I typically visit the same gas station to fill up my tank. The prices are always good, and the station is part of a chain that honors the gas rewards from my grocery store. I always fill up using the same credit card, one that gives me 2% back at gas stations. I figure that if I have to buy gas, I might as well get the most out of the expense.
The last time I filled up, however, I noticed something that made me want to shake my fist in anger.
The gas prices were very clearly printed on the large sign outside the station, as they are with most gas stations. But down on the ground, there was a little sign listing the prices if you chose to use a credit card. Ten cents a gallon more if I want to use a credit card. Of course, I didn’t see the sign until after I started filling, because it wasn’t exactly well placed. Or perhaps that’s the point – it was very well placed so that people wouldn’t see it until it was too late.
I’ve heard of other stations doing this, but this was the first time that I saw it myself. I will say that the sign is now better positioned so you can see it when you drive into the gas station lot.
I understand that stores have to pay a fee for allowing credit card use, but I still find it very frustrating.
So now I have to decide what to do. I have a number of options. I can switch gas stations and find one without this fee, but then I can’t use my gas rewards (typically anywhere from 10-30 cents off per gallon). I can pay with a debit card or cash (and then lose the 2% rewards – but that’s less money than I’m losing with the extra 10 cent fee).
Honestly, I’m a creature of habit. I will probably continue to patronize the same gas station and hope that I have enough in gas rewards to at least negate the credit card charge. Maybe I’ll start using my debit card. I never use a debit card unless I absolutely have to (like at Costco, for example). But this might be what it takes to get me there.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.