ebay, or another large retailer.  These are a little harder to redeem unless you plan to be shopping at one of those retailers in the near future.

However, these promotions are typically offered at higher gas points multiples (8x and 10x), so you can meet the maximum gas points for a lower amount of spending.

If you were trying to reach a maximum of 1,500 gas points, you would need to purchase:

  • $100 of retailer gift cards with a 10x promotion.
  • $200 of retailer gift cards with an 8x promotion (you only need $187.50 but may not be able to buy in that increment).
  • Retailer gift cards don’t have fees.

If you don’t plan to spend any money at the retailer gift cards eligible under the promotion, you can always sell the gift card on Raise or Gift Card Granny and still come out ahead with the free gas.

For example, let’s assume you purchased a $100 Best Buy gift card for a 10x gas points promotion.  This is how the math would work:

  • Pay $100 for a Best Buy gift card.
  • Earn $2 if you use a 2% cash back credit card.
  • Earn 1,500 gas points.
  • Save $30 of gas on 20 gallons.
  • Sell the Best Buy gift card on Giftcard Granny for 88.5% of face value (lose $11.50).
  • Total savings of $20.50 ($30 – $11.50 + $2).

Grocery Stores with Gas Points Programs

Not all grocery stores have gas points.  The grocery stores that do offer gas points, also don’t necessarily offer gift card promotions as frequently as the Giant program.

Each program has slightly different limits.  We’ve highlighted some of the larger programs and the notable limits below.

Acme Gas Rewards

Acme gas rewards includes the following stores: Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randall’s, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewell-Osco, Shaws, Star Market, and Acme.

The Acme stores are linked with Sunoco gas stations, but individual stores will have a list of eligible gas stations which may be different.  Safeway includes Chevron and Texaco, so there is some variation within the program.

  • $1 spent equals 1 gas point.
  • 100 gas points equals 10¢.
  • Max redemption of 1,000 gas points or a $1.00 per gallon max discount.

Giant Gas Rewards

Giants program includes the following stores: Stop & Shop and Martins.

  • $1 spent equals 1 gas point.
  • 100 gas points equal 10¢.
  • Max reception of 1,500 gas points or a $1.50 per gallon discount.

Kroger Fuel Rewards

  • $1 spent equals 1 gas point.
  • $1 spent equals 2 gas points for retailer gift cards.
  • 100 gas points equals 10¢.
  • Max redemption of 1,000 gas points or a $1.00 per gallon max discount.

Winn Dixie Grocery Rewards

The Winn Dixie program works at the following stores: Bi-Lo, Fresco Y Mas, Harveys, and Winn Dixie.

The program is a little different in that you can use points to save on groceries or with fuel at Shell locations.

  • $1 spent equals 1 gas point.
  • 100 gas points equal 5¢.
  • No restriction on redemptions at gas stations.

#2 – Earning Free Gas with Giant & Stop & Shop Gas Points

Example of the Giant Gas Rewards Program

Probably the very best way to save huge amounts of money on gas was through the Giant Gas Rewards program.

The reason this is the case is because of how frequently they run gift card fuel points promotions.  Keep in mind this also works with the Stop and Shop gas points program as well.

Let me walk you through how the program works in a little more detail.

How the Giant Gas Rewards Program Works

The Giant gas rewards program is fairly simple.  When you shop at Giant (or Stop and Shop or Martins), for every $1 you spend, you will receive 1 gas point.  Gas point redemptions are as follows:

  • For every 100 gas points, you save 10¢ per gallon of fuel on up to 20 gallons of fuel.
  • There is no limit to the number of gas points you can receive.
  • You can redeem them as you get the points or you can wait until they build up.
  • Gas points expire within 30 days.
  • Gas points can be redeemed at Giant gas stations or at certain Shell locations.
  • In most locations you can only redeem up to 1,500 gas points or $1.50 per gallon.

At first glance, that doesn’t seem like a big deal.  I would usually spend about $100 on each grocery trip around 4 times per month.

With current gas prices at around $2.70 per gallon, after using my 40¢ discount, I would still be paying about $2.30 per gallon on those 20 gallons of fuel.  In dollar terms, I’m only saving about $8 once per month.

How to Maximize Giant Gas Points with Promotions

The missing part of the savings equation is that Giant frequently runs gas points promotions in its circular ads.

Normally gift cards are not eligible to earn gas points; except when Giant runs a gift card promotion.  For example, in a recent Giant promotion, you could purchase Mastercard gift cards and receive 2x gas points.

If you wanted to maximize this promotion, you would do the following:

  • Purchase $750 Mastercard gift cards at Giant (or Martins or Stop & Shop) with a credit card.
  • Pay $20.85 in gift card fees ($6.95 per gift card).
  • Receive $30 in cash back if you use a 2% cash back credit card to buy the gift cards (Citi Double Cash back offers 2%).
  • Earn 1500 gas points.
  • Redeem the gas points for $1.50 per gallon discount on 20 gallons of fuel.
  • Spend the gift cards as part of your normal monthly shopping.
  • Receive $30 of free gas and $9.15 of net cash back assuming you used a cash back credit card ($30 – $20.85).

To increase your savings, you can link your Giant card with the Shell Fuel Rewards program and earn up to an additional 50¢ per gallon you redeem your gas points at an eligible Shell station.

By linking with the Shell Fuel Rewards program in this example, your total amount of free gas would increase from $30 to $40.

How Does Shell Fuel Rewards Work?

Shell Fuel rewards is a separate gas points program from the Giant gas points program.

After signing up for the Giant gas points program, you just link your existing Giant account to the Shell Fuel Rewards program.  There is link where you can add Fuel Rewards inside your Giant account profile.

Fuel rewards points get stacked on top of existing Giant gas points when you redeem the points at a Shell gas station.  You can earn Fuel Rewards in the following increments:

  • 5¢ gallon discount at Shell just for signing up.
  • 10¢ gallon discount at Shell for each $50 spent on eligible dining expenses.
  • 5¢ gallon discount at Shell for each $50 spent on eligible travel expenses.
  • Additional discount for eligible online shopping which varies based on the merchant.
  • Fuel rewards expire the last day of the month immediately following the prior month when earned.
  • Max discount of up to 50¢ per gallon from any of the available earning sources.

How Often Does Giant Run Gift Card Promotions?

Anytime Giant runs a gift card gas points promotion, the same promotion is typically available at Stop & Shop and Martins grocery stores.  The list below includes recent gas point promotions.

Note, these promotions won’t necessarily be the same each year, but the frequency of the promotions is pretty similar.

  • 10x gas points on Best Buy or SpaFinder gift cards (Oct 26 to Nov 1).
  • 3x gas points on Visa gift cards (Oct 12 to Oct 18).
  • 3x gas points on Mastercard gift cards (Oct 5 to Oct 11).
  • 2x gas points on Mastercard gift cards (Aug 31 to Sept 6).

#3 – Earn Extra Money from Prior Purchases

How is it possible to earn money from purchases you’ve already made?  It’s pretty simple, most retailers have price change policies that allow you to earn the difference between any purchases you’ve made if the same product gets discounted at a later date.

There is usually a time limit like 30 days, but if you find a price difference most retailers will honor it immediately.

The problem is that it’s really not possible for the average person to monitor price changes for all the products they buy in a given month.  That’s where Paribus comes in.  They developed a simple app that scans your emails for recent purchases and automatically monitors any price changes for those merchants.

If Paribus finds a price difference, they will notify you and you can have them instantly submit a refund for the price difference on your behalf.

The price difference will get credited back to your credit card instantly from the retailer.  Capital One recently bought Paribus which makes the platform even stronger.

Some of the retailers in the network include: Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Walmart, Khol’s, Target, and many others.  Paribus also recently added hotel room price changes booked through Hilton, Marriott, Priceline, Expedia, Booking.com, and Hotels.com.

Using Paribus is an easy way to earn enough money for a few tanks of gas without any extra effort on your part.  Learn how to save extra money shopping on Amazon.

#4 – Free Gas Gift Cards

A simple way to earn free gas gift cards is to use Swagbucks.

Swagbucks is an innovative way to earn free gift cards by doing simple internet search based tasks.  The platform is setup so anytime you have a few spare minutes, you can earn points by completing tasks like taking surveys or earn extra money watching videos.

You can earn swagbucks when you complete any of the following tasks:

  • Shop online
  • Answer surveys
  • Watch videos
  • Search the web
  • Play games

In general you earn anywhere from 7 to 80 swag points depending on the activity you choose.  After earning points, you have the option to redeem your points for cash back from PayPal or any number of gift cards ranging from Amazon to gas gift cards.

In order to redeem a $5 gift card, you need to earn about 450 swag points.

Find out how to Earn Extra Money on Paypal.

You can also directly download an app to your phone, which makes it easy to earn extra points anytime you have a lull during the day.

So instead of spending your time on Facebook, you could earn free gas cards through Swagbucks.  Learn more about how Swagbucks works.

#5 – Purchase Discounted Gas Gift Cards

Most people are familiar with the stock and bond markets, but not as many people are aware of the thriving market for used gift cards.  Instead of purchasing a gas gift card for face value, you can purchase a gas card at a discount through a gift card market place.

So instead of paying $100 for a Texaco gas card, you might be able to pay $97 or $96 for a gift card with a $100 value.

These markets operate entirely on supply and demand.  So anytime you have too many sellers, the prices for gift cards will decline.  Likewise, if you don’t have enough supply, the price for gift cards will increase closer to face value.

Because of these dynamics, it makes sense to compare a few different markets to find out available prices before buying.

A few of the best gift cards marketplaces are included below:

#6 – Stack a Cash Back Portal with a Discounted Gift Card Purchase

The only thing better than buying your gas at a discount, is to get it at a bigger discount.  Before you purchase a gas gift card from a gift card market, click through a cash back site like Rakuten and check if there is cash back available before you make a purchase.

For example, if you find a discounted gift card on Raise, don’t immediately purchase it.

Instead, click through to Ebates and see if any cash back is available for Raise.  When I checked today, Ebates was offering 1% cash back on any purchases made through Raise.

So if you found a $100 gift card available on Raise for 97% of face value, you could get the same gift card for close to 96% of face value.

The 1% cash back won’t make you rich, but for 30 seconds of extra time, it will add up over time if you keep remembering to use it.

Although cardpool isn’t offered on Ebates, you can get 1% cash back if you purchase from Cardpool through Mr. Rebates.

#7 – Take Surveys for Gas Money

Another easy way to earn some extra money during your free time is to complete surveys through Survey Junkie.

Survey Junkie includes over 3 million members that help companies create products and features that are most important to you.  In return for your time and feedback, you have the option of receiving money directly from PayPal or selecting any number of available gift cards.

The surveys will all have different point values.  Every 100 points you earn is worth $1.  Its pretty easy to earn enough extra spending money to cover a few extra tanks of gas each month from completing a few surveys in your free time.

Learn about the best 51 Apps that Earn Real Money.

#8 – Earn Extra Rebates from Daily Spending

Using Ibotta is a simple way to save money by linking your everyday shopping with instant rebates.

After downloading the app, you link your favorite stores to your account.  Some of the popular options include Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, CVS, Giant, Walgreens, and Target.

The initial screen only shows the most popular stores, the full list includes a much larger number of stores.  When I looked today, the full list of participating stores was 298.

From there you just go through and save instant rebates on any items that you expect to purchase in the near future.  Some items have rebates that are eligible anywhere and other items have rebates that are only available at certain retailers.

Manufacturer rebates can redeemed anywhere, but retailer specific offers have to be redeemed at that retailer.  Just click on the item and it’s easy to see how the redemption works.

Offers are available from the following categories: grocery, mobile shopping, alcohol, pharmacy, clothing, beauty, specialty, restaurants / bars, convenience, crafts, travel, and electronics.

How to Earn Cash

Depending on the store, you have the option of linking your store card directly to Ibotta or uploading a picture of your receipt to the app.

When you link your shopping card, you will sometimes have access to more offers related to that store.  You also have the ability to receive the rebate as an instant discount on your receipt when you purchase the eligible item.

After you’ve earned at least $20, you can cash out directly to your linked bank account or to PayPal.  You only need to spend about 5 five minutes before your next shopping trip and its pretty easy to earn in excess of $20 each month.

Your savings will easily add up to a few tanks of gas each month.

#9 – Use Amex Offers for Gas Gift Cards

If you happen to have American Express credit cards, you may already be familiar with Amex offers.  Amex offers will show up any time you link into your Amex credit card account.

You can see them from a desktop or from the mobile app.  When you see an offer that you like, you just click a button to link it to your credit card.

When you use the credit card for the linked offer, you will receive an immediate credit on your credit card statement.  Amex offers frequently have deals specific for discounted gas.

You might see offers like spend $50 and receive a $10 or $20 credit at a variety of different gas stations.

However, you can also get even more value from Amex Offers if you’re willing to think a little more creatively.  Amex Offers will also frequently offer similar discounts at retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, Staples, and other similar department stores.  Those department stores all sell gift cards.

For example, you could use the Amex offer at Lowes to buy a gas gift card.  The Amex offer will get activated and you will receive free gas in the process.

#10 – Sell Advertising with Carvertise

If you’re a daily commuter and you drive at least 30 miles a day, you might consider using Carvertise to generate some extra income.  In order to participate you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Need a clean driving record
  • Own a 2008 or later model car

You have to apply to be a driver.  Carvertise keeps your information on file and will match you with a specific advertiser when a campaign is available that matches your targeted demographics.

In general, drivers in larger cities are more likely to be selected than drivers in more rural areas.

If you’re selected for a campaign, you have the option of whether or not you will participate.  If you agree to participate, the average campaign pays around $100 per month.

The extra money will more than cover your gas for the month.

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