I am an American living in Manila, the Philippines right now. I’m a freelance writer working on several writing projects. And one reason I made the move to live here several years ago was to save money on the cost of living expenses. The Philippines was undergoing robust economic expansion before the pandemic and was considered the fastest growing economy in Asia then.
But it is still a developing country where the currency exchange works in my favor whenever I exchange dollars into the local currency.
Well, that previous statement used to be very true. If the pace of current world events doesn’t abate soon, the cost of living here may imitate what is going on in the United States.
The Price of Gas is Increasing Everywhere
Because the Philippines is a developing country with a large poverty-stricken population, the unit of transaction when buying fuel is the liter, not the gallon. And the price of fuel has incrementally increased steadily here every week since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022.
And while the global economic sanctioning of Russia is just, Russia is not the only one who will suffer. Every country that depends on the energy supply chain on the world will suffer as well.
Here, in the Philippines, drivers will line up in 30 to 40 car lengths at a local gas station to fill up before prices rise again. There is a schedule here that alerts the population when gas prices will increase.
Some local fishermen have quit their humble jobs because they are using over 80% of their meager pay for fuel costs.
My point is that believe me, I know what the price of gas in the United States is right now. And how the price of everything else is increasing. I want you to know that 8,600 miles from my native New York City, we are experiencing the same problems.
Unfortunately, gas prices may remain high for some time, and potentially get higher. This is because demand is high and Russian sanctions have disrupted global energy supply chains.
So, here are a few ways you may be able to gas up for a little less. Every penny helps at this point.
Use a Grocery Store Gas Station Rewards Program
Numerous grocery store chains like Safeway, Kroeger, Albertsons, and Dollar General, to name a few, have their own gas stations and rewards programs. Every gasoline reward program offers different rewards and perks, so compare your options carefully.
One finance expert even claims to have saved over $1,000 on gas expenses in one year by strategically using grocery store gas reward programs.
Usually, you gain a point or several points on a gas reward card for every dollar you spend in the store. After redeeming 100 points or more, you could save a few cents or up to $1 per gallon. Still, you have to patronize the store often to gain points. And unused points usually expire in a month or two.
Gas Station Rewards
If you are loyal to a particular gas station in the same way people loyally patronize restaurants then sign up for a rewards card. Gas stations like Shell and BP have loyalty and rewards programs where you save a nickel per gallon per every $100 you spend on gas, or you save a nickel per every 20 gallons purchased.
A few pennies go a long way if you gas up at the same station regularly. Inquire at your favorite gas station about the rewards program.
Don’t Gas Up During Rush Hour
The laws of supply and demand do not just apply when it comes to gas prices. Gas stations will raise gas prices incrementally when there is high demand and long lines, like during rush hour.
You will save a few pennies per gallon gassing up any other time than rush hour.
Don’t Gas on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays
It is not an urban legend – there are days of the week when it is cheaper to fill up.
You are more likely to save money on gas by filling up Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.
Pay With Cash When Possible
Many gas stations offer discounts to those who pay with cash, so inquire.
When you pay with a credit card gas stations must pay affiliated fees to facilitate the transaction. Those fees are negated when you pay in cash.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.