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.
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!