Friday, 21 February 2014

How to save MORE on your fuel bill

Perhaps it is just my luck or perhaps my timing is always off but somehow I managed to get stung with a very high cost of fuel / petrol every time I am required to fill up my tank.  I have tried leaving it until mid-week and I have tried waiting until the price drops before filling however every time I fill it seems as if the price is higher than it has ever been.

Recently the fluctuation in prices has been extraordinary.  I have seen the price of fuel vary by 20c / litre over the course of a week!  Somehow I always manage to get stung by the higher cost.  The 4c / L discount offered by the major supermarkets barely makes a dent in this higher fuel price.  I started looking for a way to save more on fuel...and I found it.

Use your 4c / litre shopping docket

This program has been running for years but when you buy $30 worth of groceries at a Coles or a Woolworths you will get a 4c / L fuel discount.  Recently Coles started offering 8c / L discount however their fuel stations seemed to consistently be significantly more expensive so there was no extra saving - it was a bit of a scam.

On a regular 60 litre tank this will save you $2.40 off your fuel bill...nothing to get excited about until you combine it with the following...

Buy a
Woolworths Wish Gift Card at a 5% discount

I have written about The Entertainment Bookbefore and also about the benefits program offered by Red Energy - use these to buy a Woolworths Wish Gift card at a 5% discount to face value.  Buy a $100 card for $95 or a $200 card for $190 and you can use this at the Caltex / Woolworths petrol stations when you go to fill your car.

Unfortunately I have not found a gift card that you can use at Coles / Shell fuel stations so this requires you to do a lot of your shopping at Woolworths.  The prices are pretty similar so you should come out ahead anyway.

So what are the savings like?

You can actually start to save some real money using the above combination.  Below is a simple example:

  • Assume you need to fill your 60L tank right up
  • The board price is $1.50 / L
  • Without any discount you would be paying 1.50 * 60 = $90.00 for your tank of fuel
  • Applying the discount you pay
    • ($1.50 - $0.04) = $1.46 / L * 60L = $87.60 * 0.95 = $83.22
You end up saving 6.78 or 7.5% off the cost of your fuel.  The amount you save varies on the price of fuel but at the very minimum you will be saving something greater than 5%.  

As anyone who owns a car would know, fuel costs really add up over a period of time.  I spend ~$100 a fortnight on fuel or $2,600 a year...a 7.5% saving on this is $195 and all I need to do is buy some Woolworths cards in advance.  

Keep in mind that Woolworths limits the number of gift cards you can buy to ~$4,000 worth a year.  This is more than enough for me, but if you live in a big household it may be worth your while signing up for multiple copies of The Entertainment Book if the benefits are large enough for you.

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  1. Great tips! I buy the Coles gift cards from the Entertainment Book as well (Shell is closer to my home). Makes a big difference when you fill up with 98/VPower every time!

    Do you try to time when you buy fuel? I find it too difficult and simply always buy on the weekend.

    1. I didn't realise that you could use the Coles one for fuel! Will definitely start doing that as I shop at Coles far more often (as it is closer)!

      I try and time when I buy fuel although Tuesday and Wednesday's no longer seem to be the cheapest. Also I recently noticed that different fuel stations charge a different premium for "premium fuels" versus the unleaded 91 price which is frustrating!

  2. I started using the Coles one when one of the guys from work told me about it. We ended up chatting and it turns out he is a GURU at saving money and getting discounts on things. We have a lot to learn in comparison to this guy.

    Might do a post on him/his discounts.