The current economic situation with its declining stock market and rising unemployment rates has not changed an important aspect of our home. My wife has a good eye for bargains; we rarely shop unless we know we’re getting the best price available on a particular product. That means time spent going through store advertisements and a careful examination of the products once we get to the store.
In addition to advertised sales, my wife has discovered a number of other ways to save money and to let someone else help pay for our gas. Finding someone to help pay for our gas was particularly relevant for us because we were planning a major trip to the Pacific Northwest at a time when gas prices were high. We eventually drove over 6000 miles, so any way we could save money was very welcome. Here are a couple of money-saving ideas that may prompt you to look for your own bargains.
- First, letting credit cards help you save money. Like many Americans, my wife and I have several credit cards. One criterion for applying for a new one is the amount of the rebate we will receive for using the card for gas. Typically, our credit cards have provided at least a 1% rebate on all purchases, whatever the items are. Some cards have offered a 5% rebate for a specified period of time. We have applied for and received such cards.
Several months ago, we saw what was called the Discover Open Road credit card that promised a 5% rebate on the first $100 of gas purchases or automotive service and repair work each month for the first year of the card. As my wife checked further, she found another company offering a free $50 gas card to people who applied for the Open Road card. Wondering if this was truly a genuine offer or an invitation to a scam, my wife checked with Discover and found that the offer was legitimate, so we each applied for a card in our own name and we each received a $50 gas card that was generally good wherever Discover cards were accepted. We discovered, however, that while some stations accepted the cards, others did not. After a little trial and error, we were able to use the cards and saved $100 on gas purchases. The recent decline in gas prices made the cards an even better deal.
- Second, taking advantage of bank offers. Sometime ago, a friend of ours mentioned that TCF banks in the Twin Cities were offering a free $50 gas card if a person opened a new checking account. While my wife and I did not really need another checking account (we already have accounts at three different banks), the offer sounded too good to pass up, so we each opened a checking account in our own names and we each received a free BP (British Petroleum) $50 gas card. There are many BP stations in our area, so we don’t have to worry about finding a place to use the cards.
These are just some of the opportunities that are out there. In this tough economic situation, there are ways to save, if you look for them.
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