Buying My Gasoline at Costco

I’ve had a Costco card for quite a long time through my employer, but I’ve rarely taken advantage of the savings on gasoline.

Part of the reason is because I have to get off the freeway and drive one mile down the road to get to Costco.  So I’m driving an extra two miles to save a few cents.  Not to mention there’s quite a bit of traffic at that time of day so it adds a good 20-30 minutes to my drive home.  If I went to Costco every single week, then I could buy gas while there, but I don’t.  As a matter of fact, I don’t want to shop at Costco every single week.  I do pretty well at reining in the impulse shopping and I don’t want to tempt myself any more than necessary.  And my vehicle holds about 350 miles worth of gasoline so I have to fill up up at least once a week.

I usually buy my gas in the big city on one of the days I’m at work since at this time of the year it is less expensive in comparison to the rural area where I live. The savings is pretty significant lately. As I drive through in the morning I go by every gas station in the small city so I know what I’d be paying if I waited until I’m on my way home. For example, last week the cost at QuikTrip was $2.69 per gallon but in the big city it was $2.52.

I had to go to Costco that day to buy some supplies for my employer (for the special event, as a matter of fact) so I decided to wait and fill up at Costco.

I found the price of gasoline that day was $2.49. I decided to make a point of getting gas from Costco each week.

If you’ve been reading at Out of Debt Again you may probably remember some of the insanely expensive gasoline budgets I’ve had in the past, with $700 a month for gas being normal.

Making Fun of Gas Prices
Making Fun of Gas Prices (Photo credit: AgentAkit)

Three things happened to change the amount of money I need to budget for gasoline.  First of all, Mr. A used to buy gasoline for his business driving using one of our personal credit cards.  We finally got him his own checking accounts for the businesses and he also applied for a credit card specifically for the business.  Now his gasoline expenses are separate from the personal money which makes it simpler for me to see how much money I’m spending on gasoline since I’m the only one buying gasoline from our personal checking account.  If you’re thinking about getting a credit card for your business, American Express has a Costco card that gives businesses 4% cash back on gas, but that cash back will only truly add up if you’re prepared to pay the balance in full each month.  The second thing that happened is my boss gave me permission to work at home one day a week.  According to my Excel Gasoline Calculator (you can download and use it free!) when I pay $2.49/gallon for gasoline it costs me $13.24 a day to get to work and back. So right there was a savings of $52.98 for not having to drive into the office four days a month (not to mention the time savings of 8 to 12 hours driving).

The final thing that happened was we bought AJ (our youngest son) his first automobile and now he buys his own gasoline. When he drove my car he’d fill the tank on occasion, but I probably paid for the lion’s share of his gas expenses.

So far for 2010, I’ve spent $1983 in gas, which is about $165/month. Here’s what we’ve spent on gasoline (all vehicles combined) in the past few years:

2009 $6300/year  ~$525/month

2008 $5715/year  ~$476/month

2007 $6810/year  $567/month

2006 $5665/year $472/month

I was really pleased to see that in August and September I spent less than $150 a month on gas for each month.  That also means I’m putting less miles on my 1996 Nissan Pathfinder which has 317,000 miles on it. That’s great.

Do you buy your gasoline at Costco?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

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13 thoughts on “Buying My Gasoline at Costco

  1. I’ve checked out Costco gas before, but the really long lines at the gas pump have always deterred me. Instead, I try to drive as little as possible and fit in some biking for short distance trips. Thankfully, I don’t work very far from home!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Little House, thank goodness so far every time I’ve stopped to get gas there weren’t very many people. That would definitely deter me! You’re lucky that you don’t work very far from home. I used to live only three miles from my job but we couldn’t afford to buy a house in the big city. Besides I love living out here rurally. It is still worth it to me, although I do wish I didn’t have the long commute some days. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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  2. Timely subject!

    I live down the same street as a Costco, and have never gotten gas there! Just recently, I mentioned I should check out their gas prices. I think I have an image of tons of cars there, and I it makes me crazy just thinking about it. I’ll have to plan my visit! : ) Thanks for reminding me about Costco gas! (I rarely shop there)

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @nancy, oh, then you should check them out. You do need to have a Costco card in order to buy gas from them though. I hope you don’t find tons of cars there when you do try and check them out. Since you are so close, you might save a bit of money by taking the time to stop. I am trying to make it more of a habit to shop there for my vegetables as I like their prices a lot.

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    nancy Reply:

    @Mrs. Accountability,

    Thank you for the reminder, and the encouragement! I need to comment on a few other of your threads…once I have some time! : )

    I need to hit up Costco (when they first open) on the weekends! : )

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  3. We used to always gas up at Costco and then we moved. The closest Costco to us doesn’t have gas pumps and we’d eat up the savings to drive to another one.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer, that’s exactly how it would be for me if I didn’t have to drive all the way into the big city. If I was ever able to retire, I’d hardly ever go anywhere and I certainly wouldn’t drive 35 miles into town for Costco gasoline to save a few cents. 🙂

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  4. Yep, we probably make up the cost of our membership on gas alone. My husband takes the car in first thing in the morning to fill it up and there is rarely a line. We do avoid the afternoon/weekend rush, which might make a difference.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @The Saved Quarter, does the gas station part open earlier in the morning than the regular warehouse? At least here in Arizona, the warehouse doesn’t open until 10am so I never can shop there until after I get off work.

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    The Saved Quarter Reply:

    @Mrs. Accountability, Yes, they open the gas area at about 7.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @The Saved Quarter, oh I don’t think I knew that. I will have to check in my area and see. Although I start work at 6am so I guess I still couldn’t buy my gas until after work. Recently I heard some thing about how you get less gas in the afternoon because of the hot weather. Not sure now where I heard that? Maybe I dreamed it. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  5. Costco is not real close to me, and I have let my card expire.

    However, you are saving even more than just gas by not driving to work anymore. Although you gas may be a certain amount a mile, there is also the wear and tear factor. I think my crossover is estimated to cost 62 cents a mile (including gas). So next time you don’t drive, think of that big number. It has been a huge motivator for me to walk and such instead of hopping in the car.

    Congrats on lowering you gas costs. I won’t even tell you what my husband and I spend each month…

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Everyday Tips, you’re right on that. I used to have to plan on buying tires every twelve months because I was putting that many miles a year on my poor old 1996 Nissan Pathfinder. I am so relieved that the miles being put on it have slowed down. Ah, come on. Do tell. I can probably beat you if I go back a couple years and include the amount my husband spends for driving for his business. He was able to deduct $16,000 in mileage expense last year alone. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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